Weekly ramblings

So here I sit this gloomy spring day…spring for upstate New York at least. It’s forty degrees, everything is brown and wet…yup spring. I am just back for the gym after what I feel is the best workout both mentally and physically I have had in weeks,  eating a bowl of homemade chili. Life is good.

I want to start with a product review and a shout out to Optimum Nutrition for their fantastic Amino Energy. They aren’t a sponsor or anything, but I have been using this stuff for about 3 weeks now, and I really like it for a number of reasons. First it mixes completely, I mean just dissolves into water. No grit, no slime, completely. Second, is flavor. I started with the Orange and it tasted really good. It reminded me of Tang from when I was a kid and actually drank it (or what Tang really should, have tasted like???). Anyway, I really like the orange, but I am  going to try the Blue Raspberry next. Next is results. I can actually feel the beta-alinine and caffeine kick in a little when I am doing my warm-up. Most likely this will fade the more I use it, and it is probably because I am not used to using Nitric-oxide boosters and the like. What I have also noticed is better drive and focus going into my workouts, but I heat up quicker and sweat a little more. I think this is actually helping a little with my recovery, but not as much as it could if I did not push so hard some days. Last is price. A tub of this stuff is only 20 bucks! And it is pretty versatile. It says you can use two scoops in water as a morning energy drink. I have tried this instead of coffee with better and more immediate results than a cup of coffee. I still like my coffee though, it’s a taste thing.  A word to the wise, don’t take it if you aren’t going to workout, or at least have a period of increased activity level. Unless you like sitting around the house vibrating with excess energy and no purpose.

So my thought for the week is this: Why do more women not weight train? I don’t mean isolation exercise circuits on machines. I mean barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, etc. Is it because weight training is a pretty much individual activity? Weight training basically is, unless you have a friend partnered with you or a coach or trainer. I know you ladies are social creatures, which is why you gravitate to classes, like yoga and zumba, soul cycle, etc. If that is the case, then the gym is just an excuse to hang out with your friends.Are you afraid of getting big? I now that myth is out there. It’s not going to happen. Ask any female body builder, fitness competitor, power lifter or other type of athlete and they will tell you that you don’t accidentally get big. Big isn’t even a side effect of lifting alone. Getting big, putting on bulk takes work.

No comment, other than …nope. No comment. I am refraining from commenting. I think unless you hit the genetic lottery, have Arnold as a trainer and/or consume close to your body weight in whey protein, the results you will see are fat loss, and maybe a little weight gain due to increased lean muscle mass. Yes, the scale may go up a bit but we as a society really need to get past this hangup. Go with how you look, not some number on the floor between your feet.

Weight training will not only help you look better, but it will get rid of that “skinny-fat” cardio bunny look. You know what I mean, skinny yet flabby at the same time. No real strength, no lean mass. Resistance training on machines is a good starting point. But at some point, graduate yourself to the free weights.

You will be surprised how strong you can be. How resilient the human body is. Think of never having to ask your husband/boyfriend to put this on the shelf for you because it’s too heavy. The greatest sight I have ever seen in the gym was the time I saw a guy finish doing a 1 rep max dead lift. And just as he went to put the weights away, a woman told him he could leave it. He gave her a look, she gave him a look back. She tossed some tens on it and proceeded to warm up with it. I can guarantee you that this dude felt so UN-manly and insecure about what just happened, that later on he gave himself a temporary case of scoliosis trying to replicate  what she did, just so his bros won’t think less of him.

Lift ladies, lift. Girls, you too. Start young. Don’t fear the weights. I think it would do great things building confidence in young women and girls. Maybe counteract some of the emotional patterning that Cosmo and the fashion industry cause to the female psyche (even though they will deny it and try and make you believe they are selling you empowerment). The weight room isn’t just for boys….or meatheads.

Being strong is healthy. It builds bone density so Sally Fields will stop pitching you medication to combat the loss of bone density, that is pretty much the lifetime result of lack of resistance training and improper diet. You are not frail creatures. You should not break because you are 50 and fall down. A gallon jug of water should not be a challenge.

Things are starting to change. It’s subtle, but most effective and lasting change usually is. Even Vogue is getting on board the “strong is the new sexy” concept.


(O.K. admittedly two-time Crossfit games champion Annie Thorisdottir is an extreme example)

Maybe the times they are a changin???? Maybe. But only women can change them.


Equal Opportunity

In my last post, I went into great detail on the douchiness of guys at my gym. As promised, because I am an equal opportunity guy, it’s time for me to call out the women. I can honestly say, that women can be guilty of many of the same things that guys do. But there are few places where they need to be poked at.

First, my cardio and your perfume do not mix. Ma’am, you have gone nose deaf. If not, I don’t even want to now what you are attempting to cover up. If I can taste it four machines away, it’s a tad much. A little B.O. is okay….it’s a gym. I say a little. Don’t get carried away.

