1.13.2011

Dammit, Not This Shit Again... (AKA New Years + The Gym)

Hi folks. It's the middle of January, and you know what that means -- I've pretty much reached my tolerance of New Years Resolutioners at the gym. Not the type who decide they want to get fit, or the type that'll be gone by March (or, in most cases, February). These folks, I've grown to realize, are simply unfortunate souls trapped by the bounds of their own weakness, with periodic bouts with good intentions. And good for them for trying.

No, I'm referring to the guys (almost exclusively) who come in and think they know all the things they are supposed to know and proceed to get on machines and either a) leave them filthy, b) waste way too much time on them and not share, or c) break them.

I have written before my rules of the gym and have even written up a beginner's guide to the gym - both of which have been well received and read, so I'm not going to repost all that. No, I'm going to basically give you one piece of advice. Just one. A simple one, too. It requires no money, no new equipment, and only a little time.

Ready? Here it is:

Stand back and watch.

Really, it's that simple. If you're new to the gym, whether you think you know it all because you saw that montage in Rocky, or have no clue what's going on, just stand back for about 10 minutes and watch people use the equipment. Try to single out those who look like they know what they're doing -- you'll know who they are because they're quietly happy and in control of their machines / weights.

Watch how they pull the weight off the rack and handle it. Watch as they balance each side of the bar with plates of equal weight before adding the next plate to a side, so it doesn't tip off the rack. Watch as they warm up, and how they slowly move the weight off the rack instead of bursting off with full force and flinging the weights around.

Notice how much weight they have on their bar -- enough to do 10 or 12 or 20 times without grunting, screaming, yelling, flinging or having 3 spotters around. Watch as they finish their sets and re-rack the weight.

Just take a minute. Be patient. Slow down and watch. And if you still have questions, ask someone. Absorb some of what you're watching, take it in, process it. And slow down. Don't fling weights. Don't overload one side of the bar. Don't drop your weights when you're done using them. Don't slam the handles of the cable machines into the sides of the machine. Don't fling the weights in order to make your friends laugh. Don't overload your machine to impress the hot chick near you (since you won't be there for the next two weeks to see her due to your impending hernia).

Now, if you can't follow that advice, I have one other tidbit for you: stay away from me. Because I have two ears full of Pantera and enough adrenaline surging through me that I'm likely not going to help you when you're pinned under a 315lb bar on the bench press because you were trying to impress your buddy. I'm going to laugh. And I'm going to laugh with that menacing, gruff Phil Anselmo voice that makes you cry inside.

Good luck.