Dr. Meigs: From the mountain to the trauma ward, and back again!
“I am a 55-year-old physician who enjoys Nordic and downhill telemark skiing, mountain hiking, jogging, sea kayaking, golf and mountain and road biking. In July 2013, I crashed while mountain biking and broke several thoracic vertebrae, a lot of ribs, my sternum and my helmet. That hurt! After 2 months of bed rest while the bones healed I was very weak, having lost all fitness and strength, with quite a bit of residual upper back pain. It was a chore to climb the stairs at home. I needed a training program to regain core strength and overall fitness and resume the movements of daily living. The program needed to be sensitive to my healing injuries as well as some pre-existing wrist and shoulder arthritis.
Looking around the web for a personal trainer, I came across Gymnasium. I stopped by and spoke with Josh. His view on whole body motion and strength and the possibility for small group training made sense for me. After just a month of three times per week, my results are outstanding. My strength has rapidly returned, and each session it seems I can move a little more weight and go through movements with greater limberness. My back and chest pain have rapidly diminished as my strength has grown. Even my chronically aching wrist and shoulder feel a lot better. They don’t like every exercise much, but chronic arthritis pain is notably reduced. Gymnasium’s coaches and the small group atmosphere have been supportive and fun.
In just a month I have rebuilt a lot of my strength, power, and stamina and become more limber–with less body pain–far faster than anyone thought was possible given my injuries. I recommend Gymnasium’s’ approach to better fitness and recovery without any hesitation. Their claim is true: Gymnasium is a great path to useful strength, conditioning, mobility & ability. I have indeed had a complete fitness transformation. The strength, balance and mobility I have gained are obviously great for cross-training in the sports I love to do. Despite having stared in pain at the overhead lights of the hospital trauma ward in July, by November I am anticipating the strongest, fastest Nordic ski season ever. Thanks, Gymnasium!” ~Dr. James Meigs
“Twice the results, half the time: I lost 26 lbs in 2 months!“
“I had gained weight. I was so focused on my family and work, I just wasn’t finding time or motivation to do anything about it. Until a visit to my doctor led me to re-think where I was heading with my health.
My first day. It’s a few minutes before my first class and I am nervous. I hear a cool 80s song as I open the door. Two coaches are talking about the upcoming class. I take off my shoes and then proceed to the changing room.
I noticed a lighted library of books ranging from Chinese breathing techniques to prison workouts to the history of European sword fighting. What a nice collection of varied interests, I thought. As I grab a cup of water a member informs me that although optional, I don’t have to keep my socks on for the workout —part of the strength training involves training the feet, naturally.
As I warm up, I see an older couple finishing up their kettlebell routine. They chalk up their personal best on one of the chalkboards on the wall. I see that one chalkboard is filled with quotations, comments and words of encouragement written by various members. Another board describes what ‘theme’ it is for the day: Stamina. The couple comes over and says hello to me and we introduce ourselves.
Gymnasium is a nicely designed, large two section studio with cozy lighting and wooden floors. Thick and heavy ropes hang from the ceiling, next to a row of pull-up bars. There are many tires stacked like a wall in one corner. A large variety of kettlebells and Indian Clubs line the back wall. There are also hurdles, mats, boxes, metal stands, rope, straps, foam bricks, sandbags, fitness ladders, a peg climb and many other tools. Intimidated, but curious. Several more members fill the room as the clock winds to 5pm.
The coach instructs us to get into a circle. The mild chatter quiets down as the group begins with a twisting and breathing exercise as ‘Simple Minds’ gets us into the mood over the gym’s sound system. This is pretty cool, I thought.
It’s been a hair over two months since I’ve joined Gymnasium. I clocked in at 228 pounds the day I signed up. Today I am 202 pounds. 26lbs in 2 months, I can’t believe it. Twice the results, half the time. At first I was skeptical because there weren’t any 45 pound plates, barbells and ellipticals. At the risk of sounding cliché, this isn’t a regular gym. After a few workouts I found myself crawling on all fours, doing planks, swinging kettlebells, hurling sandbags and performing an endless variety of floor work. The exercises and workouts are always changing.