Next, there is an entire gym for you to use. There is not some commandment that says over 30? Get on a treadmill and stay there. Same goes for the elliptical, the bike and the stair machine. Your paying for all that equipment and only using part of it. Don’t fear the weights. If you do, try a machine.

Muck boots. They are not cute. You are not a farmer. Do not wear them ever with your workout clothes. I don’t care if it is drizzling outside. This is a gym not a crab boat. Not a dairy farm.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…what the fuck are you about to step out of the house wearing? I am no Ralph Lauren, but women’s gym fashion has taken a strange turn. I don’t mind function. Lululemon, Fabletics, even the classic baggy sweatpants are all stock in trade for us gym folks. I lived through the 80’s. I am now reliving it in the gym. If you look like someone took Pat Benatar from 1985, loaded her into a cannon and fired her through a set of kitchen curtains, then stop. Rethink and try again. Guys, where are you when they are leaving the house? Especially if you are going with them.

Last I will close with this, if you want to use a piece of equipment, or the rig, and some gym rat is camped out there, don’t shuffle off to do something else. This is where being a chick comes in handy. Just straight out tell the dude you’re next. The combination of chivalry and mommy issues are sure to make him probably cut his set short, and actually wipe down the machine this time. I am advocating some controlled feminism (or rather just confidence and pride in oneself, no need to give it an -ism label).


The gym is for sharks. Don’t be a seal.


Gym Douchi-ness

It’s my own fault. I,left the sheltered world of Crossfit, with it’s regimented class schedules, intense group work ethic and session efficiency. I must admit, I do miss some of that stuff. Being in the class, with a group of people all there for the same purpose and the same work out. No lack of equipment. After all, class sizes are based on how many racks, barbells, rowers etc. that the box has. I like the efficiency and singularity of purpose. No screwing around, all business.
Now in my self-imposed exile into the world of glob-gyms, I find myself frustrated. Constantly. First, why in the name of god, would anyone bring a gallon jug of water to the gym? Even if you were to drink the whole gallon, why a gallon jug? It is not for efficiencies sake, I can tell you that. Certainly, at some point in the 10 minutes you take between sets, when you are talking on your phone, talking with your bros, posting how you are “crushing it” to Facebook or taking selfies, you have time to walk the 30 or so feet to the drinking fountain and refill a normal size water bottle.

That brings me to my next point. Intensity. Or complete and utter lack thereof. I get it, aesthetics is what you are going for. Hence why you do not challenge your cardiovascular in any way during the course of your 9 sets of 7 different exercises. Any gym, no matter how big, only has so many benches, so many rigs, racks, etc. But show some consideration for the other 100 or so people that are in the gym.  Don’t camp out. Especially when you do more camping than actual working.  Here’s an idea: do your set, leave the gym, come back in 15 minutes, do your next one. While you are gone, I can do most of mine. Where did intensity go? I am not Jason Khalipa by any means, but don’t you think 10 minutes between sets is a little excessive in terms of recovery time? If you need ten minutes to do it again, it was too heavy for you the first time cupcake. It should not take you anymore than 10 minutes to three sets of anything. That includes the time to switch around the weights. Use that as your “recovery” time. The only exception to this is if you are setting the world bench press record, or something incredible. Not for 10 sets of 8 at 50%  of your 1 rm.

Next. Stay off me while I am lifting. Especially Olympic lifts. If you see someone setting up to apparently throw 215 into the air, why why would you chose that exact moment in time to scooch by them to grab another plate of the rack?  Unless you wanna play catch with it, wait till I am done. It’s like not bowling while the person in the lane next to you is. It’s consideration.

Third, wear a goddam towel in the locker room. I don’t care what kind of shape you are in. Wear a towel when you come out of the shower. Around your waist preferably. AROUND THE NECK, WHILE YOU SAUNTER AROUND FREE-SWINGING, DOES NOT COUNT.

Put the equipment back where you got it. I hate having to hunt around for stuff because you stole them off the neighboring rig and you are too self-involved or lazy to put them back when you are done.

If everyone behaved in the same self-absorbed, selfish behavior at the gym, in any given two hour period, the gym could only support 12-15 people. No one else would be able to do anything except sit around waiting for you to finish whatever the fuck it is your doing instead of exercising, and actually exercise. Each gym has hundreds of members, not just the chosen few….

And by the way, Adidas open-toe sandals with mid-calf back socks looks fucking stupid. I don’t know how you got past the gym staff with those, but you look stupid bro. I hope you drop that wight that you have been carrying around for ten minutes on your toe.

Next time, I will include actual pictures.You all know the type of people I am talking about. I know you have seen them.

In the name of equality, girls, you get yours next……


Wear a towel god damn it.