Monday, August 3, 2015

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: The Third Thirty

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 61
Be careful who you laugh at, they may be laughing at you sooner or later. It's no secret that I work out at the Purple Planet, but there are a few things that are good about it, if you keep your eyes open. One of them is that every year or so they upgrade all the equipment. Sometimes that new technology is amazing despite how silly it looks. They brought in this new ab machine that looked silly, but when I finally used it gave me the kind of burn it used to take me an hour to get. Go figure?

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 62
Grow or go. The old saying makes a lot of sense when lifting weight. You either get stronger or you don't. You either start lifting more weight or you don't. You have to set some realistic goals for strength increases, and that also includes weight increases. If you get stuck on a certain weight try strip sets for a couple of weeks. Start at the weight you get stuck on. Do it to failure, and then immediately do 50% of that weight to failure. Sets of 4 for a couple of weeks and you will be shocked how easily you will power past that weight in the pyramid.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 63
It's that time of year again, when you are sweating your brains out because the person working the front desk isn't hot. It is ok to go up and ask them to turn up the air conditioning so that you can breath. They can always put on a jacket or move around more, besides you pay to be there, and they get paid to turn up the damn air conditioning!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 64
Have you ever conducted your entire workout with your eyes closed? Ok I don't mean walking from point to point blindfolded, I mean keep your eyes closed when you lift. Shockingly enough I have suggested closing your eyes instead of holding your breath for a boost of strength, but if you keep your eyes closed while you work out, you spend less time "looking" at your form and more time "feeling" it work. Try it and you'll be amazed.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 65
Do you do anything to track your progress? There was a time when I kept intricate workout journals that listed everything I did in the gym. It was important for me to get into a good routine and stick with it. It also kept me away from the confusion of trying to remember what I had accomplished and what I should be working towards. How intricate your journal is depends on you, but when you are figuring out where you are going, it is always good to have a map.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 66
The new world of connected workouts is there for the taking. From MyFitnessPal to Google Fit to FitBit. Everyone has an app a band, you name it to track your fitness. I think these things are great actually, and I have tried several online sites, bands, etc. Don't get lost in the hype of all these things though. They are a great help, but you need to get up and do the exercises, and PUSH those statistics every day, otherwise you are just tracking the failure.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 67
Supplementation experimentation. As an avid bodybuilder I have taken plenty of supplements in my days. It's been many years since I tried anything gimmicky because as a middle aged bodybuilder who has been working on myself for about two decades I have learned through experimentation what works and why. Even if you are new you should try various things to aid in your workouts. Here's the two most important..

