I have become a Free Weight Snob, eschewing the machines.  I have bought into the claim that using the machines, which by their nature, isolate each muscle, may give you a good-looking body – but – are functionally irrelevant.

Many, many years ago I was super heavy.  Ok – I have been super heavy many times over the years, but this was in the late 70’s.  Yeah – 1970’s for you young whippersnappers.  I decided to ago on a diet and join a gym.  The one closest to my office was a Nautilus place.  A good amount of Nautilus equipment, only a half-dozen or so bikes and related cardio equipment and a small amount of free weights. 

One of my business partners and I went over there to check it out.  This was the first time I had been in a gym since high school – which was maybe 15 or more years earlier.  If you read some of the pages of this Blog, you know that I was in Corrective Gym in High School.  The phys ed guys put the Shlubs of the school in the weight room and beat the shit out of us.  It was a sad situation.  Entering that Nautilus Gym was the hardest thing I had ever done.

The guy who took us around was the father of the owner and probably his money backer.  He was a construction guy.  No salesman he.  The heaviest  weights were ours to suffer.  My hand was shaking so hard, I could hardly hold the pen to sign the contract. 

Set the weights and follow the rules: Do 8-12 reps on a machine and move on to the next one in the circuit.  If you couldn’t do 8 – then – lower the weight.  If you could do the full 12, then raise the weight.  How much 5% – until you got to 100 pounds – then – 10%. 

I lost a lot of weight and was really getting into “body shaping.”  Kept this all a secret from my wife, even when others mentioned my weight loss – “oh – just the vest on this suit makes me look thinner.”   Bull shit – could not fit into the vest previously.  Eventually, I had to tell my wife – she cried and was very upset – why – if I could keep this a secret – I could have been cheating with another woman.  Sheeeshhhh. Women!

I felt secure doing this since it put no pressure on my back or knees.  What a fool I was.  I was not working the Core and stabilizing muscles.  My back and knees continued to bother me.

Today, I only do free weights, cables and body weight exercises.  I am doing Squats and Dead Lifts.  My back is fine and my knees – thanks to the f’n High School sadistic gym teachers are still messed up, but doing better.    My body shaping – no – it is not as good as using the machines.  But – I can do unassisted Chin-ups and Dips.  I can do Push-ups and Crunches.  From a strength point of view – I am way better than I have ever been. 

Thank you Alwyn, Lou, Adam, and Chad, I appreciate your help.

And as far as weight loss – well – thank you Adam and Jeff – and the good Dr. Atkins.