What Is Ego Lifting — and Are You Guilty of It?

Another great article in Oxygen Magazine featuring Aaron Viscounte, CSCS, PN1 and Summer Stevenhagen Montabone, CSCS*R (Owner) of Summer’s Fitness.

It’s been pretty cool that Oxygen magazine has been requesting/working with us on a regular basis to contribute ❤️

~ Summer and Aaron 

We have all noticed the guy in the weight room reaching for the all-too-heavy dumbbells or sliding enough 45-pound plates on the Olympic bar to stock a Williams Sonoma, only to struggle – embarrassingly so – to eke out a terrible rep or two.  It make you wonder whether he’s actually training to improve his physique or just trying (and failing) to show off.

There’s a name for that behavior. It’s called “ego lifting,” and not only can it make you look a little silly, but it also can derail your progress and, in the worst-case scenario, lead to a nasty injury.

However, before you shake your head at those ridiculous dudes, chalking it up to a mere side effect of runaway testosterone and a man’s innate need to impress, know this: Women are not immune to the perils of ego lifting.

The Hidden Cost of Ego Lifting

“Ego lifting happens when we get caught up in the vibe of the session and we sacrifice common sense, such as proper form and working through a full range of motion, in order to ‘cheat’ out some progress and feel good about the workout,” says Dan Roberts, a top U.K. strength and conditioning coach and founder of the Dan Roberts Group.

A key point to realize is that ego lifting often manifests differently in women than in men. While men will lift weights that are too heavy, women may instead do too many exercises for a body part or aim for too many reps, continuing onward long after their form has broken down.

Another way women ego-lift is to perform advanced exercises that they know nobody around them can for the sole purpose of making themself look good, says Aaron Viscounte, CSCS, PN1, head coach and manager at Summer’s Fitness in North Canton, Ohio. For instance, someone may flaunt that they can perform a handstand or do jumps onto a 48-inch box — great for an American Ninja Warrior audition, sure, but how often are such feats aligned directly with one’s fitness goals?

While increasing training volume and performing more difficult exercises may not sound like terrible things, when done for the sake of really nothing pertaining to your physique goals, they certainly don’t serve you well. “Ego lifting could actually impede your strength and muscle gains,” Viscounte says.

“Even though you’re lifting heavier weight, your body may not be executing the proper range of motion and stretch of the muscle, which is required to gain strength and lean mass while preventing muscle imbalances.”

Think about it like this: When using heavy weight, there is much less margin for error. If even just one small part of the movement is off, it could result in a strained or torn muscle. “Additionally, over time ego lifting could cause a lot of wear and tear on your joints, tendons and ligaments,” Viscounte says.

Leggo Your Ego

While it is a physical act, remember that ego lifting begins in your head. There is something that makes you think, I need to really work this body part, or Check me out, I can do this crazy move with ease, or Watch how hard I can train! The question is: Do you know what’s driving those thoughts?

Summer Montabone, CSCS, retired IFBB fitness pro turned personal development and life coach who founded her own studio, Summer’s Fitness, knows a thing or two about showing off — look no further than the amazing strength and agility moves she performed onstage during her six-year competitive career. “I have seen ego in the weight room with both female athletes and recreational exercisers,” she says. “They often compare themselves to others or feel what they are doing isn’t good enough, or maybe get jealous when others do well, or would rather win than do something well.”

You May Be Ego Lifting If …
Not sure if you’re guilty of any of the bad training habits that constitute a case of ego lifting? “If you find yourself yelling, grunting, being dramatic in how you move, taking up a lot of time and space while exercising, or trying to get other people’s attention, you may be ego lifting,” Viscounte offers as a simple rule of thumb.

For a deeper dive, Roberts suggests asking yourself the following questions:

  • Am I sticking to my training plan?
  • Am I letting feelings of peer pressure, jealousy or ultra-competitiveness drive any part of my training?
  • Am I obsessing over the numbers or metrics (weight lifted, pace times, etc.)?

If you said “yes” or even “maybe” to any of those questions, slow down and focus on the something that really matters when trying to reach your strength goals: perfect reps. “By only counting perfect reps — the ones with good tempo, good range of motion and done with control — you won’t cheat yourself and the ego will be tamed,” Roberts says. “Not to mention, it’s safer and you’ll get better results.”

View the article in its entirety on Oxygen by clicking HERE.

Committed to your health & happiness,
Coach Summer Montabone, CSCS*R
Coach Aaron Viscounte, CSCS, PN1, Head Coach and Manager

Is there anything else you need help or advice with? Feel to reachout! 

Here To Help You Achieve Your Personal Best!


You can learn more about Summer’s North Canton Personal Training & Bootcamp location, Summer’s Fitness at www.summersfitness.com, or Call/Text 330-497-2474.

Click to Learn More about a 1 on 1 Private Training INTRO Offer.

About Summer:
Summer Montabone has a passion for helping people live happier and healthier lives. Her passion has evolved over the years (established) as a personal trainer (1997), health & PE teacher (1998), NSCA-CSCS (2003), NPC/IFBB Fitness Champion and Pro (2004), and fitness studio owner (2007).

Summer has faced numerous amounts of adversity from years of trauma, including, a battle with postpartum depression beginning in 2011.  Summer has received several accolades since 2011 and has made it her mission to help others become the CEO of their own life.

You can learn more about her North Canton location, Summer’s Fitness at www.summersfitness.com or Call/Text 330-497-2474.

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