The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    Feel the luv!!! (Winter gym blitz article)

    LAST week Vicki Holland, an occupational therapist from Riverdale, raced to one of her regular Pilates classes at the New York Sports Club on 44th Street. Ms. Holland takes her fitness very seriously - she attends classes at least three times a week - so what came next was a rude surprise: for the first time in months, the class was full, and Ms. Holland was shut out. She said she knew what that meant: the winter gym blitz was on.

    "It's really annoying," she said. "The instructor has to scale down the difficulty of the class for the beginners. Having to wait for a shower is annoying. I think all of you who are taking up space should just go away."

    January is the month many Americans dedicate - or rededicate, or re-rededicate - to getting healthy. While in the heartland that might entail jogging around an indoor track or playing tennis at a roomy indoor racquet club, to many city dwellers it means crowded locker rooms, towel shortages, fighting for treadmill time and going elbow to furiously pumping elbow with strangers in dank rooms crammed with StairMasters. For New Yorkers the January gym blitz is the inverse of those first warm weeks of spring, when Central Park overflows with joggers and bikers, and the flowers are in bloom. And for the health club industry, it's a make or break time.

    "It's the big month," said Bill Howland, a spokesman for the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, a trade group. "Existing members say now it's time to get back. You combine that with people making New Year's resolutions, and you get an upsurge in traffic." Add cold weather to the mix, which drives the athletically minded indoors, Mr. Howland said, "and you have people bumping into each other."

    For regular gymgoers, the sudden influx of the New Year's resolution crowd is akin to tourists mucking up the otherwise peaceful routines of an out-of-the-way vacation town. They may not wipe down the equipment just so, or adhere strictly enough to the time limits on the cardio machines. But like tourists, their chief crime seems to be simply being there.

    "It's not very pleasant," said Stuart Hastie, a 32-year-old banker who typically rows for 40 minutes every day at lunchtime at the New York Sports Club on 44th Street. "They don't know the rules and regulations. They don't put the weights back."

    Caprese Murray, 30, a personal trainer and professional body builder in Manhattan, said that among those in the fitness world there's a name for all those suddenly health-conscious types who start signing up for trainers and club memberships in January: "freshman meat."

    "They all say the same thing, 'I want to tone up but I don't want to get too big,' " Mr. Murray said.

    Veronica Ceballos, 24, is admittedly one of those newbies. She was wrestling with a thigh machine at the New York Sports Club on 14th Street in Manhattan on what she said was her first ever trip to a health club. Ms. Ceballos, who said she joined the club as part of a New Year's resolution to get in shape for a friend's wedding, said she had no idea what she was doing. She was waiting for a trainer to show her the ropes.

    "Due to the rush there's a backlog," she said.

    The health club industry tries all sorts of tricks to moderate gym traffic during the busy months, like staggering class schedules and offering cheaper off-peak memberships. But aware that the rush lasts only a few weeks, few clubs stop selling memberships on the basis of overcrowding, and most offer specials to lure in new members. New York Sports Club, for example, ran a $1 million sweepstakes promotion after the New Year, and Equinox Fitness Clubs is offering a $100 discount to people who take their "body age" test online.

    Ed Ruane, a New York City regional director at Equinox, said his company begins preparing for the New Year's blitz in the fall, with a program it calls "January readiness." He said the clubs hire additional personnel, replenish their towel supplies and even post trainers on the floor of the clubs with walkie-talkies, to help them direct traffic toward open exercise machines.

    "It becomes a real party," he said.

    For those used to exercising outdoors, the packed urban health club can be a jarring experience. Hordes of panting athletes exhale clouds of warm moist air - mostly carbon dioxide - in the central spaces. The aquariumlike rooms where spinning classes take place can seem particularly off-putting to anyone who has ever taken a turn in the fresh mountain air. But Rick Caro, the president of Management Vision, a Manhattan consultant to health clubs, said that over the years health club designers have learned to work in concert with engineers to provide ample ventilation for even the most heavily trafficked gyms.

    "They've really learned to move air properly," he said. "The heating and air-conditioning are much more powerful. In a bicycle studio there's a tremendous amount of air going through there."