What is key, is that since the classes are small you get a lot of attention from the coach. There are always two or three alternatives to each type of exercise. An experienced member might perform a more difficult version of a pushup exercise while a new member might do them inclined along a wall. Gymnasium recognizes that each person is different. Another thing which is cool is that the community at Gymnasium is very fun, social and lively. They organize many other fun events such as evening runs, a variety of seminars, kettlebell challenges and a Clean Eating Program in which I am currently involved. There is a great deal of personalization and interaction which is seldom if ever found at other gyms.
I am simply flabbergasted as to why I don’t see a lot more people doing natural movement exercises like the kind found at Gymnasium. I’ve done Kung Fu and lion dance for 13 years and I feel stronger than ever before. The other night I was crawling so fast I felt like a honey badger! Given my results I would never step back into a ‘regular’ gym—not if being strong and balanced, moving optimally and losing weight were my goals. I can’t wait for my doctor to run the follow up tests!”
” I’ve never looked better. And that’s not a bad way to hit 50!”
“I had been struggling for years with my chronic alignment issues, but it was always the same – oh, my aching….(back, neck…which day is it??).
Thanks to Gymnasium, that’s old news.
Coming to Gymnasium meant I could leave behind the constant injuries, and my “Giant Corporate Gym’s” obsession with selling me whatever was trendy.
Since I joined Gymnasium, not only has my fitness improved exponentially, but I can now bend, lift, carry, and squat, in ways I couldn’t even when I was young(er). Now I can carry heavy suitcases upstairs (must be those suitcase deadlifts), and throw bags of mulch into my van without hurting my back (it’s just like the sandbag toss, only messier). That would have been impossible BG – Before Gymnasium.
Don’t let Josh’s low-key “it’s-your-path” Zen-speak fool you. He may seem like a mellow guy, but he will work you hard! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) But you work smart, and the results are obvious right away.
But, just between us, what do I really love most about my Gymnasium workouts? I think I’ve never looked better. And that’s not a bad way to hit 50!”
“I have been practicing yoga for over 7 years and teaching yoga for 6…”
I have always loved the movement tradition of yoga and also wanted to add in a workout that would challenge my body in different ways and be safe and effective. I tried the gym, boring, then I tried at home extreme workout DVD’s, crazy, then I just gave up for a while. When I found Gymnasium I knew I had found what I was looking for. Josh and his staff have a fantastic command of how to challenge the body safely to not only give you a phenomenal workout but also to build structural and functional strength and flexibility for everyday life.
I and my friends have noticed that my body looks amazing and more importantly I feel amazing. I think that Gymnasium is the cutting edge of modern fitness and by far the most effective and enjoyable workout I have ever done!”
“…a confidence about my body that I’ve never had before.”
“Gymnasium is a delight in the universe of exercise and fitness. At 44, I was fit and healthy but bored with how I was exercising. Whatever I did, however healthy and challenging, felt one-dimensional in terms of overall fitness. At the suggestion of a friend I visited Gymnasium and have been going regularly ever since — I am officially 45 now.
I used Gymnasium to prepare for a 4-day hike to Yosemite to climb Half Dome. The work at Gymnasium prepared me for all the physical and mental challenges I encountered on the trip–and there were many. Most importantly, Gymnasium instilled a confidence in me about my body that I have never had before. In a strictly physical sense, I feel like I can accomplish what I want to and do it with grace, joy and without injury. This is something I had on the top of Half Dome and will continue to have. The Yosemite trip was a clear goal that Gymnasium helped me achieve. In addition I have found these little surprises in my day to day life that I continue to be delighted by:
- I can throw the ball twice as far for my dog.
- I can replace the Poland Spring water jug without pulling a muscle.
- I can open any sized jar before 10am without assistance.
- I can pick up my extra large cast iron skillet (when it’s full) with one hand now.
