Old school is the best school (gyms included)

Posted: October 11, 2011 in Life coaching, physical training
Tags: , , , , ,

Those who know me know that StarBuck is a big proponent of the old school.  From life philosophy to my way of living to the way that I train, I hold high the banner of old school spirit and philosophy.  You’ve heard the old adage that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it?  That is exactly what I believe in.

The one thing that strikes me as absurd is the fact that the physical training culture of our modern age has all but done away with real training GYMS.  Instead, we are offered a plethora of “health clubs”, where it is more appropriate to dress for show and mingle, while idly doing a few sets  in between on the various apparatus’, in order to be able to tell others that those guilty of said charade actually “work out”.  With TV sets in every corner of the said health clubs, members can watch MTV or the soaps while hitting the bikes, or flip through the pages of Cosmopolitan while on the treadmill.  The workout machinery of these so-called health clubs offer a maximally comfortable range of motion, so as to not have to strain things.  Trust me, I have been to enough of these places to know how things operate and how the ball bounces.

To me, this anomaly is befuddling.  The gym is NOT supposed to be a comfortable place.   You are supposed to sweat, to feel as much discomfort as possible, as you punish your body into its new mold and aspired physical appearance.  The old school says “no pain, no gain!” and this adage is as old as training culture itself.  Every single world-class athlete knows this.  Every single person who has gotten real, profound, life-changing results from physical training knows this.

Unfortunately, the commercial powers that be have seen that there is lots of green to me made in “accommodating” people by offering an illusion of physical fitness, while delivering pipe dreams.  How many women go to aerobic classes year after year, unable to shake the extra pounds and kilos, while stubbornly following to the tune of whatever sales pitch?  How many people really push themselves hard in their training, so that others around them even look on at the struggle next to them?  How many health clubs discourage grunts, groans and yelling when the bar is loaded, should such trainers be on hand at their posh palaces?

I recall in Canada over 15 years ago, I used to go to a local health club, which was not really a gym anymore.  On heavy squats, I would have to psyche myself out and yes, there was some audible noise when I struggled with the weight.  The club personel came up to me and asked that I keep it down, so as to not annoy the other clients?  What the fuck, were we in a library?!?  Soon thereafter, I was specifically asked by the brass to move on to another training facility.  I have heard of similar incidents with other serious trainers here in Finland, where I now live.

For me, the antidote and answer is simple.  I choose to train at hardcore, old school gyms.  I specifically search out such places when I travel, where the smell of testosterone, pain and sweat can be readily noticed in the air and feel of the place.  It is becoming harder and harder to find such training facilities in our modern world, but here in Helsinki there are still a few of them around.  One such haven is Voimapuoti Gym in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki.

Voimapuoti Gym used to be owned by Finland’s strongest man, Ano Turtiainen, who sold his then-Metal Gym in 2006 to Harri Kokkonen and the establishment was renamed.  I have been a long-time member of Voimapuoti Gym since 2003, when Stratovarius band frontman Timo Kotipelto introduced me to the place.  Today, it still stands as one of, if not the predominant, powerlifting gyms in Finland.  Gym owner Kokkonen’s powerlifting expertise reaches into the Baltic countries of Northern Europe, as Harri coaches several top lifters of varying nationalities.  Kokkonen also brings Swedish top sports supplement line, SKIP, into Finland.  I have to say that of all the various manufacturers out there – and I have tested a slew of them over my 23 years of training experience – SKIP is hands-down one of the best, WORKING supplement lines out there.  I have no problem shamelessly plugging their TopFuel post-workout drink, which you can feel actually revitalize your beaten frame withing 15 minutes of ingestion, aided by the digestive enzymes it contains.  I can say the same for SKIP’s Tränings Aktivator, two scoops of which will have you ready within 20-30 minutes to kick King Kong-sized ass in the weight room.

Voimapuoti Gym is a place that I recommend highly to anyone who wants a training environment that is REAL.  Considering free weight-training is twice as effective as the use of machines (hey, even Arnold promoted using free weights as much as possible), Voimapuoti is stock-full of various specialty barbell bars, loads of free weights, supported lifting benches and power squat racks.  And YES, you can yell, scream and make your muscles feel the strain of body sculpting pain without any morons coming over to tell you to keep it down.  Plus, the music is choice at Voimapuoti is always HEAVY, from hard rock to heavy metal, so that your adrenaline will keep up with the demands you place on your mortal frame to become the best that you can be.  With like-minded people training around you who actually want results and are willing to pay the price to achieve them, your struggle will not be a solitary one.

Whenever top professional wrestlers from around the world come to Finland, I always bring them to Voimapuoti as part of their Finland experience.  They thank me every time.  Consider that.

(ALL PHOTOS BY JARMO KATILA, www.jarmokatila.fi)

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Comments
  1. I like the blog, dude !! You sure told the truth here about gyms !!!!

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