Schooled by the Trainer

I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to working out. I know a few things and I try to learn a few other things, so when the trainer at my gym comes up to me and asks if he can help me out  I appreciate it very much because it is only going o help me.

Personal trainer helping woman at gym

Picture Credit rightfitpersonaltraining.com 

So here I am at the gym, just finished my dead lifting (posted on my Instagram @avgsteve) and my barbell shrugs when I decided to move to the bench. As I am setting up at the bench I notice my wife is on the other side of the gym working with the dumbbells and talking to one of the trainers. I can see that he is pointing out things to her that she should be doing and things that she is doing wrong (probably taught to her from me). After a few minutes she calls me over to talk to the trainer with her and we get into a conversation about bench pressing.

Time for some history on the relationship that I have with this gym and their trainers. I have not met with this guy as a trainer, for the sake of the blog let us call him John, but I have met with another trainer who workers there who we will call Mark. I had originally signed up for 90 minutes of training time which I wanted to break up into two 45 minute sessions. I told them that I wanted to learn power lifting exercises and other stuff using the barbell. That I wanted to make sure that I was using i safely.

Now this isn’t the first time that I have had a trainer, I used to have a very good trainer a few years back but I am no longer at that gym. Immediately I did not feel comfortable with Mark. Something about him told me that he did not know what he was doing or preaching, so I decided to test him. I may not know much about how to dead lift, but I know plenty about how not to dead lift. I did the first two as correctly as I could but then for the last 2 I purposely did them wrong. the first one I hiked the bar (popped it up) to myself and shot my hips up and he said “good good” and last one I curled the bar in (low weight obviously) and lifted from my toes and he said that I did all 4 perfectly. I just remember looking and thinking, really?

This was a pattern that continued throughout the rest of the session at the end of which I told myself that I would not be using the remaining time that I had. He tried to contact me several times about setting up an appointment and I either had plans and couldn’t make it or I just said I wasn’t available. Luckily our times weren’t the most compatible. I just did not feel comfortable working with a guy who could be so blind to the wrong way of doing heavy and unsafe exercising when done wrong. In the weeks to follow I saw him exercising a few times on his own and he just looked clueless taking care of himself so I did not want him to work with me.

Back to the current day where I am talking to Greg and he is pointing stuff out to me that is actually helpful. He is showing me what I am doing wrong and even when I try to throw something in to test him, he is catching it. This is what I want in a trainer. Someone who actually knows and makes you feel comfortable with their knowledge. He helped me with my shoulder placement when bench pressing as well as was helping my wife with her shoulder placement when she is dumbbell benching. He spent a good 25-30 minutes with us and I was happy to the point where I want to use that remaining 45 minutes that I paid for but only if he could be the trainer assigned to me.

Nobody likes to be told that they are doing something wrong, especially when they have been doing it that way for a while, but when the right person comes around and points out to you what you are doing wrong and how to fix and is taking the time out of their day to do so, I can only appreciate them for it. I may have to lower my weight to start doing things the right way but if it means that I will be safer when lifting more weight and get the actual gains that I am looking for than it is worth it. Just like how I went back to benching 135 when I was up to 220 so that I can put more time and effort into learning proper form to make sure that I am being as safe as possible.

Cheers!

When to Add NEW Exercises to Your Workout!

Weight-Training-Crushes-Cardio-For-Fat-LossThis is a topic that I come back to a lot because there are so many different ways for me to look at it. Am I adding new exercises because I want to learn new ones? Are certain exercises causing unwanted pain and being replaced with others that are more comfortable? Is there a medical reason? These are just a few of the reasons to add new exercises to a workout.

My obsession with the gym has only started in mid October (7 months) and during that time I have learned a lot. I started off with just a handful of random exercises to having a 15 exercise workout everyday, which is too much for me, or at least was at that point. Thanks to a few friends and the BodySpace app by BodyBuilding.com (not a plug but still showing support) I was able to learn more exercises to work out various muscle groups in my body. While learning more exercises I was able to teach myself various other exercises to work out the same muscles which I could use to either extend my workout or to offer variety to the exercises that way they didn’t become boring.

Several months after starting my gym obsession I came down with a nice case of either tennis or golfer’s elbow and had to back off on some of my workouts. My legs loved/hated me during the time period. I lowered the weight on exercises that didn’t cause me as much pain and I avoided the ones that hurt. It sucked because the ones that hurt the most were the ones I loved the most. I should mention that it was my fault I got the elbow injury because I was doing the same 15 upper body exercises everyday, 5-7 days a week (with 1 day for legs mixed in).

This injury was a blessing and curse. It forced me to separate my workout and to learn more exercises. Some of these new exercises have replaced ones that I was doing prior to my injury and some of them I ditched once I was feeling better. The curse from this is that I haven’t been able to kick the full extend of the injury and it keeps coming back. Currently I am avoiding doing any exercises where my arms are tended and supporting all of the weight at the hinge of my elbow, curls are a prime example. This is allowing me to find new exercises using machines or different ways to lift where my elbows are getting more support from the rest of my body. Knowledge is power!

