Monthly Archives: September 2013

Civilian gyms really suck

I’ve moved back to the United States from my tour abroad.  I did a surprisingly good job of keeping up my workout routine during the 1) transition period in Thailand, 2) the actual travel days and 3) the transition period (on-going) in Texas.

I’ll post some Garmin Connect calendar pictures to show how I did overall once I have my computer back and can upload my Garmin data and input my manual activities.  Could be a while.  In the meantime you’ll just have to trust me.  My bikes went into the household goods shipping but I’ve been running, swimming and even lifting regularly.  Yes, I started lifting again.  The cardio/pushups only thing I was doing bored the crap out of me.  I’m not abandoning the CPFT goal, but I’m going to have to approach it a little more gradually.  First thing I need to do is another diagnostic.  I’m way overdue and really have no idea where I stand right now compared to my first one.

But I’m getting off track.  The thing I wanted to say – as evidenced by the title – is that civilian gyms suck.  Since I got to Houston I’ve been trying to find a place to workout.  All I need is a somewhere with enough free weight equipment to do a standard Starting Strength workout routine.  Squat rack, some Olympic bars and a pull-up bar.  A lap pool would be nice too.  The problem is that all the gyms in Houston (and I’m guessing everywhere else in America) have “cardio plus one of everything” syndrome.  They have a HUGE warehouse-style building absolutely packed to the gills with 50 treadmills, 50 stationary bikes, 50 elliptical trainers, 5 each of three other alternative cardio machines, 1 or 2 rowing ergs, and one of EVERY SINGLE NAUTILUS (or Hammerstrength) MACHINE EVER DESIGNED FOR EACH BODY PART.  Then they have one squat rack, two each bench press, incline bench press and decline bench press and a handful of flat benches in front of the mirrors by the dumbbell racks.  Want to do three inch range of motion weighted ab crunches?  There’s a machine for that.  Interested in working out your thigh adductors?  There’s a machine for that.  Want to do high angle, mid angle or low angle seated back rows?  Machine, machine, machine.

Want to do the most fundamental and effective weightlifting exercises in the world and which should form the foundation of pretty much every human being’s strength training program?  Sorry, there’s only one squat rack in the whole building and some “bro-ski” wearing Beats headphones is doing 15 sets of shrugs or bent over rows (with terrible form) in the squat rack.  Well, it’s not ideal, you say to yourself, but I’ll go do my deadlifts first . . .  Except that there are no “loose” Oly bars.  Every single one is assigned to a bench press station.  And even if you manage to steal one off the bench without getting treated like a common criminal there is no section of floor in the entire facility large enough to set up for deadlifts because the entire place if crammed full of ridiculous machines.

It’s very frustrating.  The Girlfriend and I are looking for a rental house and it would be really nice to be able to put a squat rack with a Oly bar in the garage and not have to deal with this kind of stuff.