There Are Giants is oh so very proud to be introducing our monthly FITNESS section ‘There Are Giants at the Gym.’ This section of the e-mag will be posted every third week of the month and feature work out and diet tips for the GIANT who is trying to get healthy and in better shape from a GIANT who is.
TAG is even more so very proud to be introducing the voice behind this monthly feature Greg Clausen; a 7’0” tall personal trainer and award winning body builder from Illinois.
Greg is a former NBA D-League basketball player, a current basketball coach for HBSCamps, a body builder in constant training, and a personal trainer to others in Dixon, IL. His journey from being an average to athletic build to the seven-feet of lean muscle mass that he is now can be found on his Facebook Page. We encourage you to LIKE him there to get additional insight and inspiration on your work out journey.
Many tall men think that they can’t have a killer body, put on muscle, or use gym equipment; I understand how they feel. I felt the same way for a long time and I found that in thinking that way I was my own worst enemy. It is not easy to make the commitment to do the work it takes to change your physique and/or get healthy, but much easier to make excuses for yourself like “I can’t…I am too tall” or “I have no time” or “I’m too old” and so on. If you keep telling yourself you can’t…you will be right. Fourteen months after making the decision to change my physique, I won my first bodybuilding trophy.
To start, regardless of your level, I recommend warming up first. A 5 minute warm up will get your blood flowing and help protect against injuries. I jog on the treadmill for 5 minutes before I do ANYTHING at the gym, though I do have an issue with treadmills. Most say they support up to 300lbs, yet I have had many moving belts bind up on me even though I am only 250lbs. If you are not careful, you can be thrown from the treadmill. Start with a slow walk and gradually increase the speed to avoid injury. We tall guys also seem to slouch a lot; When on the treadmill I always try to work on my posture. When you run or walk in a slouched over position, you can put unnecessary strain on your back and neck.
You’re tall; be proud of it.
Though sometimes I just can’t use the equipment. Stationary bikes don’t fit us very well, but recumbent bikes (the kind that look like you’re lying down) actually come in handy. You’re still getting in good cardio, but you’re not putting your body at risk for injury.
Often, because of standard machine sizing, I have to substitute some exercises with manual exercises. For example, leg extension and leg curl machines usually have some levers to adjust to the length of the individual, but for me, this usually is still about 2-3 inches too short. Mostly I just bite the bullet and put the leg pad on my shins with a towel between my legs and the machine for added padding. This still exercises the quad muscle pretty well, but I can’t put as much weight on as I’d like due to the pressure on the shin. This is when I really focus on proper form and fatiguing the muscle as much as possible. Other times, when the towel method becomes too much, I substitute lunges for my extensions or quad exercise. I’ll hold dumbbells in each hand and focus on pressing up off the floor with my toes rather than my heels. This really hits the quad muscle.
As far as “fitting on gym equipment” goes… there are other options. Yoga, calisthenics and the like can help to increase strength, flexibility and tone. Just remember, if your physical efforts are not accompanied by a proper diet, you will wasting about 70% of your efforts.
Hit those gyms Giants. Now that you have a solid and friendly introduction to the basic beginnings and some alternatives for your work out, put those Richard Simons tapes away and run, walk, crawl, scamper, or drive yourself over to your local gym and put it into action. More advanced features on this subject will be coming down the pike in the following months for those of you who are farther along the road to fitness and health than others.
Thank you so much to Greg Clausen – The 7 Foot Body Builder and to Photography by Dave Luyando.