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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So Much to Do… So Little Time!

We’ve only got until the end of the Easter break to organise ourselves for the fist six weeks in the new job in Portugal! And there is just so much going on – not least designing two new gyms and ordering equipment. sorting out our existing lives is far more problematical!

Take yesterday, Saturday. Most of he lads who exercise here on school days (before school) come a bit later on a Saturday. it was rather warm yesterday, so they (and we) hauled a lot of the weights  and whatnot on to the grass I the yard (and made sure everyone was wearing at least trunks since we are a little overlooked. Chris, Leo, Jaymee and Karla (I know, I called everyone ‘lads’, but forgive me!) were practicing their routines ready for the forthcoming summer camp gigs. Chris, Theo and Errol were hard at work on weights, with us. Two regulars missing – Ryan and Tjark, were at a wrestle meet.

Then I remembered that our four 10yo trainees, the twins plus their two friends, were due as well for a session… that made thirteen of us doing either weights or acrobatics in the spring sunshine.

Everyone getting very sweaty, and rather a lot of grass clippings attached – Clare and Karen did the ‘first cut of the season’ yesterday. So warm that kindly neighbour four houses down decided to open his pool for the season and wandered down to invite everyone to celebrate the grand opening. No-one needed to be asked twice!

Just then, Jude arrived. That’s the gay Canadian lad who has joined the young trainers regularly since his family first arrived here. The same lad who ‘hitched’ up with a gay internet admirer and caused us a lot of pain. Well, that ‘internet admirer’ (Korben) – another bodybuilder like Jude – was about to arrive to spend the rest of the weekend (perhaps a little awkwardly) with Jude and his family. And, indeed, promptly did arrive with us. Anything to delay the difficult discussions with Jude’s parents, I guess. So now fifteen of us crowded into the somewhat cool pool, to the delight of the elderly owners. And then we had to set about removing a load of grass cuttings from blocking the filters.

Then, with Jude and Korben off for a formal parental lunch (and perhaps to figure out their overnight sleeping arrangements in the family home – we didn’t ask), Dave and I escaped to the gymnastics center where we shall continue to teach right up until the last day before our departure.

Saturday evening found us in the private gym for a weekend ‘reunion’ with most of the Tuan Jie group. Do I need to elaborate? Surely not, by now! Leon and Dane over-nighting with us, and then back to the private gym for a morning training, where we found Korben and Jude (looking very pleased with themselves) training ferociously with the other tyro bodybuilders. And that led to wrestling…

Korben also showed up with Jude this morning for before-school training in our cabin, after which he headed back to Knoxville for work as a car salesman. He seems to have been accepted by Jude’s parents as a safe companion for their gay son, and I do wonder whether our earlier interventions really made any difference. Korben has also been offered full membership of our private gym based on his obvious dedication to fitness. So I think there’ll be a lot more “Korben and Jude” stories to hear about once we’re on the other side of the Atlantic.

Right now, Dave and I are thinking more about our own situation than the issues of Korben and Jude. What to take, what to leave? What to do about our share of this house once we go back permanently after the summer-camp gigs here in the US? Maintaining contact with our fast-growing kids (actually, keeping them away may be the problem!)…

…and, not least, a book in publication with lots of interaction with the publishers. Meanwhile, the first three:

OK. On with the picture show!

And to finish, a built lad straight from the shower. Enjoy!

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Frustrations and Fantasising…

Having one of those days when all I want to do is bang my head against a wall in frustration!

Probably need to go and do a bit of this until I feel better…

(I don’t have pictures of me or anyone else banging the heads against walls, so that will have to do!).

A combination of sending ever more scans of documents across to Europe, fighting with airlines over crashed bookings on their web sites… don’t ask!

Meanwhile, other people, possibly with more free time than good sense, would probably welcome the opportunity to bang their heads against a wall. Friend Cody, who with his housemate Adge manages a “basement of fun” at his well-hidden location in the forest down by the river, called to say that they have been entertaining a crazy couple who booked in via one of his magazine ads “to be hogtied and flogged”. OK, for those that like that sort of thing…

When Cody duly satisfied their requests and happened to mention that he had assorted friends who together provided various ‘fakir’ acts, the girl immediately demanded to meet ‘our’ girls with a view to experiencing body burning, fire walking and all the other assorted entertainments they have indulged in. No doubt the suspension gear, nails and glass will have to come out as well, with possible ‘instruction’ from ourselves on the last two – as if we didn’t  have enough to do. The pair of them are coming around this afternoon – apparently in one of those American ‘trailers’ that looks like an aluminum cigar tube. Fortunately, Dave and I still have classes to teach this afternoon and evening at the gym center, but I doubt we shall have seen the last of these people if they are seriously into providing fakir entertainments of their own at biker rallies and so forth, as we are told. Hmmm.

