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To be considerate I must warn you – this is a semi-rant.

Like most things in life, the gym has guidelines to help things run smoothly. The problem is most people are completely unaware of them (read: obnoxious).

I know it’s hard to believe tranquility exists because the gym is where huge muscle-prone meatheads gather to lift insane weights, scream at the top of their lungs, and well, do anything stereotypically “badass,” but there are a few unwritten rules.

My trip to the gym last night is what sparked this blog post. I was in a great mood. It was the first day of my new routine and everything was going awesomely well. At least until I had to do squats.

You see, I love my gym. I really do. It’s not the prettiest gym in the world but that’s ok. I sacrifice the good looks for great hours, excellent atmosphere, and the fact that it’s not busy at all. I do a lot of circuit training so I get fewer headaches with a gym that is empty. I dig it.

All of that fell apart last night though.

Yes I’m probably being over-dramatic. That’s ten times more fun. It had come time for me to do my front squats and let me tell you; I was freaking pumped for these. My whole workout I was looking forward to pushing my limits in the incredibly awkward squat position. Don’t judge.

However every time I looked over to the squat rack there was some dude curling away.

(For those of you who don’t quite get this, you might be one of those whom I refer to in sentence two of this post.)

He wasn’t just curling to himself after all. Following every set his body language would scream “Yeah, that’s right. I am wasting your time by doing something in the squat rack that can easily be done elsewhere. Solely so you can’t do your squats.”

I’m not complaining. Well, maybe a little.

I would just like to make you aware of one of the major “DON’Ts” at the gym.

Don’t curl in the squat rack. In fact, don’t do anything but squat in the squat rack.

The next time you’re having a killer workout and it comes time to squat but there’s someone doing something unreasonable at the rack and your heart rate is dropping like dub step – you’ll know what I mean.

With all of this aside though I was later able to bang out 3 good sets of squats and set the bar for the coming 5 weeks of this routine. I’m looking forward to pushing my limits on my quest for thunder thighs. It should be magnificent.

What gym issues grind your gears?

I’m out.

P.S. Barbell curls are great for developing your bicep muscles but in all honesty can be done anywhere in the gym. Please keep that in mind when wisely choosing your next spot to pump iron.

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This One’s For the Ladies

September 21, 2012 — 12 Comments

The other day I had a conversation with a girl that I know. We exchanged tales of all the lovely things going on in our lives from work to school, to past-time activities. You know, all of the great small talk stuff. She had told me how she had recently become addicted to working out at her gym, to which I was quite impressed (we should all be impressed). Good for her. What wasn’t good, though, were the foul plague-like words that came from her mouth next.

“I don’t want to lift heavier weights because I’m afraid I’ll get too bulky.”

Let’s end the story there so that I can elaborate on this mentality that women have when it comes to weight training. It irks me. Maybe I can even debunk a couple myths associated with the stigma.

First things first…

Ladies, you do not have to be afraid of lifting heavy weights.

You will not get bulky. You will not turn green and rampage the streets of Toronto.

It actually amazes me how many women I know that refuse to lift a significant weight because they are afraid they will get massive arms, or a massive chest and back. It is possible, but not without severe training and diet plans, or possibly a little testosterone boost. If you’re a casual exerciser (3 or less times per week) then you have nothing to worry about.

In fact, if your goal is to lose weight and get “toned,” I would actually recommend that you definitely lift some heavier weights. Like, right now. It has been proven several times that weight training is one of the most efficient ways to lose fat.

Here’s some basic knowledge for you. When you go to the gym and hop on a treadmill to burn 300 calories (which is far from accurate just FYI) and you leave, you’ve accomplished just that. You burned X amount of calories while being at the gym.

When you go to the gym and crank out some circuit training (consecutive exercises with little rest) with decent weight, you’re getting resistance training plus a cardiovascular workout. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Pretty cool, huh?

The coolest part is that the resistance training can actually increase your metabolism for up to 48 hours after you workout. And guess what…

An increase in metabolism = an increase in calorie burn.

So you’re really getting a lot more bang for your buck. And it’s actually quite fun. Each time you do it you aim for performing one more rep, increasing the weight a little bit, or even doing it in a quicker time. That way you know you’re making progress. Get it?

I haven’t really explained why yet, so you’re probably looking at this with a big “so what.” The fact is simple.

You won’t become the next Incredible Hulk because you lack the testosterone to do so.

Testosterone is the main muscle building hormone in the body, and because women produce significantly less levels of it, they cannot put on muscle mass as easily as men.

Also, to become the bulky beast you fear, you would have to purposefully consume a lot more calories than you need to. I’m not talking over-indulge a little here, and there. Like legit, stuff your face full of protein whenever you can, workout every day, and you maybe even need the addition of supplements. Getting “jacked” isn’t easy stuff. Even for men.

I’m not trying to persuade you into lifting heavy weights. I believe strongly in doing what makes you happy. If you thoroughly enjoy the cardio blast you get from a treadmill, elliptical, and stair master, then please continue to work hard on them.

I’m merely trying to state that women don’t need to be afraid of lifting heavy. If you try it, and end up enjoying it, that once long road to a flat belly and voluptuous tush might be just around the corner. Just saying.