(It’s Sunday night, and I’m not very pleased with myself that I haven’t produced any content in a week. Last week was jam packed with things to do, and this week isn’t any different, but I’ll be creating a few more posts for you folks.)
If Planet Fitness has done anything good for society, it’s unleashing the phrase, “I pick things up and put them down.” Sure, it was used in a commercial mocking those who actually lift heavy weight, but I think it’s the most concise explanation of what training is. That’s training in comparison to texting on your elliptical, stretching in hot yoga, and smiling while you Zumba the night away. Those things all might have a place in your overall program, but if you’re looking for results, probably not.
After a full day at my health education placement on Friday, I headed to Adelphi for my ‘heavy’ lower body workout of the week. Thanks to a full day of teacher certification testing on Saturday, I wouldn’t be able to head to the JCC, so I planned ahead. That’s smart, right? Earlier in the week I purchased two tickets to see the Jupiter String Quartet, and I wanted to do some training and then shower before my date picked me up. Yes, my date picked me up from the gym at my college; it was my mom. We went out to dinner, then I took her to a concert. Not only did that make her happy, but I’m sure she’s smiling again as she reads this. Hi mom!
Anyway, as fate would have it, I was able to prevent some terrible things from happening on Friday. I had just finished clearing off a barbell that I used to back squat, and was moving on to some deadlifts. I haven’t squatted heavy in 4 or 5 months, but they felt great. As I’m catching my breath moving things aren’t, I look up to see one of my friends girlfriends walk up the dumbbells. She was with one of her friends, and as they reached for weights, it dawned on me that their hands were moving towards lighter and lighter weights. Mind you, all of this happened in slow motion. Not okay. After setting up a 5′ barbell for some Reeves Deadlifts (Video coming later in the week!) I walk over and say “Aura, what in the hell are you doing?”
You know that face that a kid makes when you catch them with their hand in the cookie jar? Picture it. I don’t quite remember the conversation that we had, but after some discussion about not coming to the gym with a plan and lifting girly weights, it ended with me saying, “Time to deadlift.” It sounds pretty epic, but then again, when is it not time to deadlift? I don’t really know.
My friend Frank busts his butt in the gym, and his girlfriend’s a trooper when she has some direction. After straightening her out on Friday she was set, but unfortunately her friends compass was broken, and she made a beeline for the elliptical. Maybe next time.
After warming up a bit and taking some warm-up sets, Aura began to load up the bar. We used little plates so that the big ones didn’t scare her (Smart!) and she ended up working up to sets of 6 with 155lb for Romanian Deadlifts. Not too bad for spending the entire summer without deadlift. Aura and I both finished our pulling at the same time, and I ended up pairing a clean grip reverse lunge with Swiss ball stir-the-pots while she did an assisted chin-up and a single leg hip thrust. The second exercise in each pairing may be new to you, so I’ve included videos:
After we finished up those exercise pairings, I convinced Aura to head downstairs to the track and run some sprints with me. I tried to get some of the other guys to come with me, but they wouldn’t have any of it. After 6 or 8 sprints, we were done. I grabbed my stuff and hit the shower, and Aura went back to the gym to find her friend. She was a great sport, and kicked some butt during her workout. Maybe I can’t give her too much credit because she started off with 7.5lb dumbbells, but at the end of the day, she got to actually train, and not tone with tricep kickbacks. Ladies, this isn’t training:
Training isn’t specific to men or women, to athletes or non athletes, to the young or the old. Training doesn’t really have anything to do with sets or reps, and it may not even matter what exercises you’re using. What does matter is the mental effort, how hard you’re working, how you’re striving to improve. Of course, it helps if you’re striving to pick up increasingly heavy stuff. Listen to Planet Fitness and pick things up and put them down. Let me leave you with this video of some women from CrossFit that I found on Facebook tonight. Even if you don’t agree with everything they’re doing (I don’t), you can’t deny that they’re training hard.