    At many urban health clubs, the real overcrowding problems occur away from the exercise equipment. "The neck of the funnel is always the locker room, " said Michael Motta, the president of Plus One, a fitness center design and management company based in Manhattan.

    The issue is one of flow, he explained. If a class ends and a large number of people go to the locker room at once, some may end up waiting for the showers. Since people will leave the locker room once they've showered, Mr. Motta said, health clubs with space problems have learned to put a premium on installing showers over lockers to keep people moving through the system.

    To save space in the locker areas, he added, many clubs use double-decker models, which, in a crowded locker room can create no end of social awkwardness, if, say, you're crouched in front of a lower locker and a nude member insists on getting to the one just overhead.

    "The rule is, look at the wall," said Jeremy Hamburgh, a 22-year-old student at Benjamin N. Cardozo law school who has been going to the gym four or five times a week since August.

    "I never did the high school athlete thing, so seeing a lot of guys naked is a new experience," he added. "I'd be weirded out if someone talked," he said.

    Mr. Hamburgh added that he actually enjoyed the crowded atmosphere of health clubs in January. "There are a lot of people here, you can look at their physiques, and it gives you something to strive for," he said. "If I'm on the treadmill, and I've only done two miles and the guy next to me has five, I'm going to try harder."

    One might think personal trainers would look forward eagerly to January and all those new clients looking to better themselves. But some trainers say such clients are notoriously unreliable.

    "I don't take people who come to me with New Year's resolutions," said Anthony Dragos, 42, who has worked on his own as a personal trainer in Manhattan for the last 13 years. "It's a pain when you find these people who want to do it, but they don't really want to do it. They go two, three weeks, and they stop."

    Mr. Dragos said he has even had new clients in January who paid for 20 sessions in advance, but only showed up for a couple before going AWOL.

    "You call them up and they don't return your calls," he said. "How's that for weird?"

    Mr. Dragos said in his experience, such a person is a health club's dream client. "Gym owners love that," he said. "They put their money down and don't use the gym."

    Mr. Howland, the trade group spokesman, said that keeping members was difficult for clubs as well. In general, research has shown, only about half of the people who start exercise routines stick to them for more than six months. According to industry statistics, health clubs retain about 65 percent of their members on an annual basis. A 1998 study sponsored by the trade group found that overcrowding was the No. 1 reason people quit their clubs. Mr. Caro, the consultant, said that he was skeptical of that study - he said most people quit their health clubs because of a lack of motivation - but allowed that during the January and February rush, there was only so much a health club could do.

    "It's a four-walled physical plant that can't expand to meet demand hour by hour," Mr. Caro said.

    As unpleasant as an urban gym can be at this time of year, most regular gymgoers are content to stick to their routines, content in the knowledge that in a few short weeks, a lot of those newbies will lose their will, and health clubs will return to a less chaotic rhythm.

    "It fades away in March," said Mr. Hastie, the banker, as he strapped himself into his rowing machine. "What can you do? Perspiration is inspiration."
    Link to the article.

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    me: I could never figure out what people were talking about
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  3. #2
    cut block extraordinaire
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    Im kinda glad we dont have this problem in the high school weightroom where I lift.

  4. #3
    Bulking Sith Knight Stephen Riddington's Avatar
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    The scabs are gone now at my gym.
    You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'-Homer Simpson
    My brother always said that drowning in beer would be like heaven. Well, my brother's not here and I have two soakers... This sucks!!!-Bob McKenzie
    Hockey is murder on ice-Jim Murray
    Give a guy a gun, he thinks he's Superman. Give him two and he thinks he's God.-Superintendent Pang (Hard Boiled)

  5. #4
    cut block extraordinaire
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    Wow didnt even last a month...Pretty sad

  6. #5
    Senior Member Ares's Avatar
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    It seems everybodys been showing up within this week for me.. its depressing having the gym packed and all the equipment being used.
    6'2 206

  7. #6
    Senior Member
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    They mainly use the useless equipment anyway though.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Canadian Crippler's Avatar
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    You should see the cardio section at my gym this past month... thank God I'm bulking!
    Last edited by Canadian Crippler; 01-24-2005 at 07:01 PM.
    "I added some db curls with the pink weights for a bit of a burn." - Rookiebldr

