Welcome to the Blog!

Scroll down for the latest posts!

sticky-2-readHowever, before you do:

This blog is for guys who admire other guys who put real effort into their physical development. It is NOT exclusively gay, but hopefully you will be gay-friendly.

tumblr_neimn2tEkV1qffcrao3_500The rules are simple:

  1. Make an effort to improve your own fitness this year (you’re NEVER too old);
  2. Enjoy the pictures (and comment please on what you see, and feel free to ‘FOLLOW’);
  3. Buy a book (preferably, all of them) to support the continuation of the blog!

The books (print and e-versions available) are about finding gay love, developing ourselves as acrobats, starting a family (yeah, I’m a gay dad and enormously proud of my teenage son!!), going on tour, meeting difficulties ‘head-on’ (they become a bit of a thriller as well). sticky-1-readLinks from all posts from September 2014 onwards will lead you to more information and potential purchase – they are in almost every post and either through clicking on images of the covers, or on the separate links when given!! And, as the image on the right clearly shows, you can follow all of these rules at one go…

The blog is essentially G-rated; the books get a little explicit from time to time about gay guys doing what gay guys do – you don’t have to be gay to enjoy them – just be gay-friendly. 

And now, as they used to say on the old TV game shows: “Come on Down!”⇓

*** Many pictures will enlarge if you click on them ***

 

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More Maths

What gymnasts (above) do requires many hours of training. What so-called ‘fakirs’ do (and about which I wrote last time) just requires a bit of muscle in the right places and a knowledge of maths or physics.

As was clear from the correction I had to make to that post, maths may not be my strongest subject! However, it enables to put to bed the myth that guys (or indeed girls) who perform on beds of nails are doing something ‘extreme’.

Let’s say that on our full length bed of 765 nails, your body rests on (at most) one fifth of them. Your weight is then supported by 153 of them. Now I currently weigh approximately 154 lb (70 kilo) so that is, on average, one pound per nail. 454 grams per nail, if I am not mistaken. That is almost nothing in comparison with what your skin can take, with its amazing elasticity and resilience to puncture – and add a bit of muscle underneath it to ‘take the strain’, and you can see that anyone – you, yes you – can do that. Doesn’t even hurt – well, not very much: you just need to take care how you get on! And you can easily stand another person on top and still it’s only 2lb per nail (although it won’t be so evenly distributed, so a bit more where you are strongest (back and butt). Job done.

It’s just that it looks good in a show if you want to extend the length and cannot carry on indefinitely doing acrobatics!

No more trade secrets, now, except to add (rather obviously) that doing a bit of work on your muscles certainly helps – the one thing to be avoided is a nail directly on bone, so really skinny people, take care!

Meanwhile, in other news:

As the new ‘encampment’ is not up and running as yet, we’ve had quite a bit of time to ourselves. Obviously we’ve been working out on the first phase of the new equipment, and having a bit of fun with acrobatics, like these guys:

…well, that’s one of the ways Dave and I could spend our time together! Quite odd, actually, to have a weekend completely free, so we’ve been exploring in the company of a very sweet resident British couple that were curious about the building work and live just about a mile away. They’re a bit old for our sort of capers, but it has been extremely kind of them to show us where most of the Brits go to do this and that, shopping, and so forth… and they have a car, which we don’t as yet, so we offered to buy them Sunday lunch if they chose the place. They did – very successfully – not exactly the traditional Sunday roast that we trained Clare to do back in Tennessee, but close enough! And it’s good to know a few people outside of our immediate circle and interests. So thanks to Richard and Annie for that…

…thanks also to those that have bought my books so far. A royalty payment, finally, after a huge struggle to wring some money out of the publisher. There’ll be a different publisher for the next book. But meanwhile, you can keep us is tea and biscuits by joining those loyal blog readers who have returned the favour – just click on a cover or explore Amazon etc for e-versions! The books will certainly help in setting our ‘context’ without me having to explain everything over and over!

And now – some more male fitness inspiration for you, focussing entirely today on backs. Backs do not get the attention they deserve in terms of ‘coverage’ on the net… or maybe I mean ‘uncoverage’!

