Before I opened Daylesford CrossFit I worked for Corrections Victorian. I was the Recreation Officer at Loddon Prison, home to over 500 prisoners. The crimes and criminals that live at Loddon are vast. They range from murder, violence, theft, drugs and extortion, the wrap sheets where broad and long. Corrections Victoria have Recreation Officers to look after gyms and run programs that keep prisoners active. At 4:00pm on a Wednesday I would run a program for the Prisoners with the assistance of a Billet, a prisoner that would help me set up and run the program. I would sign out scissors to the participants of the program, arming them with a perfect stabbing implement. Sometimes I may have had up to 20 prisoners in the room all by myself, out numbered 20 to 1. There where no cameras in the room and the nearest officer may have been up to 100m away.

The Program was…………………. The Soft Toys program, where prisoners would make teddy bears to send home to their families. The participants where fathers, grandfathers and husbands all looking for something to pass the time. The prisoner that assisted me, was in prison for culpable driving. He crashed his car after a Christmas party, where he had 2-3 drinks and made the fatal decision to drive home. His victim was his own partner, the love of his life. Given a 5 years mandatory sentence, he was the most unlikely person you would ever imagine to meet in prison attire. My first thought of prison was rough murderers and violence at every corner. The reality was, there are some rough necks and bruits but there are also normal people that make small mistakes that cost a lot.
I had associated prison with violance and danger and without any context my only perception of prison was violence and violent criminals. The reality is on a Wednesday afternoon prisoners make teddy bears.

Our minds make associations between perceptions and reality. I associated Prison with violent criminals. Never did I think to find a polite and kind prisoner.
When we think of lifting weights we draw the association directly to big bulky muscles. After all, we grew up watching Arnold Schwarzenegger movies in the hey day of Body Building. It is programmed in us to think that lifting weights equals big muscles. The reality is by lifting weights once or twice a week you will get stronger, add a bit of definition of muscle, but not end up getting bulky. I only wish it was that simple. Working in the prison, a lot of prisoners would want to bulk up by lifting weights. As the Recreation Officer I would help to keep them occupied and active while the served out their sentence. Bulking and increasing muscle mass is not an easy thing to do. You have to lift heavy weights 4-6 times a week for an hour plus at a time. They would have to save money to spend on protein powders or tins of tuna, to supplement the Prison meals. It takes time, dedication, good nutrition and hard work to get bulky muscles, it does not happen from a 2-3 moderately heavy sessions a week.

Lifting weights will make you stronger, lifting weights will improve health, lifting weights reduce knee and back pain, lifting weights decreases chances of developing Osteoarthritis, Lifting weights increases metabolic rate, decreases body fat, but lifting weights will not make you bulky, unless you are lifting weights often enough and eating enough food to continue to increase muscle mass.

Keep on lifting

Coach Lock