Why Gyms Suck
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Been There, Worked There

I’ve worked out in gyms (or fitness centers)and I’ve done personal training in gyms, so I can honestly say that I believe gyms suck (for most people).  Here are six reasons why and why I recommend a personal training studio and/or boot camp program over gyms.

A New Year Means Over-Crowded Gyms Until March or April

1. Too Crowded – if you’ve ever gone to a gym at peak times (early morning, noon, and after work), you’ve probably had to wait in line to use your favorite machine or piece of cardio equipment.  I’ve actually had someone come up to me in the middle of a set asking me to hurry up because they needed to use the machine I was using.  And, there’s nothing worse that needing to use a piece of equipment only to find someone sitting on that piece of equipment either chit chatting with a friend or, worse, talking on their cell phone.  And the worst time of the year… January – March! Why, all of those people with New Year’s resolutions to get healthy.  The good news (or bad news) is… 50 percent will disappear by June and another 40 percent will give up by next December… until the next bumper crop of exercisers emerges!

2. Membership Contracts – gym memberships can lock you in for years and are very hard to get out of, even if you have a legitimate excuse.  You might be able to find a great introductory offer, but before you know it, you’re paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the right to walk into a gym.  On top of the membership, you often have to pay additional fees for classes, showers, lockers, towels, etc.  And just know that with your basic gym membership, you’re on your own.  If you want to learn how to use the equipment, you need to pay for a personal trainer.  At commercial gyms, that can easily set you back another $300 – $1,000 per month.

3. No Guidance – As I mentioned above, you are on your own unless you invest in a personal trainer.  I’ve seen people come into the gym every single day for months and never make any progress.  They do the same workout on the same equipment at the same time every day.  And most like, they are doing the exercises completely wrong.  Imagine if you needed an operation and you walked into the operating room and the hospital administrator said, “Welcome to the operating room, here’s the equipment and operating table, good luck!”  I think you’d want a trained surgeon to operate so that you get the results you need to fix whatever is broken, right? The same is true for fitness.  You need a qualified fitness professional to actually understand what your fitness goals are and design a program that will help you achieve those results whether it’s to lose weight, build strength, increase power or improve cardiovascular endurance.

4.  Personal Trainers – In any service business, you are going to find the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Same is true for personal trainers.  There are some excellent personal trainers; it’s probably about 20%.  That means that if there are 20 personal trainers working in a gym, then 16 of them are going to be bad or mediocre.  The gym I worked for had a few excellent trainers and then some really bad ones.  When a personal trainer only makes $6 or $7 per 30-minute session in a commercial gym, they don’t take their jobs very seriously.  And, gyms will often accept personal trainers who are certified through organizations that only require a 48-hour seminar and a 60-minute test.  Also, some trainers are just there to bust your butt and make you sore.  A good trainer will create an individualized program, work you out within your limits, will constantly monitor your form and make corrections/modifications as needed.

5.  Machines Suck – Question… would you say that our U.S. Soldiers are some of the most physically fit specimens there are? Of course!  Do you think they have a Bally’s, Gold’s Gym or LA Fitness available to them at basic training, the deserts, the jungles, or mountains of Afghanistan? NO! They primarily use body weight exercises and make use of very basic resistance equipment such as elastic bands, ammunition boxes, water jugs, tree limbs, ropes, straps, tires, etc.   Machines are extremely limiting and don’t help you improve your balance, stability, mobility and range of motion.

6.  Boring – If you’ve ever wondered what a hamster feels like running on a wheel, just join a gym. Running on a treadmill for 30 minutes to burn a few hundred calories might be okay at first. But after a few times, it becomes extremely monotonous.  The same goes for jumping from machine to machine while listening to canned music blaring over the club’s PA system.  Unless you’re working out with a partner or personal trainer, there’s no motivation to push the envelope.  Gyms are just plain boring!

For these reasons and more, I highly recommend finding a personal training studio or a boot camp (group fitness program) if you really want to reach your short- and long-term fitness goals.  A personal training studio is not an open gym and is often smaller.  But, you’ll receive the expert guidance you need.  And you’ll find that a small business owner is going to be a lot easier to work with and more flexible when it comes to pricing and program contracts.  As for boot camps, they are ideal if you want fast results and enjoy being in a challenging, fun and motivating environment.  Boot camps are also very economical with each one-hour session being offered at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one personal training.  You may not get the individual attention, but the challenging workouts and energized environment will keep workouts fresh and varied so you never get bored.

If you live or work in the Carmel, Westfield, or Noblesville area, I hope you will consider FitNow Personal Fitness Training and/or FitCamp.  If you live outside of the area, I will be happy to research and recommend a certified personal trainer or boot camp program that’s right for you.

To your health!

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One Response to Why Gyms Suck
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  1. Melissa Nobbe says:

    I’d like to add one more reason to this list:

    Full-time gym socializers: Not everyone is at the gym to get a good workout. There are some people who just want socialize (aka interrupt your workout). In a PT studio or boot camp, everyone is there for one reason: to get a kick butt workout. You know you aren’t going to spend a half your workout leaning up against a machine catching up with someone about the latest gym gossip at a boot camp. The time spent in a PT studio or boot camp is far more effective and efficient.

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