Training the recommended way – and sweaty with it:

Building the power:

…that’s the way to do it!! Result!!…

Handstand training…

Yep, the gym work does it!

 

 

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2720… oops, no: 3060!

Note added 22/04/2017 – woke up realising that I can’t do maths. Counted 340 short. I’ve altered the numbers in the main text!!

3060… a big number which has flummoxed the local hardware outlets! Ponder on that one for a moment while I bring you up to date on what is now our fourth day ‘on site’ at the new job. Work just over for the day…

Without local lads Alfredo and Sebastien (not sure how he spells that in Portuguese) I think that we would be completely flummoxed as well. They are the first members of our ‘staff’ to be appointed – while most of the site here is still covered in builders, they’re not going to bring more in – since there won’t be any holidaymakers here just yet, for the same reason, that makes sense. But they have guided us through registering with the tax authorities, confirming our identities and residence here with the bank (so we can start to get hold of our own money!) and explained how one registers and insures a car (Seb’s father runs a garage, surprise, surprise!). All that and more, as well as getting on with fitting out our first gym.

There’ll be no shortage of dumbbells, for a start.

…each one individually wrapped, as if it were a wineglass. So much packaging! Assembling racks and resistance machines for gym no 1, which is on the ‘family’ side of the enterprise, so we have a lot of ‘kiddie gymnastics’ stuff to unpack and assemble as well. The logistics of having 50% of the gym open air (in fair weather), while protecting the machines (particularly) from the occasional rain that occurs even here and then everything from the more usual sun, has been a challenge, but our plan seems to work out, considering that we had only seen an empty shell and then submitted the suggested designs from 4000 miles away!

But we’re all ‘worked out’, I think – in all senses of the phrase. Especially the young lads, who need to be trained to supervise the equipment. They tell us that their sports (up to now) are swimming, football and ‘fighting’ – which appears to mean boxing on the beach. ‘Now we become bodybuilders!’ says Seb. We’ll see!

Roger and Ellie remain here in our guest bedroom until tomorrow. Roger, who is a freidn from schooldays in Oxford and some kind of financial ‘facilitator’ in London, basically got us the job after being involved in getting investors together, not only from UK but particularly Russia, Germany and Finland, apparently, which is where this place is going to be marketed in a kind of ‘exclusive’ way. The initial focus will be on Russians – I hope they speak enough English (or maybe German, which I can just about manage): ‘management’ is discussing the potential opening date right now for the ‘family’ half, with the rest to follow after.

So, all going well towards a sunny summer: and the season here can last pretty much all year, as it always so much warmer and sunnier in winter than the northern climes of Europe.

So: to 2720… well, the clue lies in our other responsibility – organising evening entertainment for the future auditorium along with ‘pop-up’ exhibitionism around the pool areas from time to time. Readers of the books will be well aware of some of things we have gotten up to in our murky past (and readers of this blog too)…

…acrobatic entertainment, and also some ventures in fakirism, mostly exploiting simple physics to sustain what the innocent bystanders would consider to be ‘orrible torture  (of course, nothing of the kind – we’re not daft… well, not entirely…).

A ‘standard’ bed of nails has nails at 1½-inch centres (I can now use UK spellings again!!!!!!!), so our standard bed at 5’6″ x 2’0″ needs 45 in each row lengthways and 17 across, if you do the maths (UK spelling there, too). That’s 765 per bed and, since we need to normal ones and one double-sided one for our normal routines, that’s 3060 six-inch nails to be hammered through slightly undersized pre-drilled holes in the MDF after it’ has been painted. The double one is two single ones bolted back to back, and the single ones have an additional MDF backing to secure the nail heads. Add carrying handles…job done. Except that it isn’t, because our regional hardware supplies went white when asked for that many nails! Fortunately, Alf went over to talk to the builders on site, and I think we’re going to find a large box waiting for us in the lobby at the end of their shift. Well done again to our ‘fixers’.

We’ll be working on that on our roof, as well as ‘playing’ on our own weight equipment which we’ve bought as part of the personal touches to the apartment. The site provides the basics, but we want  quite a lot of our own stuff as well. Busy, busy…

…but not too busy I think to share some more fitness inspiration with you. Join the lads below, and enjoy!

