Not just ANY gym, but Lifestyle Family Fitness (LFF). As far as gyms go it wasn’t bad. It had all the prerequisites that a gym must have these days … it had treadmills, stair climbers, bikes, a spin cycle class area, an aerobics class area, a free weight section in the back, and 7 rows of machines that look as if they were plucked from the torture chambers of medieval Britain.
Speaking of stair climbers, why is it that when you go to the LA Fitness in Brandon or New Tampa that the first thing you see when you use the elevator instead of the stairs are stair climbers? Is that supposed to be ironic??
It also had
Vinnie Tortorich, in his book “Fitness Confidential” (on amazon.com for $9.99 Kindle or $14.99 paperback), talks about the way these trainers operate. For a good laugh check his book out and then go to your local gym and see if what he is saying isn’t true.
After LFF I switched to LA Fitness for no other reason except that they had a pool and I needed one for swim training. LFF was bought out by LAF last year, but even with the pool I started getting annoyed with the fact that the pool was constantly crowded, usually with people not using it for training (i.e. kids playing in it, a main reason I stay away from YMCA pools) or it was cloudy (probably related to kids playing in it and doing what kids tend to do in pools). A hospital opened close to this LAF in New Tampa and with it came a Wellness Center, so we checked it out. It had not only a pool but a salt water pool, and a nice lack of non-training persons in it. We joined that instead and I have been happy with it so far.
Except for one thing … weight training.
Yes, it has weight. Loads of machines and free weights but .. well .. this is my thing with weight lifting gyms. I come from the old school training I guess where gyms were dark and murky places where people went to lift heavy weights and bang them loudly on the ground. A gym, as many of my friends have heard me say, must “smell like a gym”. The Wellness Center was not this type of gym, and it is not intended to be that type of gym. And that’s OK. But recently I have felt that I needed to incorporate some lifting back into my training. I am not sure if it will help with triathlon (how could it not) and it is not in my training plan for Augusta, but I had been feeling this need to lift.
As these things often happen, just as I was starting to really think about this a co-worker (let’s call him Dave because that’s his name) approached me with an idea of joining a gym that is walking distance from work. In this way we could go at lunch and have plenty of time to get a short strength based workout in and still get back to work in an hour (or so). Sounded like a plan, but again if this was going to be a weight lifting plan I needed the right place.
This is a Powerhouse Gym …
As soon as I walked in I liked it. It wasn’t dark, but there was no “sales desk”. They gave you a day pass, you signed a waiver, and went and worked out. No one came up to us to sell us. Afterwards we walked out.
I joined three days later.
It is on the bottom floor of a high rise on the waterfront. It has nothing on the walls. The free weights area is the largest portion, with the machines, treadmills, etc. to the corners. It has a rock climbing wall with a sand pit, a boxing area, and something called “The Gauntlet” for crossfit training. It also has stairs that mimic the stair run on the Sana Monica pier.
Seriously, walking in made me grunt like Tim Allen …
The other great thing is that by working at lunch it doesn’t interfere with my triathlon training. It enhances it. So I don’t get the disappointed look/email from KC. 🙂
The plan (based on the information at www.startingstrength.com) is strictly strength training, so low rep – high weights for now. We have split this into two “Routines” … A and B (catchy huh?).
Routine A is Squats (3 sets of 5 reps), Deadlifts (1 set of 5 reps), and Bench Press (3 sets of 5 reps), followed by 3 sets of 1:00 planks.
Routine B is Squats (3 sets of 5 reps), Barbell Shoulder Press (3 sets of 5 reps), and Power Cleans (5 sets of 3 reps), followed by 3 sets of 1:00 Planks.
We started lighter than we thought we could handle to make certain we had the form down correctly, but in the 4 weeks since I have started I have seen my Squats go from 135 to 180 and Bench go from sets of 125 to 170. And the thing is I can lift more I am sure but sticking to the plan as written.
Has it helped?
I have had strength gains for sure. I feel stronger. I can do 5 sets of 1:00 planks now without shaking like a leaf all over, so that has to help my bike positioning. I have my normal joint pain but that was there before this, and I can change the Routine (as I did yesterday) to accommodate what I cannot do. The joint pain is frustrating because I am really becoming interested in this crossfit thing. Not sure I can do it with my current issues (I can’t grip well enough to do a pull up … even if my weight was where it needs to be) and not sure how many 50 year old men start at that point, but it has sparked my curiosity for sure.