    "im assuming the holy (big) 3 are: curls, bench, legs?" - Saggas

    "had a huge ass burn on my triceps while I was doing those kickbacks, so they'll likely be staying with my exercise program." - Zearoth

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    "We have a lot of people like that on our campus, all hippies and things, that go around preaching against corporations, jocks, preps, accountants, and anyone else that feels the need to shower more than occasionally." - Shankerr

    "Damn man why are some women just so demonic and evil.. its like you wanna get a stake and mallet and an erection at the same time." - WBBIRL

  9. #8
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    ugh...resolutioners

  10. #9
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    They seem to be mostly gone by now. Thank god.

    The journal / I live here.

    If I were to start from scratch as a young 13 year old again, I would do every press, squat, and perhaps deadlifts, for my entire career with chains. -- Dan John

  11. #10
    Senior Member
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    The only thing that really really bothers me. A power rack should not be used for curls, I hate having to readjust the rack prior to doing squats. Other then that... they can all have heart attacks.

  12. #11
    Mostly healed up! PizDoff's Avatar
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    MUST SQUAT CURL JOCKEY!!! Heehehhahahhiihhi!!

    *Twitch*

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Crippler
    You should see the cardio section at my gym this past month
    It's true, the cardio section of my university's gym has also been exceptionally busy since the second term started.

  14. #13
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Now I fear the pre-spring break cardio rush.

    The journal / I live here.

    If I were to start from scratch as a young 13 year old again, I would do every press, squat, and perhaps deadlifts, for my entire career with chains. -- Dan John

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixmasterNash
    Now I fear the pre-spring break cardio rush.
    That's basically one and the same as the post-Christmas rush for us up here, considering our "Spring" Break begins Feb.12.

  16. #15
    Simply Devious Rastaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ares
    It seems everybodys been showing up within this week for me.. its depressing having the gym packed and all the equipment being used.

    I'm feelin your pain. My gym is exactly the same right now. Even switching my workout hours to avoid the crowded times.
    "The only sin which we never forgive in each other is difference of opinion."
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson


    Word.

  17. #16
    AM MMA Fighter crazedwombat's Avatar
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    hahah My hate for resolutioners knows no bounds. Luckily when I want to do dls there's very rarely a problem but they take up too much room and ALL the dbs. it makes me glad that they're too weak to use the heavier weights but damnit I also hate it when PTs show new customers the place and I'm trying to workout and they're dressed all in clothes and walking around....Although I dont really have a reason to hate them except that most wont come back, but that is fine for me to. I dont like watermelons either!
    HT: 6'3 / WT: 265lbs 16%BF

    "Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness."

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  18. #17
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    No new year's resolutioners to speak of in my highschool weightroom, thankfully. From what you guys are saying, it sucks pretty bad to be crowded and having to wait on equipment while staring at the person who's doing it, slowly and incorrectly.
    "You can take control of my mind and my body, but there is one thing a Saiyan always keeps.... his PRIDE!"- Vegeta

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  19. #18
    Senior Member
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    Why oh why don't people do cardio outdoors. In january, you'll burn extra calories just to keep yourself warm, and the change in scenary makes the run/cycle less monotonous. Sure if there really is no other way for you.
    Oh and Jabberwocky, I hate it when people use the squat rack for curls, or upright rows, or wrist curls. The most ridiculous thing I ever saw at my gym was when all the really big guys were round the squat rack. They were resting between sets, there was like 700lbs on the bar, and out of nowhere this skinny guy appears and starts doing press ups right under the squat rack?!!???????????!?!?!!!!?!!!!!!!!!!???

  20. #19
    Banned briancurran01's Avatar
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    it is funny at my gym there are all these newbies who have no idea how to use any of the machines there was this guy doing wgpd and he would almost stand up to pull the weight down and he was only using like 60 pounds lol...and then there was this lady also doing wgpd that would act like she was having a hernia when pulling down like 20 pounds plus it took her 3 minutes to pull it to her chest

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