Commenters warned me – find another gym which caters for the serious trainer.
I know, I know but there’s a pool metres from the weight room and it’s clean and new and light and the view over the water is lovely and everyone’s so lovely and incompetent and I do know how to do the programme for myself.
Of all the things which can and can’t be compensated for, the most annoying is leg curls. There’s a machine for extensions [who needs it when the bike is being ridden?], there’s another machine for extensions but none for curls. All right, you say, just use the bench. Next time, I’m strapping dumbbells to my ankles.
Anyway, the first day was pretty inauspicious and cautious but one incident got my goat. I came to the biceps about five exercises in and went over to the bar. 30kg was a bit much when reps was the goal so I went to take off a couple of weights.
No chance – needed an Allen key to undo. Called the man in and he apologized but he couldn’t allow that. “Look, ” I explained, “I need less weight to start with, if I want 20 reps.”
He nodded to the Smith machine. I wanted to say, “Are you mad? Who ever did biceps on the Smith?” Then I paused, took a breath and asked a question I already knew the answer to: “Who actually told you that it was OK to do bis on the Smith machine?”
“Elfan Safetee,” came the quick reply.
“Ah, I wonder how many of them train? Look, it’s like this – when a person trains, he increases the amount he can lift by about 3-5kg each new time. He therefore needs to be able to change the weights on the bar. This is what gyms do. This is what they’re about.”
“Sorry, you’ll have to use that machine [Smith]. You can change the weights on that. Elfan Safetee, y’know.”
“Let me put a scenario to you. Imagine I’m a newbie or an idiot. You’ve told me I can’t lift any other weight except 30kg. So, when you leave the room, I lift the bolted in bar and do my back in because I’m an old codger and it was too much weight for me. So, the club is liable and where is Elfan Safetee then? I only need say that Elfan Safetee wouldn’t allow me to lift the correct weight and they’re absolutely f—– … er … not in a very good position.”
“Sorry, sir. I truly am. But the man came through and told us what we could and couldn’t do.”
“Fine, fine, of course, thanks for your help.”
I did the bis with dumbbells alternating.
To cut a long story to a medium length, it was a nice morning overall, the swim afterwards was lovely, the weather outside was lovely and we’re back in harness.
Feel better already.