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Why Your Gym Sucks!

There is something seriously wrong with the fitness industry these days. It has become far too commercialized.

What should be an industry targeting the good of the population and be there for help and support where it is sought and inspiration where it it is not, has become far to focused on profit and money making.

Which is not only bad for those looking for the support, but for the industry and population as a whole.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so naive that I don’t see the business aspect of the industry and that profits are required to allow the facilities and services to survive. But, there is now so much focus on the all-mighty dollar, that it is actually to the severe detriment of the services being provided.

Now, in reading the title to this article, you will no doubt have had one of three thoughts:

  1. How dare you! My gym Rocks! (or words to that effect)
  2. I agree
  3. I’m not a member of a gym, so it can’t suck

If you are in the 1. camp and your gym does indeed ‘rock’, then either you are extremely lucky and have found one of the few quality facilities currently available – yes they do exist, but they are generally small(ish) independent gyms run by people with passion for the subject matter (health, fitness, strength, physique training) whatever their specialism may be, and a deep desire to see the improvements from their clientele. And if you are a member of such a place, then I urge you to shout about it from the rooftops and ensure that place survives and thrives for the benefit of everyone of its members. – or you are deluding yourself.

If however, as is more likely, you fall in the 2. camp, then the big question is, ‘why do you continue to go there?’.

Well, if you are in the majority group – you don’t. Most leisure clubs or large chains operate on the same model. Sell year long (or several year long) membership packages and then hope the member stops showing after a month or two.

If any of these clubs actually had to accommodate their entire client base in a single week, they would be closed down for breaching fire regulations. Especially as most people would want to train during peak times causing clubs to have to deal with around 10 times their capacity levels.

But people do go to these gyms and then complain day after day about how they can’t get using the equipment they want. How they are sick of having to work around the January resolution crowd or the beach body panic groups. They complain how the equipment isn’t up to scratch or there is not enough of it. But most of all, they complain about how their complaints are never listened to.

If that is you, then again, the question is – why?

Often the answer is, because they are all the same and they have to train somewhere. But as the people in group 1 will testify, that is not the case. There are great gyms out there, you just have to look past the usual suspects. Don’t just go for the gym that is the cheapest or the nearest or the one that you’ve heard of because they have the biggest marketing budget. Don’t pick your gym based on the number of treadmills. And if their marketing is based around gimmicks like Vibro Plates, Thigh Isolation Machines or Zumba Classes, don’t just walk away, turn and run and run fast (don’t worry, no one in that place will have the fitness level to catch you).

Where you train should be down to one thing and one thing only – will it help you achieve your desired results?

The sales person will invariably look to convince you that you will. That is, after all, their job. But will they really?

  • Will the staff be on hand to correct your technique?
  • If you don’t know where to begin, will you be offered a programme based on your goals (and I don’t mean a generic workout where a fitness instructor, who considers this a wage packet rather than a calling, shows you how to switch on set up or use the machines and then maybe throws in a couple of sets of bicep curls for good measure)?
  • Do they have all the equipment you need to train well? – And I don’t mean the equipment they tell you you need – a smith machine is NOT the same as a Bench Press, Kettlebells are NOT all you need, A leg press machine does NOT replace a squat rack. It doesn’t have to be complicated though. Solid, practical equipment trumps shiny with lots of buttons and levers every time.
  • Do they have space for you to train? What time will you regularly be training? Go in at those times and see if you would be able to carry out your workout of choice. If not, what’s the point?

These aren’t the only criteria, but you get the idea. A gym is about training for a result. If you can’t train optimally, then why are you paying a membership?

Time was that a gym simply meant a big shed with little more than barbells and weights. If you wanted a CV workout, you went outside and hit the pavement. And you know what? These gyms worked and the people using them got phenomenal results. However, since Nautilus developed their ‘variable resistance’ 12 station circuit machines in the 70s there have been constant developments in the variety of equipment available in modern gyms. So that should mean an even better training experience right?

Unfortunately, these machines did not live up to the theory and did not produce the results they were designed for. But leisure clubs still use them. Why? Because it takes about 30mins to train the entire staff of a club to use every machine in the building, whereas it takes months to train them to be proficient in lifting weights correctly and further months or even years to train them well enough to train another person in how to do it.

So a club that takes the path of least resistance and puts their investments in machines is thinking only about profit and turnover rather than your results.

What about cost?

What about it? You cannot put a price on your health and fitness. If you lose that, you lose everything. Ok there are limits, but you are unlikely to exceed an acceptable budget regardless of the gym membership.

