Do You Need a Place to Workout, Too?

A client will occasionally ask why my wife Sandy and I chose to open Smarter Exercise.  I usually reply, half-jokingly that it’s because “we needed a place to workout.”

The honest truth is… we really did need a place to workout!  In order to make the most of our time and still get a great workout, we needed a few things.

First, we needed a professional environment. We wanted a place where we could go and just workout without any hassles.

  • I’m impatient, and I don’t like to wait in line for equipment.
  • We didn’t want to hassle and deal with inconsiderate people who hold-on to equipment through multiple sets because they see you standing there and they don’t want to wait for you, or don’t wipe down after themselves…
  • Plus, some gyms purposely keep the temperature too hot because people assume they must be doing something worthwhile just because they’re sweating…
  • Too many times, machines and equipment don’t have clear instructions, or are out-of-service altogether…
  • And I can’t take it when the music is too loud or they’re playing music with inappropriate lyrics.

Second, we wanted a nice place that would be convenient, or we would never go.

Third, we needed it to be safe. If we’re going to get hurt, we’re going to get hurt doing something that is a lot more fun and exciting than routine exercise – you know like skydiving, swimming with sharks, or snowboarding.

Fourth (OK, we wanted more than just a few things), we also wanted privacy. Let’s face it, more people mean more distractions. Whether they are talking on their phones, talking to other gym members, hovering, staring, posturing, posing in front of a mirror, being rude, being nice – whatever they’re being – they are being a distraction. Hey, I like people, but I don’t want to share their germs or sit in their sweat – yuck! gross!

Oh, and fifth, we need it to be really, really clean!

Seriously, we needed a place to workout and we wanted it to be nice.  To workout to us means progressive strength training. We needed a nice place to workout because we want all the physical and mental benefits of being stronger. We want to be strong forever, which means we’re going to have to participate in progressive strength training forever – FOREVER!  If you want to be strong forever, too, you have to strength-train FOREVER, too!

Sixth, we needed a place to workout that we could go back to over and over and over… dare I say it, we needed a place to workout that we actually enjoyed  going to…

Seventh, it would helpful if, at this imaginary professional, quick, convenient, safe, private, clean, enjoyable place, I could make an appointment for my workout. My life – like yours, I’m sure – is very scheduled.  I need to reserve a little time each week for my myself – it has to be on my calendar, or it will get squeezed-out by other appointments that are on my calendar. Knowing someone – my instructor – is expecting me will keep me accountable, too.

Eighth, we needed a place to workout where we didn’t have to worry about packing a gym bag, changing into workout clothes, taking extra showers, and washing smelly gym clothes and wet towels.  We needed a place to workout that was kept cool and the air was circulated so we wouldn’t get overheated in the first place – that would save a lot of time!

Come to think of it – ninth– we needed a place to workout where all we had to do was show-up. 

I cannot think of a single activity that is more beneficial to your daily life, your sense of well-being, and your ability to do anything you want to do!  Feeling better and looking better, stronger muscles and stronger bones, more stamina and a revved-up metabolism all from weekly 20-minute sessions… If you too need a place to workout, you’re in luck!


The Year of the Six Pack


thom.small.2yrsEven in the leaner periods of my youth, it seems that nature and nurture conspired against me for the sole purpose of denying me the gift of a sculpted “six pack”. Darn those genes and that endlessly unsatisfied appetite for sweets and chocolate!

Honestly, if a young man is ever going to sport a six pack, it’s going to be at the completion of Marine Corps boot camp, right? We ran all the dang time, crawled in the dirt, jumped over logs, climbed ropes, did thousands of push-ups, and who knows how many leg lifts, pull-ups, side-straddle-hops (aka jumping jacks), cherry pickers, mountain climbers, bends-and-thrusts, and sit-ups… so many sit-ups.  Did I have a six pack?  Sadly, no.

thom.small.usmcSure, I was as lean as a bean, but I didn’t have sufficient muscle to cause a hint of definition in my mid-section. Today, at age 46, I have the muscle, but I carry too much body fat for my abs, my beautiful abs, to be visible to the naked eye.

So I’ve decided this is going to be my big year!  I may never grow another new hair atop my scalp, but I swear by everything holy that for once in my life I will have a six pack – if only long enough for someone to snap a photo!

My body fat is already down nearly 2% from the start of the year, but as of a few moments ago, still measures 17.0%. Conventional wisdom says my percentage body fat needs to be closer to 10% if I am to have any hope of having visual evidence of a muscular abdomen. Seven percent of two hundred total weight is fourteen more pounds of body fat to go (can you believe I only minored in math?).