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    Progress form.
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    ryba266 February 19th, 2018 17:59 Go to last post
  • How to survive a training session. Part I

    author Tomasz "Engine" Szczepański

    Gym potato - a guy who spends most of his spare time in front of the TV and shows no real physical activity throughout the year. As a result, the only well developed muscle he’s got is his beer muscle.

    Whenever the summer comes, our gym potato wakes up from his winter sleep (as a matter of fact - a year sleep) and realizes how pathetic his body will look on the beach. Usually he doesn’t want to improve his health condition - he just wants to look better. That’s why he decides to start working out.

    At the gym he is a true master of heavy weights - at the end of the day it is not his first season of training and after so many years he considers himself an advanced bodybuilder. Therefore, he doesn’t apply to the basic safety rules and this reckless behaviour takes its toll - injury. This is the end of his “gym experience“ ....at least until the next season comes.

    I used to be a gym potato for a long time and that’s why I’d like to warn our readers against the major traps that lead to injuries. In other words - I’d like to discuss the gym safety.

    watch out for gym potatoes

    In the first part of the article I’ll write about the 6 most common problems concerning the gym safety. The things to which we must pay a lot of attention before and after the workout. In the second part, we’ll hit the mark of the training itself.


    That’s right. BEFORE the workout. We shouldn’t start paying attention to the safety rules when entering the training area. If we don’t want to be a gym potato we must take some things into consideration even earlier! Let’s mention some of them.

    Consultation with a medicine doctor

    One day I heard a story about a group of tourists who wanted to visit a cloister set in high mountains. There was only one way to get there. They were being transported in a special basket hung on a line. What a bloodcurdling experience - steep rocks, deep precipice, crackling line and undeniable risk of death. Finally, someone asked the guide:
    - “How often is this line replaced?"
    - “There’s no need to worry - the guide shouted - we replace it whenever it snaps!“
    We wish they could hear that the line was systematically and thoroughly checked by specialists.

    The situation looks the same when it comes to our safety at the beginning of our “gym experience“. Starting heavy trainings without consulting a specialist whether our body is capable of sustaining such effort is pure recklessness. Notice that every defect of spine (or any other body part) will be perpetually exposed to huge loads during each training. We’re not able to predict when and where the injury will occur and how harmful it’ll be. Knowing the current state of our body, we’re able to design a safe, effective and in most cases - defect-eliminating training.

    a doctor doesn’t have to be associated with a needle...is’t worth visiting him from time to time!

    What if I don’t have any postural defects? Well, thanks to the experience of our coaches, as well as to the MNBBC.COM statistics, it is clear that people can be divided into two groups:
    - people with postural defects
    - people who haven’t consulted a specialist to diagnose postural defects
    We’re left with 5-10% of exceptions who prove the rule. If you’re one of those people - you’re lucky - it is as if you won the lottery. Nevertheless, remember that it is the doctor who examines whether you have postural defects - not you.

    As far as the safety is concerned, the most frequent problem is having a postural defect, so a consultation with a rehab specialist becomes a must. Everybody knows what diseases they had in childhood - depending on that, you choose what kind of specialist you should visit. There is one major rule. You enter the gym after being thoroughly diagnosed by a doctor - it’s a matter of health, sometimes even life.

    Regeneration and nutrition

    Have you ever heard about a man who didn’t eat at all? Working hard in the field everyday, doing as much as two men could and not feeling the need to sleep, drink or eat? Have you? I haven’t... You should appropriately prepare your body before starting exercising.

    In the old days people knew what hard work from dawn to dusk was. Today you can estimate that many of so called “physical jobs“ are rather sedentary. That’s why we’ve got gyms - to make up for the whole day of sitting. But the intensity of load is very high, as a training lasts for a relatively short period of time. We lift tens, hundred of kilos, rest only to catch breath and continue the fight. Sweat and tears - this is called “training“.

    It is absolutely forbidden to go to a gym being hungry, ill, sleepy, weakened or not being fully regenerated after the previous workout (and no - you can’t work out under the alcohol influence). Imagine what could happen if you exposed a weakened organism to such effort. The results could be extremely dangerous - just to mention fainting with a barbell on your back. There’s no point in putting your health and life at risk.

    Don’t let yourself be deluded by the short time of training. Not eating before it is looking for trouble.
    It can end up with and accident that will harm not only you but also other trainees.

    That’s why I strongly recommend preparing to the workout sufficiently. You should enter the gym being fully regenerated, healthy and having eaten a proper pre-workout meal.


    Now let’s pay attention to a couple of things we should remember about when we’re already in the gym
    but hasn’t started training yet.


    Warm-up is a must but you can omit it in a few certain cases:

    - if you want to get injured
    - if you want to decrease the training effectiveness
    - if you enjoy joint and muscle pain

    However, if you’re NOT interested in these bonuses, take it for granted - warm-up is a must!

    Of course I could write another comprehensive article about the warm-up itself but this time I’ll only list a few factors that have a great impact on the warm-up safety.

