When I first got into bodybuilding I trained in the basement of an old YMCA.
Hell, back then I didn't know the difference between a good and bad gym because that old basement gym was all that I knew!
So then I moved away and while I was driving down the highway I saw a Gold's gym from the road. I got excited and pulled into the place to check it out. There were no gyms like that where I'm from and the place looked huge!
Surely it must have been better than that old YMCA I trained at right? Well, it was better in a way, but in other ways it was worse.
Now, had this been the cell phone era then it'd be worse all the way around! But luckily it was still before people sat around on phones and taking up equipment others wanted to use!
After moving to a few other cities, and as technology improved and people's social skills and courtesy went to absolute hell in a hand basket, I realized that these mega-structure gyms had the most bullshit members and workout environment!
WHY MAINSTREAM COMMERCIAL GYMS SUCK NOW!
To put it simple, these gyms care more about numbers than having a good gym with respectful members. When someone is a problem in the gym it's easier for management to turn their heads the other way than to actually deal with them.
So what does this create? It creates a bullshit environment with disrespectful assholes who should have had their gym memberships revoked a long time ago!
Everything from dumb fucks standing right in front of the dumbbell rack while doing curls, to idiots sitting on equipment playing with their phones, to 120 lb. fuckboys taking photos everyplace, it seems like NOBODY IN GYMS IS THERE TO WORK HARD!
This creates a bad environment for the serious guys and gals who want to build muscle and get shredded! Before they can even begin their workout they have to listen to 10 people bitch to them about something, like you're some fucking therapist!
This creates an environment where people fail to re-rack their weights, they walk away from equipment for 10 minutes at a time, only to rush back to it and tell you they were using it.
And do you know what the worst part of it all is? WHEN YOU TRY CORRECTING THEM, YOU'RE THE ASSHOLE!
That's right, if you tell someone that they've walked away from a machine for 10 minutes so now you're using it, in their minds you've disrespected them!
And being big doesn't send off the signal of “Don't fuck with me” like you think it would.
No, you're in THEIR WORLD WHERE NOTHING CAN HAPPEN TO THEM AND THEY CAN ACT LIKE DISRESPECTFUL SHITS AND GET AWAY WITH IT!
This has become the mainstream gym atmosphere now. It's loaded with idiots who are disrespectful, people who harass others, old perverts who are looking to get their rocks off, and legitimately CRAZY FUCKS who act like they got a day pass away from the nut-house!
HOW MUCH MONEY CAN I GET OUT OF SOMEONE MONTHLY?
Yea, so it's not enough to walk into one of these places and sign up to start getting muscles.
No, they want to give you the free introductory training session and try pressuring you into signing up for another $300 a month, all the while throwing you to some “trainer” you haven't even met yet!
They sell by convincing you that you're nothing. They will try to break people down into thinking that they cannot do anything on their own. Putting people down is one hell of a sales strategy THAT I'M NOT ABOUT!
Fuck these mainstream gyms and the horses they rode in on! Fuck their bullshit employees who don't know the difference between selling a used car or a gym membership! And fuck their trainers who are often in worse shape than the damn clients!
I'VE GROWN TO HATE EVERY DAMN THING ABOUT A COMMERCIAL GYM FULL OF IDIOTS!
The mainstream gym cares nothing more but the total monthly numbers. You could probably rape someone in there and not have your gym membership revoked over it nowadays!
I know what some of you are thinking right now….”Stop worrying about everyone else and just put on your headphones and lift.” Friends, I've tried that and it doesn't work anymore!
I'd even go as far to say that Planet Fitness gyms are better than larger commercial gyms nowadays. And yes, I do hold a membership to Planet Fitness because it's a place where I can go and nobody fucks with me!
Sure, there aren't as many free-weights and there are times when it's crowded like anyplace else, but nobody fucks with me! I've never heard that alarm go off once in the past 2 years I've been a member and it's not a bad place for doing cardio.