 

 

 

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First Day at The ‘Misfits Motel’!

…that’s Dave’s nickname for our new residence – a little unfair, I feel! We arrived to the local train station mid-day yesterday feeling seriously jet-lagged, to be met by two smiling local lads (‘Alf’ and ‘Seb’, who are our first two ‘staff’ members) and my old schoolmate Roger, who has had a lot to do with getting the directors of this enterprise together and basically recommended me and Dave for the joint jobs of managing gyms and entertainments.

(Yes, I’ll keep the fitness inspiration going…)

We weren’t expecting Roger, but it turns out that he and his wife Ellie are our first guests in ‘our’ apartment, staying until the weekend (which is fantastic). Ellie was already sunning herself on our private roof terrace, to Alf’s slight embarrassment when he quickly rustled up some coffee in ‘our’ kitchen and came up the stairs – Ellie, like us, is a naturist fan when she gets the chance! Alf and Seb (they’re both 19 by the way) are going to have to get used to naturists since this new ‘club’ offers ‘clothes optional’ to both families (on one side) and to adult couples and groups  (on the other).

We are ‘in the middle’ in a small ‘staff and guests’ accommodation block. As we arrived in the elevator, a guy was just commissioning the WiFi which (as you will gather) works well in our apartment and is separated from the main site guest WiFi which could become overloaded. There are two apartments on the top floor: we have one, and the other is for VIP guests. Each has access to a totally private roof terrace in addition to the normal balconies afforded to every other apartment on the site. Hills to the rear, sea view to the front (south) where the balcony is. Below us on three floors, accommodation for special guests such as entertainers, whose toing and froing we shall be managing when the auditorium is finished and when guests start arriving – entertainers like these:

…and (occasionally) maybe ourselves and our old mates. Ethan and Jack are already asking for a residency!”

Yesterday, apart from being taken to meet two of the directors (a Russian and a German) we were told just to relax and sleep off the trip. Today, with our clocks at least partially re-set, and accompanied by Alf and Seb, we set off to see to our delivered gym equipment.

The complex so far is still, officially, a building site, so we had to wear hi-vis vests and hard hats to reach the first gym. But our clothing suggestions for ‘normal’ work have certainly been met: on each side of our chosen wide double bed we each found six pairs of ‘company’ Speedos, six pairs of gymnastic-style shorts, three pairs of ‘combat shorts, three vests and three ‘muscle’ tops, plus two ‘fleece’ jackets – all in house colour (burgundy ) and marked ‘STAFF’ – so we shall not need to be at the washing machine every day, that’s for sure!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, with ‘clothing optional’ areas on both sides of this complex and a very favourable climate, it is going to be minimal Speedos most of the time for us! Perfect for a quick dip in the pool when we get a moment…

…none of ‘our’ pools is actually operational at the moment, but the sea is in easy reach!

So today we spent a lot of time checking out the first gym (family side) and unpacking and assembling the first delivery of the equipment. All going well, and it is becoming clear how we can manage the open-air part of it and still protect the equipment on the rare occasions during the holiday season when it rains. Cloudy today, actually – rather a disappointment! The flooring in the ‘exposed’ section is brilliant, and is similar on half of our private roof terrace (the rest is flagstones) – there’s even a barbecue up there as well as sun loungers, table and chairs and.. (now wouldn’t you have expected this) some additional lifting equipment that we specified and paid for ourselves – dumbbells, bars and free weights, a bench and a rack for the bars…

(By the way, if you need to arch your back to lift the weight like that guy, then it is too heavy for you!)

So, generally, all looking very good so far. We continue to be surprised by the amount of ‘free’ stuff in the apartment (which comes rent-free with the job) – great TV system with huge number of English-language channels, cooking equipment and fridge-freezer in the kitchen if we choose not to eat the free meals from the site restaurant (none available yet, but next week they start trying out their recipes…)

…and, in a few minutes, Roger and Ellie are treating us to their favourite local restaurant, so I need to add a few more pictures quick. More news next time.

