A word from Anthony

This month, I’d like to share my thoughts on working out with weights. So many people I see in gyms are dazzled by the fancy equipment. Why do so few brave free weights? It’s not just that free weights lack glamour, they seem more difficult to use. In “Lift that machine”, I’ll discuss how using free weights can lead to a better and more effective workout.

I’ve included a short tip on handling DOMS to help recover from your workouts.

Lift that machine

As the famous body builder and trainer to the stars Vince Gironda once wrote in The Wild Physique, “I figure you would get more out of trying to lift the machine than work on it.” so why are commercial gyms filling their facilities with shiny and expensive machines? They sell a look, not fitness. Isn’t this backwards? Aren’t gyms for helping people be strong, look good, feel great?

The fact is, machine-guided training weakens you. Yes, people can use training machines to gain strength, but for all the advancements in technology and especially merchandizing, while they have managed to change the way a gym looks and functions, the new apparatus and machines have actually reduced our ability to achieve great fitness results.  While a machine may provide a guided motion, it also does the work for you.

Free weight training, in comparison, can provide up to seven times more stimulation than the same exercise performed on a machine.  I have seen members of these gyms who easily do an hour on the treadmill regularly, but when they leave the gym, they can’t run to catch the bus! I’ve seen them pull and push incredible weights on gym machines but lack functional strength or co-ordination. This is the “fast food” modern method of training used by the lazy and the rushed; it provides little stimulus and illusory results.

Training with free weights not only creates stimulus for the targeted muscle, it also strengthens the core and other surrounding muscles, which is where you will find the greatest strength benefit and achieve real functional results-muscle you can actually use rather than just look at.

What I like to see is clients working with barbells, dumbbells and their own body weight.  This leads them to a truer understanding of their training needs and capabilities.  I’ll recommend riding the stationary bike or warming up on the treadmill, but even these machines are inferior to skipping rope, a jog in the park, or some good old calisthenics.  A gym set up like this is hard to find.  It’s rarely shiny or impressive in appearance, but it works.  And it’s how I’ve designed my gym.  I want my clients to look good…not my gym.

Try it. Try getting back to training that stimulates muscle growth ad co-ordination. Try the basics, or as Vince Gironda suggested, lift that machine.

Find out more online about

1. Vince Gironda

2. The Wild Physique

Pain after a workout? It is just DOMS!

DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the discomfort following exercise that involves unfamiliar movements or some sort of increase in training intensity.  This discomfort can last for a few days after a workout. DOMS is perfectly normal and is usually not a cause for concern.  In order for the body to heal back and grow stronger, it needs to be broken down, and that can sometimes cause a bit of pain at the muscular level.  Once recovered the result will be great stamina and strength as the adaptation will cause hypertrophy or muscular growth.

Tips to reduce DOMS

Get moving! Active recovery is the way to relieve discomfort.  Whether it is a light weight workout or a cardio session, exercise will help circulate and flush out the toxins in muscles. A massage or good stretch can also work wonders.  Learning to aid the recovery process through activity will get the body feeling great again so you can get back into the gym for another great workout!


That’s it for this issue.  I hope I’ve left you with a better understanding of making the most of your workouts.


Anthony Corrado, Personal Trainer