CP Goes on a Field Trip

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It’s often been stated that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. This was never more apparent than this past weekend, when I decided to make a cameo appearance at my old stomping grounds-The Sportsclub/LA in downtown Boston.

One of my clients still trains there during the week, and she mentioned to me that she was going to go in on Sunday morning to get a quick lift in. For shits and giggles (and for pure entertainment purposes), myself along with the First Lady of Cressey Performance, Anna, decided to tag along.

It’s been close to two years since I’ve stepped foot in SCLA, and while it was nice to catch up with some former colleagues and ex-clients (not to mention to see people destroy the back of their pants when Anna, a girl!!!, repped out 225 on the trap bar deadlift), it also reminded me why I always felt the sudden urge to throw my face into the nearest brick wall.

Not surprisingly, I wasn’t shocked to see the same people, doing the exact same routine, and looking exactly the same as they did two years ago. Of course, there was the guy reading his newspaper between sets (of tricep kickbacks). Then there was the guy who, to his credit, was getting after it on the treadmill- albeit I’ve seen one-legged crack whores look more graceful. And least I forget “hot pants” girl, who always seems to be more concerned with looking at herself in the mirror than realizing that she’s using 20 lbs on a deadlift. Cause you know, we wouldn’t want to actually lift an appreciable weight. Icky. Here’s a rule of thumb: if you can curl it, you shouldn’t be deadlifting it.

I’m currently reading Dan John’s new book, Never Let Go, which has been a fantastic read thus far. I’ve always liked Dan’s no frills writing style. For instance, here’s his his top 10 tips for athletes:

1. Use whole body lifts; rarely isolate a muscle.

2. Constantly strive to add weight to the bar, and move it faster.

3. The best anabolic is water.

4. Did you eat breakfast? If not, don’t ask me anything about nutrition.

5. If you smoke or don’t wear your seatbelt, please don’t tell me the quick lifts are dangerous.

6. Go heavy, go hard.

7. Keep it simple. Less is more.

8. You have to put the bar over your head.

9. Put the bar on the floor and pick it up a bunch of different ways.

10. Know and love the roots of your sport.

Simple, easy, not much to debate.

So this got me thinking- what would be my top 10 tips for people who train at a commercial gym?

1. You’re there to train, not to watch tv.

2. If you don’t know why you’re doing a particular exercise, or what purpose it serves- don’t do it.

3. There’s a reason why all the ellipticals and treadmills are being used. They’re easy! Conversely, there’s a reason why Airdyne bikes and squat racks are never used (for their intended purpose. Curling in the squat rack doesn’t count). They’re hard! Guess which ones yield the best results?

4. A 60 minute Yoga class doesn’t warrant a post-workout shake. Just sayin…..

5. If you can hold an entire conversation while you’re doing your “cardio” (and I use that term lightly), you’re not working nearly hard enough.

6. The world won’t collapse if you don’t bench three times per week.

7. Smith machines suck. So do leg curls, leg extensions, and leg presses for that matter. Yep, I just went there.

8. Okay, I get it….you have fake boobs. You’re still not that hot. Okay, maybe a little. I love you.

9. I have to stop there. A little piece of my soul is dying with each number I write- you guys can finish the list off if you want- I need to go lift some heavy things.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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