Thursday, September 05, 2013
The new gym is MUCH smaller and more crowded, especially during classes. Unlike our current gym, it does not have a pool, but we've never used that, anyway. I've always intended to, but I've always felt like I was in a hurry to get the most workout for my minimal time, so I never did. But we have no worries about seeing clients there and we feel we will get some peace. It is also closer to home, which will be a bigger issue for me when I switch colleges next term and have a longer drive.
My husband and I met there at 5:30 last night, their busiest time, right in the middle of a boot camp class. The owners are a husband and wife team. The wife is a physiques competition winner in the 50 year old class - a bodybuilder competition for women in which the women still look like women and not like steroid abusers. She was leading a crowded boot camp class that included everything from body weight exercises to kettlebells to isometric machines. The good news is it looked like a heck of a great class. The bad news is it disrupted the use of the downstairs.
I am disappointed that they did not rent the big empty former marijuana supplies shop next door for their classes. It turns out someone else gives a few martial arts classes a week in that space (grrrrr...). So the big deal for us will be to try to show up whenever they are NOT hosting a class because the classes literally take up almost the entire downstairs, leaving only the upstairs plus a small powerlifting area downstairs free. And you have to listen to pounding music and the woman owner blowing her whistle every three minutes. Yikes.
When my husband told the husband owner, who was showing us around, that it did not seem very safe to have 60 women running around switching stations so close to power lifters, the owner said he would be very willing to rope a section off. That pleased us - at least he was willing to see that there was a problem and to accommodate us.
There was a huge variety of equipment downstairs - and free weights, too... the problem would be using it at 5:30, when my husband usually likes to work out.
We went upstairs and looked at the equipment up there. It's mostly cardio and isometric machines. There were five or so ellipticals in a row but no arc trainers, which I use instead of the elliptical for a warm up before I get on the treadmill because I can dial the incline all the way down to zero when my right knee (which has a torn meniscus) hurts. I explained the reason for needing low incline options to the owner. He asked if I was going to get my knee fixed. We discussed surgery options and why my right ankle is my first priority right now. He nodded but said he hoped I didn't ignore the knee, either, because people tend to compensate and end up with left hip injuries. Thus he demonstrated a knowledge of anatomy without showing off. (I used to be anatomy tutor. I do not understand why people who do not know that overtraining one body part can injure another body part can call themselves personal trainers!)
He showed us how to use a curious looking abdominal trainer.
After we were done touring with the owner, we poked around by ourselves and watched the class. The man went around and corrected a few people's form on machines as they switched stations. He gave encouragement, too. Periodically he also circulated in the room upstairs and checked on people up there. Sometimes he just stopped and chatted. He's the same age as my husband and extremely fit. I thought they could be buddies, unlike anyone at the current gym, where quite a few people have been unfriendly.
I tried out the treadmills. They have a huge speed range I'm unlikely to tap, EVER, going to 5 minute miles, although like the ones at the current gym, if you go really fast, they shimmy. I am disappointed that treadmills that go that fast do not have both inclines and declines! When I asked the owner why, he did not know that anyone was even making a treadmill that came with downhills. But they do... and a lot of elites (which although I dream of being a master elite, I am only a master in that I am over 40!) train for races by getting a topographical map and then run several times beforehand on the treadmill, with matching hills programmed in - both uphill and downhill. Pretty cool, huh? So many of the better treadmills now have a 3% grade downhill option in their top of the line models. If I talk to him enough, I suspect he might squeeze in an arc trainer and a better treadmill somewhere. He seems like a gadget junkie and a real fitness nut.
The new gym has a lot of equipment the big gym does not have - and it's all clean AND working! And none of it squeaks and squawks! Plus, they have dozens of kettlebells and literally buckets and buckets of dumbbells. The girls in classes at our current enormous gym always run out of the 8 lb. weights because the owners of that gym apparently thought people's strength progressed in 5 pound increments - you know, from 5 pounds, to 10 pounds, to 15 pounds.
The main downside for me is the lack of low impact cross training. The upsides are better weights, closer to home and friendly owners. The main downside for my husband is no space and peace and quiet for his powerlifting. He is concerned about being crowded or not being able to concentrate. The main upsides are friendly owners and no clients talking to him while he is naked in the locker room. He does not care about close to home since the other gym is close to his work; I've gotten to avoid the locker room issue by changing at home. (Although a client did sneak up behind me on the arc trainer once and tickle me and cause me to startle badly enough that I wrenched my back trying to keep my balance. That made me very angry!)
I am pretty sure at least I am going to switch. My husband is fairly sure - if they make room for him. So he said he will pay for two memberships for one month to check it out. That way if he feels crowded, he can keep going where he is going now and I will just stay at the new place. The truth is, once I start making the longer drive to school, on the days I don't run outside, I will probably NOT be driving half an hour in the wrong direction to the old gym to go work out. I did not find time to do it before and I doubt I'll be doing it now. I need to make it easy on myself. I want to make the move to the gym close to home, crowded or not, arc trainer or not, husband following me or not. I will make it work.