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Old 04-18-2005, 03:19 PM   #1
Joshua Newman
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Or, 'A Delightul Gymnasium-Shopping Adventure'

At the last NYC WOM, the lovely Norma Loehr mentioned that the Equinox gym chain has bumper plates at their 43rd St. & 5th Ave location. As that's a ten minute walk from my apartment, and as there's another (sadly, bumper-free) branch literally around the corner from me, I decided to pop in and talk to someone at the nearby branch about possibly joining up.

For the last three years, I've been working out at Mid City Gym, also just around the corner. It's literally in a basement, rather small and cramped, but remarkably cheap (for New York, at least - $40/month) and full of actual weights and o-bars rather than 'friendlier' contraptions. I had no idea had good I've had it.

After walking in, I was sent over to 'Laurie', the perky blonde sales rep. Conversation highlight:

Laurie: So what brings you to Equinox?

Me: Well, I hear you have bumper plates at the 43rd and 5th branch.

Laurie: [Quizzical expression]

Me: Rubberized plates. For Olympic Lifting? The Clean & Jerk or the Snatch?

Laurie: [Looking even more lost] Okay. We have weights here too.

Me: Right. But bumper plates are made out of rubber so you can drop them from overhead after a lift.

Laurie: [Shocked] Is that safe?

Me: Well, more so if the plates are made out of rubber.

We continue chatting, covering the monthly fee (just $147 a month!), then head out for a tour of the gym itself, featuring such crucial amenities as plasma screens in front of the sea of elliptical machines. We pass by a handful of Cybex machines and my eyes lock on the pile of medicine balls.

Me: Do you have any medicine balls heavier than 10 pounds?

Laurie: Oh no. They don't make them heavier than that. They wouldn't be safe otherwise.

Me: [Snarkily] Though, I assume, it would be safe to lift other items here heavier than ten pounds?

Laurie: [Blank, confused smile]

Then it's downstairs, through a further sea of Cybex, to, huddled in the corner, a single bench, squat cage, and a surprisingly decent array of dumbbells and plates.

Me: Wow! You guys have a lot of 2 1/2 pound plates; those are always in use at Mid City.

Laurie: Well, as you can see, they aren't used that much here.

Me: You wouldn't happen to have 1 1/4 pound plates as well?

Laurie: [Humoring me, as I'm clearly insane] Uhm... let me ask a trainer.

Laurie confers with a steroidal trainer doing tricep kickbacks nearby.

Steroidal Trainer: [Sizing me up] I think you should be able to use heavier plates than that.

Me: I try. But, sometimes if you're working up to a 1-RM, it's easier to inch up the poundages in smaller increments.

Steroidal Trainer: Actually, sets of eight to ten are much more effective for adding mass.

Me: [Suddenly mirroring Laurie's blank, polite smile] I'll keep that in mind.

So, in short, bumper plates or not, I'm sticking with the dingy Mid City dungeon. The guys there may think I'm slightly nuts, but a single WOD at Equinox and the management would clearly be calling in the friendly folks with the white jacket and giant net.

[Fin.]
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:49 PM   #2
Norma Loehr
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I am totally laughing! That story really sums up the Equinox staff. They have no clue and generally regard me as a freak, especially when I am laying on the floor gasping for air after a WOD.

A CFer, Joesph Blaire, recently started as a trainer there and he has tried to talk to them about CF and they just say things like it is too "advanced".

Not that it matters much at this point, but they do have some lower weights of bumper plates at the Greenwich location. After spending the weekend at CFHQ, I really wish we had a CF NYC gym!
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:50 PM   #3
Keith Wittenstein
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HIGH-LARIOUS! My lung is aching!

That's too damn funny! You should challenge that trainer to a pullup contest or HSPUs. What a great sequel that would make.

Seriously, you should take a walk over to that other location and have a look at the platforms and kettlebells maybe there is someone there that knows something.

On a brighter note, I found a 400m track up at Riverbank State Park. I'm moving up to that neighborhood in a couple of weeks and will check it out to see if there are any places to hang my rings.

Norma, you and Joseph are our spies on the inside. Do some recon and find out when we can infiltrate the Equinox and take over the platforms and kettlebells for a guerrilla workout!
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:52 PM   #4
Matt Gagliardi
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God I hate situations like the one you found yourself in. Did you get the idea that the "trainer" you bumped into had absolutely ZERO concept of anything beyond "3 sets of 8-12 reps"? He probably reads Muscle Media every month and considers himself well-informed.
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Old 04-18-2005, 05:26 PM   #5
William Hunter
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I can't believe you found a gym for $40 a month in NYC!

Man do I love my basement.
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Old 04-19-2005, 06:39 AM   #6
Frank C Ollis
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Joshua,

Rage ball in Equinox, I dare you!

We will post your bail, I promise!
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Old 04-19-2005, 08:38 AM   #7
Joshua Newman
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As I've been running some numbers on putting together an NYC CF garage gym collective (more information soon, hopefully), I picked up CFJournal #1, the 'build your own garage gym' issue.

If only Equinox had trial memberships, I'd see how far I could get through the issue's handy ten-step "How To Get Kicked Out Of Your Gym In Ten Days Or Less!" list before they called in the cops.

While I'm thinking I wouldn't even make it past the first day, certainly the third ("While practicing the Olympic lifts drop a max load from overhead.") would do the trick. And, if nothing else, it might help Laurie finally grasp why I'd been eager to find bumper plates.
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:09 AM   #8
Ron Nelson
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Please see my rant on the Comments for April 19, 2005.
My sentiments exactly!! Again, most trainers remind me of Nigel of Spinal Tap:
"But these go to 11!"
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:49 AM   #9
Matt Gagliardi
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Would anyone like to lay a bet down on the idea that the purchase of bumper plates by Equinox was nothing more than a marketing ploy?

"Oh look...these are really different-looking. Let's buy them, we'll seem more "real"".
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:57 PM   #10
Kalen Meine
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Wow. Like wow. The thinking. Or lack thereof. If there had been a pool there, you could've had some real fun with a bunch of scratch-n-sniff stickers. Knock 'em off one by one as they snark water to get a wiff of bannana scent. It's sad, though, on a few levels. The first is the stupidity. To get strong, move something heavy. To get powerful, throw something heavy. Duh. The second is the lack of effort. Let's see how little like exercising we can make exercise. Strap them into some torture contraption (BowFlexes scare me. They look like they could kill. And I'll always get ****ed when I walk past the Bally's on a sunny day and 20 folks are lined up on treadmills IN FRONT OF A PATH) And surprise, the thing that doesn't look like exercise, doesn't produce the results of real exercise. Now, I'm no hoss, but I'm pretty new to intense training, largely because all the Equinox-esque crap out there turned me off for a long time. And when you actually do something- it's FUN! There's something to challenge, and a goodly endorphin wave. I realize I'm kinda rambling, but this is the kind of thinking that needs to be quashed wherever it crops up.
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