“Why Can’t I Do This On My Own…”

19 comments written by Joshua Trentine

I wanted to share this short but profound insight from Gus Diamantopoulos:

“Here are some reasons we can’t do Renaissance Exercise on our own:

-Most of us don’t want to rush from exercise to exercise.  Keeping total transition time down is a necessary ingredient to ensure maximal effectiveness and intensity. 

-Most of us don’t have the necessary environment: the ideal environment is totally quiet (and insulated from noise), low-lit, climate controlled (temperature and humidity), distraction-free, with ventilators at each station.

-Most of us don’t have the proper equipment. Only proper equipment allows us to work the muscle and joint systems the way we recommend.

-Most of us need proper supervision from qualified instructors because:

-Most of us can’t voluntarily push ourselves to genuine muscular fatigue; often we think we are at muscle failure when in fact we have much more strength left over. The usual compensatory reflex of a self-monitoring subject is to add variables AFTER the prematurely terminated set, which is not nearly as effective as going to true failure in the first place. (In fact, so called HIT variables are at the source of the reason why this approach seems to fail)

-Most of us can’t remember to breathe freely; precisely when it matters most, we all take to breath-holding or Val Salva which always serves to not only increase the risks of injury but also contributes to reducing the effectiveness of the exercise.

-Most of us can’t remember to avoid jabbing and off/oning as fatigue sets in; once you start to jab at the resistance, you are likely to merge this inappropriate behavior with Val Salva and therefore double your discrepancies.

Most of us aren’t ready to concentrate; our bodies instinctively hate the inroading process and only though strict intellectual focus can one remain motivated. Unfortunately, when left to our own devices, our instincts always win and our focus is lost. In fact, as fatigue sets in few people understand that space and time perceptions become warped and skewed. As such we become temporarily incapable of any semblance of clarity of thought to direct our own actions. 

-Most of us forget the primary objective; left to our own devices, eventually we fall back playing a numbers game (how much weight, how many reps, how much time) and this approach is meaningless.”

Just as the title of this post is “Why Can’t I Do This On My Own?” we have a HUGE announcement coming up on Wednesday explaining why I can’t change lives on my own as well.

Stay tuned for the BREAKING NEWS on Wednesday as this might just affect you personally.

In the meantime, post any comments below and we’ll personally reply and show your love and click the Facebook Like button below as well!


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Joshua Trentine May 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm

On occasion I go into the OVERLOAD Studio ( and attempt to train myself. We have the ideal environment and equipment . I’ve trained in a similar fashion for over 15 years, yet I do not have the same experience and quality of workout that I could get if I have Al or one of my instructors providing feedback along the way. I still can’t get over how different it can really be.


avatar ad ligtvoet May 5, 2011 at 3:11 am

Hi Joshua,
In the post former to this one you wrote that it would be helpful to upload a video regarding my questions about how I should proceed with my legpress execution.
I opened an youtube account under the name myogeen.Yesterday I uploaded the video of my workout of last sunday. Unfortunately part of the workout was not recorded but the shoulder press and barbell curl+pull up did. I filmed these as a test for filming but maybe you can say already something about execution of the exercises which I then can implement on the legpress next week.
I note that the execution is done with as much tension on the muscle as possible and perform an rep speed that feels good with that goal in mind . I don’t count the rep speed nor watch a clock and the feeling is good .The last rep on the barbellcurl is done with some leaning back to get that last rep so I could do a negative which felt hard. Here you can see ofcourse the limit of the equipment used, but in my opinion also a good way to get the most out of it. Also must I admit that the way I percieve the rep speed/execution during exercising is different (I thought a tad slower) from what I saw on the video . That is an eye opener and makes clear what you wrote about in this post above.


avatar Travis Weigand May 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I’ve been forced to self supervise roughly 95% of my workouts in the past 3 or so years. I couldn’t agree more with this post. You make the best with what you’ve got, but it can only get you so far.


avatar Joshua Trentine May 4, 2011 at 3:07 am


more constraints can be removed


avatar Ed Hovanik May 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Hi Josh
I can state unequivocally that each of these observations is correct. I have trained for years using Mike Mentzer’s routine and the past two years I have attempted the Super Slow protocol by myself, in a health club environment with the typical noise and distractions, and with less than ideal climate controls and exercise equipment. I thought I was training hard; in reality, I was guilty of prolonging the set and finding ways to cheat. The last four months at Overload Fitness have been a real eye-opener for me and have shown me what can be accomplished with proper equipment, correct environment, and , most importantly, competent instructors. And the beauty is…… I am still in the early learning phase.

Ed H


avatar Joshua Trentine May 4, 2011 at 3:09 am

RenEx is a discipline or practice, if you will.

It is no different from a martial art or some type of meditative

The “results” (for lack of a better term), are a product of the
level of involvement in that discipline. They are there, but are not the point of the practice.


avatar Joe A May 3, 2011 at 10:40 am

Let’s be honest, the ‘average’ person lacks the requisite knowledge (anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, etc) to safely and effectively exercise without instruction, period. Let alone adhere to the intricacies of a protocol such as RenEx. Most people would be well served to treat their exercise program like medicine; it should be prescibed, dosed and supervised by a qualified professional.

