Monday, March 5, 2007

Free Weights or Free Waits

I'm by no stretch a big and bulky muscular person, but I've always been very naturally lean and fit. About 30 years ago when I got out of high school, I started working out on the old Nautilus machines and put on quite a bit of muscle mass in about a 2 year period, and at 5'11", I went from 115 lbs. to about 150 lbs. (all natural, NEVER used steroids or other substances of that nature). At one point, I actually became a certified Nautilus instructor, and even trained some of the Houston Astros baseball players during the off-season in 1980-81. Shortly thereafter, I started pursuing a possible career on the PGA Tour, so I stopped on the weights and just continued running because the weights seemed to make it too difficult for me to have a nice flowing swing (although I did play in college on a golf scholarship, I was never quite good enough for the PGA Tour, perhaps a story for another day). Basically for the last 25 years or so, I have not returned to any weight machines until last night. I got on the elliptical again and after about 25 minutes just could not take the boredom of it. I started looking around the YMCA, and it was not very crowded being a Sunday evening, so I thought, what the heck, do the machines. The first one I got on was the triceps and knew immediately that I was incredibly weak from the upper body perspective. I ended up doing a pretty good upper body workout, as well as some leg work and calf raises (which I am hoping will strengthen my shin area where the injury is). It really got me fired up to continue this regimen, so I'm sure I will be doing it for the remainder of March until I start running again in April. One of the main reasons I have stayed away from the weight machines is because of the wait. Honestly, most people have no idea how to use them properly, both from a range of motion perspective, and more importantly, from a session/rest perspective. I see people walk around (slowly), from machine to machine, get on them, sit there for a minute or two watching TV or just looking around, and then finally they start lifting. That is not how I work out, nor how I used to instruct. I want to tell them that most of what they are doing is useless, but I keep to myself and simply hope the "instructors" (translated as employees who walk around and talk to each other, not the members, and get paid for it) will tell them what to do. When I work out, I move rapidly from machine to machine, no breaks except for the time it takes to get up, wipe off the seat, and get to the next one and start at it. So hopefully this next month I will regain some upper body strength without too much aggravation on the busier nights waiting on the machines.


Gripperm said...

As a former power lifter I can understand your frustration. I used to be able to get into a gym and do my workout and be done in under 60 minutes but then my hardcore gym closed and I wound up going to a commercial gym and then my work outs took up to 90-120 minutes because of the talkies and posers.

robtherunner said...

I lifted a lot from middle school all the way until I was about 28 when I started running. I am the same way when I lift, I like to move from machine to machine, or free weights with very little rest. I used to get aggravated as well being at the gym and having people use their rest time as they sit on the piece of machinery that I wanted to use. Good luck with the recovery.