Tomorrow, Seb is going into Vila Real looking for MDF board and as many six-inch nails as you can get in these parts – we’re manufacturing new ‘show equipment’ in our spare time as it seems we are likely to be asked to do ‘impromptu’ performances poolside until the proper auditorium for evening shows is ready…

…so I guess the training for our fakir stuff and for this sort of thing has followed us across the Atlantic…

OK – I’m being yelled at to be ready in five minutes, so no book adverts toady – just a few more fitness pictures…

I’m being physically dragged towards the door ‘before the restaurant closes’ – one more…

…and uploading this actually in the restaurant, to Ellie’s disgust…

…back soon!

 

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Last Orders…

Dave and I just finished our final session with twins Stevie and Josh, both of whom are looking very powerful and can do one-arm balances on our upraised arms… with Alvin and Bryce, their ‘also-10-yo’ friends not far behind. Job done, and handed over to Leo and Jaymee for the future work, with Zach and Ivo supervising the sessions. Now awaiting our “last supper” – well, last Sunday lunch anyway – before our departure.

Filing in the time with one last post from Tennessee – at least, for the next six weeks. This evening will certainly be too busy to contemplate ‘screen time’ – ‘last rites’ at the private gym (actually clearly a ‘hazing’ to validate our life membership!). And first thing tomorrow – airport.

Here’s a funny picture of Russian lifters who have been enjoying a sweaty time together, as we do. But we don’t have an older coach wearing Wellington boots in any gym we frequent! …

… and where we’re going in Southern Europe, our ‘gym coach’ attire will be very different – max shorts, usually ‘company’ Speedos and most frequently, outdoors.

Exactly!

Dave and I had a wonderful start to our last full day here. We slept in a bit, and with the normal teens training transferred to the private gym later in the day, expected our two offspring to do the same. Not so. We were awakened with breakfast in bed and our respective kids telling us how much they loved us. Absolutely hadn’t expected that, and already feeling guilty about leaving them. In my books I wrote about the decision we were originally faced with when we were asked to be fathers – either no subsequent contact, or the full father thing. We chose the second option, and we are so, so grateful that we did.

So, tears on all fronts. I’m not ashamed to say. We asked if they would hate us for leaving them. No, they wouldn’t, After all they are 15 and in a couple of years their wings will spread for sure. And, if we are not mistaken and if our new job works out, they’ll be in Portugal whenever they get the chance!

Did I say books? If this new job doesn’t work out, I will be dependent on the pitiful royalty income. So spread the word, guys, and sell me a few more. Please!

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

Anyway: No time to write more clever stuff: a late lunch beckons (thanks, Clare!) and a full evening to follow. We’re all packed, I think, and two cars are up for sale…

…so just enjoy the fitness pictures which follow, and we’ll be in touch from a new base very shortly! As they say – ‘making tracks’…

We can live with the other invitation there, I guess. Here’s something else you can ‘wear’ around your waist:

That’s some pretty tough dips there – great exercise for the shoulders, pecs and arms. Not to mention the upper back.

Finally, before a couple of days interruption to normal service (!), the power of partnerships: in training…

…and the rest!

See you on ‘the other side’…

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Quick Gallery Post before Today’s Packing…

As our personal countdown to a new job in Europe continues, time for a quick collection of fitness images to keep the message on the top of your agenda! I read yesterday that running for one hour adds an average seven hours to your life! Lifting keeps you strong while stretching and calisthenics keeps you agile. What are you waiting for?

Two Russian acrobats stretch in their backyard:

…while another makes use of the parallel bars:

Wrestling is a great sport for all-round fitness;

…inside, or out:

Diving develops gymnastic skills too:

…whilst this lifter’s results are obvious:

Many ‘strength’ gyms include gymnastic apparatus for all-round development:

Innovative use of the punchbag:

A guy working on his agility as well:

Combining weight training with balance…

Make use of a partner:

…yep, can’t beat working with a partner, as I’m always saying…

Said it in these, too:

…and not forgetting that there’s another one due out in a few months… something rather different!

(That’s a mock-up cover and the words on the back side [left] are gibberish at present)

To finish today, some examples of a ‘good result’!

 

 

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Still Counting Down: The ‘Core Four’

It is now 17 years since Dave and I first realised that we were gay, and probably in love. It took a while for the implications of that to sink in for both of us, as I recount in Loving the Boy.