Also, it's 24/7 which is nice. The place is adequately staffed and very clean and the employees have always been really cool with me. I wear tank-tops and carry around a water jug at times and nobody gives a fuck!
Now, this is a franchise and I'm sure some of them are more ridiculous than others, but I've honestly never had an issue with this gym other than a lack of certain equipment.
I know, it's not hardcore enough right? Friends, hardcore bodybuilding is a frame of mind and I bring hardcore with me to the gym, not the other way around.
Hardcore training is something that is within you, it's not simply clanging stuff around or throwing it down!
So in the past couple years I've had 2 memberships; 1 of them to a large, mainstream gym with a bunch of equipment. This is a gym that would be great if it wasn't full of bullshit!
The other gym was a Planet Fitness where I'd go to be left the fuck alone, but it lacked certain equipment.
BREAKING POINT HAD FINALLY COME!
A week ago I was training in the giant bullshit gym with bullshit people. I didn't go in there with plans to get into an argument with someone.
I was training my legs that day and when I first walked in, there was a girl on the only leg sled in there. I thought to myself ,”No biggie, I'll just start someplace else and go to it when she's done.”
45 fucking minutes later I look over at the leg press and she's still on it, sitting on her ass and playing on her phone.
She finally gets up and walks off for 10 minutes and I decide to go grab it. She rushes back to it and tells me that she is still using it and all she tried to do was walk off and take a breath, saying to me “I can't go take a breath?” in which I responded “Nope, you cannot go take a breath.”
I'm not entertaining this sort of bullshit. She said she had 1 more set so I let her have at it, then I used it…after an hour into my workout!
So I'm watching this dumb bitch constantly walk around and argue on her phone in-between everything she was doing.
Next up, I tried using a Smith machine that someone left their weights on (of course right?). NOW, I had just witnessed this same chick walking around on the total opposite side of the gym for over 10 fucking minutes on her phone.
NOPE, can't use the next machine without her running over to fuck with me either! THIS TIME, my response was different than it was the first time.
I put my phone on “record” before she got to me, just so I could prove to the management that I wasn't doing anything wrong. This is when I realized that this girl was legitimately BAT-SHIT CRAZY!
She began her conversation by breaking down in tears and telling me what a bad day she had.
I said ,”I'm using this Smith machine because you walked away from it. I didn't create your bad day so leave me alone. There are others in here besides yourself and if you want to guard everything in the gym then go work out at home by yourself.”
I was then told to make sure I cleaned my weights off, something she didn't even do herself.
When I was finished I took 2, 45's and slammed them on each side and push-pressed the son of a bitch to the highest height setting it would go! FUCK YOURSELF BITCH!
I told the manager that this chick was up there harassing people, and that if she said anything about me to them, I didn't do anything to her. The manager told me that he knew she was crazy and that she harassed people.
So now I'm thinking to myself….THEN WHY THE HELL WON'T YOU KICK HER ASS OUT OF HERE?
I walked out of that gym and said FUCK THIS, I'M DONE WITH THIS SHIT!
I cannot even begin to tell you guys about how many issues such as this I have dealt with in the past couple of years at that gym. This was simply the straw that finally broke the camels back!
THE HIDDEN GEM OF A GYM I FOUND!
I set out to find a gym that was owned and ran by someone who loved the gym, and that's exactly what I ended up finding!
I found a small gym that was a key gym and you'd never know it was there! There wasn't even a sign for it out by the road. I called the gym and left a message on a Saturday and within an hour the owner had called me back.
The owner was out of town for the holidays and cared enough to call me right back about his gym. He invited me to come out there and use the gym for a week and see how I liked it.
I told him that I'd see him on Monday and that following Monday I drove to the gym to check it out. I walked in and the owner had introduced himself to me and called me by my name.
HE ACTUALLY MADE IT A POINT TO REMEMBER MY NAME! I looked around the gym and I was floored to say the least!
There were old magazine cutouts of Golden era bodybuilders hung on the walls and framed, a giant hand-painted sign that said “NO WHINERS”, and a list of the gym rules on the wall!
