Tag Archives: Powerlifting

Aldi Pods and Gym Coffee

The gym's Aldi espresso machine
The gym’s Aldi espresso machine

One of the best things about the Aldi coffee machines is that they are cheap. Cheap and easy to run. So much so that you can leave one in a powerlifting club and not actually care. This one has been with the UQPWC for almost half a year, and in that time has survived a number of competitions and a handful of courses in addition to its normal day-to-day use. Not a bad run for a cheap coffee machine.

The Aldi coffee machines have managed to make a good impression upon many users. It is hard to find a poor review, even if the same cannot be said for the coffee itself, and most owners I have met seem pretty happy with how they perform. There are significant differences between these and more expensive coffee machines, but there isn’t much to match it for under $100.

The cema does not look right...
The cema does not look right…

There are only four buttons to worry about and the coffee comes in pods. I am sure that it can be simplified even further, but I doubt there is a point. For a communual coffee machine this is a major plus. The fewer ways there are for users to interact with it, the less chance they have of breaking it. This also makes it stupidly straightforward to run: you drop the pod in the top, close the lever and press buttons until something resembling coffee comes out. That is it. For advanced users, they can run hot water through the machine prior to making their coffee, and play with shot length using the two buttons available. This attention to detail isn’t essential.

A very metal coffee cup
A very metal coffee cup

While it has a surreal crema, the coffee itself is nothing special. Personally I prefer my coffee beans to be relatively fresh, and hopefully roasted locally, which the grinds in the Aldi pods are really really not. There are refillable pods on the market, but for the hassle and what I use it for, it hardly seems worthwhile. By the time I get to the gym at night, all I am after is something to get me through another set. Especially if I am doing a Sheiko program.

As an alternative to instant coffee the Aldi machine and pods are a great option. If you are after a pod machine that you can leave somewhere and not care a great deal about it certainly can fill that role too. If you want quality coffee though, perhaps there are better options. For that purpose I think I will still keep using the machine that I have at home.

TL;DR

  • A coffee machine so cheap you will let anyone use it
  • The coffee is just there for the caffeine
  • Chinese cast iron tea cups look hardcore and very metal

Breaking Under the Bar

The broken part
The broken part

(Part one of a series on my injury and recovery)

I actually remember hearing two distinct cracks when my right arm broke a year ago. The spotters thought it was the sound of my squat suit snapping, at least until the bar started to move. I had just walked the bar out of the rack for my second squat of the day. It was only 192.5kg, which really isn’t much, compared to what other lifters can do. It was as I stood there getting set for my squat that things kind of went wrong. I wasn’t going to be able to live-blog this competition after all.

A Squat Rack
A squat rack

Everything from the spotters re-racking the weight, getting myself out from under the bar and the part where I apparently looked at my arm and said, ‘ah shit’ passed in a blur of adrenalin and shock. The pain only started to set in while I was waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Fortunately the ambos brought drugs. (Apparently I am funnier on painkillers.) They also wanted me to choose a hospital, which given the state I was in seemed to be expecting a little too much. One of the guys who had been hanging around waiting with me suggested I go to the Royal Brisbane, as he worked in ER there, and lacking any cohesive clue myself I went with it.

The rest of the afternoon was more or less a haze of morphine. Only a few things stuck in my mind from my stay in emergency: the fun that was cutting me out of my squat suit and t-shirt (my girlfriend arrived in time to ensure they cut the suit along the seams), and the part where they needed to check my arm for puncture wounds (when aforementioned girlfriend was too busy being morbidly fascinated to be sympathetic). Because both the radius and ulna were broken (see helpful diagram above) my wrist was only connected to the rest of my arm by flesh. It was floppy. As a result checking the underside of my arm for punctures was going to be problematic. To see all of my arm they had to lift it up, and to do this, they needed to hold both loosely connected parts and move them at the same speed. They did it perfectly once in two tries.

