Barbells aren't that scary

From The Archives - I’m going back through the old blog and reposting some of the best articles.

If you check out our website or follow our posts, you might look at the workouts and think you need to be very fit or skilled to train with us. We post strong opinions about health and fitness and the importance of strength and dedication in training. And our gym may look a bit unapproachable to a novice or someone who is out of shape. But we love getting novices to work with, and we think newcomers to our gym will find that they are welcomed and supported, not judged, regardless of their experience level.

I particularly like working with novices because you can make such great strides so quickly. And if someone comes in who is already an accomplished athlete, of course I want to help them in any way I can. But the difference I make for them will be small, while the difference I make for a novice will be much bigger.

First and foremost, we are a learning gym, not a competitive gym. While you may see difficult movements and heavy weights posted for our workouts, we don't start you out there. There are many steps along the way to learning a full movement like a barbell snatch or a double kettlebell jerk or even a tall box jump. We don't scale to make things easier; we offer progressions to help you learn how to move and get stronger over time. And we are in no hurry - we want you to make sustainable gains and improvements in the quality and confidence of your movements.

Some gyms have a strong competitive vibe. They write down "scores" for workouts, they pit clients against each other, they push people to do more difficult/heavy movements than they may be ready for, they want people to live and die by their performance in their workouts. These places are uncomfortable for most novices because there is so much pressure to perform at a certain level. It stratifies the clients in a way that's reminiscent of high school.

I've seen this far too often, and I do not like it. And so when we opened, we did so with a vision of a gym as a place of learning and development, not performance. Intensity, focus, and dedication in the gym are important, but so is patience. If you are learning, progressing, developing - at any rate - we are happy and we think you will be too. Please don't let our image scare you away. We have a wonderful group of people training with us who all started at different levels, who all have strengths and weaknesses, and who are all continuing to progress. I think almost everyone who comes in our door sees that, and that's why people stay and make real changes in their fitness and health.

Amy Santamaria