Tag Archives: fitness centers in Dickinson North Dakota

Remembering What I Forgot About Steroids

I have no interest in pharmaceutical steroids, testosterone, or human growth hormone.  I do not have very much interest in powerlifting or bodybuilding either.  I did have my own idea about what I wanted for my own physical strength and health.

I wanted to have useful strength, for the work that I did, and the things that I was involved in.  But once I became over 27 years old, I did not want to spend a couple of hours in the gym every day.  Partly, I no longer had time in my schedule to spend a couple of hours in the gym every day, and the other part was that it was no longer important to me to be overly strong or overly big.  Getting my work completed and making money was more important to me.

In my mid 30s, after I moved away from the city and had more free time, I began lifting weights again.  I was putting in good effort, but I was careful not to damage my knees, back, elbows, or shoulders by trying to lift too much weight.   Again, it was not important to me to be overly strong or overly big.

In my early 40s, I began trying harder to improve my strength, and it was something that I looked forward to, to try to make gains in the gym.  I was pleased with my bench press, dumbbell press, overhead press, lat pull downs, triceps dips, triceps curls, biceps curls, pretty much all my lifts and exercises, considering that I was now in my early 40s.

When I had to leave my home in Idaho in 2011 to begin working in the oil fields in North Dakota, Utah, and Texas, my life was disrupted in many ways.  One of the worst things that happened to me, was getting my back hurt so bad in 2011, that I couldn’t walk for several months.  But other things that were always a problem working in the oil fields, were lack of normal housing, and general chaos in just about everything else.

Working in North Dakota, for a couple of years I had to sleep in small campers on company property, and sometimes take showers at the Tiger Truck Stop.  There was a shortage of housing, and housing was extremely expensive.  Once it gets to be below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and you live in a small camper, just staying clean and warm, and not dying, is what you are paying attention to.

It has only been in the past couple of years, once the oil boom ended in North Dakota, that I have had the time and opportunity to begin trying to go to gyms on a regular basis again.  The West River Community Center in Dickinson, North Dakota where I live is one of the nicest gym facilities in the United States.  However, it is a community center with men, women, children, and the elderly.

I never had a problem with the elderly people in the WRCC, they were not a nuisance at all.  The men were typical of what you would find in a gym anywhere.  But the women and the children in the WRCC were a nuisance, annoyance, and a distraction to me:  sitting on equipment and not using the equipment, placing belongings on equipment that they were not using, taking up equipment that they did not need for that exercise, getting too close and not understanding that they could get hurt, and fooling around being a distraction.

This year, I thought that I had found a small gym with only heavy duty power lifting training equipment, a place that would not have any women and children in it.  There was nothing in this small gym to be of any interest to women and children, I thought.  A couple of days ago when I was in this gym, everything that I hated about the West River Community Center, happened here in this small gym.

A couple of women came in, and were talking, socializing, fooling around, placing belongings on equipment, sitting on equipment that I wanted to use, and me having to worry about hitting them with a weight bar because they were close to what I was doing.  I was angry, and I wrote a blog post about what happened.  The owners of the gym and I got into a dispute over this, and they told me not to come back.

During the argument about women being in the gym, and in comments to my blog post, the gym owners, power lifters, and especially women, were telling me that there were women who could kick my ass in the gym.  I doubted this.  There were claims made about what weight women were lifting, so I looked it up.

I looked up the USPA 2017 Montana state records for women, which showed something like 238 lb bench press, and 315 lb squat, which sounded about right to me.  Then I looked up a specific woman who was given as an example, and her bench press and squat were maybe 268 lb and 400 lb in 2015, which still sounded about right to me.

When commenters began citing even higher numbers for female power lifters, and higher numbers for some of the women power lifters that I had already looked up, I checked more records as was suggested to me, and suddenly I realized what was going on.

For adult women who were power lifters, who had been training for several years or more, who had entered and won power lifting competitions, there was a record of what their bench press, squat, and dead lift were for each meet.  After several years or more of focusing on diet, nutrition, supplements, training, exercising, and working very hard, these numbers for bench press, squat, and dead lift represented a peak or plateau that they had reached, after several years or more of work.

