More Stoic Fitness and a Tour of My Gym


I worked out this morning.  It took me 16 minutes.  It should have taken shorter, but it was a little warm and muggy.  Before I get into the workout, I have to take you on a short tour of my gym.

Yes, my gym is in my garage.  Besides the bicycles, scooters, and storage tubs are a squat rack, with a cable assembly, and some dip bars (they are removable).  My club membership fees are zero, and my commute to the gym is very nice.  But what about all that equipment cost?  Well, did I luck out or what…I found all of it for $450 on Craigslist, except for two extra 45 lb plates that I bought for, I think, $10 at a yard sale.  The plates were rusty so I had to wire brush them and spray paint them black with Rustoleum.

Here’s a photo of my workout log.  You’ll see today’s workout at the bottom:

My Workout Log

As I said, my workout today was 16 minutes (M) long, and did I mention it was muggy?  Not really hot (probably about 80 F), but muggy…this slowed me down.  I always finish my workout faster and get better times in Winter, when it’s cooler.
**OK, you might note in my last post about exercise I had some machine exercises listed.  As an AF retiree, I do take a trip to the local Air Force base in the middle of Summer and use that gym, but it’s a good long drive and I usually couple that with other errands that I run.  In the Summer in Texas, sometimes it really does get just too hot for the garage.  In any case, the garage is good for at least 9 months of the year**
You’ll also notice on my log that I only workout once a week (see my previous post on Heroic Stoic Exercise)  Anyway, here’s what I did during those 16 minutes:

1. Squat 195 lbs or 2:15 minutes (that’s when I failed…left the squat bar on the catch).  Today I had a fantastic session of squat.  The last time I squatted, I just ran out of gas at 1:42…like I just lost my will.  This time failure was in my legs, I literally could not lift the bar with my legs.  To call it a burn would be an understatement.  I do not squat as low as many do.  Frankly, I find it tough on my knees and less demanding on my whole body if I squat too deep.  I usually end up getting stuck at the bottom of a squat without really feeling like I had a complete set.
2. Dips (non-weighted…see my dip bars closeup in photo below) for 57 seconds.  I swear by dips.  The late Mike Mentzer, a world class bodybuilder and high intensity training pioneer (I think it’s safe to call him that), called them “squats for the upper body.”  I really agree.  …and they are so much better than the typical chest/tricep staple, the bench press.  I am not a fan of the bench press.  I think it is a “high-risk of injury” exercise.  Plus, I rarely have a spotter, and there’s no way I would bench without one.

3. Cable Back Pull for 54 seconds.  I use the cable assembly that’s on my squat rack.
4. Straight Leg Deadlift with clean and shoulder press.  So, I lift the bar with my hamstrings and lower back (knees slightly bent) to my waist, then raise it to my shoulders, then press it overhead, then repeat until I can do no more.  I don’t do this with very much weight, just 70 lbs.  At 1:36 I was just toast…it felt like the air I was trying to breathe was pea soup.  I just started performing this one last week.  I’m not sure if I like it.  I get very tired, very quickly, but I am not sure how much it is helping my strength.  I really don’t feel too much muscle fatigue.  I might go back to just shoulder press.  I can’t stress enough that the movement on this exercise (and every other one) are very slow and methodical.  I never use jerky movements and concentrate on balance at all times.

I just thought I would share my weekly workout.  I workout to maintain my health, to be fit during times of stress or trauma, and to just feel good.  To be fit physically, is to be ready mentally as well.  Also, if you’ve read the intro page to the site, you know that I Distrust 99% of what I have been told is true.  Well, High Intensity Training (HIT) is one of those things that has lurked in the shadows, and is only now beginning to go mainstream.  It is the alternative to the “cardio craze” and “the spend hours in the gym” rubbish (that 99%) that I was fed earlier in my life.  The concepts of HIT are sound and rational, and the science backing up HIT is sound.  Check out the Body by Science link in the links section, or google Mike Mentzer or Arthur Jones to start your journey…then decide for yourself.

One last thought.  If you decide that HIT is right for you, learn and research, start slowly, and be patient.  If you make the switch, it should be a lifetime pursuit.  There is no need to hurt yourself by overdoing it…ever.

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