Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gym Review: Bullitt County YMCA

As a personal trainer and strength coach, I have been privy to visiting a lot of gyms.  I have worked in many and have been a member of others.  In a previous life, I have even sold equipment to most of the gyms in the Louisville area.  I have a generally good idea of what makes a good gym, what makes a bad gym, and what makes everything in between.  So I wanted to make a periodic post on what I think of ALL of the local gyms in the greater Louisville area and wherever else I may workout in my travels.  You can use it as a guide or you can use it to tell me that I'm full of crap.  Whatever.  

A little about how my ratings are going to be.  I am going to have 6 categories: equipment, staff, cleanliness, amenities, members, and miscellaneous.  I'm sure there are other variables that can go into this but I'm a pretty simple person and these are the most important to me.  I could easily get into group class schedule, pricing, parking, location, whatever.  And those might go into the miscellaneous pile.  Who knows.  Since this is the first post of this type, I'm kind of winging it here.  So, without further ado, my fist gym I'm reviewing is the one I go to the most.  It's the Bullitt County YMCA

I have been a member of the Bullitt County YMCA for about 5 years.  I went there because I was a member of a nasty gym, Hester's, which I will review at another time.  That one will not get good reviews, I can say that already.  Not only have I been a member of the B.C. YMCA, I have also sold them a lot of their equipment.  I know the staff very well and they even allowed me to teach a crosstraining type class there once.  The B.C. YMCA is located in Shepherdsville, KY right off of I-65.  For the location I guess it serves it's purpose.  Bullitt County doesn't require or need that much.  The population there is not high maintenance so neither is the gym.  

Equipment:  This facility has a full line of Paramount strength machines with some Cybex thrown in.  I'm not a fan of machines but for the money, I guess the Paramount line isn't too bad.  Not too many plate loaded, it's all weight stacks.  They have 2 racks of dumbells,  2 power racks, 1 smith machine, 2 bench presses, 1 incline, 1 decline, and a cable cross multi-gym.  Throw in a bunch of misc. benches and it pretty much has everything that's needed for the strength world.  The plates are great but if you are looking for bumper plates, this is not the place.  For cardio, they have a full line of Precor ellipticals and treads and AMT's and a few Star Trac treads with cardiotheater.  A couple of Cybex Arc Trainers and 1 Concept II rower fills out the cardio line.  I would prefer one more rower and for more of the treads to have entertainment systems with them but I guess this line of equipment fits the crowd that goes there.   The quantity of equipment is good for 8 months out of the year but from January to April it can be tough getting a treadmill or getting into the free weight area with the increased crowd.  
Rating:  3.5 dumbbells out of 5

Staff:  I know the staff here well.  The Fitness Director, Chris, is a good guy and seems to know how to implement programs to try and get everyone involved.  The front desk staff is very friendly and I never have any problems with Justin or anyone else from that area.  I know a few of the group instructors and they are all very good at what they do.  They seem to have a very loyal following for the group classes, of which I do not partake any, but I see the crowds that go.  One area I think could be improved is the personal training staff.  Chris has told me that there simply isn't much personal training that goes on there, so maybe that is why I haven't been impressed with it.  The fitness staff seem fairly knowledgeable on basic fitness program design but I think they need to work on continuing education in order to stay abreast of the latest trends (not fads) in the fitness world and keep up with the latest research.  
Rating:  3.5 Ex. Phys degrees out of 5

Cleanliness:  For the most part, this facility is very clean.  It should be.  The standards the YMCA of America sets for all of their facilities is pretty high.  I rarely see nasty sweat stains on the benches or treadmills.  The locker room is pretty clean and I don't feel like I have to fear to tough anything in there or the rest of the facility for fear of MRSA, although I can never say enough about the importance of shower shoes regardless of where you go.  
Rating 4.5 bottles Hibiclens out of 5

Ammenities:  This facility has a full gym, 2 racquetball courts, 2 group rooms, 1 spin room, a kids room with games, and a whirlpool and dry sauna in each locker room.  Oh, and a child watch for kids under 7.  The one thing lacking that I desperately wish they had was a basketball court.  They do have a hoop in one of the racquetball courts but it's not very good and it's taken away when their are racquetball players on it.  I'd love to be able to take my kids there to play basketball but that doesn't happen.  
Rating:  3 basketballs out of 5

Members:  This is the fun part.  Rating the members at a facility could be hazardous to my health.  It's possible they could read this blog and if I knock them, they may be waiting for me in the parking lot.  That said, the members for this facility are definitely from the country.  They are very blue collar, working class citizens and generally good people that are very polite.  During the day, there is a huge population of active aging adults (old).  After working hours, there is a huge population of meatheads that congregate in the free weight area and generally just take up space.  If they spent their time working out rather than talking and standing around, I'd be able to get through my workout a little easier.  90 percent of the members at this facility are great.  It's that 10 percent that congregate in the free weight area and stand around and do nothing or stay at the bench press for their entire workout that drive me nuts.  
Rating:  3 sleeveless Affliction shirts out of 5

Miscellaneous:  One thing I love about this YMCA, that can be said about all of the other Louisville Y's, is they stay current with the latest equipment.  Every year they make a big capital purchase, rather a lease I should say, and bring in new equipment.  I like that.  A lot of gyms are still running on Trotter treadmills and ancient Nautilus equipment.  But these guys are pretty good about staying current.  And the equipment is rarely broken, which is a huge plus.  They recently re-did the locker rooms and I like them.  The one thing I would knock is that they do not provide gym towels.  I realize that can be a pretty large expense, especially when people are always mistakenly taking them home, but I'd still like to see them.  The music leaves some to be desired, but that's why I bring an ipod.  
Rating:  4.5 gym towels out of 5

Overall rating:  22 out of 30.  