The highest membership I am aware of in the West of Scotland is £140 per month (there may be higher, but I haven’t heard of it). Now that is for a leisure club and to be honest it is more of a status thing than a gym membership. People rarely go there to train well, they go there to meet up after a ‘session’ to sit in the cafe and socialize. If you are serious about your training, you wouldn’t go there anyway.

Almost all other gyms are well below the £100 level and for most people, that is not a problematic amount. It may feel like it is. You may believe it is. And for a few it might be. But most of the people I would hear complain about such a figure have no issues spending over £50 on a night out drinking or a similar amount on Sky Sports or Movies. So where are your priorities? Quick treat fix now or a fit and healthy life?

However, I know that isn’t you as such a person wouldn’t have read this far.

Just remember most gyms are giving you access to many thousands of pounds worth of equipment. And if the staff are experienced and passionate enough (which they should be if you select the right gym) then you are also getting that experience and education along with your membership.

So if you look at it that way, it’s an absolute steal.

Is it worth paying £15 per month for a gym where you don’t feel comfortable, can’t train well, it’s too busy or you never go? Or is it better to pay more for a gym where you get fantastic results, feel like you are appreciated as a member, are given all the help and advice you need and are able to achieve something?

As for distance, again, priorities!

You are better going to a gym once or twice per week where you can train well and train right than to go with your local gym and achieve nothing.

We have just opened a facility that covers every criteria that I felt was lacking in the gyms I’d experienced. Everything listed above and more is checked off. And there are members and clients who travel almost 40 miles several times per week because of this.

If you want to check it out Click Here.

There are no queues for equipment, everything is robust and of high quality (Barbells tested to 1500lbs, Bumper Plates etc), there are no gimmicky pieces of equipment taking up training space (no abductor machines, wave machines or Vibroplates) just the equipment needed to get quality results.

And we ensure that we listen to the members. A few weeks back a couple of members mentioned a punch bag (which we didn’t have at the time) another couple mentioned suspension training. Both are now part of the set up.

I’m not saying this to sell our gym though. For most of you we are not a practical choice given we have subscribers from all around the world. But it is simply an example of what is available. There are gyms out there that will get you the results or training experience you are looking for. Go seek them out and stop whining about how much your gym sucks when you have been a member there for the last 4 years!

Demand better!

You are the customer! It’s your Gym! Make sure it meets your needs! And if it doesn’t, find one that does!

If however, you are in category 3 and don’t have a gym membership. Perhaps that is because you thought all gyms sucked. Well now you know different. So widen your search and you will find that gem you are looking for.

Or maybe you don’t want to join a gym.

That seems a bit alien to me these days, but I remember a time when I felt the same. You don’t have to join a gym to be fit and healthy. You can play sports, work out at home or do some other kind of physical activity and that’s all good with me. In which case, this all doesn’t apply to you, but if that’s the case, why did you read this far?

Whatever the reason, thank you and I hope you have enjoyed doing so.

So over to you guys.

Am I wrong?

Does your gym ‘Rock’? And if so, list it below and let others know about it.

Or does your gym actually suck hard? And what is your reason for sticking with it?

Comment Below and Let me know.

Until next time – go find a great gym and train for success!


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7 Responses to “Why Your Gym Sucks!”

  1. Karen says:

    Very interesting points. My gym works well for me because it gives me access to every council gym in NL for an affordable price. In that group, some are better than others and I tend to stick to the one which has tins of equipment and also a range of classes that work well for me (not including Zumba). However, I think it comes accross that you are very passionate about doing what you do well and to the highest benefit of your clients. You’re a bit far away for me, but maybe others would like to hear from your clients, why some travel so far, what are the differences it has made for them?

    Just a thought!

  2. Gillian says:

    I have to say, totally agree with you.
    I hate the gym I am a member of just now. Its soooo busy. To some degree, you half expect to have to wait for the running machines (everyone loves them). But this gym you even have to queue for a MAT on the FLOOR.
    There is NO POINT in having a plan to follow, you can only depend on what is free.

    There is no “camaraderie” (sorry I can’t spell) – and it is so soulless. I thought “oh its only £10.99 per month, anything is good for that cheap” – but it isn’t.

    I probably would travel to Clydebank. Ok so its nowhere near my work or my house, but you are basically right, the amount of time I stand about just WAITING IN THE QUEUE TO GET IN THE FRONT DOOR of the gym, is probably the length of time it would take me to get a train ticket and wait for the train.

    And Glasgow transport network is pretty good really.

