Originally published in my blog, Closer to Awesome - Sept 13, 2011
I have the best gym around. Really. Let me explain. Tuesday's training at Redemption Kettlebell Gym is a lower body day with the heavy lift being the Deadlift. It's a good day, a solid program that, while being pretty tough, is well received. Today was different, though - particularly with the 5:30 and 6:30 pm classes. They were both great examples of why people respond better to and enjoy the semi private model so much more than private training.
The energy that developed in the 5:30 class was amazing - truly one of the times where I don't even feel like I'm working. I had 4 people in class - Alex, Mike, Thomas, and Padma. Alex and Mike worked the deadlift together on the same bar, and Padma and Thomas worked on their own. As they all progressed round after round, Alex and Mike kept adding more weight to the bar, and so Padma kept adding weight to her bar, and I began adding weight to Thomas's bar.
Alex and Mike had worked themselves up to the point where, even after the timer went off signaling the end of the training block, they wanted to get one more set of pulls in, just to hit more than they did last week. I let them. Mike hit 245 for 5 - 10 lbs up from last week. Alex hit 255 for 5 - his biggest pull in months. Of course, Mike felt left out, so went back up to pull 255 for 5 as well, with Alex looking on and coaching from the side. This is a PR for Mike. When he completed his set, he was met with a smile, cheer, and double high five from Alex.
What's cool, is that their energy was driving the class. Their enthusiasm and continued success round after round created an environment where Padma and Thomas couldn't help but catch it. Padma lifted more than she has in a while. What was a weight she once struggled with (115) is now a weight she can work through. Thomas pulled 155 for 5 on the trap bar. That's the most he's ever done. I swear the look on his face throughout the entire last half of training - he was smiling so much it looked like he might burst. And keep in mind, we're not doing 5 pulls and sitting down. These guys were falling right into kettlebell snatches and pullups after the deadlift with a peripheral field test being their only rest. When 6:30 pm class rolled around, Steve finished with a clean set of 260 for 5 - 25 lbs. up from last week. This raises the bar and sets a new standard to beat in what Mike has started calling "Deadlift Wars"
You see, that's what a real gym is all about - community, environment. A place where someone helps you change the weights, spots you through a lift, coaches you through the hard parts, and encourages you to reach farther. No one's doing another rep, or holding on a little longer because I told them too. I'm just the guy standing around with the cup of coffee. They're pushing through because the other people in class are too, and that's something altogether different. Yeah, a real gym's a place where, no matter where you're from, you're all connected by a common cause - to be something, someone better, and that community is the place where you can stand on someone's shoulders or find an outstretched hand reaching out to help pull you up to a higher place, even if you're not necessarily aware of it. So, yeah, that's why my gym is the best around - because that's what I've got, and it's only getting better.
Eric Chasko is the head of Redemption Fight Club. He is a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Progressive Fighting Systems Full Instructor. From young athletes to busy professionals, he helps people develop the physical, mental, and emotional strength to win on the field, on the street, and in life.