By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
June 16, 2016
Well, after almost three weeks away form the world, we’re back!! It was a strange time for me, for my car was in the shop most of the time, and I had no other means of training my body besides doing some push-ups, sit-ups, planks and other types of home remedies. Of course, I was doing a lot of walking, mainly because I was getting stir crazy in a lot of instances, and plus it was my best form of conveyance. I also decided to start a Youtube channel, remembering the words of a friend not too long ago when she challenged me to try it. Well, I have done so and while I have modest goals for the project, I so far have been cranking out a video every day. Hopefully I can get iMovie soon and make them look nicer rather than just use Youtube’s editing system. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpRep8I0c05epYQ7CIV3DGQ and go ahead and give your constructive criticism. It’s kind of strange though, watching yourself on the computer screen is kind of unsettling. I basically kept myself busy for the most part, maintaining a decent level of fitness and keeping the neurons firing in regards to thinking and writing. But I have to tell you, it is nice to get back into the routine. You never truly understand how much you miss something when it is out of your life for a short while.
First and foremost, it was nice to step back into Parsons Training the other day. I greeted Jon and Christa with some chili I made during the weekend, kind of like a peace offering or a “I miss you gift.” Jon and Christa are pretty easy to please, especially when you give them food. Recently, I have decided to explore the idea of actually joining a gym, and one thing is for certain, it will happen sooner than later. A new Chuze opened a couple minutes from my house, so I will definitely get myself a membership soon. But here is the thing. I never really went into one of these types of gyms before and the difference was startling. There were no free weights to speak of other than some dumbbells (though they did go up to 75, which isn’t too bad). Now I decided to be a guest for my friend Leo, who herself has been going on a major body change journey as well. You see, she was extremely overweight and was given the option to do the gastric band, which basically restricts your food flow and fills your stomach up rather quickly. Anyway, she basically survives on an extremely low calorie diet that still kind of flabbergasts me whenever I see her eat. Literally, a few bites and she is done! So, I give her props in regards to still hitting the gym despite the fact her caloric intake is far lower than the average person right now. Needless to say, it was kind of fun checking out the new gym, but like I said, the facilities are certainly going to make me think about what I can actually utilize.
For the time being, I’m going have to do my real weight lifting at Parsons Training. There is no getting around that, mainly because the Chuze, in spite of its beauty and grandeur, still cannot replace the more hardcore elements of free weight lifting. Let me just put this into perspective…it was like being used to being in 5th gear and then dropping down to 2nd gear. Yeah, it was that huge of a change. Now I’m not going to sit here and bash my future gym, for I actually did find some good use for it when it came to the beautiful facilities. While I am sure the first couple weeks will be filled with newbies trying to learn how to use the complicated looking machines (yours truly included), I should be able to develop a good rapport with the unusual facility. First and foremost, I got to observe some of the more hilarious stereotypes that have overtaken social media. Here I was, going to various machines and doing various exercises, and there was a whole group of big armed guys doing only curls, whether it be french curls, alternating, seated or side. I was kind of laughing about this, considering the Smith presses they have at the gym were being unused. There was also a few groups of young kids hanging around, all going from one station to the other and having a flipping happy hour at each. I thought that was just a funny trope in a hilarious gym video. Most of the older people were only working on the treadmills, reading books on the bikes or watching the European Cup (which is a soccer tournament, not a huge goon fight as social media would have you believe). Chuze actually had a pretty interesting idea up their sleeve, giving you a movie theater treadmill room where you can watch some innocuous film while you work out in the cover of darkness. Kind of bizarre but I get it. I wonder if they take requests, for I would ask them to show “Run Lola, Run!” which is essentially an 80-minute music video with a lot of electronic music. Anyway, only one other guy used the Smith presses them besides me, and I think he was trying to size me up or something because he seemed to follow me to just about every area I decided to frequent. Or maybe he just likes doing a total body workout, like me. Fortunately, the place wasn’t too packed, so just about anything and everything I wanted to do was available to me. I started with some back squats on the Smith press, which was a little tricky to use at first because it had a sliding rail system that allowed you back up. I nearly had a Gym Fail on my first attempt when I lost my balance a little bit and stepped backwards. I managed to regain my balance and save face. I’m sure I was “that guy” at the moment, but after that, I managed to put together a good workout.