I don’t really remember when they were done, but the first x-rays showed that I had a compound fracture of both my ulna and radius. I was told later that these almost never happen in powerlifting, and it seems there might have been contributing factors other than the weight on the bar. At first it looked unlikely that I would get into surgery that day. Just in case I had to spend the night in hospital before they could cut me open, they knocked me out to set my arm. Being properly unconscious was the best thing to happen to me that afternoon, with morphine coming a close second. Thankfully I actually did make it to surgery that afternoon, though not until about 5pm. By the time I got out of theatre it was 10:30pm, and my girlfriend, who had been waiting the whole time and keeping people informed via Twitter on my phone, told me I had been in there for over five hours.

The next day was mostly spent trying to read (and failing) and realising my phone was dangerously low on power. I also discovered that touch screens are easy to work with your non-dominant hand. In the afternoon both of my sisters and one of my brothers-in-law came to visit me. And they bought me coffee from the coffee cart in the food court. Considering the morphine-fuelled haze in which I spent most of the day, this was clearly awesome. It was only a few hours later that I was discharged, once I was able to prove that I was more or less functional. It was not long before I was getting into my sister’s car, wearing a shirt I couldn’t quite get on, a blue sling I had to chase down from the physios, a nearly flat phone, a prescription for a cubic ton of painkillers, my arm in a backslab and an appointment for the following week.

TL;DR

  • If you plan on going to hospital, take your charger
  • It is hard to read after surgery
  • Apparently morphine makes me a better person

Takeaway Coffee for a Powerlifting Meet

Takeaway coffee at a Powerlifting Competition
Takeaway coffee at a Powerlifting Competition

Working on the desk at a powerlifting meet is a busy job. You need to ensure the lifters get their next attempts in before they run out of time, keep the lifters aware of the lifting order and make sure the result from each attempt is entered, and often all three at the same time. If you add announcing to this as well, it’s a real juggling act.  But at least the organisers will often buy you a coffee.

Metalwork from August
Metalwork from August

The 2011 Queensland Open Powerlifting and Bench Press Competition was held in Jindalee, at the Fitness First gym.  Due to a broken arm from August, I am currently unable to compete, at least if I want my squat total to be greater than 20kg. This is why I have helped with the desk and the spreadsheet at the last few events I’ve been to.

The Fitness First in Jindalee is located in the DFO shopping centre. There are not a lot of coffee options there, and considering the only other cafe I saw that morning was a Gloria Jeans, a Coffee Club long black was not to be sneered at.

It was as good as expected – the coffee was not burnt and it was drinkable. Most importantly of all, it helped me get through the whole competition. The free Subway sandwiches for lunch also helped.

The RBWH coffee cart & broken bones

Long Black at the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital
Long Black at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital

A few weeks ago I broke my arm. It was a compound fracture of both my ulna and radius and I did it while walking the bar out from the rack at a powerlifting meet. I was setting up for my second squat of the day when I heard two snaps. Those were my bones. At least my first squat attempt of the day had been good.

As a result, and thanks to some prompting from some guy who works in Emergency there, when the paramedics asked where I wanted to go I said the Royal Brisbane & Womens Hospital (RBWH). I spent the next few days there for a spot of surgery followed by periodic visits to the fracture clinic, as well as physio appointments at Inspire Atlanta, after I was discharged. That was when I discovered that there is a coffee cart outside the food court.

Since the physio clinic starts on time I am often early enough to get a coffee from the coffee cart. I first had one from here when my sisters came to pick me up after the surgery. They got me an XL long black and brought it up to the ward while I was waiting to see if I could get discharged. Between surgery the night before and a number of very good painkillers, I was in no position to judge it at the time.

But I am now. They use Piazza D’Oro beans and while the result does not do them any favours, it is very drinkable. It was sold at city prices, but was closer to a suburban Coffee Club standard. However your options are pretty limited, because the only other option is the Nescafe cafe near the entrance, and I was not about to try that place out.


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