Then in less than a year, their bench press, squat, and dead lift all suddenly increased by 40%, after they had already reached their physical plateau?  They had been working for several years to make gains of 10% to 20% per year, reaching their physical plateau, then all of a sudden all of their lifts increased by 40% in one year.  What was going on?

Let me put it this way.  Does a college senior baseball pitcher enter Major League Baseball and begin throwing 40% faster, No.  Does a college track athlete ever begin running 40% faster one year later, No.  Does a college swimmer ever begin swimming 40% faster one year later, No.  Does a college high jumper ever begin jumping 40% higher one year later, No.

So how could an adult athlete who has been training for years, suddenly have a 40% increase in strength?

Remembering What I Forgot About Steroids, Testosterone, And Human Growth Hormone 

Reading the records of the women power lifters, this started me thinking about everything that I knew about steroids, testosterone, and human growth hormone.  I will give some examples.

#1.  When I was in junior high school, about 8th grade, there was a school assembly in the gymnasium, where a 30 year old man was going to perform a demonstration.  This man named Chuck, he was from this town, he had joined the Navy, and he had taken up power lifting.  He had achieved some kind of powerlifting record, and today he was going to give a talk, and then bench press 500 lb.  At the time, I didn’t think that this was worthy of a school wide assembly, but I was glad to get out of class.

The point of this demonstration and school assembly, was that the school principal had been convinced that this was motivational, that this might give some kids an inspiration to get involved in power lifting, to put effort into something positive, rather than getting into trouble.  To Chuck, this was partly an opportunity to get publicity for the new gym that he was opening in town.

However, within about a year of Chuck’s gym opening, it was shut down, by the Police.  Chuck, his gym, and his gym members were found to be using, bringing in, and selling steroids, testosterone, and human growth hormones.  It turns out that Chuck’s above average strength, was primarily from steroid use, etc.  Within about a year of this drug bust by the Police, where Chuck was prohibited from using steroids as part of his probation, Chuck’s appearance changed, he became just a normal looking, average sized guy.

#2.  When I was in high school, our high school hired a strength and conditioning coach for the football program.  One of my friends named Bob, who was on the football team, his older brother played professional football.  Bob was only about 5’-10” and 180 lbs, and he knew full well that he was not going to be able to play professional football.

Bob had a brother named Todd, who was two years younger than Bob.  Todd was even smaller than Bob.  In elementary school, junior high school, and high school, Bob and Todd lifted weights together.  Bob tried to push Todd to do more weight, but Todd could only do what he could do.  For instance, when Bob was a junior in high school, he could bench press about 210 lb.  His younger brother Todd could maybe bench press 180 lb at this time when he was a freshman.

After Bob and I graduated from high school, when his younger brother Todd was a junior in high school, Todd was all of a sudden bench pressing 365 lb.  Within a year Todd went from bench pressing 215 lb, to bench pressing 365 lb.  Bob was really mad about it, because his younger brother was using steroids, and his physical appearance totally changed.  He said he told him, Todd, you are only 5’-7”, you are never going to play professional football, probably not even college football, so why are you doing this to yourself taking steroids?

There were several kids who were high school football players, who weighed about 135 lbs their sophomore year and were skinny, who within a year went up to weighing over 200 lb their junior year.  There were so many cases of steroid, testosterone, and human growth hormone use by the high school football players, that an investigation was done, and it was found that these pharmaceuticals were being administered by the strength and conditioning coach, who was then fired.

#3.  When I was a college student, some of my friends became involved in powerlifting and bodybuilding.  Even though they were training regularly, and working hard, there came a point when they quit making advances in their strength and muscle size, so they began experimenting with steroids and other drugs such as GHB.

One of my friends began ordering veterinary and ranch pharmaceuticals through the mail.  One of the things that I remember him receiving, were “feed lot heffer” cattle implant pellets, which were used by ranchers to implant in cattle ear flaps, to slowly release steroids into the cattle to make them put on weight.  He would grind these pellets up using a mortar and pestal, add linseed oil or propylene glycol to make a solution, heat it up in the microwave to make it dissolve, draw the solution into a hypodermic needle, and then inject the solution into his buttocks muscle.