However, our ‘progress’ in that direction did not go unnoticed by our acrobatic and sporty new friends here in USA, and one in particular, Zach, having lost a number of mainly older friends to AIDS in CA before he came to Tennessee, was determined to make sure that we would keep ourselves ‘safe’. Along with a fourth guy, Gary, who would later become Zach’s own ‘life partner’, Zach kindly but firmly guided us along that safe pathway which have come to know as our Tuan Jie brotherhood. Effectively, ‘strength and brotherhood in numbers’, or words to that effect: in practice, enjoying ourselves sexually to the full within the group, and never outside of it. We have all (now ten) of us adhered faithfully to that principal, sharing many things every which way…

…whilst maintaining that special love for one special guy – Dave in my case!

So Dave, Zach, Gary and I were the ‘core four’, if you like. The first to be given Zach’s ‘special mark’. And we have maintained that rather special bond – the four of us – ever since.

So it was no surprise, given our impending departure for Europe, when Zach asked us to keep an evening free for him and Gary. We began, as we so often do, lifting weights in the private gym – like these enthusiastic Russian gymnasts…

…except that our gym promotes the ‘clothes’free’ style. That moved to a friendly wrestling bout…

…that quickly became a foursome, of course and then, all of us exceedingly sweaty and ‘heating up’, we took ourselves through the pass door to the small hall where more intimate activity can take place without causing offence…

That done, and some rather necessary showers taken, we went upstairs (Zach and Gary have a penthouse flat in the gym building).

Here, Zach was keen to exercise his powers as a masseur (the day job for him) and our bodies were very willing to submit to a gentle coating of body oil…

…and then to his expert manipulations, while Gary finished off the preparations for a superb meal.

Oil wiped off, and shorts pulled on (we don’t do everything naked you know!), we then enjoyed a fabulous meal shirtless and barefoot as we like to do. Gary also provided one of the finest wines we have ever tasted.

Zach started to make a speech about ‘how caring for us had turned his troubled life around…’ etc – and we were slightly aghast to see tears rolling down his face. It just goes to show how strong the bonds are that we have forged here over 17 years… and in three days we turn our backs on that, Dave and I, for a new adventure. Admittedly, in six weeks we shall be back and will see them again (briefly) before we head off to our summer camp commitments, but then it is ‘for good’ (kind of) – we will be frequent visitors though – after all, our kids are here.

And the new place could maybe use a resident half-Latino half Italian American masseur! We’ll have to see – he says he’d be over like a shot.

Well, ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’, I know. But we’re all determined that these friendships are not going to be left to just disappear.

It was a very special evening for all four of us. And of course, it all happens again on Sunday – with the entire gym membership plus our kids and their friends – and probably without the fantastic food. Everyone wants to come over when the new place is up and running: We haven’t told them yet but, after the summer camp gigs, our kids and their two acrobatic partners in performance are getting two weeks in the European sea and sun (Don’t read that bit, Leo!) all tickets already in place.

Without a doubt there will be beach wrestling…

…and plenty more showing off…

But for now, with just a passing mention of the other two published books covering our gay love, life and times… The Power of Love and Against All Odds, I’ll hand over the rest of this post to images of guys (of assorted ages! – having fun together. No sexual orientations implied! Enjoy.

Dave, watching and ‘approving’ my selections for today’s post, has just reminded me that it is 50 years to the day since homosexuality was declared no longer illegal in our home country (UK). So something else to celebrate, although as we all know, acceptance can take time…

 

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5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

After Saturday, we shall be leaving this environment (gymnastics) – hopefully not for ever! – giving it all up for a new job by the sea. We fly on Monday – although we will be back in US for six weeks to cover ‘summer camp’ training as previously committed. We won’t make any money on that of course, by the time we’ve paid for flights from Europe, but it’s a commitment, and it will be time with the kids. And, although they don’t know it for sure, we’re working on them coming back with us for the final two weeks of their school vacation, and possibly a couple of their friends too.

We’ll be enjoying the outdoor life much more, given both the new environment (vacation complex) and the southern European coastal climate…

Task no. 1 is equipping two gyms, partially open air. We are informed that the equipment is now arriving!