You will not find your traditional weights and benches. Instead, you leave your shoes at the door and use your body in unique and fun ways. There are jump ropes, kettlebells, bags of sand, huge ropes, and more. I cannot recommend Gymnasium highly enough.“ – Eliza
“Caveman training in a Zen-like atmosphere“
“There’s nothing worse than having to travel during your training–especially if it’s three weeks before an athletic event. Yeah, that happened to me.
I’m an internationally ranked Kettlebell Sport athlete who has assisted for The Orange Kettlebell Club Japan Certification and currently coaches workshops and clients on proper lifting mechanics, mobility, and sports vision techniques. My dilemma: I needed to go to Massachusetts near the end of my training for a major lifting championship for an entire week. I called all around the Newton, Waltham, Cambridge, and Boston areas and couldn’t find what I was looking for/in the proximity. I probably called and Googled over a dozen Kettlebell studios. However, the competitive style of lifting that I practice requires a certain kind of Kettlebell that nobody in the area had, let alone the heavier competition grade weight that I use. It was like calling someone speaking the same language as you, but using a different dialect.
Enter Gymnasium. The studio had everything I needed. It was close, it had the competition grade equipment that I needed, and–best of all–housed some of the warmest people you could meet in 10F degree weather. Josh, the owner, warmly welcomed me into his studio for a week and even took me to lunch to ask about my competitive endeavors. In fact, one of the coaches–Ken–even gave me a ride home one day to save me the bus fare! What a nice group of people!
Gymnasium has the most unique atmosphere of any gym I’ve ever encountered: It’s a wonderfully eclectic mixture of all my favorite caveman-style training equipment in a Zen-like atmosphere out of a Kung Fu goon (school). No sight of “gym bros” to be found nor “my-or-the-highway” trainers around here. The classes that I observed in the corner of my eye during my lifting practice exemplify what training should be: An exploration of movement and a development of skill to enhance the human experience.
Josh and Gymnasium team: keep it up. It was a pleasure to share our passion for Kettlebell lifting and I appreciate the hospitality during my week of training. You guys rock! To everyone else: this is a truly special space.
“Running, swimming, biking, and even traditional weight lifting all somehow seem ‘easier’”
A workout is never the same from day to day, keeping me on my toes and the mind-body connection alive and well. I am always excited to see what else is scheduled, and though we joke about stilt-walking and unicycling (lots of laughing, by the way @ Gymnasium)… you never know what they might throw at you ;>)
I have brought in two friends who were so entrenched in what they were already doing, and who left completely energized and open to trying something different, finally!
Thanks Gymnasium for continually coming up with innovative ways to challenge me physically and making me stronger.”
“I increased my deadlift by 20 lbs.!”
It was a result of adding the Gymnasium workouts since it is focused on body weight exercises, kettlebells and stretching, it provided an opportunity to work on my biggest issue; FLEXIBILITY. The marriage of movements helped me to:
- Increase stability by building whole-body core strength
- Work on my under-utilized muscles because I sit most of the day, (I said “hello” to my hips)
- Improved flexibility by using different movements that were not part of my normal “traditional” gym routine
I have been lifting and playing sports for years and after a knee injury I had worked my way back but, I could not get all the way back to where I was – where I felt really strong and balanced. I have continued my routines and added Gymnasium to my regimen and it has categorically upgraded all of my efforts in my routines. How much you ask – As I said look at my deadlift and see!
“…a place to keep myself in shape and sane.”
“I am a mother of preschoolers and I was looking for a new place to keep myself in shape and sane. I was reluctant to re-join a regular gym because I get bored and I have a hard time coming up with a full body workout on my own, particularly one that I can complete in an hour. I stumbled across Gymnasium when I was headed to CVS and I gave it a try. Wow, it is perfect.
The studio is clean and filled with really interesting and different things: kettlebells, weighted bats (not their real name!), sandbags, etc. The classes are full of moves I have never done or even heard about before in all the boot camp and big gym classes I have done in the past. These are moves that engage my whole body and are different and interesting enough to engage my mind so that I am not gritting my teeth and thinking about what I will do after class. The owner Josh has a very diverse and amazing background in many different disciplines. He is completely approachable, as are all the instructors. I came in without knowing anything about what they were teaching and they all spent a lot of time showing me the proper way to do the moves. When I leave here, I always feel like I got in a great workout and I look forward to going back each time.“ – Maggie
“Nothing short of a personal miracle!”