I think we need another dose of lifting to calm ourselves down:

Maybe we should offer those folks a cold bath instead…

…or just a nice lie down…

Now there’s another thing. I was foolish enough (?) to mention once or twice that we wander around barefoot a lot and that I rather fancied my partner Dave’s feet… and that led to a couple of request for pictures of feet. Here you are then, you guys…

(nice bit of stretching)

(I guess eight feet are better than one?)

This Indian gymnast is rather clever with his feet…

…while this guy can certainly touch his toes…

Will feet in socks do, guys?

OK, probably enough feet for now. Unless…

Now: that dog has the right idea. Sigh deeply and forget your frustrations. Have a nice lie down.

And, if you’re not a dog, maybe relax with a good book…

…there’s a few fantasies and frustrations in those, too: but it all works out alright in the end!

I’ll continue with some ‘happy’ lifters and trainers… even though at least this first guy looks pretty exhausted:

Next – definitely happy in their underwear in the sun – not sure about the middle guy though:

Being happy ‘out’ in your underwear is definitely in vogue these days:

Happy – or what?…

Happy Japanese…

Not a good body shape in that final ‘crocodile’ balance – but we’ll let that pass. Enough frustrations for one day…

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Holy Ghost? Holy Moses!

For today’s pictures, we’ll head back to the gym:

For today’s story, I refer to the surprising difficulty (it seems) in opening a Euro bank account these days.

It doesn’t help being 4000 miles away from the bank in question, but our new employing organisation is trying to pay us a start on our salaries (as we are working on the new project while still here in TN) and it will be in Euros, and we will need to spend it in Euros without having to move money between countries (and losing that inevitable few per cent in the process!). My first bank account in UK was easy. That was before the days of money laundering regulations, and the account is happily alive and well. Our USA accounts were easy because our mate Gary was working in the bank at the time, and smoothed the process.

This time, EU rules apply! Say no more. They’ll accept copies of our passports until we can present ourselves in person (i.e. before they will let us take money out) – that’s OK by us – but they want evidence of residence in Portugal! And that’s before we go there, so a bit tricky. The company is doing its best by showing them a contract with the address of our unfinished apartment on it, so fingers crossed. We don’t speak the language as yet (possibly never!), but there are so many English ex-pat retirees in the area that most locals have learned English. There is a lighter side: the bank is known as the “Commercial and Holy Spirit” bank. No joking. So you have to laugh a little bit!

Let’s work off our frustration with a little more lifting:

Work up a sweat – always good…

Then, a bit of work on the bar…

…before our barbell curls…

…and breaks another sweat! Check out the results while taking a locker-room break…

…and then back for some more?

More leg lifts: hope the bolts securing the bar to the wall are in good shape…

Barbell curls are very popular tonight…

“Let’s compare what we’ve achieved…”

Another way…

“Maybe I need a bit more work on the abs…” – basic sit-ups are fine…

Cable pulls now…

…great for biceps and triceps…

…ok, he needs to do a lot of work, but he’s doing all the right things! On to the pec dec… to save facebook blushes, I have savaged this picture, but let’s say he was doing it our way…

…as you can see here! But since Facebook (mirror blog) threatened to break the link to this blog when I posted one single naked picture ‘in the best possible taste’, we’ve had to keep – erm – the meat in the sandwich for our own lunch, as it were.

OK, a finale after I remind eager browsers to support this blog by promoting my books about gay love and sporting adventure with the circus and some nastier folks…

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

…available in print and e-reader form.

3 happy lifters sharing the moment: something we shall be hoping to share with countless holidaymakers in the months to come! But why doesn’t the middle guy get rid of his shirt? “In the name of the Holy Spirit…”

Nice gym, though!

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A Less Dangerous Place…?

More stupid terrorist stuff in Europe – London this time. Meanwhile Trump fails (again) to keep certain Muslim travellers out of the US. It does seem that Muslim ‘clerics’ (the fave word for Muslims inciting violence – I wouldn’t grant them the apparent respect that the word implies) are still out to get us infidels. I wish that they might realise that there are more rewarding ways of spending their time than chanting meaningless scripted phrases to a mythical being in the clouds. Oh well.

Where Dave and I are moving for work reasons later this year, they haven’t (so far as I know) experienced terrorism since their revolution in the 70s. Let’s hope it stays that way!

I want this post to celebrate guys having great times together and enjoying the company of others rather than being adversaries (I don’t include wrestling as ‘adversaries’ – that’s fun anyway and both participants know it). Despite this, the first four do indicate a little minor warfare in the form of gutpunching, which (in moderation) can be fun too if you are suitably prepared, since you feel rather good about receiving it afterwards. But remember that Houdini, when unprepared, ruptured his spleen and died. So go carefully!

