And Now for Something Completely Different
Hola, amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I've been feeling stagnated lately regarding the stated purpose of this blog. Evolution is still a subject of fascination and importance for me, but as I watched an American Enterprise Institute discussion about Intelligent Design on C-SPAN this morning I realized that most of what I had to say about the topic, I've already said. So I'm going to start introducing new stuff to this blog, just things that happen to be on my mind at any given time.
We're going to start with another great interest of mine, lifting weights. I don't have the genetics to be a bodybuilder, so if you looked at me you wouldn't guess this, but I'm really into lifting weights. I'm pretty good at it and quite knowledgeable about it, too. I lift weights regularly with my wife, who's a truly gifted weightlifter. If she wanted to, she could be a competitive powerlifter; I've spent a lot of time at gyms and my wife is the only woman I've witnessed who can bench press more than her own body weight. So yesterday, when the wife proposed that we use our guest passes at the new gym in the neighborhood, I was excited.
But the problem with this gym, like the problem with so many others, is that it doesn't really cater to people who are serious about their workouts. Here's what happened to me: I was doing dumbbell bench press with 65-pound dumbbells. At the end of my set, I lowered the bells to the ground. I didn't drop the weights -- they were in my hands all the way to the ground -- but I did lower them quickly for a very simple reason: It's impossible not to. If you're doing an amount of weight that challenges you on the bench press, there's no way you're going to be able to gently set the weights on the ground. So, when I lowered them quickkly and they hit the floor, the gym attendant came up to me and told me not to drop the weights. Immediately, I knew this was not a place for me. Go to any gym where top-notch athletes work out, and you'll find that if what I was doing was dropping the weights, everyone drops the weights. If you're really challenging yourself, at the end of a set you won't have enough energy left to set them down gently.
So, if you're looking to join a gym, and you really want to go somewhere where the people take their lifting seriously, what should you do? Ask if Olympic lifts are allowed. If they say yes, you're in business: The Olympic lifts are the most challenging of all lifts, and at the end everyone drops the weights to the ground. Great gyms like Quads specialize in the Olympic lifts. If they say no, this probably isn't the gym for you. If they say "What are Olympic lifts?" you're probably at Curves, and it'd be better to get so fat and out of shape that you can't leave your home than it would be to join Curves.