Sunday, September 4, 2011

Most Gyms Suck...And My Son is AWESOME!

Multi-tasking perfected. The genesis of what I'm about to write about occurred when I was eating breakfast, rocking my son to sleep, and reading a web site about a gym that just opened up nearby. I was kind of struck with the juxtaposition. My intuition tells me that Henry's a future athlete. He's top 98% percentile in height...wait... length and weight, he's extremely strong, and he doesn't stop moving when awake ( he's furiously fighting sleep by bicycling legs right now, giving a fine demonstration of explosive leg strength). He's so amazingly alive and brimming with this amazing vitality. It's just great.

This new gym, on the other hand, is neither. It seems dead. Then again, the be dead, it would have had to be alive at some point. It doesn't even look like that ever happened it's so sterile. Unfortunately, this is par for the course in the world of recreational fitness.

I always thought that fitness is about life. It's about how much life do you have and for how long you have it. We strive to get fit so we can have higher quantities of quality life. So, the (rhetorical) question that pops into my mind is why on earth do people go to such an inert place looking for ways to make them feel more alive?

It brings up interesting questions about how much does the environment that you choose to move for fitness in contributes to how well you succeed at getting fit. I've typically been critical of having a hyper-specific focus about the right workout location, or what most simply say: "I need a gym to work out at." I'll still stick by that. I think that being married to a gym stifles creativity to a degree and creates a groove for the practitioner to get stuck in. "I didn't work out because I couldn't get to the gym"... or something like that. When we look at the world as our gym, then we never have an excuse for not working out.

Still, I'll admit that there's some requirements of a space for a decent chance of succeeding at making working out regularly and getting into some sort of version of good shape.

I mentioned creativity. Clearly, a room full of machines dedicated to making you move in one, very specific manner after another doesn't inspire an open minded approach to working out. Maybe my strange mind is getting the better of me but I think that some of these bizarre objects passing off as training equipment are starting to look like medieval torture devices. Maybe that's partly because they're mimicking them by putting the user in one position, allowing only a predesigned movement, and breaking a body to pieces in the process.

Another thing that I've always appreciated about a decent area to work out is that it is a little imperfect, even a tad dirty. Life, at it's best, is often messy and dirty. Are our best memories of growing up the ones where we were freshly-showered and in our dress clothes? Isn't part of having some fun the ability to cut loose a little? What difference does everything being clean amount to when I'm working out? I'm just getting sweaty anyway. Perhaps that compulsive obsessively cleaned look of too many Mchealth clubs reeks of lack of focus on what's important: the moves! It's not necessary for the place to look like the place was bleached white with an atomic bomb to be a good workout location!

As far as I'm concerned, it's downright counter-productive. It would be hard to deduce that from many of the chosen places of sweat and strength, including the above-mentioned health club.

Then again, whenever I step into our society's idea of a health club, I feel like an alien getting off of a space ship. I've barely ever worked out in them in comparision to how long I've been doing this stuff regularly. So, perhaps my strange looks as I examine the places like this new gym are nothing more than a feeling of awkwardness. I'm simply out of place.

Something tells me that I'm not though. People herd, and get herded, into these places all of the time, thinking that they're going to get in shape. It happens all too rarely. Something needs to change, and the way that we arrange the surroundings just might be a sort of catalyst. So, I'm just going to leave you with some adorable pics of my new bundle of joy and I along these thoughts to ponder.


K said...

how can I know what number of CoC I should buy? I can do 8 - 10 towel pull ups

Justin_PS said...

It depends on your hand size. If you have small hands, and I like to error on the side of modesty, start out with a Guide, trainer, and a #1.

I'm guessing that you might want to buy up several since shipping to Peru must be a killer.

I have average-large hands and I've been working with a trainer, #1 and #2. I can close the first two easily and the #2 is in striking distance, so it's my challenge gripper.

K said...

Yeah, shipping is always a pain in the ass when you live in the ass of the world. Large hands, Justin, large hands. I'll buy the #1. BTW, thanks a lot for the post of the pull up that was like the rope climb, useful info as always.

Justin_PS said...

K, Lima isn't the ass of the world.

Venezuela or Argentina are!

Large-handed Peruvians? They exist? ;) Order from Amazon. Cheaper overall.

Good luck!