After a casual and evidently brash wager (laid in the wee hours after a number of gins), where I bet my friend I could do 20 chin-ups like a breeze, and then failed miserably, I’ve begun to doubt my general fitness.
Even though chin-ups are ‘obviously’ the most difficult of all, it’s come to my attention that I have the upper body strength of a fish.
In the interest of ridding myself of these T-Rex, #weakling arms, I took myself along to one of Brisbane’s best gyms—Energize Fitness 24/7—to get my shred on (or is it bulking?) and try strength training. Eeek!
So one sunny Wednesday, I headed to Energize’s killer gym in The Gap to try my hand at strength training and nail the deadlift—because I’m hardcore like that.
The fittest duo I’ve come across in a while, owners Chantal and Tyler, were my expert guides into the weighted world of strength training.
After showing me through the innovative (more on that later) and world-class gym, Tyler and Chantal began the session.
We kicked off the 90-minute initial strength and nutrition consult with a quick run down of my current nutrition and exercise habits. The list of bad habits was longer than I would like to admit, tbh.
I’m feeling a little anxious as Tyler types away on his laptop, recording all my transgressions, but he assures me that his fancy, techy computer program a) isn’t judging me, and b) will record everything and then calculate my body fat percentage before outputting the necessary diet and workout plan to make sure I get to my goals.
From there, we start the actual testing. And by testing, I mean they use callipers to pinch my fat and measure skin folds. Sure, it’s a little daunting but it’s all in the name of my #fitspo dream, so what have I got to lose?
It also allows for a much more accurate work out; rather than heading to the gym and just pumping weights for sh*ts and gigs (who does that anyway?) this will allow Chantal and Tyler to track reduction in body fat and increase in lean muscle, which is a far more effective measure than just jumping on the scales.
After I’ve been sufficiently poked and prodded, I’m then taken over to the weights, ready to grimace my way through the strength test.
There are three exercises I need to execute; the squat, bench press and dead-lift (do you even lift, bro?) so that they can make sure I’m not going to hurt myself with incorrect technique.
Now, here’s the cool bit. I thought I was a super-weakling with no ability to pick up an empty weight bar but, huzzah! I’m happy to report, I can (almost) perfectly execute a squat with the bar on my shoulders. (Don’t laugh, that thing weighs 20 kilos on it’s own!)
Chantal says surprising people with their own strength is the best part of her job: “I love showing women that they are wayyyyy stronger than they ever realised!”
“And for a woman, to feel strong—well, it’s quite empowering and it carries through to other elements of their life like their career, motherhood and relationships.”
After we complete the squat and the bench press (with A+ technique, of course), Tyler takes me back to the computer to input my results and formulate my diet and workout plan.
He’s pretty keen to let me know that he’s all about eating: no cutting back of carbs or restricting your intake of healthy, clean foods like protein, brown rice and vegetables (with the odd cheat day thrown in). Sounds like music to my food-loving ears.
The beauty of Energize Fitness 24/7 is that they are all super approachable, down to earth and obviously really knowledgeable. Chantal and Tyler are both accomplished power lifters themselves and the stable of personal trainers includes a ballerina and gymnast, an ex-AIS athlete and three rehab specialists as well. No more clique-y, intimidating gym sessions.
Not your classic 24-hour gym, Chantal and Tyler tell me that new members at Energize will have access to the Technogym myWellness key system, which allows anyone to train confidently on their own with pre-programmed workouts on each piece of equipment.
If a full strength and nutrition training program ain’t your jam, then the myWellness key is what you need.
I have to say, though, after one session with Tyler and Chantal—and despite the fact I couldn’t really move for three days afterwards—I’m a strength-training convert. Look out, powerlifters, there’s a new champ in town!
Image credits: Ariana Gillrie
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