Monday, May 3, 2010

The Modern Gym

I hate the modern gym.

Gyms should smell like sweat, metal, and bleach. Anything more and something is wrong.

Gyms should be composed of nothing more then a few benches, a few racks, a few bars, and a pile of weight. Add in some chin-up bars, boxes, and dip bars and you are 90% of the way there.

Walk into any gym and what do you see? Machines. Fixed motion, easy to use, low risk, useless crap. Wall to wall. Modern gyms smell like potpourri and new carpet. They advertise massage services, and holistic training approaches.


You go to a gym to get stronger. You only need a mirror to check your squat form. You don't go to a gym to network, or watch TV. If you walk into a gym and your first thought is anything even close to "Oh, they have a juice bar" turn around and leave. Unless of course you don't really want to get stronger.

Modern gyms are factories, they keep people clueless and so day after day, week after week, month after month people go back to the gym because they feel they need the gym. They feel they need the four walls, the endless lines of machines, to "get fit".


Why are modern gyms like this? It's simple. Money. Keep people paying those dues month after month.


A gym is a place you go to get stronger. If you want to get fit, run. If you want to get strong then find a gym that smells of sweat, metal, and bleach. Especially the bleach. Bleach is good.

That gym, should you find it, will be anything but bullshit.

Kids in the Weight Room

I have no problem with kids exercising. In fact I encourage it. Also, for the sake of argument, let's say a kid is anyone under the age where the can keep track of themselves and make sure what they are doing is not in fact titanically stupid.

I work out at the YMCA on Monroe Ave. a family friendly place I assure you. However, there are a few things I've seen day in and day out that frustrate and upset me. I see parents lifting, often with little to no clue what they are actually doing, while their kids treat the weights, the treadmills, and the like as toys.

First the parents, if you don't know what you are doing, and you have no end goal, then don't waste my time, get in my way, and clutter up my weight room, because at the end of the day that's what you are. Clutter.

Second, kids. I don't care if you bring your kids with you, but your 240lb "13" year old isn't doing himself any favors by "running" for a minute, literally, on a treadmill. Either get your kids exercising for real or get them, and yourselves out of my weight room.

I was fortunate that I was taught the basics of how to act in a weight room, and the basics of how to lift. Most of those basic lifts I still do. It's not hard. If you are a fully functioning adult and you want to "get stronger" then do so. Do your research, know what you are doing, and if you don't know what you are doing then maybe asking the kid in the squat rack who's lifting damn near his body weight MIGHT just be a good person to ask.

Just saying, might be a good idea.

Anyway, long story short, get yourself, and your kids either exercising for real, with a goal, and a plan, or get out of my weight room.

You Don't Know Squat


Down this road, in a gym far away,
a young man was heard to say,
"no matter what i do, my legs won't grow"
he tried leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses , too
trying to cheat, these sissy workouts he'd do.

from the corner of the gym where the big men train,
through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain
where the noise is made with big forty fives,
a deep voice bellowed as he wrapped his knees.
a very big man with legs like trees.

laughing as he snatched another plate from the stack
chalking his hands and monstrous back,
said, "boy, stop lying and don't say you've forgotten,
the trouble with you is you ain't been SQUATTIN'. "

- By Dale Clark

I read that poem on a poster and loved it immediately.