Now some exercises are just uncomfortable to do. Seated leg curls are a good example for me as I could never find a comfortable position on the machine and it caused a pain what I did not need to have knowing that I probably wasn’t in the best position to use the machine. I was able to replace this with squats and other leg exercises which allow me to take this machine out of my workout entirely.

I have also recently replaced concentration curls with preacher curls and a few other bicep machines which have helped. Concentration curls were fine but for some reason when I put the weight down at the end it caused a sharp pain to my right shoulder. Since I dropped the concentration curls I have not felt this pain.

There are more reasons than what I have listed to change an exercise in your workout but these are the few reasons that I have run into and so far I have yet to look back.

If you have any more reasons to add, feel free to comment them below!

Cheers!

 

 

Deadlifting, Internet, Moving and Back Pain

Barbell_DeadliftFinally go the internet at my house and it has been great to have, but sadly all of my time outside of work and the gym and has been dedicated to putting the house together, more moving and unpacking.

This past weekend was entirely spent packing up stuff from our parents houses on Saturday just to spend the entire day on Sunday loading it all into a uhaul truck and bringing it to the house. Was exhausted by the time we were done and my back was killing me. With the number of boxes of COLLEGE TEXT BOOKS that my wife had packed, there was no need to go to the gym. Found boxes of homework that she kept from high school, HIGH SCHOOL!!!!

Between the workout that I got from packing and moving and unpacking, and the soreness in my back from moving beds and totes along with other fun stuff, I really wasn’t in the condition to go to the gym on Monday…BBBUUUTTT I did.

I ended up going to the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and I planned on taking a rest day on Thursday as my body was shot from everything I have been doing all week and my back was sore since I didn’t rest it from moving but I decided to go to the gym anyways and thought to myself, this feels like a great day to do deadlifts. Yeah, I roll like that.

My big reason for wanting to deadlift on Thursday was that the gym I like to go to is going to be closed Friday and Saturday and they close early on Sunday and I have been trying to get a deadlift day in weekly so I can keep working on my form. The form is getting better BTW.

Stepping the weight back from 200 to 135 and working on my form is definatly helping. Maybe I forced myself to lift more weight too fast? I know I was able to handle over 200 but I guess my form got messy as I added more weight. Going to increase the weight slower this time and I have my friend Opi helping me via video messages. It is going well and I am feeling more comfortable as I slowly increase the weight this time so I don’t hurt myself. I have added videos to my Instagram, I will be making a collage of them for YouTube but add me oin Instagram and check it out!

 

Cheers!

All Moved In, Time to Unpack!

movingMy wife and I finished moving into our new house this weekend and did that ever suck. There are few things that I hate more than moving. It just always seems like I have gained a never ending supply of stuff that I didn’t know I had.

On Saturday we finished with the landlord, got the keys and were finally able to bring some boxes and stuff over. We made 3 trips with my SUV and 2 trips with her sedan and finally finished with everything at around midnight before going back to our apartment for the final night in the old digs.

On Sunday I had my brother from another mother Ed come over and help me move. The weather was supposed to be good all week but I guess it wasn’t meant to be on Sunday as it rained all day. We got the Uhaul truck and made our way to the small storage unit that we had. Just so happens that the truck is too big to fit down the aisles of the storage place. This meant that we now had to walk all the stuff in storage 30 yards in each direction in the rain. This sucked except for the 15 seconds where Ed rolled a tire down hill from the storage unit directly to my hands at the Uhaul truck. Was pretty epic (do people still use that word?).

Next we brought the truck to my apartment to load up the furniture and anything else that would fit into it before bring it to the house. 20 trips up and down in the elevator and 1 instance of Ed smacking his knee on the trailer hitch of the truck later and we were ready to bring the truck to the house.

At this point we were joined by our friends Allison and Nathanial for pizza and to finish moving. Yeah I know, pizza, it was a cheat day and what better to have on a cheat day than 5 slices of pizza! At this point we unloaded the furniture and all the stuff that was in the truck. Luckily the house has a back door which allowed for better access without stairs, especially for the couches.

After the truck was unloaded Ed headed out (his turn to move and mine to help in a few weeks) and the rest of us we to return the Uhaul and use our cars to bring over the rest of the stuff. Took a few hours but by 630pm we were all done. Thank you to everyone who helped us!

From here we did some unpacking and planning on where things will be going. So much more stuff to do and then I finally et to make my home gym! For today, it is going to be a few exercises with the curl bar I have and maybe I will be able to find the adjustable dumbbell bars that are hidden. The start of something great, a workout to do on non workout days! Woot!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Vlog Update!

green-video-cameraI have been recording videos and reviews for my upcoming video blog aka VLOG that I will be starting on YouTube once I have finished moving into my new place and get my studio stuff connected. Looking forward to taking this step and bringing http://www.AverageStevesFitnessBlog.com to the next phase! Stay tuned and join me on the ride!