    People go this far for Mark, because he geniunely is a great PT, and I imagine his gym is as great. A bit like CHEERS – where everybody knows your name. I miss that about the non-chain gyms.

  3. Tracey says:

    I travel to Mark’s gym a minimum of three times a week either for Personal Training or to train on my own. I travel from Dullatur which for me is around a 50 mile round trip. I have also tired council gyms nearby and a local hotel which in cost terms was approx the same cost as Dynamic Core Solutions.

    The difference for me is this gym is for people that want results and serious training the other gyms I have used in the past really don’t have this or more importantly staff that can help me get real results opposed to being pointed to leg weight machines, cradles for doing sit ups (?), or the good old treadmill.

    I personally have had more significant results in a very short time (3mths or so) V years of sitting on machines in regular gyms.

    In the longer term this is cheaper and way more effective.

  4. Johanna says:

    I am also one of Mark’s clients and when he talked about setting up a gym it didn’t really matter to me where he opened it, I knew I would go there just from what he had told me about his dream.

    I should probably mention that I have one of these leisure clubs right around the corner from my flat. And yet I still prefer to drive half an hour to go to Mark’s place. Because I get results there. Because he is there waiting to push me further than I’d ever push myself.

    I have to agree with Gillian. He is passionate about what he does, he puts his heart and soul into helping others achieve the results they need. I got fed up with all these ‘personal trainers’ at gyms. You probably know the kind. The ones that tell you what to do once and if you ask them a question after a few weeks of training they are grumpy and tell you to just do what they showed you. No thanks…

    Training with Mark means variety during training, friendly chats and a great atmosphere. And most of all it means results. I can’t imagine going anywhere else.

  5. I also travel to Mark’s gym about 4-5 times a week, to train and attend his amazing bootcamp class, I was one of Mark’s P.T clients for about 10 month and the knowledge and ispiration i gained from him is second to none.. Soon as he told me he was opening his own place and how he would be running it I knew thats where I will be training in the future.

    Because I can see Greens Health and Fitness and Virgin active from my window (probably 2 of the biggest gyms in glasgow)Why do I not go here? I’ve trained in both these gyms, facilities great bla bla bla, but to get use of the equipment well you’d be aswell camping outside the night before and being the first in the door or wait till the last hour before closing time because they are that busy. Dont have to do that at Dynamic Core Studios. 15-20 minute drive here and if ever I need Mark to spot me or give me a helping hand on any excerises he’s there to pass on his knowledge.

    Everyone loves a treadmill which is fair enough, try pushing Marks prowler up and down his 15 metre run a couple of times and i’m sure you’ll burn more calories doing that for 20 minutes than running on a treadmill, and no other gym I know of has one of these prowlers.
    So my gym rocks and I do shout about it from the rooftops 😀

    Like tracey said in the long run this place is way more cheaper and definetly more effective, but my rants over so go check it out!!

  6. Dee says:

    I have to agree with this guy pretty much on all points. I am kind of a gym rat and have been for most of my life. When I moved out here to BE, I realized that there were few options available. So I joined a gym close by and did the whole one year contract (paid in full) up front. Since, I regularly go there (min 4 times a week)…I realized what clowns the staff ended up being. It’s kind of funny because I’ve taken a somewhat slightly alternative view on this article. What I mean by that is, I am the type of person that is very personable, but I do however, like to feel a sense of autonomy as well as being left alone to do my thing. What I realized is, the horrible attitude that the staff (most of them) display towards foreigners which to me epitomized the old expression that is….”customers suck!” because I was one of those customers that was there (because I go allot) to see what a joke of a gym this is. Aside from having completely outdated equipment…..they throw allot of “syrup” ie….movie rentals, a tanning booth, squash etc. So miy kindness towards these fools (you’d think I was the staff) has turned to anger at this point. The whole experience with these gossip queens has completely turned me off to gym memberships when my year is done. They got my $$$$ a year ago what do they care. Needless to say, I will not be re-newing my membership next time around. In fact, the whole experience has opened my eyes to what a world of fitness nature provides right outside your door. Parks to run in, Pull-up bars, etc. And most importantly, you don’t have to feel as if your walking into you old high school gym class!

  7. Mark says:

    Thanks for all the comments so far, but as a lot of them have been about me, I’ve had little to say except I appreciate them all. It’s great to hear opinions from others outside my gym community though, so Dee thanks so much for your post. Sorry you’ve had to go through that, but unfortunately, that seems to be the modern trend. Throw out things to get your cash rather than things to get you fit. I hope the move away from the commercial machine works out for you and you get the results you are looking for.