Sunday, May 18, 2008

Day 59, Field Trip

Yesterday Chen and I went to a small, local community gym to do some research and development. It was a happy, dog-eared little place, and if you saw the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog's Story, it was a lot like Average Joe's Gym from that movie, which you can see a bit of in the background of this clip.

By the way, I only watched Dodgeball because it was being shown on a plane trip I took. What excuse do you have?

The main reason we went is that Chen wanted me to learn exactly which muscles I need to target by doing the actions on machines, then trying to replicate the movement with the resistance bands or my own body weight. I'm reaching a point now where I have to be more and more targeted with my exercises, or I'll plateau in terms of muscle growth.

The gym was busy, it was a Saturday afternoon. There were some guys in there who had obviously spent a lot of time in the place, they knew all the machines well and were talking with the staff. But I couldn't help noticing that they just didn't look that strong. I checked how much they were pumping on the machines, and it was a lot of weight, certainly more than I could do, but it wasn't translating into a good physique.

I figured out after a few minutes that those guys must have no diet control whatsoever. All their big muscles that they've trained so hard to get are buried under a half inch of subcutaneous fat tissue. It's the difference between this.

and this....

After pounding out their sets they must feel pretty good about themselves and go out for ramen and beers. I used to be like this too, back when I had a gym membership. What I didn't realize is that to really get strong and fit, you have to change your whole lifestyle, starting and ending with diet. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that my version of The Peak Condition Project is 70% diet, 10% strength training, 10% cardio, and 10% flexibility work.

So that was pretty eye-opening, and re-energized me to stick close to my plan, even though I can get away with cheating now.

And if you're pumping iron at the gym, good for you, but wouldn't it make sense to have all that time, sweat, and effort actually show up on your body with a little diet control? I'm amazed at these guys who can spend hours lifting at the gym but can't say no to a heavy, unhelpful dinner that same evening.

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