Take a Moment for Safety

As a new year begins, people will be flocking to gyms to get a good jump on their fitness goals. This will find more people of varying levels of experience moving heavy loads through a confined space. Oh! You've got that new shiny treadmill or weight bench for home? Then, in your case, there's risk in pushing the envelope of physical endurance without someone nearby in case of physical or equipment failure. Either way, it's a good idea to keep safety in mind when engaging in a fitness activity. Here are some ideas:

Before You Start: 

  • Get a checkup from your doctor prior to beginning any exercise or diet program. 

In the Gym: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings both when exercising and moving through the gym.
  • Fitness Machines:
    • Understand the purpose of each machine and how they work. If you are unsure, ask an employee at the gym. 
    • Start off with a very light weight to get accustomed to the movement, making sure you are engaging the correct muscles/ muscle groups. Then add weight as desired. 
  • Free Weights, Plate-Loaded Equipment, and Squat Rack:
    • Use a live spotter.
    • Employ safety stops. (e.g. Leg Press)
    • Utilize spotter bars. (e.g. Squat Rack)
  • Mechanized Equipment (Treadmills, Elipticals, Stair Climbers, etc...):
    • Wear the Emergency Stop Tether.
    • Locate the Emergency Stop Button before you start.
    • Know when to use hand-rails and when not to use them. (This will vary by machine and activity)


Opportunity Cost... or Opportunity Lost?

Opportunity Cost  

Opportunity cost is defined as the value of something that is lost because you choose an alternative course of action.
The opportunity cost of going to college is the value of the lost years of income which you would have earned if you had not quit your job and gone to college.

"opportunity-cost." YourDictionary, n.d. Web. 20 August 2016.

Opportunity Lost

Opportunity lost is defined as having the available time and resources at hand, but failing to utilize them.
The opportunity lost of not attending practice is not being selected to perform with the group.  
            ~David Grumblis

It is inevitable. 

Any time I choose to squander an opportunity for exercise or sport, something beyond my control will happen to prohibit my participation the next time out (or three). A last minute project at work, an unexpected health issue, a family emergency, etc..., it never fails. Not only am I disappointed for missing workouts, I am doubly upset at myself for passing up each perfectly good day to be active.

In short, the future regret of 'skipping the gym' always outweighs the immediate gratification. 

Let us ponder the aforementioned terms in this post and their application to our outlook on exercise. We choose to participate in an activity because we value the benefits of that activity over all other possible alternatives. The positive mental and physical benefits of exercise, and in the case of team sports and group activities, the camaraderie, outweighs the benefits of all other endeavors. This is 'Opportunity Cost'. 

'Opportunity Lost' is flat-out failing to seize the moments where we can be active. 

So, the next time you feel like driving by the gym or skipping that yoga class, weigh the Opportunity Cost and ask yourself if this will be an Opportunity Lost.      

2 Books and 1 Website

Outside of the coaches, instructors, masters, and grandmasters under whom I've studied, 2 books and one website helped form my core attitude towards fitness and exercise. 

What is my core attitude?

Functionality - The exercise must contribute to more efficient transference of energy.
Proportion - Muscles must maintain proportion to effect an efficient transference of energy.

1. "Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men" by Arnold Schwarzenegger with Bill Dobbins 

This book lays out the basics in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Excellent for beginners as it outlines a progressive exercise routine that can be done without the need for expensive equipment. Don't let the title fool you. While the author does touch on bodybuilding in later chapters, the exercises and methods are transferable to most fitness goals. It's money well spent to get started, and a go-to resource as you grow.

2. "The Art of Expressing the Human Body" by Bruce Lee and John Little

The most comprehensive resource that chronicles Bruce Lee's complete journey to generate functional strength for his performance as a martial artist. This book covers everything from weight training to cardiovascular endurance, circuit training to stretching, nutrition, philosophy, etc...  There is something for everyone here, and a great inspiration for those of us who aren't genetically gifted with a giant frame!

3. Steve Reeves International Society (

Steve Reeves, Mr. Universe 1950, was a pioneer not only in Bodybuilding, but fitness as well. His accolades came at a time when muscle definition, proportion, and function were valued over sheer size. In his day, 'musclemen' valued both strength and endurance of the total body. Many of his training methods and nutrition ideas have remained key elements of athletic training to this day. Check out his ideas on Power Walking. This website provides a wealth of information for those who look to build functional muscle and maintaining an active lifestyle.