Gym Review – The Gym – Covent Garden – London

July 9, 2007

The Gym at Covent Garden is one of the Jubilee Hall Clubs.  I used this club a few times when I was in London recently.  I was basically looking for a gym that would remind me of a typical US gym (I’ve been to some questionable “gyms” in other parts of the world).  I was only sort of glad that I had found this one.

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What motivates you?

June 27, 2007

I lead a pretty active lifestyle. I workout at least once almost every day, either running, spinning, cycling, strength training, cross training, or swimming (no, climbing my six flights of stairs everyday does not count). Checking out different gym memberships, though, made me consider, why exactly do I, or you, bother?

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May 14, 2007

Is it just me, or does it feel like there is a higher concentration of douchebags in a workout environment than anywhere else; at least in real world day to day life. It kind of makes sense, after all, people tend to get into cramped quarters, get all sweaty, energized, and to some extent, completely self-involved. Social norms such as politeness or even basic etiquette tend to get thrown out the window. Maybe it’s the elevated levels of testosterone, or hey, maybe it’s just the fact that some people are complete douchebags.

Allow me to provide a few examples:

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Spring has (finally) sprung

April 24, 2007

A very, very long time ago, I had written about how I was going to be spending a whole lot less time in the gym, and a whole lot more in the gorgeous spring sunshine, riding my bicycle or running along the West Side Highway in NYC. After all, it was almost the middle of March, and I was ready to stop spending so much time inside of the gym, and a whole lot more outside. Boy, did Mother Nature totally NOT get the memo.

Wait, some might ask, “but FitFiend, we thought you liked working out, what happened?” Well, I do, but there is only so much time you can spend indoors with a bunch of machines and a bunch of other smelly, sweaty people, some of whom probably contributed to my feet issues. These are same people who wear gym clothes too many days in a row without washing, and the same ones who sometimes forget that just because you are listening to your IPOD, doesn’t mean that nobody else can hear or smell when you are baking brownies (Disclaimer: I am by no means 100% innocent of any of this).

Also, I will certainly still be hitting the gyms, but just not spending as much time in them as I had to over the colder months. While most of my cardio will be outside, there are still certain spin instructors who make life worthwhile. That’s right, a great spin class can be the highlight of my day, sometimes even week. Sure, some spin instructors revel in their classes pain, but if they are any good, I usually like it!

That said, these last 3 days in NYC have been gorgeous. I was trapped inside working on Saturday, so I couldn’t enjoy a run or a bike ride, but I have made up for it the last few days. Unfortunately, I have checked up on the weather, and I think that Mother Nature was just teasing us, because it is going to be headed back into 50s and raining later this week. This means, I will have to back inside and aside from lifting, and probably spin, I will be stuck to the treadmill or stair mill, both of which I hate. If only running on a treadmill was as much fun as this looks.

Shocking the body and the 300 Workout

April 16, 2007

I think it is a pretty safe bet that following the same workout regimen for too long will limit your body’s upside over time.  The body becomes accustomed to the same workouts and needs change to shock the system. 

For about 3 months, I had a regimen of 4 day cycles for strength training.  One day back and calves, one day squats and arms, one day hams and shoulders, and one day chest.  I would throw in cardio, abs, and an occasional day off.  At the beginning of the three months, there were noticeable gains in appearance and strength.  However, by the end, I was putting in my time at the gym and just not seeing the same types of gains.

Obviously, I figured this meant it was time to change (in actuality, I was probably a month behind).  Now, I have switched things up a bit.  I take one week and alternate between 2 major muscle groups.  For example, last week was back one day, alternated with ham days.  This week, today will be chest, tomorrow squats, and Wed. back to chest. 

So far, I have been doing this for close to a month, and I definitely feel stronger and see some visible gains.  


Another thing I have incorporated into my “workout week” is the “300 workout.”  Yes, I am jumping on the bandwagon, and nearly every single fitness related site I have visited lately has something about this workout.  Let me tell you, there is a reason for this.  I haven’t seen this movie yet (partly because of the concern I have with its historical inaccuracy, which is neither he nor there), but I do know that these actors have some SICK bods.

The 300

Wow.  I have only done it a few days, but it just kicks butt.  It is extremely intense, and part of the objective is to finish it fast.  The main 300 workout that I have seen is like this:

25 pullups

50 deadlifts at 135lbs.