One college student got arrested for receiving veterinary pharmaceuticals in the mail.  My friend passed out a couple of times, once inside of a gym, and he was very nearly arrested for various drug charges.  One of our friends who was a successful personal trainer and competitive body builder died at the age of 25 from drug complications.

My friends were using Dan Duchaine’s books, “The Underground Steroid Handbooks 1 & 2” as a reference manual on how to obtain and use steroids and other substances.  Dan Duchaine was arrested and put in prison twice for his involvement with selling steroids and GHB.  Dan Duchesne later died at the age of 48 from kidney disease.

#4.  My friends’ idol or role model were people like Dorian Yates, a British bodybuilder who was known not just for winning bodybuilding competitions such as the Mr. Olympia six consecutive times, but because he trained with very heavy weights, almost like a power lifter would use, and he was very strong, large, and well defined.

This was in the 1990s, and the professional bodybuilders were becoming so outrageously large in muscle size, and the professional powerlifters were making such enormous increases in weight lifts, that it was obvious that steroids and other pharmaceuticals were being widely used.  Very few competitors would admit this at the time, but now, many of these competitors who are now retired are coming out and admitting to their drug use, and are giving details about what went on.

Most of the competitors that are telling about their experiences now, said that they used drugs in order to be someone, in order to be a champion, in order to be successful, to be able to have things in life that they would otherwise not have had.  They said that the risks were worth the reward to them, at the time, in their mind.

These competitors also described the kind of psychological addiction to steroids and other drugs, the drugs that enabled them to lift enormous weight, have a huge physique, and  stand out in a crowd.  Once they had to quit taking steroids due to health problems, they became depressed and wanted to withdraw, because they could not live up to the image of themselves that people had become familiar with.

This first video does not have any commentary.  It shows the contrast between Dorian Yates when he was using steroids during his professional bodybuilding career, and what he looks like after he retired and ceased using steroids.

This second video is a discussion where Dorian Yates explains his steroid use during his professional bodybuilding career.

The problem is, that once people begin taking a serious interest in bodybuilding or powerlifting, begin training seriously, working hard, reading and learning more, keeping a record of their work out weights and repetitions, after several years of making gains they will realize that they have reached their physical plateau, where they are no longer making gains, and may even begin going backwards.

From what they have read, learned, seen, and heard by this time, they have to choose whether they are going to stay where they are, or are they going to try to make further gains by using steroids, testosterone, human growth hormone, or other substances.  Women are no different than men now in their willingness to take steroids, testosterone, and human growth hormones.  I think that some women are even more likely to use these drugs not solely to make gains in their weight lifting or muscle size, but to try to have equal or greater strength than men.

This last video, gives another person’s perspective on his steroid use, who was not a professional bodybuilder or powerlifter.

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The Beginning Of The Ruining Of The Pit Gym In Dickinson, North Dakota

In December of 2017, I wrote a blog post about a new gym that had recently opened in Dickinson, North Dakota, called The Pit Gym.  When I looked in the window of The Pit Gym, I saw two heavy-duty squat racks, two heavy-duty bench press benches, and a long rack of complete dumbbell pairs going up to 100 lbs or more.

I was very happy and surprised to see this, because this was a weight room gym, and not a fitness center.  I had not seen a weight room like this, since I worked out in the Gainesville Gym, the Daytona Gym, and the Powerhouse Gym in Florida with power lifting and body building competitors.

Starting about twenty years ago, most gyms in the United States adopted a Fitness Center model, in order to appeal to a broader range of men and women.  In doing so, these gyms became more feminized, or emasculated, into Fitness Centers where achieving maximum size and strength was no longer the goal, but some vision of “general health and wellness”.

The West River Community Center in Dickinson, is one of the nicest fitness centers in the United States, and probably even the World.  It has an indoor Olympic lap pool, an indoor amusement park pool, an outdoor pool, hot tub, two indoor tennis courts, four indoor racketball courts, four indoor basketball courts, one indoor volleyball court, upper level 1/5 mile jogging track, outdoor skateboard park, indoor rock climbing wall, floor exercise area, aerobics rooms and classes, thirty pieces of cardiovascular equipment, bench press benches, squat racks, dead lift platforms, dumbbells, and cable machines.