“I arrived at Gymnasium after a period of pronounced inactivity. For the past five years, or more, I’d belonged to gyms I didn’t frequent, where I mostly did a single cardio machine and then planned my escape. If I took a class, I found myself focusing on all my deficits.
Then, a friend introduced me to Gymnasium. During the first trial class, I still found myself dwelling on all the things I couldn’t do, but with their encouragement, I felt encouraged and supported to keep going. I feel as though I accomplished nothing short of a personal miracle in the eight months that I’ve been going there (I’m 59 and had no regular exercise regime when I started).
Now, I’ve lost over 22 lbs and I’m constantly amazed at what I’m able to do, and I look forward to each small group training session as a chance to push myself a little further.
I am able to accept new challenges, confident that the trainers at Gymnasium are paying close attention to my form and alignment. I have increased my stability and functional strength, and, for the first time in a very long while, I feel great about going to the gym.
“I feel so strong and vibrant going into this birth!”
“I keep meaning to say how happy I am that I discovered Gymnasium last year. I felt so strong and vibrant going into my birth. What a great feeling!
When I was in the pushing stage of labor, which only lasted half an hour, I kept thinking, ‘I was just swinging kettlebells two days ago. I am so strong. I can do this!’* I give huge credit to the workouts at Gymnasium for the speed of Aniela’s delivery. Seriously. I’m recovering well, too!
Thanks so much for what you do for us. You’re not only helping us build strong bodies, but you’re also helping us build a strong community. Can’t think of a better combination.” – Elizabeth (and Stan & Aniela!)
*Editors note: Elizabeth was snatching KBs and swinging from gymnastic rings at 39 weeks! Wow!
“The movements…enhance strength and endurance. So I get a more complete workout, naturally.“
“I have been going to the Gymnasium for a little over a year and I love it. It takes a lot of me to say this because being active is not a natural thing for me. I generally prefer to sit or walk slowly than work out.
Before the Gymnasium, I belonged to a gym that I hardly ever went to. My wife was a member of this same gym and this still couldn’t get me to go very often. I just didn’t like the vibe there. When I did go to the gym, I would run on the treadmill, then do some resistance training on body parts that I enjoyed working on. This meant that I rarely did any leg or ab work.
I recognized that it was important to move my body and get exercise so I started searching. I found the Gymnasium by chance through an online search. I signed up for the trial and attended my first class. Wow, it was challenging. But I felt so great, so energized after it was all done. I had felt so great that I came back the next day for another class! I was a little sore but not as bad as I thought.
Each consequent class was challenging for me but I always felt great afterward. I noticed gains in strength and endurance after only a couple weeks. For me, that’s remarkable.
Each class is conducted in an interactive small group format. Everyone is friendly and supportive. We’re each doing the exercises at our own pace, taking breaks when we need to. We’re not trying to match anyone else’s pace. For me it’s like a form of meditation. I do the movements better when I’m fully present. And I’m encouraging myself to do more rather than being pushed to do something I’m not quite ready to do.
The movements engage my mind and body. My understanding is that we’re training our body parts to work together. So often in our lives we will do exercises or participate in activities that isolate one body part which if done enough can lead to imbalance. The movements we do at the Gymnasium enhance strength and endurance. So I get a more complete workout, naturally.
What I’ve been noticing more and more is that I’m inspired to move my body. I may be sitting at my desk at my office and then decide I want to get on the floor and do leg swoops, or hold myself in a plank position, or something else. This is a big thing for me because as I said earlier, I tend to not want to move much. I’ve also noticed that my posture is better and have tons more endurance and lung capacity than I had before.
