My New New Gym

April 9, 2012

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was busy… I went to two parties and saw four movies (three of those movies were watched at one of those parties, so there was definitely multitasking going on).

It was also a noteworthy weekend because my new gym opened! You regular readers know that, a few months ago, after lengthy consideration and thorough analysis, I bit the bullet and switched gyms. My new gym, Crunch, was opening a new location near me (in Burbank), and offered great pre-enrollment rates (but I ended up lucking out and winning a free year-long membership in a drawing!), and part of the deal was that I would have access to their other location (in West Hollywood) until the new location opened.

I’ve been working out in West Hollywood for about two months, and I really like it (I posted a couple photos from there on Friday). I’ve mentioned it in posts, referring to it as my “new gym.” On Friday, the Burbank location finally opened for business – so it’s my “new new gym.” And it is a beautiful gym. I took a bunch of photos (which, generally speaking, is frowned upon in gyms, so don’t do this at home).

It’s on the second floor of a building, above a Barnes and Noble, and there’s a 6-screen AMC movie theater in the basement. The front doors are accessed from the roof of the adjacent parking garage.

And guess what’s right across the street?

Between the gym, Barnes and Noble, the movies, and Ikea, I could easily spend an entire weekend within a 500 foot radius. All that’s missing is an arcade with a Ms. Pac-Man machine.

I arrived at 10:30 on Friday morning, to find the front doors barricaded by yellow caution tape. Turns out the gym wasn’t quite open yet – they couldn’t officially open until they got the all-clear from the fire marshall, and they were waiting for him to make an appearance. I had to come back later in the day, but it was no big deal – I’ve waited two months for this gym to open, I could wait another few hours.

Inside, everything was brand new and shiny. The gym is enormous, with high ceilings and lots of natural light, and there’s tons of equipment: rows and rows of cardio machines, and every type of weightlifting device imaginable. This photo’s a little blurry, but it’s the best I got:

The gym was also empty, although I suspect it won’t be for long. I was one of maybe 10 people working out when I got there – the staff outnumbered the clientele. I loved that my lock was only one in the entire locker room.

On Friday, I warmed up on the treadmill for 6 minutes, then spent 35 minutes lifting weights. I felt like a kid in a toy store – every time I looked around, there was something I wanted to try out or play with. I alternated between trying new-to-me equipment and doing things in my regular routine, and had to keep reminding myself that there’d be plenty of time to try everything I wanted to try.

After finishing up with the weights, I wanted to end my workout with a little cardio, and I picked a machine I had never seen before: a seated elliptical.

You position yourself on it like you would on a recumbent bike, but instead of pedals, there are big elliptical-like pads. The machine has all sorts of programs and ways to adjust your workout, and I ended up going for 17 minutes, and I selected a program that ramped up the resistance to high for 15 seconds of every minute, so I was combining cardio with leg presses – multitasking rocks!

I went back to my new new gym on Saturday, and took a Zumba class with my friend Natalie. It was only the second Zumba class I’ve ever taken (I tried it for the first time about a year and a half ago). Zumba is fun – it has great music, and it’s high energy cardio dance. It’s also really hard for me, because the choreography is based around a lot of belly-dancing-esque hip movements and shimmying that I just can’t do. But I do what I can and have a ball anyway. This class had a great teacher (a woman named Miracle) and I was the only man in the class.

One more picture: The Burbank location, like the West Hollywood location, has a mountain view (although they’re different mountains):

When I first joined Crunch, I planned on using West Hollywood until Burbank opened, and then I planned on using Burbank exclusively… but now I’m thinking that I’ll revise that plan, and alternate between the two gyms. I like that plan – I know I have successful workouts when I switch things up. And I like knowing that I have two gyms, in two different parts of town, that are there for me to use.

Keep it up, David!

Power Through the Weekend

February 10, 2012

I have a goal for this weekend. It’s the same goal I have most every single day, but because last weekend didn’t go very well, I’m really focusing on it this weekend, so crappy weekends become the exception, not the norm. My goal is to exercise and make good food choices. I will work out both Saturday and Sunday, and I will not consume any gas station junk food.

I’m well-equipped to hit this goal out of the park, but as recently as 24 hours ago, I felt the opposite. Yesterday, I went to the gym to do my first weightlifting workout in a week. I didn’t intend to go a week without hitting the weights, but it just happened: I had the aforementioned craptacular weekend, followed by a Monday workout on an exercise bike, followed by a Tuesday night aerobics class at Slimmons, followed by an unexpected run on Wednesday (more on this in my next post). That’s a lot of wonderful cardio, but by Thursday all I really wanted to do was head to the bench press and blast my pecs <insert musclehead flexing and growling here>.

So I went to the gym, did my typical five-minute warm-up on the treadmill, and then headed over to the bench press I had been thinking about all day. What commenced was a terrible workout, soured mainly by my own attitude, which went from gung-ho to the toilet bowl in about 90 seconds.

