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Monday’s workout:

Max Squats.
Brick Don’t Hit Back
KB Swings. Heavy, 1 Minute. How many?

Wednesday’s workout:

Max Bench
Powerslave Modify the dips accordingly, but time this sucker.


One Step at a Time

Our whole recent dialog (see last two posts) might find common ground, or at least a starting point for forum, if we equate walking with an entry level to movement for health purposes. Sure, there might be other options, but let’s consider that the first step could be, literally, the first step. Let’s see through the eyes of an organization that is trying to reach the demographic that needs this first step. It might be hard to grok this lowest common denominator of movement, especially for those of us who have accepted the gospel of serious sweat and embraced brutal training as playtime. As mentioned before, we might mean well when we come from the if-I-can-do-it-so-can-anyone camp, but often that turns into snobbery, not motivation.

Train Hard
Eat Well
Rest hard

This is the prescription/mantra we understand to create progress in our lives, but again, this is a luxury model not available to everyone. Exposing the idea of intensity might scare off some of the people who need to get started the most. Perhaps instead of critiquing the organizations that are aiming their artillery at the non-movers, who we can call ‘first-steppers,’ we should encourage these program designers to follow up with steps two and three.

My critique, instead, would be that there seems to be a plethora of organizations aiming at the same goal. I wondering if a little communication and merging would create more momentum. Seems like the train has to make too many stops before it can gain the speed it needs to climb the hill. This is where government funded programs and departments can take a page from the private sector handbook. Bodytriber Brian Fisher is the local king of networking, with one of his many projects being the massive Sacramento information website Midtown Grid. Brian puts people where they need to be and works with folks to get things done. I’ve never known anyone with as much passion for putting pieces together like Brian. Maybe I get him to chime in on how to rope in all the separate organizations and departments into one common movement, because currently it seems a bit diluted.

BUT, the mission is not without merit. Getting First Steppers walking may just be one of MANY first steps that can be taken, but it is valid. Of course the fear that any first step will end up in a face plant if there aren’t second and third steps already in place is also valid. Perhaps, as Bodytriber Amanda mentioned, we need to have our own forum, inviting the organizations involved to open a dialog with our tribe. We’ve got a great collection of resources, opportunity, brains, and that much needed impetus of desire to create change. So here I shall speak my latent conviction and make it universal sense… let’s have a Gathering of the Tribes with a different mission than we’ve had in the past. I’ll start making arrangements…



I visited a gym in Truckee during my stay there, a gym “voted best gym in Truckee,” which is convenient, being that is the ONLY gym within 30-40 miles. The typical machine and mirror show, it at least had a squat cage and half rack, although nary a bumper plate to be seen and there was a sign on the mirrors stating “please do not drop the dumbbells.” Rubber coated dumbbells and rubber floor simply begged for me to disobey this rule, so after every set of 1-arm snatch/windmills, I let gravity make sweet, violent love to the dumbbell, with a thudding embrace that was of a volume that would still seem tame compared to Bodytribe levels. The other two gym patrons seemed to not notice, probably due to the 70’s/80’s pop rock station pumped through the gym speaker system.

Let’s play a little game. Count how many clip art pictures of bicep curls are on this gym’s website.


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Showing 7 comments
  • Craig B.

    I am highly interested in this ‘little’ project…

  • Josh

    Hey, bicep curls fall under the “first step” category right?

    Is it movement or marketing snobbery to count how many bicep photos are in their website?

  • chip

    Pure snobbery. Ya’d think a gym would want to highlight it’s members by featuring them and their own facilities in their pictures instead of clip art.

  • Veronica

    “Exposing the idea of intensity might scare off some of the people who need to get started the most.”

    This is why all those health organizations focus on walking. When my ex set out to lose a whole person (or have to self administer insulin shots,) his trainer set him out to walking for 15minutes. Or some other piddly amount. It’s been over a year later and he’s lost over 100lbs, goes to the gym almost daily, watches what he eats a lot better than before, bought himself a bike.

    I guess if we want to effect more people we need to put our snobbery aside every no and then – it’s not so easy to do sometimes.

  • Craig B.

    I think that there are some cool, simple steps that could be taken…more of firstly just thinking of the logical progression from sedentary to ambulatory to not-ill to not unhealthy to healthy to fit to strong, healthy, mobile, etc… what are the pathways that most usually work from point a to b to c. Don’t know. Maybe it’s a question of getting the storie sof those of us who were never athletic and looking for common denominators?