Cheers!

Moving soon!

ed-moving-boxes_480-largeMoving this weekend and I can’t wait! Sadly it means I won’t be able to spend time at the gym but at least I will get a little bit of exercise moving boxes and furniture!

It will be good for me to do as well because I remember how difficult it was for me to move some of the furniture the last time I moved 2 years ago, way before I started really going to the gym. I am expecting to see a difference in how I move and how heavy everything feels to me. By that I mean I expect everything to be a bit lighter, except for my wife’s collection of text books from college…

What will be good for me in terms of this move is that I will have far more room to do what I want to do! I can set up some weights in the basement and be able to use it as a home gym when I can’t get to the real gym, or for some post workout or unable to sleep nights! I will also be making one room a studio room, I will have my digital drums and guitars etc. inside it so I can play when I want.

I also will have my studio computer set up in the room and I have just upgraded it! I have shot several vlog videos for my upcoming YouTube channel, so stay tuned in for updates about that and subscribe when you can!

 

Pain but Not Painful

moving-septic-systemIt seems like I am always having elbow issues and this time it came from playing with a vicious 9 pound dog belonging to my mother in-law. I smacked my elbow into the couch and where it doesn’t hurt me 99% of the time and it doesn’t prevent me from doing anything or make me feel weaker, it hurts like hell when something pulls my skin.

For example if I am resting my elbow on the couch arm, it doesn’t hurt! But if I slide my elbow forward along the couch I am in extreme pain to the point where I am flailing. Not sure if it is possible nerve damage? Maybe I did some bone damage? I don’t feel anything out of place or different when I feel around but who knows.

The important thing for me is that it hasn’t stopped me from doing what I need to do in life and at the gym. I have been doing my workouts at full strength and even raising my PRs as I do it! Luckily for me it also hasn’t prevented me from packing up my apartment as I am moving in a few days!

Looking forward to the move, and I will be posting updates, especially as I build my home gym! Granted it won’t be much more than I can find for cheap on Craigslist, but it will be great to have a place to go when I can’t get to place!

Cheers!

Hitting a Snag

Seems like a lot of times when I start to gain momentum I end up hitting a snag one way or another. I can understand every now and again but it get tiring when it happens so often. At least this time it wasn’t caused by the weights.

I was rough housing with a vicious dog, I mean vicious, growling, teeth baring, slobbering 9 pounds of fury. I was pouncing with the dog in my in-lawdemons living room when I guess my left arm flung backwards and crashed into the couch. It hurt a lot at first, almost like I smashed into an object (which I did) and was electrocuted at the same time. After the initial pain went away it felt better and I thought I was through it, no big deal. Now when I put my elbow down or extend awkwardly I feel an instant severe stinging to the same place each time. It makes arm rest hellish.

On top of this, I have been getting dizzying headaches the last few days. I tried to power through one over the weekend and was unable to. Was planning on going to the gym today but once again got another headache and didn’t even want to start.

If anyone has any suggestions, please share! Headaches are not fun!

 

Joined a New Gym

Soon my wife will be graduating and I will no longer have access to the university gym. That sucks, the gym is fantastic with lots of equiptment and people are respectful and the equiptment is well maintained and everything is kept clean. Not to mention that I was paying $60 a year! I used to pay more than that to put gas in my truck!

I already knew which gym I was going to join, Retro Fitness. I used to belong to it a few years ago and well, now I am back. Signing up was easy enough, fill out a few questions on an Ipad and give them your billing information. Simple stuff. Cost me $40 for enrollment, first two months free and than it will be around $21 a month.

Once I got in I saw all the yellow and red equiptment and it looks like in the pictures! In th
e past the few Retro Fitness locations I have been to had the generic gray color machines. I walked into the locker, changed, locked my stuff up and was ready to hit the weights….and then I got onto the floor and it was a shocker.

I guess I spoiled myself at the university gym where it was a mixed crowd and I was in the middle for size (strength wise). At this location I was probably one of the smallest people at the gym. I saw guys whose arms were easily bigger than my head or leg. Machines were crowded and it took me a few minutes to get my situation straight.bodybuilder

I made my way around doing a few exercises and learning where everything is. I started my workout with my trusty Bodyspace.com application on my phone, good thing Retro has WiFi! I chose to do abs, chest and some shoulders today. As I started to get into the groove of the place I started to become more comfortable inside my own skin and was able to salvage the workout and put on a strong showing for myself. These jacked guys I was working out around which started out as intimidation soon became inspiration. Not that I want to be supersized, but a good Ryan Rynolds size would be cool. I got more comfortable and observed people doing exercises that I have never done before and was soon trying them out myself. This turned out to be a great gym day both workout wise and learning. I was able to do 25 minutes of cardio which I am trying to throw into the end of my gym time (1H50M).

Afterwards I took a shower and went about my day. This was a great experiance for me once I got over everything and was able to return to being myself and working towards my goals.