The West River Community Center also has very large men’s and women’s locker rooms with many lockers, toilets, and showers.  There is also a children’s day care facility.  The cost of a membership is only about $30 per month.  Like I said, the West River Community Center is one of the nicest fitness centers in the United States.

However, one thing that the West River Community Center, and the Anytime Fitness in Dickinson do not have, is a heavy weight lifting area with the absence of women and children.

It does not matter that the West River Community Center has three heavy-duty squat racks and two dead lift platforms, when these squat racks and dead lift platforms are usually occupied by women or children who are only lifting just the 45 lb bar, without any weights, and doing many sets of exercises.

I think that women’s fitness magazines must have shown so many articles where a professional trainer is doing squats with just a bar inside of a squat rack, or lunges with just the bar on a dead lift platform, that this is what women think these things are for.

Squat racks, which are a heavy steel framework consisting of four vertical corner posts and overhead horizontal cross bracing, were invented about fifty years ago, to allow power lifters doing heavy squat exercises, to train without a spotter, and to help prevent a catastrophic injury or accident.  A squat exercise, is where you rest the bar on your upper back, and perform a knee bend and back bend, to where your upper legs become horizontal or parallel to the floor.

High School football linemen can typically squat about 350 lbs.  College football linemen can typically squat about 400 lbs.  Very good competitive power lifters can squat more than 700 lbs.  It is common when performing heavy squat exercises, for lifters of any age, to experience a problem.  The most common problems are a sudden knee weakness, loss of balance, or loss of footing.

If a power lifter is performing heavy squat exercises inside of a squat rack, there are horizontal safety bars that are set to stop the fall of the bar and the weights if there is a problem.  The horizontal safety bars inside of the squat rack, can prevent the complete and catasrophic failure of a knee or vertebrae, paralysis, death, and tremendous property damage.  Without the squat rack safety bars, 400 lb to 800 lb landing on your neck or head if you slip, can be fatal.

When the women and children at the West River Community Center are taking up the squat racks using only the 45 lb bar for multiple sets of exercises, usually they don’t even have the horizontal safety bars set to help them in a fall.  They don’t even really need the squat rack at all, and they are just tying up a strategic piece of training equipment and preventing others who really need it, from using it.

Most people do not know how much planning goes into even minimally competitive power lifting.  Most all power lifters keep a journal/log book of completed training and planned training.  They are on a very complex schedule of lift rotations, and weight levels.  Whether it is squat, dead lift, or bench press, there are weeks of training with increasing weight, leading up to one specific day, and one specific time of that day, that they have set to attempt a maximum squat, dead lift, or bench press.

Adult men who are involved in power lifting, will think all week about a lift, their maximum weight attempt scheduled for a Friday at 5:00 p.m. when they get off of work.  They will visualize a squat lift all week, and know all week that they plan on attempting 495 lb, 505 lb, the amount that they think they can achieve in a maximum effort for one repetition.  This lift will be the culmination of weeks and weeks of training.  But when they get to the West River Community Center at 5:00 p.m. on Friday to use the squat rack, there is some young lady doing squats with just the 45 lb bar, tying up the squat rack, and she doesn’t even need the squat rack.

In order to do something about this problem, Dave Clem a power lifting competitor in Dickinson, opened The Pit Gym in the Fall of 2017.  Now I already wrote two paragraphs describing everything that the West River Community Center has, from the pools, basketball courts, cardio equipment, weight training equipment, men’s and women’s locker rooms.  The only thing that the West River Community Center did not have, was a heavy weight lifting area for adult men, with no women and children around to get on dead lift platforms and squat racks that they did not need in the first place.

On this Saturday, 5/26/18, I was at The Pit Gym when two young men had brought their two young girlfriends with them.  At first, I just tried to not pay attention to these two young women, but they were talking a lot, as this appeared to be a social outing for them, like a barbeque or going to the beach.  One of the young women got on one of the bench press benches and was using just the bar with no weight.  And the other young woman was all over the place, not even lifting weight most of the time, just being a distraction.

I was very angry about this, and I felt like saying to the two young men, “Are you trying to fuck this up just like the West River Community Center?  The whole reason why this gym exists, is because women and children would go to the West River Community Center and get on the bench press benches, the squat racks, and the dead lift platforms, and use just the bar with no weight, fool around, and prevent other people from using the heavy weight equipment.”

