Archive for the ‘Narratives’ Category

As I have mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, the definition of fitness can be different for different people. Someone may want to be able to run faster, jump higher, run a marathon or lift heavy weights. My own definition of fitness keeps evolving overtime. Until now I was following Mehdi’s Stronglifts 5X5 program religiously. I like the lifts so much that I thought I could do it for life. But unless you’re a beginner starting out with light weights, squatting near maximal weights for 3 times a week doesn’t do much good. I used this website  to calculate my 1-rep maxes for the big lifts. And then I used this website to find where I stand.

Squat – Shy of Intermediate by 4lbs

Bench – Shy of Intermediate by 1lbs

Overhead Press – Shy of Intermediate by 6lbs

Deadlift – Between Intermediate and Advanced

This post is about my chronicles in the gym and some interesting conversations.

We all are familiar with the Bro’s of the gym. You can see one in the picture above. You’d find them benching 225 and then curling in the squat rack. But look at those fine legs. They are so fine, you can barely see them. I once saw such a guy in my college gym. All he got from us were bewildered looks and chuckles. Never do this to yourself, you wouldn’t look attractive. For more details refer to my post – Shut Up and Squat.

Talking of the squat, you’d see a lot of people who’d be in the squat rack. Heck my gym had 8 of them and they were all full in the peak hours. But many of these racks are occupied by people who will tell you “You’re going to bust your knees if you go deep.” And that is the point when I stop listening to them. There was this guy at the gym next to my rack who was squatting 300+lbs with depth less than a couple inches. I don’t even know what to call it as it was shallower than a quarter squat. He cranks up the weight to 500lbs (maybe he saw a girl in the crowd he wanted to impress). And proceeds to unrack the weight. He then tries to crank out a rep of his shallow 2 inch deep squat but fails. Fortunately he had the safety bars at about shoulder level which prevented the aftermath which wouldn’t have been pretty at all.

Strength and size are not necessarily the same thing. You can watch this video if you don’t believe me. So I was once deadlifting in the rack (I know it’s lame but I do it nevertheless). And there were a couple guys next to my rack deadlifting. They were twice my size if i was being conservative in describing them. If you saw them and if you saw me, you’d think I have never touched a weight in my life and they are professionals. My work set that day was to be 5 reps of 285lbs. I proceeded with my warm up sets and loaded my work weight on the bar. Just before I was about to start my work set, I turned to my right and saw that all of them were struggling with 225lbs. They couldn’t manage anything more than a couple reps with that weight. You cannot imagine the feeling of satisfaction I got. I did not feel jealous that they looked bigger than me. I was content that I was the stronger guy without having to look like the hulk.

The gym I used to go to recently had only 1 squat rack and 1 power rack. Thankfully the gym had more bro’s than folks who trained legitimately. So I’d have the squat rack all to myself pretty much all the time. There used to be this guy who used to box squat 300+ lbs. If you know the mechanics of the box squat, it is supposed to be performed with half of your max weight on the regular squat. So his max regular squat could have been anywhere from 500-600lbs. I was squatting a measly 185lbs one day with him doing his thing next to my rack. While resting between sets, he says “You’re the only one in this gym I’ve seen squat properly”. To that I said, “Well, I have the internet.” It’s true, you can find any resources on the internet these days if you want to train seriously. However, you want to make sure you’re not following people who just talk the talk and don’t walk the walk.

I like to do Kroc Rows at the end of my deadlift workout. I usually try and pick up a dumbbell heavier than 55lbs to do them. This particular day, I was to do Kroc rows with a 60lb dumbbell. In the middle of my set, a guy comes up to the dumbbell stand. He looks confused so I ask him if he needs help with something. He says he was looking for a 40lb dumbbell. I point it out to him. He picks it up and looks at the weight I am using. He puts it down, proceeds to pick up the second 60lb dumbbell and says “Let’s crank up the weight a little bit”. He then proceeds to struggle doing a couple of reps with that weight. Now just because I don’t look like I lift weights doesn’t mean I can’t does it? The best thing is the looks which I get when I load up the bar for a 100+kg deadlift. I love them deadlifts. It makes me feel powerful.

So I’ve decided to combine body weight training with my usual weightlifting which means the intensity has to go down. But then who doesn’t want to do one arm push ups, pull ups and one legged squats? 🙂