Training Day – My Trip To Total Performance Sports

28 Jun

This weekend I went down to Total Performance Sports in Everett MA. The reason behind my trip: Training Environment. I was looking for a better place to train, I was looking for a better place for my readers to train. Does where you train make a difference? I caught up with TPS founder CJ Murphy (Murph) and participated in Training Day, a monthly event down in Everett MA. Here’s what I came away with:

“It’s Fucking Awesome”

That’s how Murph  wants his gym to be remembered. I walked through the front door of a small brick building, a few miles outside the hustle of Boston MA. There are 5 or so tractor tires lining the wall in the gym’s “cardio area.” A guy and a girl are swinging away, delivering blows to a tractor tire on the gym floor with a sledge hammer. Meanwhile a few sweaty, smiling, exhausted members are making their way down from the upper level after a brutal Saturday morning class. My adrenaline is pumping within seconds of looking around. There’s a prowler and and a giant yoke bar stacked in the corner. Straight ahead of me, trophies, from numerous strong man events sit humbly on top of the wooden member cubbies. I was instructed to come at noon, I guess I couldn’t sit around the apartment any longer and I showed an hour early.

I introduce myself to the girl at the front desk and she hands me a waiver and a set of Rules for the gym. I’m nervous, but mostly excited, Murph is busy with a client so I take a seat and start filling out my waiver and reading through the rules. There’s nothing in here about not dropping weights, nothing about chalk, hell these rules are nothing like the ones I’ve been reminded of all to often in a typical gym.

Rule 4: When you are here WORK OUT. The gym is not a playground.

I haven’t walked past the entrance and I can already feel the energy around me.

I sit there, anxious, decide to mix up my pre workout shake. Murph comes out for a minute and introduces himself, reminding me that I am there like 45 minutes early. The girl at the front desk asks if I want a quick tour. Of course I do, anything to get me moving. She shows me around the entrance area, I’ve already got it memorized in my head. Moving on, the weight room. We walk through a door in the back right. The music picks up, my heart rate elevates. I’m on the floor. Power racks, kettle bells, bands, chains, a GHR, mono lift, and chalk on all the bars. A trainer is running a guy through some circuit work, helping him cut weight. Another guy gets busy snatching KB’s.


The walls are covered in banners for power lifting gear, a few photos are hung from various meets. There’s a leader board, hanging ominously in front of the monolift.   We walk up a short flight of stairs. I’m immediately greeted by a full Boxing Ring. Speed Bags are hanging in the corner. The room to the left is totally matted and ready to entertain a variety of martial arts. The feeling is rustic and raw. The walls are wood planks, and have various sources of motivation littered throughout them.


We trace our way back to the entrance. I still have 20 minutes to kill. I eye a bunch of foam rollers and get warmed up. I’m deep into my illio tibial band when I hear a deep voice yell “Brother!” I’m summoned into the office. Murph clears off a seat and I sit down. He quickly raps up telling one of his trainers her Body Fat percentages. He alludes to the fact she can probably squat more than I can. This is later confirmed. Murph and I talk shortly about TPS and training.

12PM – Training day begins.

“It is and It’s not”

That’s Murph’s take on whether or not training environment is everything. There’s eight of us surrounding the monolift. We’re squatting and it’s an open forum. You want a weight, step up. In my head I’m reminded of our conversation, it took place only a half hour earlier. Murph made references to great lifters such as Matt Kroc, he lifts in his basement. He told me he has seen plenty of strong guys come from commercial gyms. The environment is what you make it, but good training partners and a good gym can bring even the most focused lifter to the next level. I guess it’s my choice if I am going to call out a big weight and step up. Either way I know I’m surrounded by some of the best, and they have my back.  Murph finishes a big set, his training partners on either side, watching the bar carefully as he powers through a rep. He comes over to me and remarks how he didn’t have to tell them a thing, they know what to do. That’s the difference of lifting with your crew, having a crew. It all comes to fruition.

“They say strength training is making a comeback, I never knew it left”

The day continues, lifters helping lifters. The most experienced to the least experienced are all standing on the same ground: Power lifters, Fathers, athletes, an e-5 in the US Coast Guard. CJ says the two lessons that translate are Work Ethic and Big Exercises. It’s 1:30 and we’ve moved from the monolift to the Deadlift Platform. Nobodies shirt is dry, and we’re getting by on bread and butter; squats and pulls.

“To be the best, you gotta train with the best”

It’s 2:30 now and we’ve been learning and working for 2 hours. I’m spent. Murph makes an exit, thanks us for coming out and heads to his office to change before a consultation. There are four of us left on the floor. I’ve missed pulling 405 off the floor twice. Murph told me I gave up on the first attempt, I had it. I set the weight up again, one of Murph’s lifting partners gives us a short rundown on narrowing our grip and stance. The two other guys tell me I got this weight. I would have hung it up after the first attempt back in my gym. I walk over to the bar. Set up narrow. Pull air into my stomach, get into position, and pull. The weights stuck, four inches off the ground. I’m not giving up. I keep pulling, slowly inching it past my knees. I get past the knee, lock it out.

Is where you’re lifting a contributing factor? I drop the bar on the ground, receive a pat on the back. You can’t argue with results.

I shake the few guys hands who are left around, mix up a shake and head home. I grab a flier detailing membership dues on my way out.

www.totalperformancesports.com

All Photos Courtesy of Total Performance Sports



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3 Responses to “Training Day – My Trip To Total Performance Sports”

  1. Nate Green June 28, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    Excellent article, Greg! That sounds like one hell of a training experience.

    Keep it up.

    -Nate

  2. Zap June 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    Man, I love it! Did you venture into any of the alternative areas and do some cave man work or was it all by the book lifts? Lightweight babay.

    • gregtrainer June 30, 2010 at 12:07 am #

      @ Zap I didn’t get to do anything crazy…yet. The membership dues are more than reasonable, even if you can only get there on weekends. I will be a regular there in the future, crazy shit will happen! Check it out!

      @ Nate Thanks for the kind words!

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