November 25, 2013 Damon Hayhow

Top 5 Problems with Public Gyms

Over the years public gyms have changed. BIG TIME! Here are the top 5 problems with public gyms:

  1. Anti-training agenda

    The cynical business model behind big public gyms is to achieve an ~85% NON-attendance rate! They want people signing up but not turning up! So they target their product at people who do not want their product.

    People who do not want gyms like happy, friendly, colourful places where everybody smiles and nobody sweats. They want Wiggles-land. Take the kids once per year and pat yourself on the back.

    So most gyms are now like Wiggles-land.There are primary school jungle gyms (TRX), silliness inspired by carnival rides (Spin classes), wiggles dancing (Zumba) and then a whole bunch of redundant rehabilitation junk stolen from physiotherapists (core stability, treadmills and ‘functional’ training).

    The great thing about TRX, Zumba, treadmills, core stability and functional training is its such a useless waste of time that nobody sane can be bothered doing it very long. So they quickly join the 85% non-attendance group.

    Wiggles-land is no place for serious people wanting to do serious workouts! It scares the non-attendees away before they’ve had time to pay for the membership they don’t want! So strict policies exist to ensure gyms stay Wiggles-friendly: no grunting, no dropping weights, no deadlifts etc etc.

    Bottom line: don’t go to Wiggles-land if you don’t want to jiggle like a Wiggle!

  2. Insufficient & inadequate equipment

    Most public gyms operate with 2000 to 5000 members. Even with 85% of members never using the facilities, there are still hundreds of people who do! And it seems there is always a stream of them who want to use the exact piece of equipment you were planning to use on any given day! Its not Murphy’s Law, however. Its good business.

    Public gyms make money off memberships (and Personal Trainer rent). Their interests are best served by providing the least equipment necessary to get your membership fee. People who train seriously wear out the equipment and cost more than members who don’t train. They also scare away prospective non-attendee members. So gyms have a vested interest in you being unable to train properly.

    Most public gyms have just one or two of everything. Its enough to fill a space and say “yes, we have that”. But its never remotely enough for you to do a planned workout on a weeknight. Personal Trainers are taught NOT to plan client workouts because planned workouts are expected to be impossible in Public Gyms.

    For serious body recomposition workouts where the weights are planned, public gyms become even more inadequate. The weights needed just aren’t available even if you can get the equipment. Especially for leg presses! Its not about being so strong you need lots of weight. Its a case of not enough weights being available for the equipment.

    The new trend of unsupervised 24/7 gyms are even worse. Insurance restrictions prevent them having many core pieces of equipment or weight available. Most do not have squat racks, power racks or bench press racks at all!

  3. Ignorant and Inconsiderate members

    Gym etiquette of old is dead. Its now a feudal system. There are simply too many people fighting for too few resources. If you leave your equipment to find weights to use on it, you’ll lose that equipment. And don’t even think about asking the guy doing curls if you could use the squat rack for squats.

    Worse still is the ignorant attitude toward effective training. New-age gym members have been completely brainwashed by the fitness-mediocrity-machine. For whatever reason people are utterly convinced that heavy weights are the most dangerous physical activity ever. The ignore that every second person who plays netball or football winds up needing knee surgery. Fighters get concussion. Skateboarders, snowboarders and cyclists break bones. Hardly anybody has first-hand knowledge of anybody suffering serious injury from weights. And yet the harder and more effectively you train, the more criticism you will get about how dangerous it is. Especially if you are a woman!

    If you do a personal best lift in a public gym, do not expect praise or congratulations. Do not even expect to be ignored. Expect abuse! Members will suddenly become pop-chiropractic experts with fierce concern for your safety. Even the bodybuilders and powerlifters (not the good ones who know what they are talking about, of course). Its like living inside social media: anything you do that’s better than average will get massive jeers and criticism.

  4. Personal Trainer Vultures

    Every few weeks public gyms are stormed by another platoon of incompetent schmucks, fresh out of their fitness-day-care course, desperate to get their hands inside the wallets of anybody stupid enough to pay them for their horribly bad advice and inexperience.

    Typically these newby PT’s are given 3 months to build a client base before a ‘rent’ charge of ~$1500/mth kicks in. So they have a strong vested interest to sink their blunt fangs into as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Most fail… and are replaced with another platoon of expendable rookies a few weeks later.

    The gym doesn’t mind treating members like turd-targets to regularly toss PT flies at. The gym doesn’t want members attending anyway! But the gym also gets to milk new PT’s for free work during their 3 month ‘probation’ (they have to work in lieu of ‘rent’). So its win-win-win for the gym. The bad ones do free work, dissuade members from attending and are then either replaced or start paying ~$1500/mth to stick around. Cha-ching!

    The majority of newby PT’s are so wet-behind-the-ears they’ve never actually seen effective weight training. So even if you are the Yoda, Jesus and Confucius of weight training, these morons will still interrupt your workout to sell their incompetence to you! And they are doubly attracted to harassing women!

  5. Lady Gaga
 and Beyonce

    On a rare occasion that you can get on the equipment you want… Lady Gaga comes on the radio. Or Beyonce. Or some other nasty pop trash that manages to be so aggravatingly bad it can penetrate the deepest focus. Its like being Rick-Rolled except its not funny. Its like your molester Uncle turning up to Christmas just before you open the big present.

    Its impossible to please all people, all the time. But the music at public gyms has a way of being so thoroughly inappropriate that it gets in the way of your training.

At Recomp HQ we’ve created a gym to answer all these problems. Our elite gym is for clients on our programs only. The few other people that might be in the gym are serious trainers, training the same way with the same mindset.

There are no members. There are no personal trainers. There are no Wiggles. We have an entirely separate coaching gym so we won’t even bother you while you train.

At Recomp HQ there is more of the equipment you need than any big-box gym. There is more weight available than several big-box gyms. And because its the Recomp Series equipment we designed, its better, stronger and heavier than anything at any public gym.

There are iPads all around the walls loaded with our Recomposer App to access your program. And the iPads are loaded with Pandora to stream your choice of music… unless you want Lady Gaga or Beyonce!

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Damon Hayhow

Damon Hayhow has been in the body recomposition (Recomp) and bodybuilding industry for 30 years as a coach, competitor, gym owner, teacher, sponsor, show promoter, judge and MC. He has won National competitions in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, set world records, and coached others to the same success in strength sport and physique competition.

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Body recomposition diet and training concepts based on logic and reason; not scientism