Sunday 25 March 2018

Pat Henry: If it's good enough for Sly Stallone...

Pat Henry
Pat Henry

Pat Henry

Having worked with the world's best trainer, Vince Gironda in California, his attitude to music in the gym was about 40 years ahead of its time. His motto was 'no pool, no chrome, no music'. That's what his T-shirts read and the merits of it was that if a client was coming to him for training wearing headphones, he would, and often did, show them the door. That included Sylvester Stallone.

He believed that you must listen to your own body and pay attention to your trainer. He also believed that when training, you cannot pay 100pc attention to your body if you are blasting your ears with loud music. I initially thought he was just being grumpy - he was that too - but now I see his point. If you want to listen to music, do it elsewhere. If you are serious about getting results and avoiding getting injured, you need to turn off the music.

I came across an example of this last week when a client was putting a barbell back on the weight rack but didn't see that they were missing the rack completely. I tried to shout to warn them and prevent an injury, but the client couldn't hear me as they had their earphones in, so I dashed over to help stop an accident happening.

There are many clients who still use headphones on cardio machines and in some gyms people are watching TV - you may as well be at home! I believe it's important to focus 100pc on your training to see results.

Sports psychologists say that there are two types of gym user: the associator - those who turn their focus inward when training, the disassociators - those who turn the attention to the outside world. Top athletes are associators; they listen to their bodies, and they seek silence, which is like true meditation. Disassociatiors are completely separate from their training as their mind is elsewhere.

If you are there to train you must pay attention to what you are doing, especially if you are weight training or doing any sport that you take seriously. I remember being with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Gold's Gym in 1973, and when he was training he was so focused that if the ceiling had fallen in he would not have noticed. He stayed focused on his goal to win Mr Olympia, which he did seven times, and he used the same focus in business.

Another really important point is the damage to your ears can be irreparable. Tinnitus - a constant loud buzzing - can be caused by cheap earplugs that do not take out the high-end notes. It's like standing beside a drummer who hits the symbols very hard, or a lead guitarist who is too loud. The difference with good headphones is huge. They will avoid the high frequency of the high-pitched notes. I too like Metallica or Def Leppard, but still have fantastic hearing just from being very careful. I remember being at an AC/DC concert and my ears were buzzing for three days afterwards! It was really foolish of me not to protect my ears, so be careful using any headphones and buy the best. And remember to stay in the present, and become the best you can be.

When he witnessed a trainer refuse Sylvester Stallone a session because he was listening to music, the mantra of 'you need to stay in the present to be the best you can be' stayed with Pat Henry

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