T Nation

Oh heck, January is not too far off

I don’t know about you, but I dread the coming of January. The gym I use is empty right now (as it gets after June or July) and the people who are working out are the serious bunch. What happens every Jan 2nd is the same old shit. Bunch of newbies come in, invade, don’t move off equipment, gab and generally get in the way. Usually by mid to late Febuary, you know who is going to be a fixture and who drops out. I am considering taking the month off (but I loath that idea)and just do a hell of a lot of running and lift at home. What do you do?

The beginning of a semester always brings in a bunch of newbies to the gym. Or the slackers who only come in on Monday’s show up to do chest and arms. The first few weeks suck, but I just make sure I train legs early in the week. No one else does, so it’s not a problem doing squats or getting a rack.

ya, Nate Dogg is right. I guarantee there won’t be anybody doing DEADS, SQUATS AND OLYMPIC LIFTS. On the other hand you, me and everybody was a newbe at one time. Maybe if you try to help them out at first, they won’t be too much of a nuesance. Just a thought.

When someone figures out what to do about this, please tell me. I work out at a university gym, and I agree with NateDogg – you always get the newbies in at the beginning of the semester. I actually noticed quite an upsurge after Thanksgiving – you could almost feel the ground shake as the thunderous thighs of all the chicks who had feasted on turkey with extra gravy and pumpkin pie a la mode were slamming together in the rhthymic beat of the elliptical trainers. They disappeared (although I’m sure the fat didn’t) after a week. I also noticed that Friday nights are big nights in the gym, especially around the benches and the preacher curls stations, as all the guys try to get a pump going before their parties – you don’t see them the rest of the week either. However, I have to disagree with NateDogg about the availability of the squat racks – no one uses them for squats, but you can bet your ass some skinny guy with his sleeves rolled up will be resting his little fixed-weight bar on the rack as he admires his 13-in. pea shooters in the mirror between sets. Seriously, if someone knows a solution, please share.

Yes, there is a solution – WORK OUT AT HOME!!! And if you you live with your parents, then move out. If you live in a one bedroom apartment, then either set it up in the living room (priorities) or get a two bedroom apt. Can’t afford it? Get a better job. There are ALWAYS ways to make it happen. Take the $$ you’re putting into a club membership and put it into these things (equipment and space).

At the moment I’m a starving student sharing a place with 3 other guys who wouldn’t like a bench in front of the couch (if I had one). However, I was thinking that in the future I’d like to set up a home gym – my question is what do you do for spots when you’re pushing it and going heavy on something like squats or bench?

I completely agree with brider. Next to the bar, the most important piece of equipment is the power rack. With a power rack, one can lift heavy safely without a spotter. Excluding unusaul objects and grip tools, I have a power rack, bar, adjustable utility bench, thick handled dumbells that take olympic plates and a lot of weight. Nobody could pay me enough to go back to a commercial gym. A gym setup will run about 1K. Not cheap but it will last a lifetime.

just be very assertive and only worry about yourself. If someone leaves a bench for a minute use it, if someones dicking around ask (or tell) them that your going to work in. The people how are serious are generally quite obvious. Although they may be new and training while reading FLEX you can see it in there eyes if they will still be there in another month. If you see some new but serious newbies, remember that you were once there, help them out etc if they ask.

Kodiak has it right – the power rack. Safe for squats AND bench. Set the safety pins at about 1/2 to 1/4 inch below your bottom position on bench (that way if you fail the lift, it won’t crush you). If the rack holes don’t line up with that position, put some plywood under either the bench or the rack to adjust its height. There’s a little more flexibility in placing the safety pins for squat, but you want to make sure you can rest the bar on the pins if you fail the lift and don’t have to try to jump out from under the bar.

Eat plenty of “Bodybuilder’s Chili” before your workouts and blast those newbies away from the squat rack.

You gotta do 4 things first: 1 Make friends with the people who WORK at the Gym (so they don’t kick you out)
2- Possess less than 18% BF or no one will take you seriously.
3- Don’t be an ass- know your routine, have your shit together, and ensure you are not the one holding up the equipment.
4- If you don’t have a routine, pick one from the T-mag training site (USE WHAT THEY GIVE YOU- It will work) Nothing, I mean NOTHING, pisses me off more than people wandering around the gym trying to figure out their routine.
Once all of the above conditions have been met:

Start RIGHT NOW wearing a pair of Headphones blasting out Heavy/Speed/Death Metal, around your neck (No- Not in your ears- unless you address the volume issue…) so anyone within 3 feet know what you are listening to, get a concentrated (read: MEAN)look on your face like you are willing to kill someone to get to your next set. Grunt loudly (NOTE: DO NOT BECOME A BANSHEE!! No yelling or Moaning- grunt like you are taking a monster high protein shit and yor girlfriends parents are in the next room) near the last few reps, and people will get out of your way.
When they are lollying around a piece of gear you want- SIMPLY ASK THEM IF THEY ARE DONE!! Do not yell, or talk like Clint Eastwood. Simply ASK how many more sets they have and move dumbells/plates near the bench. BE POLITE-it will FREAK them out.You go from nut to calm and people will think you are intense and get out of your way as they risk slowing you down. I found it works best if you ask them while you are in the middle of a set on a different exercise, so when you are done you kow if there is a wait or not- it also stops people from jumping in front you.
If this doesn’t work, wear the same shirt all week WITHOUT WASHING IT!! (Note I said shirt- not shorts) Ensure that the shirt is dry to reduce the spreading of serious harmful germs/bacteria.

But the biggest thing is- ACT LIKE YOU ARE GODS GIFT TO THE WORLD OF WEIGHT LIFTING!! 75% of Arnolds greatness was mental, not merely physical. Ali was the best BECAUSE he TOLD you he was!! If you are too much of a Puss to do the above, then I find it hard to believe that you are getting ANY intensity out of your lifts. I am NOT the strongest guy in my gym- Im not the biggest, and I don't have the lowest BF%. BUT I can hang with anyone in the Gym- Set for Set, Rep for REP, 80% 1RM for 80%1RM. Do you? You gotta get it together mentally, and the rest will fall into place.

If you know the people in the Gym who work there, they will see whats what, and as long as you aren’t an a-hole you’ll be cool with them (Maybe not with the dirty shirt thing!)
Also, check to see if you belong to a Gym or a Fitness Center. If you have to ask the difference, than nothing I have told you now will be of any value.
Look, I have made some TREMENDOUS gains the past 18 months thanks to T mag and Charles Polq., by following the guidlines set out in their routines- i.e. 3-2-1 pace for lifts with a 120second rest between sets or even exercises. The only way to do this is to take charge and get on the next piece of gear- If the damn program says Cable tricept Pulldowns followed by decline nose-breakers- then damnit I’m getting on the Cables and whoever is on the Decline bench damn well knows that I’m heading to the decline and jumping on. Face it, do you EVER get mad when someone ASKS you how many more sets you have? No, you probably don’t. Odds are they won’t either.

Now’s the right time to invest in a kettlebell, and use it at home. Those things are so much fun. Pavel was right. After doing many snatches, you’ll blow out a lung.

Home gym is the way to go. Power rack is essential, though. You don’t want to be the dork in the hometown paper that got chrushed under the bar. I realize that many do not have room for one. Oh well. I am looking to add the NYBB hip sled to my setup this coming year. No waiting, no backstreet boys, no fat housewives.