Now, I’m not thinking of replacing Parsons under any circumstance, for I’m mostly thinking of simply supplementing my fitness with things that Parsons used to have. I did some work on a shoulder pulling machine, remembering the old days as I pulled 145 pounds in four sets of ten. My friend, who is still recovering from some knee issues, decided to do some tricep pulls (which by the way, is something I need to start doing more often). I worked the leg press a little there, but since I couldn’t get any heavier than 500 pounds, it was kind of a simple and fun excursion rather than a weight lifting experience. That was the general experience I had for the day. While I worked my body pretty hard, showing my friend some new stuff in the process, it just didn’t feel the same. Yeah, the amenities were nice and the machines are great….but the satisfaction just wasn’t there. Fortunately there was a prescription, and the answer was Parsons Training the next day.
Now the true challenge I was looking at was the fact I was doing back to back working out, which is something I don’t do on consecutive days. But hey, this is the life I am trying to segue into, so you have to start somewhere. Going into Tuesday’s session, I was already a little sore, for I tried some jump pull-ups at the gym, but the difference was the bar I was using was kind of high. So my forearms were sore and my legs were already a little tanked. But this wasn’t going to stop me. I didn’t have any real delusions of grandeur walking in. I started with the old regulars when it comes to my Tuesday workouts, which happens to be the dead lift and the bench press. Since I have been out of commission for a couple weeks, I opted to do six sets of three for both stations, doing the deadlifts at 275 pounds and the bench press at 155. It was certainly a good idea on that part, for I was clearly sore and tired from the previous day. Since I am trying to get back in the groove this week, I mainly stayed light just so I wouldn’t hurt myself and make it impossible to do anything for a couple days.
The next couple things I did were also old favorites, doing some barbell overhead presses and barbell rows. I went light on both movements, mainly because I wanted to do five sets of 10 with each movement. I could have gone heavier and do fewer reps, but with these two, I just wanted to focus on the total body movements. I ended the day with five sets of planks holding myself up for a good 45 seconds with each set. After all the work I had done that day, it was pretty awful. So much of my energy had been used up, that just keeping my body straight was a major endeavor during the planks. But I got through the whole thing, surviving and managing to not kill myself. I still had more than enough energy for later when I attended a concert with a couple friends, finding myself still being able to dance a little even though my legs were convulsing during the whole night (nope, that is not an excuse to hide the fact I am not a good dancer, haha!). If anything, being back on the schedule was kind of liberating for me.
While getting away from training may have been a godsend for the last couple weeks, one still misses the routine. One still misses the gains. I felt a little weak going into Tuesday even if I may have been a little tired in my efforts. But that is what happens when you let the routine slip just a tiny bit, even if it is for practical purposes or reasons outside of your control. I think one thing is for sure, being back definitely felt good. All of the anxieties really got shot out the window, and I felt pretty good for the most part. If anything, I will have to find a good balance between the “real” gym I go to do work at and the “maintenance” gym I intend to start using. In the coming weeks, it will be tough on me simply because I will need to save my body in ways where it won’t effect my heavy lifting while doing some functional stuff that will make an actual gym membership worthwhile. Perhaps I can do some of the functional Crossfit style stuff this one woman was doing while working out. Or maybe hang out in the astroturf area in the gym, which was pretty much unused during the time I was there. I suppose I could have done some more functional stuff in that area, and it will most likely be my main workout area due to the lack of usage. I mean, that would be the best place to focus on what I wish to do. Seriously, hardly anyone used that section. It was crazy! I was able to use Bosu equipment and kettle bells without much problem.
So the coming weeks will be a challenge for me physically, for this means I will need to keep my nutrition up as I try to work my body more. But this also means I may have to take step backs, either doing shorter workouts in the maintenance gym or doing shorter runs (which I’m already at the short end with anyway). Hopefully this will mean some better results for me down the line as I try to battle the plateau weight I have kind of hit right now. Either way, let’s see what happens as I try to divide my time between two different places.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.