    1) Perform only anatomical movements - these which reflect the elementary functions of our joints. Cross out any kind of circular movements. Replace them with swings: movements during which joints work only in one direction.

    2) No stretching before workout. Stretching cools muscles down instead of warming them up. Moreover, it can distort the muscle structure, which can hamper its efficiency.

    3) During a general fitness and stamina workout we use anatomical movements such as running (jog) or riding a bike. We should avoid exercises which can damage our joints. That’s why we say goodbye to treadmill. This device is very harmful to the crurotalar and knee joints (particularly when we’re not warmed up yet) and using us doesn’t prepare us to a heavy workout.

    4) Perform all of the elements of warm-up by the book. Contrary to what might seem, this is a very important point. People often do couple of movements just to say they have warmed up. Later they don’t associate this fact with their own complaints e.g “My shoulder is killing me!“.

    Check the equipment condition

    I remember the day when being still in high school I decided to work my abs. I wanted to exercise them hanging with my head down. I built a special construction from my multigym, a bookshelf, a couple of boards and strings. Everything was going well until I decided to stop exercising. It turned out that the binding was so tight, that I wasn’t able to release myself and I had to wait fro my parents to come home and help me.

    These were my first “gym steps“. Having it in mind I’d like to warn you against all kinds of unsafe equipment.

    When training in a professional gym we assume - usually too optimistically - that the equipment is in order. It is a big mistake! The gym equipment breaks as often as any other appliance. If we have bad luck and e.g a bench can collapse under our weight or rack safety pin can break down because of the load on the barbell.
    Again, don’t risk! Checking whether the equipment works properly takes only a few additional seconds. Get into the habit of doing this.

    If you exercise at your own place on a homemade equipment (which construction you modified) you must pay special attention to safety. Minimizing the costs while constructing equipment is a very good idea, but it shouldn’t take place at the expense of safety.

    an example of bench on which you shouldn’t use

    Remember that broken equipment is not the only danger you might encounter. The equipment mustn’t swing, collapse or bend during heavy exercises. When we’re fighting with big loads using a swinging machine we aren’t able to keep the proper body posture. The muscles will be unnaturally contracted (even asymmetrically) in order not to lose balance. Not only does it decrease the effectiveness of exercising but also leads to serious injuries.


    No - you’re not allowed to neglect the safety rules once you’ve finished working out. There are still two major points ahead of us we must remember about.


    Once we’ve finished the last exercise we usually dream about going home as fast as possible. The locker room, a quick shower....STOP! We had to prepare our body properly to the workout and now it needs to cool down and regenerate.

    This is the purpose of stretching after workout. Many coaches encourage people to stretch before a training session but post-workout stretching is an absolute must. Then, muscles are fatigued, tense, full of substances that were accumulated during exercising and they have got microdamages. We need to do something in order to stabilize their condition.

    Static stretching is the best what we can do. Apart from alleviating all the problems mentioned above, by stretching muscles we increase its range of motion, which will result in the ability to perform more demanding work. This, obviously, will improve the gains.

    Of course some exercises performed during a training session may stretch the muscles sufficiently but in most cases additional stretching routine is advised.

    It’s worth remembering that we stretch muscles which have already done a great effort that day and we shouldn’t expose them to heavy tensions - even static one. Be reasonable while stretching. Moderation is the key. You have to be aware that reckless stretching leads to injuries.

    Post workout meal and regeneration

    He’s standing in a puddle of his own sweat and can barely catch his breath. He has to grab something not to lose balance and not to fall down. His stomach fails. He’s feeling nauseous. He doesn’t fully realize what’s going on but he’s sure about one thing - he’d like to be in bed right now.
    Now, answer the question. Whom does this description apply to?
    a) a boxer after a fight
    b) a burglar after running away from a Doberman
    c) a young man on his first date
    d) none of the above
    Of course the right answer is “D“ since the description applies to a bodybuilder after a workout. I might have exaggerated a little bit, however it cannot be denied that a proper workout is a really demanding activity for our body.

    After a workout we’re tired and deprived of nutritive substances. We need to eat a big, quality meal
    and to regenerate. Inasmuch as trainings do strengthen our immune system, after workout we’re prone to diseases. This is exactly the time when our organism should be provided with everything it needs.

    Don’t be like the “gym potato“ in the headline, who drinks soda, eats chips after workout and ends up at his own place couple of hours later where he eats huge and worthless supper. If we want to take care of our health and safety - remember that a quality meal has to be eaten a few minutes after the workout.

    after workout


    We’ve mentioned only a few major things connected with the workout safety. In the second part of the article we’ll get to the essence of training and discuss what else should be done in order to survive a training session.


    http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Healthcare_g355-Doctor_and_Patient_p14026.html">Image: Doctor and Patient / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Other_Mammals_g67-Cute_Bear_p28162.html">Image: Cute Bear / FreeDigitalPhotos.net