    I know that for me, the huge re-invigorator was finding out what was possible- so for some it can be realizing how high the bar can be set, while for some it may be something else.

    Part of the issue is a lot of folks thinking that they ‘hate working out’ or ‘hate exercise’…which to me seems like weird kind of body loathing…how could you not want to use it? Often I think this is awkwardness, feelings of inability, fear of looking foolish, fear of trying and failing. Much like me and asking girls out in high school, actually.

    I certainly understand that many people are not going to be inspired to squat three times a week at five in the morning right out of the gate…but something should be inspiring…

  • Chris

    I don’t know, but this is a list of the so called top rated equipment in the gym……..

    # Ellipticals
    # Paramount Modular Systems
    # Paramount Selectorized and Plate Loaded Machines
    # Recumbant Bikes
    # Spinning Bikes
    # StairMasters
    # Treadmills
    # Upright Stationary Bikes

    Sounds a little boring to me, but the girls in the pics caught my eye.
    What the hell is a Paramount Selectorized ?
    Apparently we are not living the Americam dream !

  • Zac

    I’m a “never was athletic.” I never understood traditional team sports. Anything that involved running around with a ball, throwing a ball, or, god forbid, *swinging something* at a ball just never made sense to me. Still doesn’t. When I go to a baseball game I need someone to explain the game to me as it goes along. I can’t track it. This is despite being fairly intelligent in other arenas… When I was a lad (80s and 90s), PE programs seemed to be based largely around just such sports. “Jocks” excelled, I didn’t. ALSO, I was in my formative years right when the “President’s Physical Fitness” tests started happening. Those tests, being biased towards smaller bodies (’cause kids are small, right?), were more than a little tough for me – I was damned near six feet tall and over 200 lbs by 6th grade, and I’m afraid my pullups (lack thereof) hadn’t quite caught up. Getting my ass kicked in pullup tests and timed mile runs did *wonders* for my self esteem, let me tell you…

    That said, individual sports always made sense to me, and appealed to me. This may have had something to do with my environment. My dad was an avid recreational cyclist, and my brother followed in his footsteps. Football was rarely on the television in my parents’ house, but every July we watched the Tour de France.

    When I last jumped on the fitness bandwagon (in July of 06) after having previously been on & off a few times (about a year in high school, and again for a year in college, both times focusing on uneducated, BB-style weight training) I had let myself get into quite a bad situation. Type-2 diabetes was, I’m certain, just around the corner. But what really got me to commit was the fact that I felt *inhibited* by my body. I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. Basic tasks were uncomfortable. Substantial (and fun) physical feats were out of the question. When I realized that I got out of breath tying my shoes, but wanted to go *kayaking,* I decided to once & for all change.

    I committed one evening, and I’ve been on the bandwagon ever since. And I NEVER went through a “walking” phase. In addition to dietary changes, I started right out going to a gym, doing a three-day, push/pull/legs split with basic BB style lifting, supplemented by hampster-wheel cardio. 80 lbs disappeared in a year. Granted, I want to get down about 60 more (which should put me in definate “lean” territory), but I count that initial loss a good accomplishment. That initial training has slowly morphed into what it is now, with me currently doing four weeks of westside-style powerlifting training in prep for the Sept. 14th meet. I’ve never (since July 06) had a problem sticking to my training, but strength athletics has always appealed to me. Perhaps if others find a pursuit that tickles their fancy the same, they’ll stick to it.

    So strength athletics has turned out to be my cup of tea. Golf might be someone else’s. But one thing about strength training that I think might to be valuable to all (*especially* those first-steppers) is that, when it’s done the Bodytribe way, it *teaches you to use your body.* Many folks, before they’ve been coached in a squat or deadlift, don’t know how to use their hips. I see kids bend over to pick up things *from their rib cage* – I’ve quite literally seen a 15 year old boy keep his spine straight through his abdomen and bend over at the thorax, arms reaching down, scapula flared all the way out. How someone learns that level of bodily disfunction, I don’t know, but it needs to be corrected before they move on to other pursuits. My point? Many folks could benefit from some “squat school” and what not – not simply because of the strength gains (and all that that yields through trickle-down), but because of the learning of proper movement patterns.

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