How Much Ya Bench?

Remember that SNL skit, How Much Ya Bench? Anyway, my brother in law Rob gave me his old bench and weights, and I put them up in my office last year and started working out regularly. I don't want to get like those muscle-heads you see walking around, but I do want to get my blood pumping for at least a half hour every day.

You'd be surprised at how many personal trainers and gym rats have a problem with that. When I lived in Bayside, my dad bought me a gym membership as a present, and the personal trainer assigned to me wanted me to eat Power Bars and take all sorts of odd supplements. I got tired of the "Get HUGE!" culture and never went back after a few months.

In the city, I was a member at Asphalt Green, which I think is one of the greatest facilities in Manhattan. I loved it there, except the trainer there was always trying to get me to join his powerlifting team. At one point, he took me aside and said, "Tom, some of us are just big, and we're meant to lift heavy things. You're never going to be one of these skinny guys who run. You're meant to lift heavy things."

So, yeah, I have a history of dealing with trainers who want to ignore my own fitness goals and substitute their own. Really, I have only a few reasons for wanting to work out regularly. I'd like to make sure my heart is strong, since I've had an irregular heartbeat in my past, and I want to make sure my ticker doesn't wear out prematurely. I also just want to get the recommended daily amount of exercise. After all, I leave my house at 6 AM, come to New York and sit at a desk for most of the day. I get home at 8:30 or 9 PM and I haven't exercised all day. It's easy to see that's a recipe for disaster. So I head upstairs to my office for a half hour and get the blood pumping.

Over the weekend, Rob's bench was on its last legs. The things holding the bar and weights up were held together with JB Weld. If I let that go, one day the weights would come crashing down on my neck.

Another problem was that the weights were those old, thick things that you could order out of the Sears Catalog, which meant you could only get so much weight on the bar before you'd run out of room. Not good.

I also broke the bench doing leg extensions the other week. Basically, it was time for something new. So I headed down to Sports Authority and picked up a Gold's Gym bench and cage set on sale. I also got a weight set to replace the Sears catalog weights.

If you think an Ikea bookcase is no fun to put together, don't buy one of these things. It took me two hours to put together. I'm glad I got it though. My chest and legs have been sore for a few days - I guess that means I'm doing it right.