Earl Jay Caoile

How long have you been a member at Ballard Health Club?

I've been a member for a little bit over a year. I originally joined in 2015, but I had to leave Seattle after about 4 months. I came back in March 2018, and it looks like I'll be able to stay here this time!

What is your favorite piece of equipment or exercise to do in the gym? 

I love using barbells. All of my major exercises revolve around using one. If barbells didn't exist, I'd be completely lost on what to do inside the gym since I'm not familiar with programming workouts using anything else.

Why do you work out? 

As strange as it is, lifting heavy weights is somewhat like meditation for me. It lets me clear my head and focus only on moving weight. Since I'm a software developer, it also provides the contrast I need after sitting in front of a computer all day. Last but not least, trying to see how strong I can be is my form of self-actualization: realizing my physical potential as a human and being the strongest version of myself.

What do you do to work out? 

I do a customized form of the 4-day Texas Method barbell program. My workout week starts with two high volume days (upper body and lower body) followed by two high intensity days (also upper and lower body). For upper body days, I'll focus on either overhead press or bench press, tricep extensions or push-ups as accessories. For lower body days, I'll do squats and deadlifts with chin-ups or rack pulls as accessories. For intensity days, I do the same workouts but at lower volume and higher intensity (weight). I normally go for a 5 rep max on these days, but I'm starting to exhaust that routine, so I might switch it up and do a rotating 5-3-2-1 rep max cycle next time.

What in the gym has worked for you in attaining your goals? 

Small things make a big difference when you're trying to push hard with lifting weights. I like how the squat racks have finely adjustable pins so that I can align the height exactly to where I want it. With squat racks at some other gyms, I've had to place the bar too low or too high, and that's risky if I'm trying to get into a proper rack/unrack position with weighted squats. There are also different kinds of barbells for different lifts as well as micro weights. I think more people would get into lifting weights if they realized you can use 5/8 lb. weights on each side and start out with the smaller 35 lb. bar. I use the micro weights too, and I'm not ashamed of it.

Why do you choose to work out at BHC? 

BHC has the equipment I need, and it's low frills compared to other gyms. It's surprising how BHC has more squat racks (4) than other gyms that have much more space. I feel that this gym is the best value for money for a weightlifting meathead like me. Speaking of being a meathead, I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be welcome here when I first joined because I saw a Yelp review in 2015 from someone who didn't seem to be a fan of "my kind." Fortunately, that wasn't the case, and all kinds of people are actually welcome here!

Anything else you'd like to add?

BHC manages to be the best powerlifting gym in Seattle that isn't a powerlifting gym...if that makes sense. There are definitely some things I would add such as a prowler sled and more squat racks, but I understand BHC needs to appeal to a variety of people with a limited amount of space.