1. A Pre-Workout Formula. Something with some caffeine and something else. By something else I mean you need to find out what works for you. Some have better results with amino acid complex, others with createin, others with NO and most with a combination of the three. There are so many brand you really just need to try them all. I suggest the cheap ones first.
2. A Post-Workout Formula. Some sort of protein and carbs that are easily absorbed with vitamins and minerals. I suggest protein powder, vitamin pills and a yogurt. Test them all too because accidentally I found the best protein powder is made of two things that usually make me sick with a digestive enzyme, I once bought by accident. Go figure.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 68
Compression is a good thing. We've all seen the commercials for over-priced compression gadgets that are supposed to cure all of your ailments from sore knees to hernias, but take it from a serious weight trainer in his mid forties, compression is a good thing. If I keep compression on the muscles I am working then the chances of having overly sore joints and muscles the next day are lessened quite a bit. I just avoid the gimmicky informercial stuff and go to Wal-Mart to get the compression stuff from the underwear department instead. It works fine under my gym clothes and wicks the sweat off of me at the same time.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 69
You ever heard that expression "One bad apple spoils the whole damn bunch?" In this case we need to assume that you could be the bad apple, and not a member of the bunch. Think of it this way, you walk into the gym and there is always something that makes you angry, and it is the reason you don't go there. You sit at home and there are always those reasons you don't go there. I find things that piss me off about the gym and people in general on a daily basis, but I still go there, and worse yet, I've learned to get a chuckle out of these things and get over it. In other words the problem here is you, because you need the gym and not the excuses.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 70
Way back when during the height of Arnold Schwarzenegger's reign as Mr. Olympia, a wise ass comment how he wouldn't want to look like him, and Arnold in typical form said "Don't worry, you never will." This became an iconic statement that made people think of Arnold as an egomaniac, but there is a lot more truth to this than you would know. If there is one thing That drives me mental when dealing with anyone trying to lose weight, look better, get healthy, or anything involving body image, is that attitude that "They don't want to look ..." Honesty dictates that your level of dedication got you to where you need help, not where you need to lay off the steroids. Please get serious before you get picky.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 71
Sometimes a little confirmation that you are doing the right things goes a long way. If you train with a partner, then I hope your partner is honest with you about what you do right and what you do wrong. In my case I found out what I do right and wrong by taking video of my workouts (for my bazillion dollars I am going to make on YouTube some day) which became a great tool to getting honest with myself about my form and dexterity. I definitely suggest that whether you are a novice or a serious lifter you take some cell phone video at the very least of your form. It's nice when someone tells you that you are screwing up, but when you see it with your own eyes, it's obvious what you need to do, and just watching in the mirror, not only isn't enough, that's bad form to begin with.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 72
There's nothing better than walking into the gym and having to maneuver around a flock of iTards. You don't know what an iTard is? It's a group of people all sitting in a gang blocking several machines, benches or cables while staring vacantly at their iPhones. If you are one of these people, I hope you catch a venereal disease. My gym has actually created a policy against doing this in the gym, so you usually only have to get changed in the dressing room surrounded by these people. It's a scary new world folks.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 73
Murphy's Law dictates that if there are only two people in the gym it will be you and the most annoying, inconsiderate person on earth. This of course is no different than Murphy's Law as it pertains to work, the line at the grocery store, any elevator on the planet, the DMV or just about any other place that you go. Just remember the real difference is that you probably look for excuses to not be at the gym more than those other places, and deflecting this onto another person is how most human beings excuse their own issues in their mind. In other words; shut the Hell up and go work out!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 74
If you can't help, don't hurt. It's an old expression, that basically means not to do the things that harm others. This includes compassion, sadly enough. We all have loved ones or friends that desperately need to get healthier, but are constitutionally incapable of it. The best thing you can do as a loved one or friend is to stop lying along with them. The truth hurts, but you will need to allow yourself to "help" people by accepting the reality of their situation sometimes. For example; you are massaging someone's back because they are in agony after common household chores. Massage their back, but remind them that it is because they are horribly out of shape and you would like to help them. It's the right thing to do.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 75
You can't defeat genetics, but you can play with them a bit. People are never satisfied with the best they can be. Of course we can blame the media and all but the somatotype that you are born with is the playground that you have. You can learn more about somatatypes here. To break it down quickly for those that haven't the time to chase links, the big boned can build muscle easy, the scrawny can lose weight easily and then there are those in between, Once you learn your place in the genetic tree, then you have a better chance of doing the best with what you have. Then you can still be like the rest of us, pissed off because you can't be something else.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 76
We've all been there with the people who just don't get your need to spend time at the gym, Unfortunately you can't let whatever it is in them that needs to try and deter you from your fitness goals to do so. The easiest thing to do is assume they are jealous, and that is probably the most prevalent, but there are those too who have fallen under the spell of misinformation about fitness. What causes the misinformation about fitness, is another story. You can always find an article by someone desperate to justify why they don't work out, can't you?

