New gym, new rules

I kept going to the messy gym even after I finished the vouchers. Since I was paying for every session, I decided to take a look at a different one. Yesterday, after roughly sleeping from 3 am to 9 am or so and feeling like shit, I made a trip to the Aquatics centre. I’m wondering how I managed to survive last year, whilst on the V-diet, sleeping for 2-3 hours and then training at 7:30 am. How was that possible?

In spite of my sleepy eyes and my inability to find the right entrance door, I managed to see the big signs advertising a £99 membership for gym+swim, 6 months, no “*only for students” fine print, no nothing. It seemed the best offer on the market so I signed up for an induction, just to check out the facilities.

Today I got to see the place. It all smells of chlorine because of the pool and it’s incredibly hot on the hallways and in the stretching area, the bathrooms near the gym don’t look great and the main fitness suite is, well, just like any other gym. I told my instructor, a nice young lady this time, that I’m mainly interested in weight training. At first, she showed me all the machines in the fitness room and made me test them all. For the first time in an induction I was actually asked to sit down, adjust the seat and do a few reps on each machine. I tried to fake interest, but the only thing that got me excited were the assisted pullups.

I showed her my programme for the day and she seemed quite impressed. She asked if I was training for something in particular and I had to say it’s only for the sake of training.

And then we entered the power room and I felt the sun shinning brighter. She showed me the plyometrics boxes. Yes, she used the word ‘plyometrics’ and I wanted to hug her. They’re not exactly boxes, they look like ugly coffee tables and aren’t very stable, but they’re good for now. The room isn’t very large, but it has 4 squat racks, 2 Smith machines (not very interesting, I know), a few benches, dumbbells and a stepper; no trap bar, but a decent number of olympic bars and even a 10 kg one were available. The room looked neat and all the weights and bars had their place. There were about 3 or 4 people already training in the gym, but it didn’t feel crowded at all.

Everything was within reach, I didn’t have to walk all across the building to set up my exercises. The atmosphere is relaxed and the people don’t look like ex- or future convicts. I started the induction at 10 am and finished all my exercises by 11:30. In the other gym it would take me nearly 2h to complete my session and probably half of this time would be spent searching for weights or walking back and forth from the power room to the stretching area, which was on a different floor.

I can’t wait to train again. I’m going to camp there for a while. 😀


Anger management

Today I wanted to shout at somebody in the gym. Anybody. Actually, I wanted to shout at the person who stole my barbell after my first set but I couldn’t identify him in the crowd. I’m getting used to the gym and more and more it feels like mine. So I want MY stuff to be exactly where I leave them. Especially when it’s so difficult to find anything in that mess. And since my program is full of supersets I usually spend about 5 min between exercises looking for all the space and stuff I need. It’s really annoying to stop and look for them again once I get things going and I finish the first set. But if you turn around in that gym for 5s, the weight is gone for sure.

So, I did my first set of front squats and went on to planks and dumbbell rows. When I got back I realised my bar had disappeared. I sat on the box helplessly trying to calm down. Then I realised there was a loaded bar on the floor that nobody was using. Why couldn’t they take THAT bar?? I asked around, nobody claimed it, so I unloaded it chucking weights around and making a lot of noise.

At the end of my squats and deadlifts I put all the plates away, but there was no designated space for the bars so I left it on the floor. I took my stuff and as I was walking out of the room a guy picked up the bar, stopped and asked me if I still needed it. I said no and thanked him for asking. Chucking weights and being angry sometimes pays off. 😀

Hang me up to dry

I looked at my sheet today. And decided I don’t want to train. Split squats and inverted rows. Many of them, brrr! Then I looked at the sheet again and realised if I’m not going now, I will never go ever ever again. So I packed my stuff and dragged my lazy arse to the gym.

The weight room was full. I’ve never seen it that bad. And the smell…standing there was a challenge itself. It took 2 min to walk from one end of the room to the other. All the barbells were taken. My squat box was dismantled in 3 pieces, I could only retrieve 2. I did 2 sets of hang snatch and realised there’s no way I could get a decent workout.

Cardio day it is, then. But I can’t just cycle on a bike for hours like sensible people do. I fiddled with the settings of my bike for a while, set the time and started the first Tabata session, then realised I forgot to stop after 20s and I have no idea how long it has been. I had to time myself with an app. I swear, every time I look around people are resting in the gym. Why are they resting? To be honest, I did rest too – 4 min between sets. But I was sitting on the floor looking nearly dead. That’s acceptable!

At the end of my workout the radio was playing Cold War Kids. The song made me giggle a bit.

Rehab is painful

I couldn’t move on Friday so I skipped that training session. I couldn’t move on Saturday either. I barely recovered by the time guests fled our house on Saturday evening. They had troubles sharing my enthusiasm whenever I sat on a chair or used the stairs, but I was genuinely happy I can move again. I’m glad I was feeling better when they arrived because one of them still wanted to train with me and I didn’t scare him yet. I’m beginning to think it will never happen, though; he’s quite busy and not very motivated and I’ve stopped encouraging him.

This morning I was confident my training session would go well. Unfortunately, I was seriously underestimating the extent of muscle damage I caused last week. I was eager to try the front squats, but soon realised I cannot finish the sets keeping a proper form so I did fewer reps.

There was no trap bar in the gym so I decided to do conventional deadlift. Funny thing, I started my warmup with a 40 kg sumo deadlift. I guess it’s a reflex. It took me a while to figure out what I was doing. The first set of conventional deadlifts I did 8 reps x 50kg. I was pleased, it was difficult but not impossible. Then I wanted to cry. This used to be my warmup weight, the same happened with the squats.

I skipped the YTWL holds because all the benches were taken and finished with a dumbbell complex. At that point I noticed people were staring at me. I am strange in the gym, I admit…all those funny exercises, the stretches, the jumping around, the tiny weights. But then again, who isn’t? I’ve seen a guy with delts larger than his thighs, so I’m not the only freak around there.

I hope I’ll get back into shape soon. I miss my 70 kg deadlift and 65 kg squat.