Sunday is going to be a busy day. Four groups of people are basically telling us to clear our schedule! First, our very young trainees twins Stevie and Josh plus their friends Alvin and Bryce… all four doing handstand push-ups on a bar now, their bodies developing nicely in proportion to their age… we shall really miss them. Their training will continue with Leo and Jaymee under the supervision of Pete and Ivo and sometimes Zach too. The parents are coming with them to our cabin on Sunday morning and we fear some kind of emotional ceremony!

After lunch, we have been ‘ordered’ to attend the private gym, basically for the rest of the day. Our ‘morning pre-school training teens’ led by Leo are planning something, probably involving ‘beating us up’ – considering that this is a group of powerfully-built teen boys (eight of them including Jude’s new partner Korben) plus Jaymee and Karla, all comfortable ‘in their skin’ when training, this could be “interesting”.

When they’re done and have left, leaving just the ‘adult’ environment, apparently we are to be ‘initiated’ as life members following our 17 years of dedicated service” (!!) which will undoubtedly involve a lot of pain and a lot of “fun” – see the books for details of what these things involve! Maximum body contact, working out under stress to the point of exhaustion, nail beds without a doubt, maximum sweating…

When they’re done with us (and if we’ve survived the ‘hazing’), the entire Tuan Jie ‘band of brothers’ takes over – our eight close mates with whom we share our love around – plus Clare and Karen, the lovely lesbian mums of our two kids. Since those two have been working professionally as fakirs ever since we’ve known them, I think that more pain will be involved as well as the obvious gay pleasures. What’s for certain with all of the activity at the private gym is that a lot of sweaty effort will be involved, with every part of our bodies being worked to exhaustion!

…yep, wrestling is a sure way of sharing out the sweat, which is the currency of our sports. Required effort = very sweaty chests and backs!

I begin to suspect that we shall be ‘dead on arrival’ at the new place after spending our last day enduring the physical onslaught of so many excellent friends and colleagues. Definitely a ‘bleary’ arrival, with sleep never guaranteed on planes…

…two flights to get to Lisbon and then a slow train journey involving two trains. Not exactly looking forward to that!

It is going to be fun to see our own gym designs come to life, of course. And one idea we had for another part of the complex – the ‘family’ pool – is going to be taken up… a ‘slack line’…

…huge fun trying to balance on it, walk along and, of course, fall off!

It’s quite scary actually just how much notice the organisation seems to be taking of our inputs – just keeping our fingers crossed now that we don’t screw up!

And meanwhile, some more random fitness inspiration for you:

 

 

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Four – The Perfect Number

I always think that four is the ideal number for guys training together. In our case, very long-term friends, all dedicated to maintaining their fitness, knowing and respecting each others abilities and achievements. I thin that I’ve written before about one of our methods of working the bench press: one making the bench, one lifting, one spotting and one ‘recovering’. Continuous work, everyone going round maybe ten times.

I think that set of guys are Russian – feeling ‘kewl’ in their underpants for training! Don’t think that would go down too well in public here in USA, or in most of Europe either! Of course, we favor our private training comfortable ‘in our skins’. In the private gym we’re so fortunate to be members of, that means starting with a good shower out of respect for one another. After that, getting sweaty is the ‘reward’ for the effort we put in, and I thin everyone positively enjoys the feel of sweaty bodies in contact (it does help to be gay, I suppose!).

After a few hours of resistance machines – two pairs on adjacent machines, swopping back and forth – we usually finish off with some fun wrestling – if anything is going to share our sweat around, that certainly will!

There’s definitely a shared sense of pride about the effort put in and the rewards achieved! And in our case, as four gay friends closely liked within a ‘safe’ grouping, other activities can follow once we pass through to the more private section of the building!

We had just such a morning on Sunday with our friends down from Lexington, Leon and Dane. After returning to our place for a traditional lunch prepared by Clare as usual (we’re going to miss those when we move to Europe!), we were contemplating a lazy afternoon in the yard when we received a text from Cody asking if we would like to sahre a little bit of ‘friendly’ S & M with him and Adge before taking a swim in the river. That’s something else we’re going to miss – the S & M, not the swim! I admit that we shared a bit of stretching and beating before a great swim and an attempt to eat at Cody’s barbecue (difficult after that lunch).

