Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time since I arrived to Boulder. The fitness center is located on 2900 Iris Avenue. This is the fourth branch of the 24 hour fitness franchise that I visit, with the other ones being located in San Diego, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara, California.
A Humble Return to Weight Lifting and Bodybuilding
I bought my 24 hour fitness membership two months ago, when I was still living in Santa Barbara. It had been four years since I had stopped going to the gym. After graduating from San Diego State University I became very busy running my private consulting business. By the time I decided to get back in shape the approach had become my yoga practice. Bodybuilding and weight lifting had become a thing of the past...
But fait brought the iron back into my life. It was three months ago, during a trip to Brazil. Somehow I ended up watching an old school video of Arnold Schwarzenegger and suddenly thinking: “Why not?” When I returned from my trip I called my friend Andrew and asked him if he would be willing to train with me. He had been lifting for the last three years at 24 hour fitness so I decided to get a membership and get back into it.
We lifted together for a couple of months, between two and four times a week. It was great training with Andrew because he had been lifting consistently for the past three years and was able to coach me back into it. He was especially helpful when it came to proper form and body mechanics. He was also great at reminding me to make adjustments to my nutritional intake. For the past years I had gotten accustomed to a “yogic diet” and it simply did not work for bodybuilding. After making a handful of adjustments I was able to keep up with the workouts and started to see some muscle gain.
Bodybuilding vs. Yoga, Opposites or Complements?
When I was younger (and naive) I used to think that yoga was only for girls. I thought it was for people who wanted to be more flexible and even thought I absolutely needed more flexibility, I was only interested in building muscle. As I became older I understood the importance of stretching muscles for proper muscle function and growth. However, still being naïve, I thought I could drop all forms of exercise and stick to just yoga classes and nothing else. My body became more flexible than it had ever been, my balance was (to my standards) impressive, my mind had become calm to the point that I could actually notice my thoughts (quite a feat if you ask me). On the other hand, I had lost some size and my explosiveness and power had taken a toll.
Today I find myself a little older and a little less naïve, wise enough to recognize that life is about balance. This means exercising the ying as much as the yang, the passive as much as the active. I am not saying that every yoga practitioner needs to start lifting weights. There are yoga styles that are able to balance both forces. What I am saying is that if we want to be well rounded human beings it is important to do some type of cross training. For some it may be yoga and bodybuilding, for others it may be running and QiGong. Whatever it is, I find it important to be able to have a regular practice, and at the same time, be able to challenge our body, minds and hearts with something new.
24 Hour Fitness in Boulder, A Beautiful Place
From all the 24 hour fitness I have been to, Boulder’s is by far my favorite. The space is huge with plenty of machines and free weights to go around. There are side rooms with cycling and group classes. On the left side of the gym there is an indoor lap pool, steam room and a sauna. On the right hand side there is a full basketball court (which I am very excited to get into given that I haven’t played basketball since before I stopped lifting weights). The fitness center is conveniently located near the center of Boulder, only 10 minutes from my house. To top it off, there is free parking right in front of the gym, free of charge, no time limit. Simply wonderful.
During my first visit I worked out my legs. I was mentally prepared to take it easy since it seems that my body is still adjusting the elevation change (I moved from 50 feet above sea level to 5,500). I heard someone said that it takes nine months for our bodies to fully adjust to a new area, especially if the weather is so different. I am not sure how long it will take, but I know that I will be giving 100% of me to get to the highest level of fitness I ever been to.
After an hour workout that included squats, deadlifts, weighted lunges and a handful of machines I decided to call it a day and head back home. As soon as I got in the car I drank a scoop of protein powder with water and was sure to have a nice full meal by the time I got home. Many times before I had made the mistake of over-training and under-resting, depriving my body of the essentials it needs to rebuild those teared muscle fibers and recover for my next workout.
To be honest with you, I almost cancelled my 24 hour fitness membership before coming to Boulder. I knew that this town is FULL of yoga studios, health and fitness centers and all sorts of opportunities and options to train and get in shape. This being said, I am glad I kept my membership, I will enjoy swimming some laps at the pool and joining pickup games now and then. I know this place will be a great place to make connections and new friends, not to mention my humble return to lifting weights and bodybuilding.
Maybe soon I will look like Arnold. ;)
See you next time at the ...