I couldn’t fucking believe this.  The Pit Gym is small, about 35’x 50′, it doesn’t even have locker rooms or a shower.  All The Pit Gym has to offer, that is different than the West River Community Center and Anytime Fitness, are the two heavy-duty weight benches, the two heavy-duty squat racks, the dead lift platform, and the dumbbells pairs going up to 100 lbs, combined with the absence of women and children getting in the way.

If you introduce women and children into The Pit Gym, it has absolutely nothing to offer, and no reason to go there whatsoever, if all of the equipment is going to be taken up by women and children.  If the squat racks, benches, and dumbbell area are going to be occupied by women, you might as well just go to the West River Community Center as it is cheaper, has more equipment, and more amenities.

I was angry and distracted by the two young women in The Pit Gym on Saturday.  I left the gym without completing even half of my planned exercises, partly because I lost my focus, and partly because I did not want to do my exercises around these two young women because I thought that they might get hurt, or cause me to get hurt.

The behind the head curls that I was doing laying on my back on the weight bench, I thought that the one young girl using the adjacent weight bench was going to get hit with the bar because she did not know the range of motion that I was going to do.  And I could see the same thing happening with the other young woman when I tried to do dumbbell flies.

Like I said, these two young women were treating this as a social outing, and I don’t think that they were paying enough attention or had been around weight rooms enough to know what I was going to do.  Them walking into to me, the bar, or the dumbbells while I was in motion would not only have gotten them hurt, it might have gotten me hurt too.

I just left, and I was angry and disgusted.  I went home and I updated the first blog post that I wrote about The Pit Gym back in December of 2017.  I began thinking that maybe this is what Dave Clem and his wife Wendy want, to get as many people to join The Pit Gym as possible, even if this results in the exact same problems as what happened at the West River Community Center and Anytime Fitness in Dickinson.

I am going to finish this blog post by giving some complaints written by other people about gyms and fitness centers:

From Men’s Health, Lou Schuler 9/22/15

  • The gym noob who sets her water bottle and clipboard on a bench isn’t trying to piss you off. She just doesn’t know better.
  • A bit less forgivable are the five teens using a single leg press machine, but forming a cordon that blocks off three other stations.
  • Or the young woman who sits on a machine for five minutes between sets because she’s returning texts.
  • Don’t tie up equipment that you don’t need for the exercise that you are doing.  The people who tie up squat racks when they aren’t even lifting. I’ve seen it used for stretches, or to hold onto while doing single-leg calf raises with their own body weight.

From Return of Kings, Kenzie Atkins 2/28/16

  • I find nothing more frustrating than walking into the gym and finding it full of women and estrogen.
  • Working out with other men increases your competitiveness and forces you to push yourself and improve your personal best.
  • Let me set the scene—you have gone into the gym with the intention of working your legs, you have a set routine, and it’s coming up to the squat part of your workout. You go to the squat rack to find that it is being used by a woman who has a bar weighing 50 lbs.  (She is using just the bar, with no weight.)
  • We are all men, and let’s be honest we are often checking out women. There are some alright women in the gym and this can be a distraction during a time when we should be concentrating on our workout and improving ourselves.
  • Mixed gyms discourage this kind of fellowship by changing the dynamic. Instead of the positive competitiveness of sport, there is a tendency to compete for the “cute” girl.
  • Men only gyms would encourage the positive traits of brotherhood and support, while giving us a distraction free environment to improve ourselves.

I don’t know what is going to happen.  Why can’t the women just stay over at the West River Community Center with the swimming pools, hot tub, tennis, racketball, basketball, volleyball, jogging track, exercise floor, aerobics rooms,  yoga, cardio equipment, weight area, childcare, women’s locker room, women’s showers, and women’s toilets.  They have way more equipment and amenities over there.  Why the fuck can’t they stay the fuck over there?

This video shows a woman powerlifter who is serious.

This video shows a woman powerlifter who is not serious enough.

This video shows a woman getting hit with weights in the gym.

This video shows a woman taking up equipment and not using it for what it is for.

This video shows women being a distraction in the gym.