by Thom Van Vleck
I have a photo album full of old photos of the Jackson Weightlifting club in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Many of the photos, maybe even more than half, are taken outdoors. Back then, there was a very practical reason for lifting outside in the summer time….NO AIR CONDITIONING! My Uncle’s told me they built a platform outdoors so they could get some fresh air and keep cool. The JWC gym moved around several times and often was in an old unairconditioned building. One of the favorite places of my Uncle Wayne of gym locations was on Jefferson Street near the old Kirksville Railroad Depot. Wayne said they rented an old store and they would lift in the store front during the winter. There were large plate glass windows open to the street with a potbelly wood stove for heat and in the summer they would move the weights out back and lift right under the down town Water Tower. The Water tower is still there but the store is long gone. Sadly, not a single picture exists of the gym from that time. Just the many great stories….including one of how my Aunt Linda would walk by there every day going home from work and see Wayne lifting…..and now they have been together for over 40 years! She would stop and watch them workout with other girls…..she must have been impressed.
My Uncle Phil told me that lifting outside was also a benefit in other ways besides a cool breeze. The bright sunshine helped get rid of the winter blues come spring and the fact that girls might walk by just motivated them to lift a little harder! It might be a hassle to move the weights outdoors, but I think you’ll find a little lifting on a sunshiny day will boost your motivation and be a nice change of pace.