And then the wrestling…

Kick-boxing, even…?

Mates, almost certainly, despite appearances! After all, no-one forces you to wrestle! Now, a little less aggression…


And a little more ‘aggression’ (??) to finish off. Don’t really think they mean it, though…

 

 

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Underwear, Over There

I’ve commented several times that there is an increasing tendency for boys, especially in Eastern Europe / Russia, to appear in public in their underwear when one might expect, say, Speedos or shorts. Swimming, including public beaches, weights gyms, etc. etc. and not forgetting those boys for whom being photographed in underwear is work – the models.

So, after a Speedo post last time, here come the underwear guys! That first one is clearly posing in what looks like a car park. Others, will be just ‘having fun’. Enjoy.

Undies in the snow? No problem!

Sneak preview (draft cover only!)…coming soon…

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A Taste of Things To Come

We’re busy designing one of these!

A gym with an open-air section. Actually, we’re designing two of them. Weights which won’t rust, a floor which won’t go soggy with the occasional shower, benches which won’t crack up in the sun… interesting. And we need the weight rack to be mobile…

Just got the budget confirmed this morning. About twice what we thought!! So we’ll add mats for a wrestle area to the adult side. Just for fun!

Dress code for staff also confirmed as either standard shorts or Speedos, according to taste/weather. Lifeguards and pool boys the same. So we get to spend our time in great weather, mainly outdoors, in Speedos. Who could ask for more of this new posting, I wonder (see previous posts for details!).

So this time, we shall celebrate Speedos. And the great guys inside them, of course.

Speedos do have other uses:

Cooldown time…

Beach wrestlers…

This one’s more a posing pouch…

And finally, Russian “Speedos” are – well – a bit long. But here’s three of them anyway:

I notice that Russian boys (and those in nearby countries), seem to regard their underwear as suitable substitutes for swimwear, and appear comfortably in their underwear in public. I seem to have loads of pics lined up in which feature underwear rather than swimwear, – so, maybe next time…

 

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Meanwhile, In Other News…

Tired of hearing about our forthcoming move to Europe? Yeah, me too!

Let’s talk about The Donald instead. ‘Groan’. OK, but this is something we shall be glad to get away from! All these Tweets! I ask you!

We don’t tweet. You may have noticed that. Who cares that I just had cornflakes and a banana for breakfast? We’ve better ways of spending our time. Now I was always under the impression that US presidents had their mobile devices taken off them for the duration of their presidency. Not so Trump, obviously.

Here’s such a device put to better use:

The intelligence agency in our home country, UK, is called GCHQ. The President says they were spying on him at Obama’s request. They say they were not. Know which side I’m inclined to believe? Not the side that claimed there was a big terrorist incident in Sweden, which left the Swedes looking around puzzled to see what terrorist incident they had overlooked! ‘Look what happened last night in Sweden! In SWEDEN!!!!!’ For goodness sake, does the man understand the difference between reality and dreams?

Cue two loving guys in bed (if not actually sleeping!):

He’s definitely not dreaming!

At least Trump’s crazy exclusion order has been stopped in its tracks again. Last time it was ‘By a so-called judge.’ This time it is two more “so-called” judges. Good for them. We think the man’s insane. Of all the shooter/terrorist incidents in the US since 9/11 (about 205 according to one count), three were perpetrated by Muslims. Just three. Most of them are down to trigger-happy redneck weirdos allowed guns in this insane place. The cowboy mentality prevails.

And don’t get me started on the Bible Belt…

OK. Enough of a rant. But perhaps enough to reveal why our decision to break with the UK – and our US family – at least for a while, seems like a good lifestyle choice. Where we’re going – and where the family will frequently join us – everyone wants just to get along and have a good time in the sun. And there are plenty of immigrants… mainly Brits, it has to be admitted!

Let’s just get along with some more fitness impressions, plus the occasional plug for someone’s books…

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Taking the Plunge…

…and hoping that we’ve made the right decision!

Praying to the Gods might just help!

So Dave and I have accepted jobs (identical, or joint, however you want to put it) on a new vacation development in southern Europe (the owners want to announce the location themselves in a few weeks, so I can’t). We shall be in charge of two things:

(i) Design, equip and manage two gym/fitness complexes including provision of classes;

(ii) Provision of entertainments on six evenings per week in a dedicated open-air [audience] auditorium, three per week for each ‘side’ of the complex, [one side caters for families, the other for adult groups and will be marketed as LGTB friendly]. This also includes participating in the design of the stage area to allow mounting of trapezes and so forth, the option of “acrobatic/fakir shows” being enthusiastically accepted on to the Agenda alongside music and other entertainments such as magicians. Although not a specific condition, participating ourselves will clearly be an option, along with our like-minded acrobatic mates/family. Ethan and Jack are already asking to have the first ‘residency’ and reckon they could do lunchtime entertainments in the nearby town or beach-front street entertainment to boost their income!

