Dear "Rants and Raves" readers, ever since I wrote the first article of "Rants and Raves," I have been loaded with a great deal of email at firstname.lastname@example.org of issues which deal with the gym environment. However, today I would like to start with neither a rant nor a rave. It is more of an issue that affects both in and out the gym environment. I decided to start with this "situation" because I'm quite sure we can all relate to this lady's dilemma.
Broken Heart At The Gym
I received an email from a female reader named "Laurie". Here it is:
"I started dating this personal trainer for about a year at my local gym, then suddenly, he decided that we couldn't see each other any more. I felt betrayed and angry. I can't even bear the thought of seeing him with another woman. It just drives me crazy every time I see him at the gym and feel my heart broken, even more each time I see him. What should I do?"
Dear Laurie, first of all, I'm sorry for your loss. The loss of a former lover can be devastating and sorrowful but those feelings will fade and you will get better. Heartache is one of the best teachers for getting rid of the illusions we have about life, but it may also bring up some old unresolved issues. Devastating losses like the one you are experiencing, give us the opportunity to discover our "true" self and coming to a place of self acceptance with ourselves, our surroundings and the world. Nonetheless, you are human and the healing process is erratic: some days you feel invincible, and others, you feel that a fly could knock you over. All these various emotions are part of the healing process; don't deny them but accept them all because they are part of what you are.
Here are some tips to help you along your path: the loneliness of the first month is the most difficult part of dealing with the departure of a former lover, so expect your emotions to be like a roller coaster. Second, go to another gym: every time you see your former boyfriend, your heart keeps opening those wounds and the pain is renewed; your spirit does not have an opportunity to heal and it needs to catch its breath in order to heal. Third, throw away any love letters etc. that reminds you of his presence, it makes it easier for you to move on with your life. Although this person may have appeared to be "the one" for you, there will be someone who is much better suited for you. The new man in your life will be so great that your former boyfriend will have to stand on his mama's shoulders to kiss your new boyfriend's ass. One more thing before I change the topic: heartache is a universal theme. We all fall in love and have our hearts broken at least once in our lives, so don't feel that you did something wrong by listening to your heart. If you want proof, just listen to all the sad, sappy songs of finding and losing a love, but please, no Michael Bolton.
Rant: Music At The Gym
Now for a Rant: I recently started working part-time at a franchised gym. I purposely asked for the least responsible job that the organization could muster, so as not to add any more stress to my life, which is working the front desk. One of the responsibilities is to turn the stereo to an appropriate music station. I prefer the "alternative station" because of the musical variety it offers and the crowd responds very favorably to the energy of the music. Furthermore, that's the station the "powers that be" have deemed as a suitable station.
Several weeks ago, a gym member asked if I could change the station. I replied that I would try and asked what music channel he would like. He stated that he wanted "techno" or something like that. I told him I was sure my boss would not allow me to put it in that station because very few clients like that music, and this wasn't a dance club. He was incensed by my remark and went on a tirade about how much the gym sucked and he was going to quit his membership. A small group of fellow members could overhear his complaining and, inevitably, started actively listening.
A particular member got fed up with the complaining and walked up to the irate member told him to grow up and next time he "works out" to bring in a walk-man; splendid - I could not have said it better. The point of the story is we don't always get our way; sooner or later, we all have to forego our desires for the benefit of the larger community. Besides, if the lifter was really interested in working out, the music would not be a large factor. However, if music is a major factor, spend the $30 and get a Walkman, Discman, or an MP3 player. In other words: grow up, get over it, and take responsibility for your actions, thoughts, and your feelings.
Rave: Diane's Great Calf Workout
Enough with the rants: let's get to the raves. I received a positive email from a fellow writer from Bodybuilding.com, Diane Fields and directed me to her articles. I was pleasantly surprise at the simple yet effective workouts, more specifically, Diane's calf workout. I tried it and it didn't feel very difficult. However, the next day, my calves felt as like they had been shredded with knives every time I took a step. I wholly recommend any reader to read through Ms. Fields' articles. They are informative and concise.
Rave: Planet Muscle Magazine
Time for another rave: Jeff Everson's Planet Muscle. This bodybuilding magazine, in my own opinion, is one of the best-researched, balanced bodybuilding magazines on the market. In addition, it includes great articles that include other weight lifting sports such as weightlifting and powerlifting. I used to receive it for free in my mailbox but that was a month ago. Yesterday, I noticed it on the shelf of a local bookstore selling for $5.99, which is still a bargain compared to "Muscles and Perms" magazine. Besides, Jeff Everson has great taste in choosing women for his "Planet Babes" portion of the magazine. Where does Jeff find these gorgeous women? Anyway, it is definitely my favorite "bodybuilding" magazine. Again, good information without all the fluff the other magazines fill their pages with.
Rant: Steroid Users In Natural Contests
To keep this article balanced, I will now rant about bodybuilding contests. I received an email from a reader, Wade Vail (my readers have doubled from 3-to-6) and complained, rightfully so, how a friend of his placed behind well known steroid users in a publicized "drug-free" contest. I have to agree with Wade not only from a philosophical perspective, but also from a moral perspective. Many drug-free contests are being infiltrated by steroid using bodybuilders, which is unfortunate both for the sport and the competitors. Bodybuilding is suppose to be a healthy lifestyle, but injecting abnormal levels of hormones into the body is not. By moderating your lifestyle and ethics in order to receive a little recognition and a trophy is indicative of a person who has some misguided values. I'm not saying that these people are bad, but what I am saying is that they have lost perspective of the sport. Bodybuilding, in my perspective, is meant to be used to achieve a quality of life that has long term benefits. A trophy or a title such as "Mr./Ms. America" etc., has little meaning as the individual mortgages their future for their health, and is not a worthwhile endeavor.
During my powerlifting days, I remember competing in the 165-pound class and struggling to achieve a 450 max on my squat. I distinctly recall this other powerlifter, in the same weight category, achieving close to 600-pound squat. I was in awe of this lifter, then a fellow competitor commented "the steroids must have kicked in." I was unsure of what he meant and then the powerlifter clarified his previous statement by saying "Two months ago, he missed 500 and now he's maxing out close to six, that's unreal." I replied that perhaps he was injured, and again the fellow onlooker said "Hell no, he's on the juice, I know because I know the guy who sold it to him." This statement forced me to introspect why I was powerlifting; in the end I decided that I was lifting for myself. If I happened to win a trophy, great: if not, who cares. My goal was to improve my strength levels and to stay in shape. My goal has always been to improve my quality of life and weight training is the method that I have chosen to do so. Therefore, I strongly encourage all my fellow lifters to do the same; to use it as a means to improve your quality of life. Of course there are other suitable means to stay in shape and I encourage the reader to explore them all, but for me, weight training is most to my liking and disposition.
So again to all of my readers, all six of them, before you engage in activity such as taking steroids, think about the drawbacks about such activity. Then think about the advantages of such behavior and decide these points: will this behavior/activity bring me happiness; if so, how long will the happiness last, what harm will this activity bring and how long will the harm last. Once you have pondered upon these topics, then carefully make your decision.
In closing, I want to apologize to the readers who sent email but I was unable to respond because of my ineptitude. I accidentally erased emails that I had presumed were Spam. In the future, please email me at my new address: email@example.com. In addition, if anyone has any issues they would like to be addressed in "Rants and Raves" please do not hesitate to email me.