All of which served to remind us what Dave and I are giving up by relocating to Europe. Still, time for a new adventure I guess.

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

And now, with a reminder to check out those books, let’s move on to general fitness imagery as usual!

A final foursome (fr today)…

 

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Resistance Machines: The Debate

In the background behind Daniel, our lifter in this picture, we see two types of resistance training equipment. Immediately behind him, a triceps (etc) machine where the resistance comes from a weight stack, and where you select the desired weight by inserting a pin. usually in increments of 5kg or thereabouts. Simple. At the left, a rack of free weights which can be manually placed on a resistance machine to provide the exact resistance desired. Again, simple, but you spend time moving weights around before you can do your sets, and (ideally) placing them back on the rack when finished, ready for the next guy.

Simple ‘stack’ machine shown here, at the rear:

 

…and here, a plate-loaded leg-press machine at the right, and a stack-loaded pull-down machine on the left.

In many cases, either type of machine is available for a particular muscle-group exercise, and we are having to make decisions for the two gyms we are now specifying equipment for.

Stack-loaders are expensive in that you buy the weights every time since they are not removable for a different machine. Plate loaders of cheaper, but to avoid holding guys up when training, you need a lot of free weights.

Of course, we need a lot of free weights anyway, especially ready-made barbell and dumbbell sequences to avoid having to change weights…

…but we need also to consider that our ‘clients’ will be on vacation, and anxious to speed through their workouts and get out in the sun/pool/etc! And, of course, not forgetting things like wall-bars for dips, cross trainers, and so forth…

So, with two weeks to go before we’ll be over there supervising the fitting of the flooring and mats area, followed by the equipment for the first gym.  Let’s hope we’ve made the right choices!

The Russian backers are also suggesting that a ‘street workout’ area be added, and are apparently willing to stump up the additional cost. It gets even more interesting! However, for satisfying EU health and safety, we can’t  have bare earth floors like they do in Eastern Europe…

Incidentally, it would be really interesting to get some comments on what kinds of equipment you guys prefer to find in your gyms, especially when in ‘vacation’ mode. Feel free to add a comment here, or mail me on gymacrobat@gmail.com.

We have also been asked to demonstrate the sort of things which might be included in the ‘entertainment package’ part of our new job. evening shows in the arena, certainly – when it is available (several months away I think) – plus little pop-up acrobatic shows poolside at lunchtime – that sort of thing. While the punters will be expected to pay for the evening stuff (shows up to two hours, with visiting artists), the pop-up balancing acts will be ‘freebies’ as part of our salary. Se we’re thinking to include some new balance pedestals in the equipment, and we’ll be shipping over some ‘fakir’ stuff for the evenings.

One great thing is that, on our days off, we can go practice on the beach…

Not, perhaps, such an exotic location to train as this guy found:

…but probably better than the middle of the main road…

So, I guess that, despite feeling our age these days, we can still going with the balance work for a while longer. Not quite here just yet:

Maybe “coming soon”!!

Meanwhile, book 4 production seems to be proceeding. Don’t forget the first three await your attention!

Our usual miscellaneous (‘muscleaneous’) fitness gallery follows:

 

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Countdown

In less than two weeks time we’ll be setting up one of these to our own designs – swiftly to be followed by a second one! And we will be Europeans again, having to think in metres and degrees C. After 17 years living the States (albeit with time off for good behaviour), that’s going to come as quite a shock to the system.

Admittedly, we’ll be back in TN for six weeks from the beginning of June, to fulfil a long-standing commitment with summer-camp fitness and entertainment. Then back to the low-humidity summer heat of southern Europe, finishing the fitting out of two gyms which will be partly open-air whenever the weather allows – as it will, most of the time. Once that is cracked, we have to run them, run training sessions in them, and get stuck into organising the entertainment for two different types of clientele on adjacent sites. That’s ‘clientele’ as in “happy holidaymakers”. Could be fun.

There are, of course, down sides – not seeing our kids, and all of our (and their) mates so often. But we’ll definitely survive – especially as the owners have already started paying us quite a generous salary and will house and feed us for free…

So. A general ‘fitness’ post to keep things moving…

 

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