That guy on the base there is clearly a fit ‘oldie’ – good for him. There’s hope for us yet…

We shall be starting work on the procurement of gym equipment right away, working from here in US by internet etc. We have to be on site from mid-April for six weeks, and will then honour our US summer-camp commitments for the following six weeks, working with our kids and their close friends, before returning to Europe to take up ‘permanent’ residence in the rather splendid apartment which comes with the package, rent-free and serviced and with a huge roof area for sun loungers, eating outdoors, sleeping under the stars, and so forth. Living on the job can have drawbacks, like being called on in an emergency if other staff go awol, and we are accepting to be ‘on call’ one night per week in case of guest emergencies. Can live with that… especially in return for access to this…

The weather here in TN is currently foul. -6C (21F) outside as I write this at 7am, although rising to about 9C later. Where we’re going, right now it is in the mid-teens Celsius (up to a modest 60F) but generally enjoys a hot and sunny climate with (mercifully) low humidity for nine months of the year. Getting away from the summer humidity in TN will be a huge bonus for us Brits: could never get used to that even after 17 years here. And we definitely won’t need to train in the snow!

Working days can be spent like this…

…or even in just ‘staff’ Speedos, in common with the pool boys and lifeguards (there will be three pools altogether): just need somewhere to clip a badge and a radio! Matching baseball caps may be available as well.

It will have a naturist zone on the family side, catering for the large Nordic and German enthusiasm for baring all in the sun, with dedicated pool and sunbathing areas separate from a ‘clothed’ zone: on the ‘adult’ side, catering for gays and whatnot, there will be a large ‘clothing optional’ zone too which will include that gym. Definitely a place for ‘getting back to nature’…

Unwise sun exposure will probably be the No.1 issue for the shared medical centre: as in TN in high summer, the sun gets pretty intense at mid-day.

So, all in all, we seem to have fallen on our feet with the opportunity to do what we love to do, dressed the way we love to be, and to get paid for it.

The Down Side. Lots of issues, really.

No. 1: family. Our 15 yos and their mums. Long talks the last two days. Leo was clear: ‘Go for it, Dad. Don’t worry, we’ll be coming over all the time!’ Well, with school, he’ll find that difficult, unless he migrates over to us in Europe and becomes employed instead of being in school. Jaymee likewise. Our close Tuan Jie friends also support the move. ‘After all, Ethan and Jack were away nearly two years, you’ll be coming back from time to time, your membership of the gym here is for life, and you’re going to invite us all over for vacations!’

It is true we can have guests in our staff accommodation (two bedrooms and the couch always available!) and they can use the resort facilities for free – just pay for food taken in the guest restaurants. I guess they’ll be waiting in line (I’d call it a queue but I’m British!) quite soon…

‘…and anyway, won’t you be engaging us for the shows?’

Well, certainly. Not just them of course: we’ll be in contact with pretty much everyone we’ve ever performed with, and scouring the Agencies for Europe-based acts. Don’t apply yet… first things first, and the auditorium won’t be completed until after the first half of the complex (family side) has been opened!

The beach, of course, is always ready and is just a couple of miles away by shuttle transport!

Other deciding factors (speaking as a Brit) include getting away from the packaged, hormone-impregnated, over-carbohydrated, sugar-coated diet so beloved of the US in favour of REAL fresh European food, although the US diet doesn’t seen to have done much harm to this guy’s waistline…

Getting away from Trump is on the list, too (slight worries about how to keep our USA work visas valid when out of the country are on the list of ‘must-do’s, since we might want to come back and take up our former family lives again). There is a share of the present house to consider, too: the girls assure us of a welcome if we return, and also insist that the rest of their purchase loan can be managed without further contributions from us. Legally it is complex but, on a personal level, no-one really cares… theoretically we would own about 20% of it if ever sold.

Maybe writing books was easier! Here’s the customary commercial! Book 4 (unrelated to the other three) is in preparation and has no cover as yet, so just keep a mental note of the title: LET THE FUTURE FIND ME.

And now, may the fitness force be with you…

And, back in the great outdoors, pop-up acrobatics by the pool, anyone? (We’re probably up for that in the new job!)…

I’ll finish for today with a wrestling club changing area, conveniently equipped with climbing ropes for a bit of strength building. See you next time.

 

 

 

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