Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Vacation Reading and Viewing....

January 2009: MARK TWIGHT
I'm traveling so I stepped into a Globo Gym tonight and it was like another world. Perhaps surprisingly, I did not find it annoying. On the contrary, I was a bit sad. First, because despite being quite determined few appeared to be experiencing positive results. They seemed to have an objective but no clear way to reach it. I wondered how long they had been repeating themselves, and if they were stuck. Second, the level of training or exercise knowledge seemed even lower than I imagined it could be. Granted I'm no mind reader, but many were obviously trying to lose weight and the choice of exercises, intensity, and duration seemed a waste of time and energy. They flitted from cardio machine to universal-type device, never flooring it, never changing pace, always stuck in third gear, slightly above a fast idle.

Damn, it's got to AFFECT you to be effective. I was sweating so much my socks and shoes were soaked. The stationary "bike" was shiny and dripping. My t-shirt weighed a couple of pounds. It was nothing like the sub-freezing garage where I ride indoors most of the time. The only other person sweating as much was wearing an impermeable weight-cutting type of shirt. He looked unwell. I wondered how the people thought they could get from where they are -- if they even know where that is and you have to know where you are to start any journey -- to the distant imagined goal. Not that they can't, I just want to know what they think, and believe. I left the place scratching my head.

Weirder still is the relief I felt at the Globo Gym: there was no pressure, no hard-chargers to hang with, no scrutiny, and no expectations other than my own. It wasn't like the arena back home. It was simply ... pleasant.

I had hoped to find a better spin bike but instead saddled-up on an old Lifecycle 9500HR. It reminded me of the early-90s and the machine looked like it had been in use since then. According to the operating manual the Lifecycle is "a 'constant work' system that does not allow the rider to cheat during an exercise program." That'll be the day ... Anyway, the machine apparently compensates resistance according to pedal cadence so the power requirement is constant at a given setting. The slower one pedals the greater the resistance, and a faster cadence reduces resistance. It's artificial but allows a somewhat objective assessment of the work, and it delivers whatever one desires, from a conversational ride to a savage beating. All it takes is input. The machine mirrors one's intent and output.

In the room with bars and plates and dumbbells I found the upper-body club in progress though I thought they met on Mondays. I saw a fellow doing strict standing curls with about 165# which was marvelous since I've never seen them done without hip engagement, i.e. Cheat Curls. Not a Deadlift or Squat or Power Clean or Pull-up in sight but lots of pecs and lats riding on chicken legs. My first response was to think the guys who do those movements train them on the different day. Being an optimist, when Scott Backes found himself alone at the bouldering area he automatically figured the other climbers must train on different days. The truth was they didn't train, and the cynic in me reminded that DLs and Squats probably aren't done in the Globo Gym regardless of the day because they are too effective: they AFFECT the lifter. They are hard.

All in all it was an eye-opening evening. I'm not sure what I'll do with my observations but I had a great workout.

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