So, I took the plunge and signed myself up for a membership at LA Fitness. I was never really a gym guy because I enjoyed the challenge of MacGuyver-ing a work out where ever, whenever, with whomever and with whatever (as I’ve done plenty of times throughout my travels and home-stays). But, for my current goals, I want a few more resources at my disposal. After two days, here’s what I have observed…
- A PERSONAL Trainer training clients while on a cell phone throughout the duration of the paid service. How very IMpersonal trainer of him.
- The same Personal Trainer not even paying attention (looking, observing, or critiquing) to a different client doing walking lunges. What about their form? What if they are doing them incorrectly and slowly setting themselves up for an improper muscle recruitment pattern? What if they are not completely a full range of motion and are doing half reps which can incorporate less of the desired target area. The body will adapt to a situation – whether right or wrong – and it can learn how NOT to lunge (using the wrong muscles to move) if incorrect form is consistently used.
- Rows upon rows of exercise machines, which seem to consistently be occupied throughout the duration of my recent off-peak-hour visits. I can maaaaybe see the point of exercise machines in a rehabilitation situation to ease into muscle and nerve recruitment, but, in reality, these machines teach the body how NOT to stabilize, support itself, move, bend, twist, flex, rotate, extend, adduct, or abduct. Oh, you can do an assisted sit-up? Let me know how that goes when you’re trying to SIT-UP out of bed without a machine helping you. Sincerely, Condescending Wonka.
- More rows – this time of treadmills, stair-masters, and ellipticals – all equipped with televisions, radios, and iPod charging capabilities, and also consistently occupied. I’m all for running (believe it or not). I’m all for getting up off your ass, moving, and creating a healthy blood flow – I just think there are better means, methods, and environments to do so. It’s a big world out there…
- Five flat benches… FIVE. Hey, uhhhhhhh, how much ya bench? The last time I checked the bench press was the most bass-ackwards measurement of strength. It’s a pure isolation exercise of the lower and middle pectorals (chest), the front deltoids (shoulders), and the triceps. Five. The body is a system of systems – it prefers to work in unison and not isolation.
- I overheard a gentleman in a cut-off shirt shout across the weight room so all brethren could hear, “I guess all of those shots in the ass are finally paying off.” He was referring that the amount of steroids he injected into his butt are making his balls shrink, his eyes sunken in with rage, and his muscles more cut than a turkey sandwich. I have no words.
- I experienced a tall, muscular gentleman bench press near where I was exercising. I stood close by without his awareness incase he needed a spot for a possible weight he could not manage. He did some warm up sets at 145 pounds with ease. He jumped to 195 – Ok, he put up a decent amount of reps. Lastly, he attempted 215 pounds. More power to him, but he could not lower the bar to his chest to complete a “full rep” and the bar was lop-sided the whole time (favoring his stronger arm and not so much the other). Wants vs Needs. Ego vs Logic. Sprint vs Marathon.
- A couple were exercising together. The male seemed a bit more experienced based on his build and lingo while the woman looked equally experienced, but their conversation enlightened me that she was not well-versed in anything weight-related (I’m assumed she was a runner and was giving the gym a try out of persuasion). They were doing squats nearby off a rack. He was going on about how squats were a full-body exercise, that they burn a great amount of calories due to the multiple muscle recruitment, and (he was excited to say this part) that it would “torch that fat right off your butt!” I raised an eyebrow at this mindset. It made me wonder if they correlate exercise and high energy output directly (and possibly only) to fat burning. While this concept can hold true in the appropriate circumstances, it is certainly not the whole piece to the fat-burning puzzle. I wonder because I’ve come across a lot of people that believe in the concept that “to burn fat or lose weight, high-calorie-burning-exercising (or durations) are absolutely necessary.” I don’t fully believe in that mentality as there is a time and place for exercise in relation to fat-loss, but it seems to have become a health-staple-mindset. #Fwomp
Personal observations, assumptions, and over-analyzations aside…