Great job Bullitt County Y.  You guys do enough to keep me coming back.  While some of the crowd that hangs out there isn't particularly my type and I wish you had a real basketball court, you do a great job with what you have.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

The problem with meatheads

I have a love hate relationship with the CrossFit community.  I hate it because a majority of the board shorts wearing, shaved head, nov8 shoes wearing, kipping pullup sheep shun their nose at you any time you question anything that Greg Glassman has every said because you do not question the messiah of CrossFit.  But I love it because whenever you walk into a CF affiliate, everyone there is there to work.  They are there to work their tails off and lift a bunch of weight a bunch of times.  They are there to jump on boxes, run 1/4 mile sprints, throw around kettlebells like they are nothing, and simply work.  That is an awesome environment to be in.

Similarly, I have a love hate relationship with globo gyms.  You know what they are, YMCA's, JCC's, Urban Active, Gold's, whatever.  I love it because I can go in there, not worry about anyone chastising me because I'm not perfectly paleo or that I forgot my board shorts or that I might not feel like doing pullups for the 18th day in a row.  I hate them though, because they are absolutely filled with meatheads.  And you know exactly what I'm talking about.  The big muscle bound arseholes that congregate in one area and take up all of the weights in that area for at least the whole time you are there.  God forbid you come in and ask them "Are you done doing wrist curls at that squat rack?".  They walk around with whatever free supplement t-shirt or Affliction shirt they could find with their milk gallon jugs of water, gloves, weight belts, and talk about the latest issue of Muscle and Fitness like it was some kind of tabloid. DID I MENTION THEY DON'T F'ING MOVE OUT OF THE WAY?!?!?!  Look, one of the single biggest rules I have in a gym, besides putting you equipment away (which they don't do that either), is using the right weight for whatever you need to be doing.  I swear if I see another sleeveless DB on the squat rack doing wrist/arm curls, I'm going to throw my 2 pood kettlebell up his flipping anus.

JEEZ!!!!!  Sorry for the rant, just had to get that off of my chest.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Getting ready for the Triple Crown

Yes, yes, I know.  It's only December and the first leg of the Triple Crown in Louisville isn't until the first weekend of March.  I know this.  But the Triple Crown is a 5k, 10k, and a 10 miler.  They are all separated by 2 weeks only.  If you have ever run this event, you know that when the 5k comes around, you need to be able to do the 10k.  And when the 10k comes around, you better be able to do the 10 miler.  2 weeks in between events isn't that long of a time in between to ramp up for the next race.  I haven't been doing much cardio in the past 6 weeks due to my shoulder surgery.  30 minutes on an elliptical 3 times per week doesn't really cut it.  So now is the time to get things started.  

I was given clearance by my surgeon last Friday to start running, lightly, again.  THANKS DR. SALAMON!!!  He gave me this clearance with much hesitation but he knows I'm a beast and can take it (kidding!).  I may have ran a marathon earlier this year, but I am starting from absolute scratch on this one.  Day 1 of my running will be on Thursday morning.  I am starting with some light running, just like Dr. Salamon told me to.  5 minute intervals at a slow pace just to get things going.  

I'm doing all of this to get things geared up for the Triple Crown Training Team starting in January.  No, this isn't just another shameless plug for me team (starting January 14, informational meeting January 7, more information found on Facebook).  The type of training we will be doing with that is very similar to what I'll be doing over the next month just to get back into shape.  High intensity interval training is the key to success with the Triple Crown.  I was challenged today why this type of training was better than long slow distance training.  Going against the grain regarding fitness training often ruffles the feathers of those that have always done what everyone else is doing (see CrossFit).  I guarantee that with HIIT training, you will be the most prepared you have ever been for these races.  If you want any information regarding interval training, shoot me an email and I'd love to get you going.  There are a ton of resources on the internet, just do a simple Google search and you will see.   

Most of all, you are training for a challenging course of events.  Make the most of it and have fun.  I know I will!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Life is Fragile

Last Friday, there was a fatal accident right outside of my wife's work.  She said she saw the entire thing happen.  Driver A had a seizure while driving and crossed the lane and ran head on into Driver B.  Driver B died.  Driver B was simply crossing the bridge, probably on his way back from lunch or something.  He had absolutely no idea that morning would be the last morning he would brush his teeth, possibly kiss his wife goodbye, take his kids to school.  listen to ESPN radio, or whatever else he liked to do.  It's truly an accident that he never even saw coming.  It's something that could happen to ANYONE and ANYTIME.  He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My point in this is to ensure that you seize every single day of our life.  You may hate your job.   But you are alive and have a job.  You may have little aches and pains that are associated with getting older.  Be thankful you are getting older.  Your children may be annoying.  Make sure you cherish every day with them.  You didn't run your last 5k in the time you wanted.  Make sure you train hard today because you can.

My intention is not meant to be overdramatic.   I just wanted to say that I am glad to be alive and will continue to thank God for every day he gives me.