Our gym is Midtown Strength and Conditioning (MTSC)/Super Training (ST), and it is pretty traditionally non-traditional. We have some buffed guys, hot chicks and regular people (who are actually not so regular because they have forsaken the big box gyms for more personal and REAL strength training). We have more weights than any gym on the West Coast. And while what we do can be considered a hobby; in truth, it is the heart and soul that gets us through each day.
Our gym is a 5,600 square foot converted garage with no mirrors, no machines and no TVs. In other words, “no fuss.”
But, one of the most unique and best things about MTSC (and the point of this missive) is that MTSC houses the excellent and famous power lifting gym, ST (a gym within a gym), owned and coached by Mark Bell.
Inside the first ST Gym
The ST/Midtown collaboration was made just about 4 years ago. Our gym had been open for 2 months when I was reading Men’s Health and noticed a “training tip” in it from Mark Bell; whose gym was listed as Super Training, Sacramento. Intrigued, I instantly turned to Camilo, my partner, and said, “Why don’t I know this Mark Bell and what/where is Super Training?” (Editor’s note: Click this link, then click on the dot in Northern California to see the video version of this training tip.) After connections to Mark were figured out and contact was made, Camilo and I were headed out to Super Training (ST). At the time, ST was about 600 square feet in a multi-unit warehouse on Norwood Drive . Anyone in the Sacramento area knows that Norwood is not in the “best” neighborhood. In fact, I had never been out that way before. Nevertheless, I was excited to meet Mark and check out his space; with the hope that Mark would entertain the idea of moving ST to our gym. (Editor’s note: it was actually about 900 square feet altogether but it was so jammed full of stuff, it looked a lot smaller. Check out the original Super Training Gym location in the video below.)
ST was not what I expected. I had been pretty nervous to meet Mark and sort of scared of meeting his crew, who from what I read and heard, were a bunch of surly huge dudes lifting insane amounts of weight. Well, the part about huge dudes/ insane amount of weight was correct but I didn’t really get any of the surliness. Everyone was cordial (including Mark who I learned very quickly is one of the most clever people in the world) and the only thing that shocked me was that the gym was a complete mess! We spoke to several ST members and spent about an hour with Mark.
Needless to say, the visit was a success.
Bears...Teddy and otherwise
Nowadays, I spend half my time on the MTSC “side” of the gym and half on the ST side. When I am on the ST side I am hanging with dudes (save two or three ladies) who outweigh me, and most of the world, by 100s of pounds. These guys squat, bench and deadlift several hundred and even a 1,000 pounds (regularly). They are crass, unforgiving and they make me want to be better. They are family. And yes, they can be intimidating. But I know the truth; they are actually a bunch of Teddy Bears….</p>I read an article by Dan John several years ago and he said, “You should always be a little scared when you walk into your gym.” And, BAM, I got it. If you feel safe when you are approaching your training, you are probably not pushing yourself or varying your workouts enough. And if you are not getting better, you are getting worse.
Like this, for YEARS I went to a big box gym. I had no goals beyond skinny jeans and “just doing it. ”It was all treadmills, 10- pound dumb bells and the same dude staring at the same girls. I was neither afraid nor inspired. I just did it, everyday. And guess what, I saw no change in me, or the world I lived in. I was not stronger, happier or even skinnier. In the worst case I was a gerbil; and in the best case I was at least…”moving.”
Sistas are doin' it for themselves.
So, today I thrive on being a little intimidated. And so should you. If you are so intimidated that you will never walk through the roll-up doors of ST, it probably is not the place for you anyway. But if you have a healthy dose of fear and still make it in, you will be welcomed. And if you actually stick around and observe you will see that we lift with purpose (always to get stronger) and we support each other with a purpose (to get stronger).
Training with ST is not easy. I have trained through hip injuries, backaches, and sinus-headaches and with a piss poor attitude. Since training with ST my lifts have increased: Squat 314, Bench 214 and Deadlift 319. That is a 412-pound increase in about 2 years. That does not suck and it is, as they say, the proof in the pudding.
I don’t own a house, an apartment or a condo. I own a gym. The gym is where I work out all my issues and where we help others do the same. It is a sanctuary for many. It may seem scary at first but everyone who trains here will tell you they feel the strongest in their lives here.
Tara Getty co-owns Midtown Strength and Conditioning with Camilo Gutierrez. Midtown’s website is here. Thanks, Tara!
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Guest Blog – ST, Me and a Little Bit of Fear by Tara Getty
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