50 pushups

50 jumps on to a 2 ft. platform

50 floor wipers at 135lbs

50 kettlebell clean and jerk (25 with each arm)

25 pullups

I have been throwing in some extra exercises as part of this circuit, including 50 squats with 135 lbs., 50 curls with a 45 lb bar, and 50 dips. 

The best part is, the workout takes about 20 minutes, with some additional time for the extra things I throw in.  Adding in about 20 minutes of abs and a half hour of cardio, and that is a pretty great, fun workout that really changes things up. 

Work Out – Cycle 2 – Episode 4 – Recap – “Are we talking furniture, or are we talking sex?”

April 11, 2007

Last week, we left off with the Work Out crew at Sushi Dan. Rebecca and Jackie had just “come out” to the group, and the sh*t was hitting the fan.

We pick back up with Jackie and Rebecca making out. Jesse is commenting on how grossed out he is by the whole thing. Jesse decides to take off, as he was super upset that he didn’t know anything about this.

Erika comes to Jesse’s defense, and says that he is sensitive, while Rebecca tells the camera that he needs to suck it up, in not so many words.

Brian explains why Jesse was upset. Jackie points out that Jesse has always had a problem with Rebecca. I never picked up on that before.

Peeler comments that they aren’t judging, and they are just having a hard time absorbing it all. He compares it to coming home and finding the furniture rearranged. Jackie’s response? “Furniture, I thought we were talking about sex.” Is it just me, or does Peeler get unfair crap most of the time? He usually is on point.

Tiffany walks in to the restaurant, and plants one on Jackie. Oh snap, catfight on tap. Tiffany scoots in next to Jackie. Rebecca asks Tiffany to move so she isn’t so squished. At this point, Jackie starts ignoring Rebecca and only plays with Tiffany. Rebecca is clearly super jealous at this point, especially when Jackie tells her to stop eating off of her plate. Ouch!

Erika says its time to go because she feels that Rebecca must be uncomfortable. Nice of her, considering that she is supposed to be “the bitch.” They all get ready to go except for Jackie and Rebecca. Andre makes some comments that offend Jackie, who says it’s because he is jealous, since Rebecca and Tiffany are supposedly heterosexual, but she can get in their pants and he can’t. When they leave, Andre says to Zen, “are you gonna be next?” That is what I said last week when Zen was in her nightie.

Jackie and Tiffany are talking first about Andre and then Rebecca. We find out that Jackie and Tiffany had had a hot, torrid affair for 5 months (this was while Jackie was with Mimi). In Episode 2 they had mentioned dating, but never said it was for that long.

Jackie says that Tiffany has gotten much better at sex, (Let’s guess what’s for dessert). and that she has changed; she is more masculine, and Jackie digs that. She also claims that she is normally such a sexual aggressor and now Tiffany is stepping it up a bit more.

Yes, they go back to Jackie’s drink champagne, make out on the couch, and then Jackie suggests they go to her bed. Damn Jackie got serious game!


Jackie is in therapy, talking about how she feels in control and over Mimi. Dr. Sheryl prompts her to talk about her current dating life. Jackie says she is dating two people right now. Dr. Sheryl points out that both people Jackie is dating should know. Jackie owns up about dating one of her trainers, and seems to not need to talk about it that much, and acts like everything she is doing is completely on the up and up.

Meanwhile, the guys are talking about Jackie and Rebecca and the sushi night. Gregg points out that probably the worst thing was how Tiffany came to meet them while Jackie and Rebecca had just started defending their “love” for each other to the gang.

Jesse and Jackie start talking in her office. Jesse says that she can’t make out in public bathrooms anymore. Jackie counters that all the guys had too many problems, especially Andre. Jesse says that lesbians can’t casually date.

We jump to Peeler and Andre talking about the situation and how it isn’t ethical for the boss to date one of the employees.

Jackie tells the camera that trainers date trainers, trainers date clients, so why can’t she date who she wants. Methinks Jackie doth protest too much.

Jackie walks in on Peeler and Andre, and starts discussing the issue with them. Andre owns up to being jealous, and they have a lighthearted conversation. Doug points out this is just “gym drama,” ending the issue, for now. Jackie says that in her pool, her fish are hotter and she will always get them more easily than Andre will. That is because Jackie is a man-eating, no, woman-eating shark, and she will prey upon all the impressionable, curious, heterosexual chicks out there. successful, attractive woman.

Peeler is working out with his client, Floyd, at Sky Lab. We then find out that Doug’s birthday is the next day, and once you hit 40, you really feel it (he’s turning 44).

