Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Lean, Mean, Peace Machine...

"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~ Buddha

If there is one thing that I have always loved to do, it's go to the gym. I've been going to the gym, off and on, since I was sweet sixteen and working at Gold's Gym in North Vancouver in trade for a membership. I love the peace and quiet I can feel there, even with the Ahnold wanna be in the corner grunting like he's constipated.

In fact, the thing I really missed when I was triathlon training was going to the gym. I would be able to for a while, and then the swim, bike run hours would increase to the point I couldn't fit it in. Now though, the gym is my main thing, and the rest of the stuff I do is gravy!

When I started at my local gym (aka rec centre) I tried going several different times of the day to figure out what worked. Turns out first thing bright and early works best. Less people and less youngin's trying to earn their first hernia while impressing their friends.

As I spend a fair amount of time at the gym, there are some things that I have observed. Some things are new to this gym, and some things never change no matter what gym I'm at!

  1. I don't understand grunting or growling or yelling. Surely this takes more of your energy that you could be using to lift all that weight. In all honesty, it sounds like you are about to poop your pants. Seriously. Rather than grunting, groaning and yelling, why not take off a plate or two and see what happens. You might actually be able to do one set with perfect form! Focus on your breath my friend!
  2. If you have to wriggle and worm about as you do bicep curls with the cable...then the weight is just too heavy for you. If you add the groaning as above...well you just plain need help. You look silly and you are going to hurt yourself. I know, you are just a teenager, but someone really should point this out. Notice how your friend is doing it? See how he doesn't wiggle and worm around whilst doing cable bicep curls? That's the RIGHT way. Stop trying to lift the same weight as him - you can't. One day maybe, but you are going to have to work at it and wait for those hormones to kick in.
  3. It never ceases to amaze me how HEAVY the tiniest people can sound on the treadmill. The one morning I heard this THUD, THUD, THUD, on the treadmill. It was so loud I could barely hear my thoughts. So I look over and there are two big guys and one very slim, petit woman using the treadmills. I watched their foot falls to figure out who was making all the racket. Sure enough it was the tiny woman. Perhaps she should consider doing less of a flat footed approach? My body was cringing at the thought of the impact her body was suffering!
  4. Why is it whenever I have to work on my pull ups - in other words I hop up to the bar so my chin is level, then slooooowly lower myself down in an attempt to train my body to do pullups - that there is always a guy who is doing a million pullups beside me? The one day there was a guy, I swear he must have been a gymnast, who would do a pullup, then push himself up over the bar till he was above the bar with straight arms! He did this several times...I quietly slunked away after my few reps.
  5. I will admit it, I was impressed by the guy who was doing deadlifts with 6 - 45 lb plates on either side of the bar. It was hard not to stare cause it was just so darn amazing. Needless to say I moved to another part of the gym with my wee 15 lb weights...
  6. We have our very own Clark Kent at our gym. I'm not kidding. I was warming up on the rowing machine when this guy sits on the rowing machine beside me. I see in the reflection of the window that he has Clark Kent glasses and hair. He's wearing baggy sweatpants that are floods, and a baggy sweatshirt. Next thing I know he's done his warm up and heads to the weights. He takes his hoodie and sweat pants off to reveal the body of a 6' tall gymnast in a tank top in shorts! From Clark Kent to Superman!
  7. There is always someone who is "ripe". I mean RIPE. As in needs some deordant badly. Where are the AXE spray gals when you need them?? I know it's first thing in the morning, but still. It's so bad that I involuntarily gag when I go by him, which is why now when I have to walk by, I make sure I take a deep breath, inconsipicuously, and let it out really slowly as I go past. The bad thing is he's a really nice fellow. Always smiling and kind. But WOW - the smell is insane.
  8. I'll never understand folks who have no concept of what's going on around them. Hi there! Yes, that's me right there beside you with my body like a crab hovering off the ground and my head resting on a fit ball trying to do one arm barbell chest presses. You may not have noticed me as you were too busy talking to your friends when you squeezed into my personal space. Please feel free to stand super close to me, but be aware that I might just drop this weight on your foot if you get too close. Heh.
  9. So I'm talking to the manager of gym and he asks me what my background is with training and whatnot. I explain that I've been in and out of the gym for the last mumbly mumbly years, but the last four years was spent doing triathlon. He says, "We were wondering if you were one of those fitness competitors, cause you look like one who is in between contests." Well, my ego blew up like a balloon hearing this, but of course I modestly replied, "Thank you! Actually I've got some chunk on me that I am trying to lose so I'm can get more defined." He says, "Ya, thats why we figured you were in between competitions." Ah yes. You did say that didn't you... Here that? Ffffffffpppptttt...that's the sound of my ego being deflated a mere 30 seconds after it inflated. I love when stuff like this happens in life because it's a good reminder. Not to mention it makes me laugh whenever I think about it.

I recently recieved an update to my training program. Jen is my trainer through the rec center. I noticed another gal, Shelley, doing some really great stuff with free weights and bosu balls etc so I asked her who put together her program. She pointed me to Jen. The first thing we worked on was my core in an attempt to help my lower back and glute/hip thingy that continues to haunt me.

Last Monday she updated my program and I love it. She has me doing walking lunges while holding a dumbell straight armed over my head. Then I get to do pushups with my feet resting on top of a fit ball. In between the pushups I roll the ball towards me by pulling my knees to my chest. There's a whole mess of activities like that. I went through the whole program today and by the end my body was like a faucet of sweet. It felt good. I'm on my way to becoming a lean, mean, peace machine!

Tomorrow I think I will take it easy and do some biking...my glutes and core are a wee bit grumpy from today because they aren't used to the new workout routine. In fact, I could use one of those donut thingys to sit on...or a really good cushion. Oh, it's a climbing night tomorrow too...it will be interesting to see how much stronger I am as I haven't been at the wall during the summer.

So many activities, so little time!

Peace out my happy sweaty gym rats!


  1. ah - sounds great - funny list. Christmas is coming - get ripe guy some axe!!

  2. OMG, dying at your list (and I would have punched the gym manager for you...I know you wouldn't b/c you're all peace and love....not me. I would have popped him in the kisser). Anyway, I love the gym too - love it. I haven't had a membership in a year so this list made me laugh extra hard remembering how annoying/comical people are.

    Happy gyming.

  3. Hilarious list. So funny and true about people being so oblivious. Hey jackass, you're not the only person in the world. Move the eff over already!!!! And hey gym manager, saying "in between competions" is something you THINK, not say. He should have said the fitness competitor part and left it at that. I mean, he is trying to run a business and only happy people will come back-not pissed off people who were basically just told they are pudgy. Thx, jerk. Susi, you need to hang out with team Colorado-we'll pump your ego anytime!!! :)