In my opinion, self-directed preventative care does not have the ability to appropriately affect the widespread, long-term health problems of our population (though maybe in a relatively few individuals). As long as exercise remains an over-the counter option or recreational intervention, there is little hope that this ‘medicine’ is being used in the safest, most effective and efficient manner.


avatar Joshua Trentine May 4, 2011 at 2:54 am

Hey Joe,

I couldn’t agree more, I would think most of this goes without saying.

The standards of exercise that we see in gyms and even medical settings is mediocre and people are used to replicating this ‘good enough’ approach.

This level of service & precision just can not be replicated without the entire system in place.


avatar Jay Rhine May 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

For those of you who have not yet hired a pro trainer to correct your form and push you to true failure you are in for a big surprise when you finally take the big step up the intensity ladder, {pun intended}. I’ve made more progress in the past three months with a trainer than the previous three years on my own, and switching to the Mike Mentzer consolidation protocol has helped also. Question; Does anyone agree with me that Mike Mentzer taught, shortly before his death, that single joint isolation exercises are counter productive and lead to over training? I think he did, and I think I agree.


avatar Joshua Trentine May 4, 2011 at 3:03 am


With the right equipment and a very high level of advancement, I have no question that Mentzer’s theories can be the ideal.

The problem is that many think they can skip to this point. The part i disagree most with Mike was this idea that one could actualize their potential in a year or two.

IMO it takes YEARS…5….10……


avatar Ed Miner May 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm


My first thought upon reading Gus’ comments and yours were: “Oh no, he’s talking about me”. Having recovered from that and on reflecting on my introductory session with you and 2 full sessions at Overload I am struck by a few things.

I can work out alone as long as I am willing to tolerate sticking and gritting, waning concentration, gutteral noises , no growth and walking out with some rap song ringing in my ear.

I do love the serenity of being the only one inside my head and an instructor who is purely background-if my breathing and form and cadence are OK. No easy task that. If it was easy would it be worth doing?

So far it is much more of an intellectual and emotional ride than I would have expected.


avatar Joshua Trentine May 4, 2011 at 2:57 am

Hey Ed,

This comment about sums it up for me;
“If it was easy would it be worth doing?”


avatar Ethan May 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm

You’re right about profound insight. This whole post was very well stated.
I especially like the description of warped and skewed perceptions. If instruction is going to be accurate, then it must come from an objective veiwpoint.

Joe’s comment about exercise/medicine is an absolute bullseye. Recreation is wonderful but it can never adequately substitute for exercise.
Understanding the need to separate the two makes them both better.


avatar Scott Springston May 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I agree with most everything in the above post except for this type statement.
-Most of us forget the primary objective; left to our own devices, eventually we fall back playing a numbers game (how much weight, how many reps, how much time) and this approach is meaningless.”
Most any kind of workout is better than no workout at all so while the above is not ideal by any means it is in no way meaningless.


avatar Joe A May 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Scott said: “Most any kind of workout is better than no workout at all so while the above is not ideal by any means it is in no way meaningless.”

I’m not sure I agree with this statement. I have spent nearly all of my working hours in a gym over the past decade (in commercial gyms, country clubs and corporate gym). My collective observations lead me to believe that probably half of the people who “exercise” would be healthier if they stopped their “exercise” routine all together. Something is not necessarily better than nothing.


avatar Andy May 11, 2011 at 6:55 am

the RenEx approach is a elitism approach to HIT and if I understand it right, one of the primary goals is to ” empty the tank as fast as possible”. But how fast is optimal? I think some trainees need longer TULs than others to achieve an optimal stimulus for muscle growth. Maybe even within


avatar Al Coleman May 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm


Thanks for your question.

First, I don’t think we really consider this a problem at all. I don’t think anyone knows yet what an optimal TUL is for any given muscle in the body. Sure, exercise physiology has suggested energy substrate systems, but IMHO these are speculative at best. If they were true than I’d be unable to explain much of the muscular progress I’ve made over the years.

The paradigm and direction that we are moving must leave much of the information that has been taken as fact behind. If we assume that what we are doing with strength training is stimulating an alarm response by the body, then we must also assume that the stimulus isn’t so predictable as to fit within such a narrow window.

Having said that, it doesn’t really matter. If I choose to train with a load that allows me to continue for 2 minutes, then it will be my objective to commence that exercise with the intention of using that load to exhaust myself as quickly as possible. Logically, this will be much more of an alarm than taking that same load and waiting until I fatigue with it based on a pre concieved notion of how long I need to be in an exercise. This latter sentence is actually at the crux of one of the biggest training problems that most people have and will be the topic of an upcoming post.

Hope this helps.



avatar Andy May 11, 2011 at 7:05 am

Sorry for the technical Problem:
Maybe even within the same trainee different TULs are optimal for different muscle groups! How do you solve that problem to achieve the best possible results?


avatar Andy May 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Thank you very much Al!
If I understand you right, commencing an exercise with the idea behind to reach muscular failure in x seconds actually hinders you mentally to reach true failure/ an
empty tank.
But don’t you think that truly emptying the tank in maybe 35 sec. evokes a different alarm response than emptying the tank in 120 sec.. Based on muscle fibre setup former TUL may be much more appropriate to stimulate muscle growth than the latter and vice versa


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