Cheo, Doug’s ex-partner is back at the gym to work out with Doug. He had kidney failure and needs to get in shape before his transplant. Some sappy stuff between Doug and Cheo. Where did it go wrong, etc. Sorry, not much detail here.

Creepily and ominously, Cheo tells the camera that Doug Blasdell’s parents didn’t live past 43, and that is Doug’s age now.


Rebecca walks in to Jackie’s office and asks about Tiffany; she says that Jackie omits details. Jackie claims that she feels bad that she might have inadvertently hurt Rebecca’s feelings. Rebecca claims that she doesn’t really feel jealous, but Jackie sees through it. They make plans to hang out on Thursday night. (Will Jackie flake on Rebecca?)

Jesse comes up to Rebecca and says that some of his clients are lesbians (he has the Sky Lab lesbian couple as clients), and that she shouldn’t casually date one of them. Rebecca finds this inappropriate, I find it hysterical. Jesse then goes to train his clients (they really are lesbians) and refers to himself as the “lesbian whisperer.”

We go to Doug’s 44th party, a joint party with Erika (don’t know how old she is). Rebecca comes dressed up, but without any underwear. Jackie calls it “understated sexiness,” and that she taught Rebecca everything she knows. Erika shows up late, to her own party, which was low key, not like their last outings. Very slow, makes me want to drink, heavily, for them.


Andre is working out with his client Kiki. She’s doing well, but just has a problem with Jackie’s meal plan. She ate two Eggo waffles instead of Jackie’s morning protein shake. (Which is a delicious concotion of whey protein, liquid amino acids, Mega Green powder, Flax seed oil, mixed berries, and milk).

Doug is with his friend Cheo a the hospital. We get to see some medical procedure that I won’t go into detail about. Arteries, blood, needles, oh my!

Doug is sitting through the procedure, and starts looking woozy, dizzy. Cheo says he is dehydrated.

We cut back to Sky Sport and Spa, and Erika walks in to train a client, and tells Rebecca that the crack is back (Crack is Whack!!) Erika’s client is Megan, who wants to fit in a dress by the Oscars. Erika is training her and tells her that consistency is key, and that she is doing a workout (peripheral heart action) that quickly shifts the focus between the upper and lower body. Would be interesting to learn more about this type of workout. I think it keeps your heart rate consistent while working out different parts of the body.

Jackie hasn’t seen Doug since his birthday party. The trainers are standing around and realize that nobody has seen him.


Doug hasn’t trained anyone at Sky Sport for a week, and none of the trainers have seen him since the party. Jackie gets a call from Cheo. She feels numb, wants to walk away, but she can’t because she has to stay strong for her trainers.

The trainers gather, and Jackie informs them that right around his birthday, Doug got a really bad flu. He was so dehydrated that his kidney shut down. The doctors put him into a drug induced coma, and he developed a really bad infection. However, he is out of the coma and recovering. At this point, Jackie is saying that she thinks he will be out of the hospital in a week or two.

Next week. Another team building session, with Rebecca throwing a glass of water at Jesse. I guess there really is tension between them. Drama!

Overcoming obstacles and making gains

March 26, 2007

One of the things I have been working on this past winter has been getting stronger.  Week after week, day after day, I would try to make sure that I would eat properly, get the right amount of rest, and do enough cardio that made me happy, but would still not take so much out of me that I couldn’t really get stronger.

Still, the gains felt kind of minimal.  I was building, but only adding maybe a few more pounds here or a few more reps there.  Nothing really concrete.  Take the overhead bar military press, for example.  I had reached a point where adding 25lb. plates on either side of the bar was my  heaviest, and I was just trying to add reps. 

Last week, all of a sudden, I was able to pump out 3 full sets with no problem using what had been my obstacle weight.  And not just with that, but also with squats.  I overcame my obstacle weight, to the point that I wasn’t just trying to build on reps, but I actually killed all my sets.

Aside from eating well and sleeping better, I definitely had cut back on the frequency of my heavy lifting days, something that I am normally reluctant to do.  This overtraining has been sort of a stumbling block, but I think, for now, I am over it.

So how did I feel after breaking those obstacle weights? Pretty damn amazing.  Any goal you ever set and achieve, small as it may be, is worth taking note of.  The little things will add to bigger things, and so on. 

Unfortunately, right after I hit those gains, and was super pumped about them, I caught the flu.  Guess I will be starting from a lower base this week.