Blog Archives

Number 15

Again, the gym that keeps on entertaining in so many ways.

15.  Last night it was chilly outside, around 35-38F.  While walking from the car to the entrance, watched someone change either into or out of their gym outfit while sitting in their car.  Based on the wiggling and moving around, it definitely included a lower body change.  Oh, and they had their interior light on the entire time too.

The gym has a changing room.  It’s heated.  It’s free.


Number 14

More from my gym/comedy club.  Have seen this twice now, cracks me up:

14 – The people who work there – Part II.  Now I’m no prude, I don’t mind a bit of flirting between staff and members (obviously I am not doing any flirting or being flirted with).  It comes with the territory of young people.  But I have to laugh, when I’ve seen one woman who works there come up to one of the guys while he is working out.  She came up from behind, completely out of his field of vision.  I only saw her because a few of us were waiting on the machine.  She actually tapped him on the shoulder right in the middle of a rep, clearly surprising him both times.  Safety first?  Wait for him to finish?  Clearly not.  I’m actually impressed the guy didn’t injure himself or drop it.


As I was sitting at the chest press after the 2nd set, thinking to myself “Why has this gotten so difficult lately?  It can’t just be the latest 5lbs.  And why are my shoulders still a little tweaky!”  when I had an “Aha!” moment.  I was reviewing my seating and grip and thinking it’s the same as always when I thought, “Hang on, the bars look a little high, did they do some work on these machines and muck up the settings?”

So I turned to my favorite tool – the picture of the the little man.  And sure enough, the bars are meant to be about mid-chest, and there they are almost top of my shoulders.  So I check my seat position, same setting as always.

When I realize..I haven’t adjusted my position on this machine since I was at least 30 pounds heavier.  I’ve lost at least some of my personal padding.  Which ties in to what I noticed three weeks ago when I switched to the row and introduced the fly and lateral raise.  I was using all those machines for the first time in a long while and went through a proper setup to make sure I did them correctly and was surprised at the seat setting being a bit higher than I would have guessed.

When I got to the shoulder press, same deal.  Bars were too high.  Though if I think about this, that probably meant I was cheating, rather than causing difficulty, but a cheat set is less effective than a proper set still helps explain in terms of lack of progress.

Because I’ve rearranged my workout last April and the rest of the machines are less affected by the personal seat cushion, I hadn’t noticed as quickly as I should.

So when I dismissed the shoulder tweaks as being sleeping funny related I may have only been partially correct.

Hopefully, the tweaky shoulders will abate now, and some shoulder press/chest press progress will continue now.

And woohoo to another visible sign of weight loss!

Fitness Plan v1.1

I started my current fitness program last April, before my birthday, my goal for 40, and starting this blog (I had been following a different, less focused approach for 18 months before that).  However, I felt the need to tweak it a bit recently for a few reasons:

  1. I was afraid I was plateauing in recent weeks on the cardio (doing elliptical for 2 years).
  2. My routine is pretty repetitive and I read something (can’t find the link) that one of the down sides to weight machines is that the fixed path of the bars can lead to muscle injury or overuse since there is no natural variation to the motion as there is with free weights.
  3. Not related to 2 (since both times occurred after off nights), I had mild shoulder aches over the last two weeks in each neck/shoulder which was hampering my progress on the chest press and shoulder press (I had to take 20 pounds off the shoulder press at one point).  I wanted to find a machine with a different motion to work the same area if possible.
  4. I was struggling to make real progress on the shoulder press even before 3.  I was concerned that that the over-isolation of weight machines meant I was not getting an area of those muscles or a nearby muscle necessary to make progress.
  5. I had maxed the weight stack on the back extension (300 lbs) and it overlaps a lot with the seated leg press muscle wise while simultaneously not getting as much upper back as I’d like.

So I have been sampling the following changes.

I still do weights before cardio (for maximum lifting power).  For cardio, I am now alternating between the elliptical and the cybex arc trainer (motion feels like a cross between an elliptical and a stairmaster).  The cybex also burns more calories per hour (if the measurements are to be believe, though often they are questionable).  The alternation should help slow down the body’s natural efficiency gains.  Would like to include the treadmill at some point, but not yet.

Weight lifting wise, I have completely swapped out the back extension for the row/rear deltoid machine.  This does mean I am currently not hitting the small of my back much, but based on the weight I was doing compered the row, I need the row more.  I am also swapping between the shoulder press and the lateral raise (both work the same area in different ways) and swapping the fly in for the chest press on occasion (ditto reason). Still doing 4×5 sets/reps.

So looks like below.  As before, this is far from an ideal pure strength program, but a reasonable compromise for me for now. Free weight equivalent lbs would be less, much less (probably 1/2).

Area Primary Machine  or Off-Session Machine
Chest Chest Press225lbs




Back Row/Rear Deltoid160lbs


Calves Calf Extension285lbs

+55 lbs

Shoulders Shoulder Press120lbs


Lateral Raise100lbs


Upper Legs Seated Leg Press345lbs


Back/Arms Assisted Chin-Up/Pull-Up55lbs assist/190lbs effective

-25lbs assist/+10lbs effective

All images taken of lifefitness equipment, no rights claimed.