We all know how important exercise is. It’s a lifetime investment. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten away from it over the past two years. It took facing fear and trepidation head-on—walking into a completely different kind of gym from the usual big box ones. I’m glad I did. Here’s my journey.
I met Force Barbell owner, Tyler Miller, at various networking meetings. I own the fact that I found him intimidating. Then, I heard him share some of his background and that piqued my curiosity.
The first day I stepped inside his “functional,” no-frills, concrete-walled gym for an evaluation, that fear quickly returned
…but only for two seconds. No sooner was I in the gym than one of Tyler’s staff, Nathan, greeted me.
Tyler came out of his office, camera-in-hand, ready to document my journey to better health. He had me stand in an open area with a concrete wall behind me and asked me do simple movements while taking front, back, and respective side pictures. They served as my “before” pictures. He then worked up a customized program for me. That was Monday, March 23, 2015.
I came in the following Friday for that first session.
Little did I know how important it is to breathe properly. During my initial evaluation, Tyler noticed that my shoulders rise when I inhale, indicating I’m not breathing from my diaphragm, the way you’re supposed to. So, my first challenge was to learn to breathe from deep within my gut.
I had to sit on the edge of a bench, keep my arms straight and shoulders down while holding onto a bar, curl my back, tuck my butt in, and inhale through my nose, then force air out through my mouth. There were lots of aspects to my posture that I needed to be aware of. Once I got acquainted with this form, the next step was to blow air into a balloon. Talk about feeling stupid.
When you’re accustomed to breathing one way for years, learning to do it differently is a challenge. However, as I posted on Facebook after that session, there was nothing better than feeling “punch drunk” without the hangover. My brain had taken in so much oxygen that I felt high!!
Subsequent Gym Visits
Since starting my journey, the exercises seem doable, and Tyler’s team is the most encouraging, supportive group of professionals. I LOVE the positive atmosphere Tyler has cultivated at Force Barbell.
For those who remember the TV program Cheers, I feel like Norm when I walk into Force Barbell.
The staff all greet me as if I’m heading to my favorite stool at the end of the Cheers bar. However, instead, I reach for my training schedule and start working with my trainer.
Twice a week I look forward to working with Tyler or the other coaches. They help me understand the importance of proper form and explain the benefits of the exercises.
This past Monday, instead of wrapping my thumb around the bar when I held my body straight like a plank, leaning into it, I wrapped over the bar, along with the rest of my hand. Brad explained that doing it the way I was could cause my hand to slip and I could fall forward injuring my chest.
Everyone Has A Favorite Exercise
My favorite exercise involves strapping a belt around my waist and pulling a weight behind me for 200 feet. And, when the initial 45 lbs. feels comfortable, I’m not shy about asking that more weight be added.
Last week, I dragged 55 lbs. around in the back parking lot. LOVED the experience! After removing the belt, I felt light as a feather. As I get stronger, my goal is to move one of the lightest tires in the back alley.
That may be months away, though.
I love being a sponge and soak in knowing how to do an exercise correctly and learn what muscles engage in the process. And the trainers are so positive and affirming.
I’m not an Olympic athlete or a weight lifter… just someone who wants to move more comfortably in my body. The team at Force Barbell makes that possible.
What I’ve noticed in less than one month is that I walk better (considering that I have two knee replacements) and feel lighter.
I invite you to follow my journey to better health with the help of the coaching staff at Force Barbell. I’ll be posting my progress about once a month. Knowing the advances I’ve made this month, I can’t wait to share my discoveries in next month’s journal entry.
In the meantime, I’ll keep blowing up balloons and continue learning to feel less silly doing the silly but effective things Force Barbell’s coaches have me doing.