Better late than never!

I know, I know. I was supposed to put something up earlier today. My bad. I’ll make up for it with this one, my friends, because today, Chirag is gonna rant. Hold on to your hats!

But before that, a little aside. Just before bed, dad decided to bust out the Bailey’s Irish Cream for all four of us. Just because. As I’m sipping it (out of a shot glass, and with chipped ice), I notice that it tastes funny. Roshni agrees. I mention the taste to dad, he looks more closely at the bottle. The instructions say that it should be maintained at a temperature between 5-25 deg C. It seems that the bottle had been left in the liquor cabinet, as opposed to in the fridge. It had been in that non-air conditioned cabinet for over a year. The fact that I live in Baroda should tell you what probably happened. Needless to say, I flushed the rest of my shot glass, and will make sure dad does the same with the bottle.

Right, on with my rant. Now, just to warn you all. This topic will likely only hold interest for a small subset of my readers (Sirm, KP and Pintu, I’m looking at you). Everyone else will go, “What’s the big deal?” But here it comes. I’d gotten a two-day trial pass for Talwalkar’s, so even though I was pretty sure I would be going with Gold’s Gym, I decided to give it a shot. You never know. Anyway, I’m glad I did, because it just confirmed my decision. It’s not that Talwalkar’s (T’s for short) is a bad gym, it just wasn’t right for me. Like I mentioned previously, it’s split between two floors. I’m starting out with a full-body workout to remind my body what exercise is like. Because of the exercises involved, I had to take the stairs several times. Definitely not good for staying in a groove. Also, some of the machines were poorly designed. I’m not saying they were in bad condition or anything. They were poorly designed by the manufacturer. For example, the seated leg curl machine. Normally, there’s a bar that rests tightly on your quadriceps to keep your legs in place. This machine had the bar resting across my shins. So when I curled my legs, the bar wouldn’t always be holding my legs down. I’m not sure I’m getting a good feeling about this place, but I keep plugging away.

Then came the event that inspired this rant. I’m getting ready to do some dumbbell shoulder presses, and I see a kid doing squats on a Smith machine . For those who don’t know, the main difference between a Smith machine and a regular cage is that the Smith machine has vertical rails that guide the movement of the bar, while in a cage, there’s completely free motion. In other words, in a Smith machine, you don’t need to balance the bar properly while moving up and down. This can make it easier to carry the weight, but I don’t know if you get as much of a benefit out of it. I guess a simple analogy would be how cycling on the road is better exercise than on a stationary cycle, because you’re using more stabiliser muscles to stay upright.

So, he’s doing squats and he’s got terrible form. He is literally leaning back against the bar as he’s going up and down, and his feet are planted about 8 inches forward from where they should be. Those of you who know what I’m talking about are probably shaking your heads right now. So I’m looking at this in dismay, and I turn to the trainer, who’s standing nearby watching me work out, and I mention it. The trainer looks at the kid, nods, then faces forward again, workout sheets in his hand. I think, “Whatever”, and continue. Then, the kid starts another set and does it again. This time, I’m just staring at him. Trainer just looks on. After the kid’s done, I go over to him and tell him that he’s basically setting himself up for some major back injuries. I spend a good three or four minutes explaining and demonstrating the proper form to him. All this time, the trainer just looks on, without really contributing to the conversation at all. I’m starting to wonder if he has any idea of what he’s doing. Anyway, the kid finally gets it, and I go back to my shoulder presses. The trainer goes back to his spot, diagonally behind me, looking at me in the mirror as I lift. That’s about when I make up my mind that I’m definitely not coming to this gym, unless Gold’s turns out to be absolutely pathetic. (By the way, when the kid left, he walked by and said, “Thanks sir.” ; )

When I’m leaving, I talk to the guy at the front desk. I told him how unimpressed I was with what I’d seen upstairs. As soon as I demonstrate how the kid was doing the squats originally, the front desk guy goes, “Oh, that’s very bad for his back.” “I know. That’s what I was telling him. But your trainer didn’t seem to know what was going on. I’m not trying to get anyone in trouble. But if someone gets injured working out here… I’m just trying to help you guys out.” Fortunately, he seemed to be taking me seriously. But either way, I probably won’t be going back there again.

Funny side note. I’m used to the American style gymnasium, where you come in with your stuff, you do your thing, and you leave. As I’m walking in after changing, the trainers notice that I’m carrying a small notebook, and ask me what it is. I tell them I already have a workout I’m going to do. They were just so confused. It didn’t seem to have occurred to them that someone with a clue might actually want to work out there. The first ten minutes, I got asked no less than ten times if I needed any help. One guy even wanted to look at my workout, and after inspecting it closely, suggested that I leave out the military presses. “But why?” “I just think you should leave them out.” “But why?” “Too much strain since you haven’t worked out in a long time.” “But I won’t be using heavy weights. I’ll be going very light. But I want to get that shoulder press motion in.” “Oh, ok.”

*Chirag shakes head*

I know they meant well, but it was still slightly unnerving. But even better than that were the peons. Yes, peons. There were guys in the gym who’s main purpose was to help people move stuff like floor mats around. One of them took out a mat for me, and when I was done and trying to put it back, he waved me aside and took over. Later on, I’m doing seated rows on the floor, and there’s one of them standing nearby, keeping a careful eye on the patrons, ready to rush to anyone’s assistance. I look at his feet, and I see… his feet. He was walking around barefoot. In a gym. Standing next to machines with 25 kg (i.e. 55 lb) weights hanging off them. Barefoot. Wow…

Sooo… no Talwalkar’s. I’ll try to get a trial pass for Gold’s, just to make sure it’s not an even bigger shithole. Let’s see how it goes.

In other news, I found something this morning that made me very excited. I’ll have more details on that tomorrow. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait.


2 Responses to “Better late than never!”

  1. goddessrinki Says:

    How dare you not mention me in your post?! j/k….i’m amazed that you were able to write THIS much about working out…..and when getting to the more interesting part of the post for readers like me, this is the crap we get:

    “In other news, I found something this morning that made me very excited. I’ll have more details on that tomorrow. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait. ”


  2. ssethi Says:

    That’s ridiculous. As you were shaking your head in your post, I was in utter awe! What I’ve seen in India – and people working out — they think they’re these big hot shots.. and as I saw them lifting… I couldn’t help but notice their posture on everything that they did. What is the worst part of your whole post is — barefoot… wow, that’s just really sad. Maybe it’s Indian culture and how it’s mixed in with Gyms in India? Food for thought.. =) Let us know how Gold’s is… I’ll be very interested to hearing about that!

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