Basically, thanks to my seven-day absence from the weight room, I discovered quickly that I felt weak, and I soon grew annoyed that I wasn’t completing the reps that I wanted to complete. No matter what I did – bench press, chin-ups, dips, flies – I wanted to do more reps than I could actually do, and it pissed me off. The actual reps wasn’t the thing that pissed me off – it was how feeble I felt after just one week away. It didn’t like not being able to accomplish something that I accomplished so recently.

It really shouldn’t have been such a big deal. I can’t expect to walk in and pick up right where I left off. But it ate at me, machine after machine, and after a while, I just wanted to throw in the towel and go home.

But I didn’t. I soldiered on for a full 30 minutes, then jumped on an elliptical for another 20 minutes and watched “Wipeout” on TV. Nothing gets my mind off a crappy situation like seeing dudes getting smacked in the nuts over and over and over again. By the time I got home, I felt happy that I carried on and finished a solid workout, and a little depressed by the thought that it only took my body a week to deteriorate as much as it did. What that means is that I can’t go a week without lifting weights. Ever. And that thought brings two sound effects to my brain simulatenously – this one:

And this one:

The only way to get back what I lost during that week is to keep lifting weights, so earlier today, I went back to the gym, and I brought a couple things with me:

  1. A better attitude.
  2. My friend Kristy.

I haven’t worked out with Kristy in a looong time. All last summer we took the same boot camp class (as did Kristy’s hubby, Mike), but I haven’t been to that class in months. I got her a guest pass to my gym, and we did a killer workout, both individually and together. After a warm-up, we did a 20-minute set with free weights (focusing on a variety of upper body exercises) while pedaling away on exercise bikes. Then we split up, and I did more weights: squats, leg presses, inclined bench press. We met up again at the end, and Kristy finished with lunges and flies, and I did a ton of sit-ups.

That workout was fantastic. It felt awesome to follow up a bad workout with an excellent one! Kristy came over after the gym, and we made a delicious lunch (which I will share in an upcoming post).

Speaking of food, there will be a couple occasions this weekend where I’ll be dining out. What I generally do when a menu is placed in front of me is jump immediately to the salads section, and find one that sounds good. With that salad in my mind as an option, I then peruse the rest of the menu, looking for other healthy options. Sometimes I find and order them, and sometimes I stick with the salad. Twice in the past week, I’ve stuck with the salad, and they were good. Here’s the citrus and berry salad I got at Hugo’s, one of my favorite restaurants:

Strawberries, oranges, mango, jicama, asparagus, green beans, greens, and some crumbled goat cheese, with a berry vinaigrette (that was a little on the tart side).

And here’s the salad I got at Cabbage Patch, a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles that I had never heard of until I walked into it:

Roasted baby beets, avocado, and mixed greens with a little cheese. Balsamic vinaigrette on the side. Fantastic.

I kinda fell in love with Cabbage Patch – it’s quick and reasonable (a perfect lunch spot if you work downtown), it has healthy options, and it’s in a fun two-story space that uses what looks like reclaimed wood. OH! And it has a mysterious skylight! There’s a frosted skylight at the top of the two-story space that brings light all the way down to the counter where you order, but the restaurant is located on the first two floors of a 10-story building. So, either the building has a center atrium/courtyard/light well that the skylight accesses, or… the skylight is completely fake! A sham! A ruse! See? Mysterious!

Here’s to a weekend filled with good choices!


Piles of Produce and My Week in Workouts

May 16, 2011

1) Piles of Produce.  How sad is this fridge?

You don’t get much more bare than this!  A trip to Whole Foods rectified the situation.  I stocked up on a lot of basics, and check out all this produce!

Starting in the back left, and moving clockwise, we have:

An orange flesh melon (more on this below), celery, a mini-watermelon, a bag of kale salad, asparagus, baby carrots, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, sweet mini bell peppers, green peppers, yellow squash, roma tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, bartlett pears, and fuji apples.

My new-to-me item of the week is the orange flesh melon.  Here’s a close-up picture:

According to the interwebs, an orange flesh melon is a hybrid between a honeydew and a cantaloupe.  It’s supposed to taste like a honeydew, but be orange like a cantaloupe.  We’ll see about that!  Stay tuned to the blog for pictures after I take a cleaver and hack it open.

2) My Week in Workouts.  It’s the start of a new work week, so I thought I’d look back at my last week in workouts.  I’m very proud of my exercise this past week.  I decided to really devote a lot of time to weight training.  For the past few months, I’ve been hearing left and right that the key to continued weight loss, at this point in the game, is weights.  By building up my muscle mass, I’ll burn more calories throughout the day, and I’ll also burn more calories when I do do cardio. (tee hee, do do!)