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 77
Today I am me. I will not allow the thoughts and words of the arrogant, the ignorant, the envious or the intolerant deter me from my goal of being a better me by this time tomorrow. That's all you need to know when you workout, or do just about anything in this world. Don't ever lose that need to improve you.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 78
My biceps are without a doubt my most impressive muscle but since it is one of the smallest on the human body it goes to say that at one time I had my priorities a little messed up. The trick is to learn from what you did right even if it was the wrong thing to do. In my case it was my own lack of knowledge on skeletal muscles that kept me doing nothing but curls growing up. What it had taught me though was that dedication to any muscle will achieve results. Now I just treat all the muscles that way.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 79
There are two different "that guys" at the gym. There is that guy who hogs equipment while he talks on the phone or socializes with everyone else, and there is that guy who is the one that everyone seems to gravitate to for advice, because they are friendly and always seems to know what you need to know. I am proud to say that I tend to be that guy and it didn't take that long for me to become that guy. Trust me though, it takes a lot less time to become that guy, so you may want to avoid bad gym etiquette to begin with.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 80
Don't be afraid to test your limits at the gym, but remember to be reasonable about it. You don't go over and throw an extra 100 lbs on your bench press without a spotter, unless breathing isn't all that important to you. Same goes for a squat rack unless you hate that whole "standing upright without pain" thing that all the cool kids are doing. I'd be lying if I didn't get a good laugh now and then from someone who grabbed dumbbells that were at least 20 lbs out of their class and dropped one on their foot either. In any regard, don't show off, be responsible with your own body, AND test your limits if you want to get gains and not losses.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 81
Have you figured out what makes you look forward to going to the gym? If you just read that and thing "Nothing makes me look forward to going to the gym!" then we have located your first problem. Yes there was a time I didn't look forward to going to the gym so I definitely get what you are thinking, but that was a very long time ago for me, so we need to get YOU to understand what I am thinking. Look forward to the friends, look forward to the burn, look forward to the girls in spandex, just figure out something to look forward to, and then focus on that, until you actually look forward to just going to the gym.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 82
I often joke about the "Healthiest One Percent" which is my take on the people who envy the richest one percent of society. Without getting political, there comes a time in your life when you realize that some people's envy can be infuriating. It's no different with someone who is healthy, or physically fit in particular. Those that treat you differently because you have worked hard, trained hard, demonstrated dedication to to being who you are don't have the right to be envious of you, but they will definitely have all the excuses. It will piss you off until you get used to it, and realize that it is better to be envied than to be pathetically envious.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 83
For most people the hardest exercise is nothing more than the effort it takes to walk into the gym. I just wanted to point this out because if you have made the effort to go to the gym regardless of how much and how hard you work out when you get there, then you have already done more for your health than most people. Work with that, give your self a pat on the back and try to do a little more tomorrow. That's basically how we all got started.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 84
Let's say that you can't get to a gym. I know the thought sends shivers up my spine, but there are a lot of factors that could lead to not being able to go to the gym. Over the winter here in New England we were treated to feet of snow most mornings, and I was forced to "not go to the gym" and of course shoveling all that snow (I don't own a snow blower, because snow is like having God as a personal trainer) was cardio enough. We are blessed here to have another author here on The Health Whacko who covers the gaps for the people who need that push to workout at home instead of the gym.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 85
Irrational body manipulation syndrome. (IBMS) I just made that up, but I have witnessed it for the entire 20+ years that I have been around the gym, either in school or in watching those around me. What is this "syndrome" exactly? It is when someone looks at themselves in a way that creates goals that are simply impossible. For example: Your waist will only go so far in. There are ribs and pelvis all these other nasty bones that are going to interfere with a twenty inch waist. The only way to make that waist look smaller is to get the other things around it to look bigger. You need a bigger back, bigger chest, and bigger legs for your waist to get "smaller" at this point. If it sounds simple enough to you, then you don't suffer from IBMS, because there are an awful lot of people that will never get this.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 86
Trying different things in the gym is great. Just make sure you have mastered the things you were doing first. Too often I see people who never get the results they want, and you would swear that their own ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) have everything to do with it. They try one exercise, one routine haphazardly, probably never once using good form or the right amount of weight, and here they are off to the next exercise or routine because they didn't get the results they wanted or even worse, think they have outgrown it. A good building has a better foundation folks.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 87
Where you workout matters a lot less than how you workout. I go to Planet Fitness because I can afford it. I also go at 2am where I am for the most part alone. Of course I have been going there since there was one location in the basement of an old mill building in Dover New Hampshire, where the Golds Gym that vacated left all of it's equipment behind. It's been many years and many generations of equipment since then, but the only real thing that has changed is that I am the only one of that first couple hundred that still works out at all. The attitude is all you need.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 88
My mind is at ease when I am at the gym. I wish I could transfer that to everyone else, but I can't, all I can do is encourage people to keep going until they get to the same spot I am at. Yes it took a while. First the gym had to become a habit, then it had to become second nature, but once that happened it was a way of life. Like all other ways of life, it opened me up to a place where I could think clearly, feel better, and even despite all the stress I put om my muscles, relax.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 89
Stop and look back at your progress once in a while, Then pat yourself on the back and get back to progressing. When I started lifting I had just gotten out of the hospital with chicken pox and zoster pneumonia. I was weak, my lungs could barely hold air, and I couldn't even bench press the bar with no weight on it. I remember this just about every time I head to the gym, every time I am down on myself for my progress, or that rare occasion I look at someone else with a little envy. This also helps when someone gives me the attitude that I don't understand.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 90
Dedication is the key to anything. Dedication to your marriage, dedication to your hobbies, dedication to your career and your own health is no different. This is a milestone really as I celebrate 90 Gym Thoughts, and I am one post away from 200 Health Whacko blog posts. This dedication came from the very fact that every day I can wake up, do some writing and then head to the gym. It's a good life when you can gain dedication, and for me it all started at the gym. Wouldn't it be great if the gym could get you there too?