An old friend drove up to hang out with me this weekend.  We have known each other for about 20 years, so he has seen me in all sorts of states.  In high school, he was the one who would drag me out to the weight room, got me to try out for all of the sports teams.  He was a very good fitness influence, whether either of us realized it or not.  In university, he joined the rowing team and I joined the international travel associations, and we went our separate ways.  But remained friends.

In his adulthood, his tastes have moved more towards craft beer.  He can go on for quite some time about dry hops, and the history of scotch ale, or any sub-subject you can think of.  So when he and I hang out once every couple of years, beer is usually the premise to the event.

This weekend, I had other plans.  I wanted to drag HIM out to the gym, and show him what I am passionate about now.

He drove in Friday night, and we went out for dinner, got settled in.  Saturday morning, I brought him to my second home:  the gym.

Back & Biceps w/a Buddy  (sets are traded back and forth from person to person)

assisted pullups:  widegrip x 10, 10; underhand grip x 10; hammergrip x 10

widegrip machine row:  210 x 12, 12, 12

underhand cable pulldown:  165 x 15, 15, 15, 15

machine hyperextensions:  285 x 12, 12, 12

SPIN class

standing dumbbell curls:  80 x 10, 10, 7, 10

machine curls:  80 x 15, 13, 10


notes:  I picked exercises I thought would be easier for him since he had not been to a gym in about 15 years (his words).  And yet, he is still so much skinnier than me!  bastard!  Assisted pullups were easy for him, since I set the assistance to counter MY weight, which made it a warmup for him.

But when we got to the machine rows, I think he ran out of gas.  I put on 210, gave him 135, and he begged his way down to 90.  The second set, he begged his way down to 75… ok, getting sad at this point!  I should mention that my friend is also a big guy like me (6’3 or 6’4), so theoretically 75 should be way too light for him.  Either his focus was not there or his energy was not there.  Funny enough, I was so fired up and cheering him on that each time it was back to my set, I blazed through it like nothing!

This continued with the pulldowns, I had one of my best series of sets in a while with that movement, while my friend kept fading.

So I brought us to the hyperextension machine, which is a relatively low stress movement, it is easy to screw the pooch on that machine, if you know what I mean.  Not work very hard.  I did my stuff, my friend did his.

After I dragged us both into his very first spin class!  Wonder if he hates me yet?  haha.  The class was packed to capacity!  We found some bikes at the back so he could blend in, but our corner didn’t get any fresh air, so we were dying from stale sweaty air.  I think my friend wasn’t comfortable with the standing climbs, so he opted to stay seated mostly.  I doubted he was pushing the effort 100%, but I just wanted to keep his legs moving and his heart rate up at this point.

After spin class, I asked him if he wanted to come do biceps with me.  He begged please no.  So I let him go do another 10-15 min of cardio on the rowing machine, while I did biceps.  I admit, without my friend there, my energy lagged on the curls, and I had a pretty mediocre biceps exercise, just average, not intense.  So I was happy when he wandered back over, and we could get changed and go have some lunch.

He stayed over Saturday night, and I offered to take him to Sunday morning spin, maybe do some legs and shoulders!  Fun, right?  But he said no, he was going to make the drive back into the U.S.  He picked up the Canadian booze he wanted, we had a few more meals, and then just like that he was gone.


This all gives me time to reflect.  Since getting serious about the gym, it is easy to measure progress in terms of weight lost, inches lost, weight lifted.  But am I a different person?  I never used to be the one to crack the whip.  I never used to be the motivated one, the aggressive one.  But these days, most of my friends and I have drifted apart, and when we do hang out, I feel bored outside of the gym, and when we are in the gym together, I feel like I could lift circles around them (I don’t have any opinion on cardio, that just is what it is, but I am ready at the drop of a hat to do multiple spin classes in a row, while most others run in fear).  So am I different?  I think so.  But this is the direction I want to move in.  I think that through lifting weights and going to the gym, I have a viable outlet to share the new me with the rest of the world, a more passionate and positive me.  But am I better?  I don’t think the old me was worse, maybe the old me even had more friends, but I think the new me might be a better version of me, yes.


How about you?  Any good workouts?