Category: gym

Real Gym Registry

If you are both a gym and road warrior, you know the disappointing feeling of checking into a hotel and checking out what their on-site fitness center looks like.  99% of the time, it is a small, sad room with little equipment.  Finding a serious training facility is not always easy since hardcore or old-school gyms are niche businesses typically independently owned that do not have large on-line visibility in on-line directories.  Working out in a “fitness center” is tiring when having to avoiding the Snapchat crowd live-feeding their quarter rep squats and the oxygen deprivation-wearing “Bane” wannabes.

So, You Are Thinking About Doing Your First Show

Whatever the choice of activity to get fit is, whether running, biking, lifting, swimming, etc., a small population will be taken enough with their chosen sport enough to want to take the challenge on of competing.  For runners, some will get the bug to prepare for and run a marathon.  For the gym rats who love lifting heavy, some will get the bug to enter a powerlifting meet.  Other gym rats will gravitate to physique competitions.  Since I get asked about the latter pretty regularly, let me share some lessons learned.

My Beer League Team Has a Hockey and Beer Belly Problem (Or Can I Lose The Beer Belly, But Keep the Beer?)

I get asked a lot about beer and how it affects fitness. Over the years, a lot of that has come after a rec league hockey game, tournament, or drop-in when the most cherished part of rec league hockey takes place: the post-game beer drinking with your buds.

“I play all this hockey, but I don’t seem to lose weight.”

At the end of the day, weight loss or gain is all about calories in versus calories out. Eat more calories than you need, you will store fat; consume less calories, you will drop weight. Most people do tend to underestimate the amount calories they eat and overestimate the amount of calories they burn doing exercise.

Brace Yourself…Obnoxious Meatheads Are Coming

Christmas has come and gone.  Morning news and daytime newscasts have finally now stopped running stories about how to handle “bad Christmas gifts” (unfortunately, “how about being grateful someone thought enough of you to get you a gift” never seems to be advice for this terrible affliction).  Valentine’s Day candy is already available at the grocery store. That means January 1st is almost here…and that means a lot of people will resolve to get fit and join a gym. 

Pretty Body, Ugly Heart

Whether it is taking up running or biking or going to the gym, a few people who start those some sort of fitness routine to lose weight or become fitter at some point decide to take the personal challenge of entering a competition. For those that take up running, they may decide to take their training to the next level and enter a marathon. For those who go to the gym, competitions can be powerlifting meets, CrossFit competitions, or something in the physique realm. In the physique world, the largest amateur organization in the US is the NPC. For women competitors, they have a number of divisions to choose from: fitness, bikini, figure, physique, and bodybuilding. Most women competitors end up choosing to compete in bikini, figure, or physique. The kind of conditioning (leanness, muscle detail) required is based on which division they compete in.

It Is Not About Discipline

It seems like at least once a week someone will ask me about how to be disciplined when it comes to having a better diet and/or sticking with an exercise routine. A lot of the time the genesis is around not having the will power to give up a poor diet, TV, or some other vice. If you search around the web on the topic, there are many articles and blogs about how to learn to exercise and make stronger “will power muscles” to accomplish goals. The problem with most of that is that the issue is not being disciplined, but rather having enough motivation. This applies to life in general, not just fitness.

You Might Want To Borrow A Walker For Getting Around The Next Day

This week, my frequent leg day training partner TJ and I mixed it up from the more typical leg workout.  We did something right as the soreness has been around for two days.  Rather than use a more traditional routine (3 or 4 sets of various exercises, 8-15 rep range), this workout used lighter weight and a lot of volume: five exercises, each with five sets of increasing reps (10 reps for the first set, 20 for the second, 30 for the third, 40 for the fourth, and 50 for the last set).  Here is the log from that workout:

  • Barbell Squat — 225 lbs x 10 reps, 225×20, 185×30, 185×40, 135×50
  • Seated Leg Curl — 100×10, 100×20, 100×30, 100×40, 100×50
  • Seated Leg Extension — 120×10, 120×20, 120×30, 120×40, 120×50
  • Leg Press — 440×10, 440×20, 440×30, 440×40, 440×50
  • Vertical Leg Press — 180×10, 180×20, 270×30, 270×40, 360×50


Of course, adjust the weights to your strength level.  Squats in the 20-50 rep range will give your lungs a workout as well.  Do those in a rack with a spotter since they become really tough to do. If looking to mix up your routine, give this a try.


Strength Training Seminar Notes

Last week at Destination Dallas, we had an open house that included a seminar with Josh Bryant, a well-known and respected trainer who has mentored under many powerlifting icons, as well as holding impressive powerlifting records of his own. The seminar was over two hours and was recorded to be put up on the EliteFTS website soon. As well, Josh has a new book out (Built To The Hilt) that is now available at EliteFTS. For those not making the seminar, here were some of the highlights.

Lessons From An Unlikely, Introverted Competitor

Over the weekend, I competed at the 2014 NPC Texas State show in the open middleweight bodybuilding division. If that sounds something out of the norm for an introverted, life-long skinny guy, well, that was part of the motivation.   Like most sporting events that require pushing the body to the extreme, it was a very difficult task. As with most difficult goals, there is a lot to be learned…

It is good to get out of your comfort zone. As someone who is fairly introverted, getting up on a stage in front of more than 1000 people spray-tanned like an Oompa Loompa and wearing nothing more than a speedo is something well outside my comfort zone. But that was the point – to do things outside my comfort zone. As I have aged well into my 40s now, I notice many people in my age demographic seem to settle into a risk-adverse life and accept a fair amount of perceived safety and complacency for fear of change. Often, this manifests in staying in jobs they no longer have a passion for, but the job is comfortable and changing jobs may require effort (picking up new skills) and risk (the grass may not be greener…but, then again, it might be). As well, other life goals that are hard fall by the wayside. Maybe I have hit a mid-life crisis, but I just do not want to be one of these people who never take a chance on doing something outside my comfort zone.  Taking risks means there will be failures and success, but we all learn from failures and that makes us better in the long run. It also means not reaching some point late in life and having regret about not trying something daring or on a bucket list.

Serious Gyms: The Real Judgment-Free Zone


The expression “you cannot judge a book by its cover” applies to many things in life, including fitness centers and gym. In the last couple of weeks, in discussing training and diet with a couple of folks, each of them, when talking about the gym I train at, mentioned they have heard of that gym and were “afraid” of it. I have heard that several times before…and “afraid” is actually the word used by them. The gym I train at and train people at is a serious facility called Destination Dallas (formally Metroflex Plano) in suburban Dallas. It got me thinking about the “you cannot judge a book by its cover” wisdom. Because it is friendly to people who compete in various iron sports (bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, and so on) or people building strength for high school or college football, track, and hockey, many on-line references to the gym feature videos of lifting sessions with top-level and pro competitors, particularly on the physique and bodybuilding side. Despite the appearance, however, places like this tend to be the least judgmental when it comes to new members.