Despite hearing this, from a variety of reputable sources, I hadn’t, before this past week, overhauled my workouts to include more weightlifting.  My workouts haven’t been weight-free – though he’s currently out of town, the boot camp classes I’ve been taking with Craig are almost exclusively weight-based, and Richard Simmons’ classes have some toning in them (though not much).  It’s not that I don’t want to increase my muscle mass, or that I don’t like weights – neither is true.  The reason why I haven’t adapted a more weight-intensive workout regimen is mainly because weight-training requires so much more thought.

I find cardio to be very easy on my brain.  I can get on an elliptical, arc trainer or exercise bike and just go, pushing myself physically, while letting my mind wander, get wrapped up in music or TV, or (and this happens frequently) come up with sassy retorts that I wish I had said during conversations held earlier in the day, earlier in the week, or years ago.

Weights, however, require thought.  I gotta remember proper form, posture, and movement.  I like to have a game plan, so I know what machines I’m going to hit next, and I have to be able to be flexible and come up with alternatives when those machines aren’t available.  None of that stuff comes naturally to me, either, which makes it more difficult for me.  I know, I know, it’s just weight training, and not brain surgery or rocket science, but a lot of the time, at the end of a long day, the last thing I want to do when I arrive at the gym is think.  I just wanna move.  I just wanna sweat.  Which is why, more often than not, I gravitate towards cardio.

But not last week!  Check it out:

  • Monday, May 9:  5 minutes treadmill (warm-up).  30 minutes of weights.  18 minutes on elliptical.
  • Tuesday, May 10:  Rest day.
  • Wednesday, May 11:  25 minutes weights.  8 minutes stairmaster.  16 minutes arc trainer.
  • Thursday, May 12:  5 minutes treadmill (warm-up).  35 minutes weights.  10 minutes elliptical.
  • Friday, May 13:  30 minutes weights.  15 minutes arc trainer.

Note:  I varied the weights from day to day, so I was never focusing on the same body part or muscle group two days in a row.

  • Saturday, May 14:  Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons.  Read more about it here.
  • Sunday, May 15:  My first swimming workout in just over a month.  I did 1,000 yards warm-up (200 free, 200 IM, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 IM); 1 x 400 free, 1 x 400 IM, 1 x 200 free.  2,000 yards total.

Those 4 workouts with an emphasis on weight training simply felt great.  I loved feeling a little sore every morning that week, and I did notice by the 4th workout that I wasn’t minding the added thought (or maybe it was just becoming more habit-like, therefore requiring less thought).

One more photo before I wrap this post up…  you’ll notice that my workout on Wednesday involved 8 minutes on the stairmaster (which I used while waiting for an arc trainer to open up).  I really pushed myself for those 8 minutes – taking the steps 2 at a time (except for the first minute), and upping the speed every two minutes.  As a result, I burned 135 calories (in 8 minutes!) and climbed 38 flights.  Y’all know how I love to compare my stairmaster accomplishments to skyscrapers around the world…

…so this time we’re heading across the county to Hartford, Connecticut, which is home to City Place I, a 38-floor tower that is the tallest building in the state.  This is what I climbed (and in 8 minutes!)

Keep it up, David!

7am Wednesday Workout

November 17, 2010

I met up with my friend Joe and his trainer Oscar again this morning for a workout at the park.  We met up for the first time on Monday (I wrote about it in this post), and this workout was very similar to Monday’s, except for that I brought my camera this time!  Oscar the trainer doubled as Oscar the photographer – so I have him to thank for both an ass-kicking workout (I’ll be sore tomorrow, I’m sure) and lots of visual aids for the blog.

After stretching and warming up, Oscar had me complete a series of exercises designed to target my chest, back, arms, abs, and legs.  All the exercises were designed to use my own weight as resistance, and used two handles attached to a strap that was slung over a tree branch.

Here I am doing a chest exercise.  The motion is similar to a push-up, but I simultaneously had to steady my arms and hands, as they weren’t braced on something solid (like the floor). Instead, they were holding two handles in place as I leaned into them and then pushed myself away from them:

Then came a tricep exercise, also using my own weight as resistance.  This is probably the most effective tricep exercise I’ve ever done – my triceps were crazy sore on Tuesday from Monday’s workout.

Then came lunges (the handles and straps were pretty much just used for balance on these):

Followed by back:

And bicep curls:

A standing ab exercise that’s kinda similar to crunches, with my own weight adding resistance:

And the circuit ended with working my oblique abs on a mat:

On Monday, Oscar taught me all the exercises, so today, I went through the entire circuit, but upped the reps for each from 10 to 12.  Then, after a little rest, Oscar had me do a “30 Seconds of Hell” circuit, where I pushed myself to do as many reps as possible for each exercise for 30 seconds before immediately moving on to the next one.  Exhausting.  Felt great, too!  By the time I left the park, around 8:15am, I felt energized, was in good spirits, and glad my workout for the day was already over!  Back again on Friday morning.

Keep it up, David!