Gym equipment: ASK if you don’t know how to use it!

June 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Warning…this is a rant!

So I’m at the gym early this morning waiting to use the seated leg press, which was occupied by an older woman who kept trying to adjust the weight stack while she had the machine engaged.  I walked away to finish the rest of my lower body workout (leg curl, leg extension).  When I came back she was leaving, and the 10 lb. plate was hanging by itself with the rest of the weight stack eight inches below it.  How she managed to create such an unsafe situation, I have no idea…but obviously part of the reason was because she didn’t know how to use the equipment.  She’s lucky the stack didn’t come crashing down on her hand.

What is it with people in the gym?  Folks, you aren’t supposed to know how the equipment works when you’re new to it!  So do us all a favor and hire a trainer to design a workout for you and teach you how to use the equipment.  Or at the very least, ask any trainer who isn’t working with someone to show you how to use a machine – that’s what they’re there for, and they will gladly help.  Seat and other cushion positions matter.  How your knees align on leg machines matters.  Weight settings matter.  FORM MATTERS, much more than how much you’re lifting or pressing.  No, I’m not a trainer myself, but I’ve worked with enough of them to know what I’m talking about.

Here are a few more of my pet peeves:

1.  People, and it’s nearly always women, who hang on to the treadmill for dear life as they try to keep up with the speed they’ve set.  If you have to hang on to keep up, THE SPEED SETTING IS TOO FAST.  You’re not getting the benefits you think you are because hanging on is keeping your body from experiencing a full cardio workout.  Ramp it down until you can keep up without hanging on.

2.  People, and it’s nearly always men, who throw their backs into lifting.  If you’re doing that, THE WEIGHT YOU’RE LIFTING IS TOO HEAVY and you run a serious risk of throwing your back out.  Form matters, remember?  Go down 5 or 10 pounds so you can work the muscle(s) you’re actually targeting instead of your back!

3.  People, and it’s nearly always women, who never:  break a sweat, do enough reps or sets, or use a size weight that will actually do some good.  Let’s debunk the old myth that lifting weights bulks women up:  it doesn’t, and can’t; we don’t have enough testosterone for that.  Now ladies, I understand if you’re under a doctor’s orders to go easy to start with or if you have ailments, aches or pains you have to work around.  I’ve got an old (healed) shoulder injury that forces me to set the weight on the shoulder machine I’m currently using at 5 lb.!  But if you’re reasonably healthy, you shouldn’t be walking out of the gym fresh as a daisy or feeling the way you did when you went in.  If you don’t feel as though you’ve worked out, you haven’t.

Then there’s people who don’t know the common rules of gym ettiquette:  working in, wiping things down after you’re done when you’re sweating, not talking to someone who’s in the middle of a set, chattering away when people around you are trying to concentrate…I’d love to hear some of your gym pet peeves.  Comments are welcome.


Why are nearly all the clothes I buy either black or white?

June 6, 2010 Leave a comment

So I’m in the midst of a job search and panic because I no longer own a suit, which is de rigeur for interviews.  In my previous job for a small consulting and training firm we traveled to see clients rather than them coming to see us, so we wore whatever was comfortable to the office:  jeans and t-shirts, shorts.  The owner actually ran around barefoot in the summer.  Clothes for when we were meeting or working with clients were nearly always business casual (also known as “smart casual” in other parts of the English-speaking world), so that’s as dressy as it got in my closet.

So aaack! – out I go and manage to find not one but two suits, great bargains both, and now I realize I have to upgrade the business casual part of my wardrobe as well for spring and summer.  This time I come back with a white embroidered blouse that can be worn on its own with a pair of dress slacks, a black twin set and a black linen summer sweater with a beaded neck.  As usual, I’ve gravitated to black and white.  Found out on this trip that I’m not alone; when I mentioned to the saleswoman that I seemed to buy nothing but black and white, she said, “You’d be surprised how many women say that.  It’s just easier.”  Yes, and it’s also safe, which in my case is probably more the operative word!  As in, you can’t go wrong…but I also wonder about myself in all this:  am I just becoming a colorless person in my old age, as reflected in my boring choice of clothes?  I looked with longing at all the splashy floral prints this year, unsure whether I looked ridiculous in them but anxious to break out of the black and white rut.  There are times when I do, but I wind up with only solid colors, no prints.  Putting together solid colors often backs me into a corner as well…I love the show “What Not To Wear.”  I wish Stacy and Clinton would do a whole series on dressing women over 50.  You’d think that with our disposable income the fashion industry would be falling all over itself to woo us…hah!  And that’s a topic for another day.

Hey out there…

June 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Anybody home?  Pull up a pew and let’s chat.  Life in general, recipes and food, shopping, shoes, my garden, clothes and trying to find ones that don’t make me look ridiculous (are you with me, boomerettes??) political commentary, all fair game.  Please comment.

Follow me on Twitter @XpertMCC.

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