I’m really thankful that I’ve found Gymnasium.” – Nat
“I love playing tennis, but unfortunately for several years, my body didn’t…”
“I love playing tennis, but unfortunately for several years, my body didn’t. Each part of me would take turns giving out. My knee, my ankle, my calf, my elbow, my wrist, my lower back. Sometimes I would play with elastic bandages all over, and other times I would just have to stop for several weeks. I knew I needed to get stronger, but going to the gym for extended periods of time was just not what I call fun. And how do you even know you are working out in a way that even benefits you?
I’ve been to Gymnasium about 30 times and I love it. Josh is tremendous. He figured out how to offer a comprehensive full body workout that includes strengthening and cardio, in the LEAST AMOUNT OF TIME POSSIBLE. That is my kind of workout! In and out! Gymnasium gets you stronger, gets you more agile, gets you faster. When I am up at the net volleying, I now feel like I can move as fast as my head wants me to, AND I am not getting injured. And did I mention that they play good music and there are a lot of other nice people working out alongside you who encourage each other? One last benefit. You don’t need to buy a membership. The business model does not make feel guilty or you waste money if you don’t go. Pay by the class, or purchase packages. How can you not try it?
For a while, with all my injuries and stiffness, I was just thinking, well, I am getting older. Now, after going to Gymnasium, I think, wow, I am getting better!“ - Stephanie
“…a weekly date night.”
“My husband and I have established a weekly date night around one of Gymnasium’s classes. We both work full time, and have two small kids, and need a night to ourselves to reset from the week. What better way than to get together with a small group of people and sweat it out? (We do go out to a dinner afterwards).
They structure unique workouts that always get the heart pumping and the sweat flowing. And the people we’ve met have all been wonderful. We are so thankful for the community that is building behind CVS!”
- Nancy & Tony (regular Yogis, sometime runners, and Nancy also loves her Barre classes!)
“The training is great, and the community is even better.”
“I have a fairly broad background in various forms of physical training. I majored in Exercise Science for my BS degree, I was a Master Fitness Trainer in U.S. Army, I’m a Pose and RRCA certified running coach, and I also have various CrossFit instructor certifications. Also, I’ve been involved in physical training, in one form or another, since 1975. So, over the past 36+ years, I’ve seen exercise fads come and go, and I’ve witnessed the growth and development of the ridiculous excesses so common in physical training communities today.
I was frustrated with many aspects of CrossFit, and even more so with other more generic gyms and workouts. I was definitely looking for a new direction, and I was very concerned that I wasn’t going to find anything that fit my needs. After meeting with Josh, I immediately knew that the training they provide at Gymnasium was exactly what I was looking for. At Gymnasium, the training focuses on movement, skill, and technique first, and intensity second. Gymnasium workouts will prepare you to move, function and thrive in the real world, and these workouts are best suited for people who have a real life, and wish to get the most out of it.
Since I joined the Gymnasium, I’ve never looked back. The training is great, and the Gymnasium community is even better. I’ve come to think of the Gymnasium as my second home, and I also think of the members of the Gymnasium as family with whom I actually enjoy spending time (just kidding, Mom).” – Ken
“…a sense of community…”
“Gymnasium is fantastic. The workouts are varied, intense (but modifiable), fun, and focused on functional strength, fitness, and flexibility rather than just doing hundreds of boring exercises to burn calories.
They’ve done an awesome job of fostering a sense of community there as well, and there are other offerings like a weekly running group. All the trainers are great too. I can’t recommend it enough to anyone looking for something different, and for something that really gives results.“ – Elena
“I can’t think of a better way to spend the money“
“I was looking for an engaging way to build strength, flexibility and get into better physical condition. After trying kettlebells in an adult education class at Gymnasium I was hooked and signed on with a coach for private training.
Kettlebells give me the advantages of lifting weights without the boredom, plus they are a whole-body workout challenge. Although it is a bit of a stretch to afford a weekly private sessions, I can’t think of a better way to spend the money.
My coach Anna is fantastic at her job. My sessions are well planned, inspiring and fun. Best of all my progress in 9 months thrills me. Thanks Anna.” — Mary & Ron