- RULE #1 – BE COURTEOUS TO OTHER MEMBERS
- RULE #2 – RE-RACK YOUR WEIGHTS!
- RULE #3 – DON'T HOLD UP EQUIPMENT, IF YOU NEED TO USE THE PHONE THEN WALK OUTSIDE!
And the list went on and on, and at the bottom of the list it read, “THOSE THAT CANNOT FOLLOW THE RULES WILL HAVE THEIR GYM MEMBERSHIP REVOKED!”
I thought to myself,”Well motherfucker…it's about damn time!”
I looked around at this gym and immediately knew I would be signing up! There was an older line of Nautilus equipment on one side of the gym which included a lot of equipment that commercial gyms have done away with.
There was an old-school Nautilus overhead pulldown machine for your serratus! There was a seated leg curl machine that locked your legs in much better than the newer ones and shoulder and chest press machines that I hadn't seen in years!
Do not underestimate the old-school line of Nautilus equipment as it's some of the best workout equipment ever built! Even some of the first generations of Nautilus machines were extremely smooth and solid!
There was a leg press/hack squat combination in the gym. This is one of the older presses where you could remove the metal foot plate and turn around and use it as a hack squat also!
There was even a bicep curl machine that I had never seen before. The owner said to me ,”I had that one custom made for me to emphasize the peak contraction of the bicep curl.”
THIS GUY LOVED THE GYM! He had hand-picked the equipment throughout the years and had made the gym into his own super-gym that was exactly the way he wanted it to be!
He didn't take down any information from me and he didn't try to sell me on anything! Hell, he didn't have to, that gym had me sold from the second I walked through the door!
And get this shit; he handed me my access card to the door before I even signed the electronic form from my phone later that evening. This guy was my type of people, he understood that real fuckers come with a level of trust!
He had that level of trust that you don't find with people anymore.
He told me that he only had around 120 gym members. He trained a good handful of them and despite not being popular, busy, nor getting rich, he loved what he did.
Some people just love what they do and trying to break into the numbers game can destroy something special they once possessed. He didn't have to tell me this, I could tell from talking to him about his gym.
THE WORKOUT THAT REIGNITED MY FIRE!
I began to train my legs and something just felt different about that workout! My strength felt like it had automatically increased and my heart felt 110% immersed into every rep and every set I did!
I would rest between sets and look at some of those old photos on the wall of the Golden Era greats and my spirit just grew stronger and stronger with every set!
I would get into a set and when the pain started to set in, that's when the set truly felt like it began for me. Hell, I didn't even count my reps because I was so into what I was doing!
When I was on that leg press every rep fired off like a hydraulic machine…”BANG…BANG…BANG!!!…SHIT NO, I'M NOT DONE YET, I HAVE MORE, LET'S GO MOTHERFUCKER!” And off I went with more and more reps..”BANG..BANG..FUCKING BANG! ”
Throughout my entire workout there were 3 other guys in the gym. Those 3 guys ALL WALKED UP TO ME AND INTRODUCED THEMSELVES TO ME!
At one point I went to get another plate to throw on a barbell and when I turned around one of the guys had already put a plate on the other side of it for me. “DON'T WORRY, I ALREADY GOT YA' MAN” he said to me.
WHAT A BREATH OF FRESH AIR THIS WAS FOR ME! These guys were from my world and they understood what spilling your guts out on the gym floor meant!
BODYBUILDING IS ART…
IT'S A TRUE TEST OF CHARACTER AND FIGHT.
WHEN I SEE SOMEONE GOING THROUGH HELL IN THE GYM I SEE A GUY SPILLING OUT EVERYTHING HE'S MADE OF RIGHT THERE ON THAT FUCKING GYM FLOOR!
Some guys get it, others don't. These guys got it, and do you have any idea of how good it felt to be back in this environment again after dealing with the mainstream gym nonsense? Pretty Goddamned good!
Let me tell you guys something; those 3 other guys in that gym provided a stronger environment for busting my ass than 500 random idiots could ever provide in another gym!
The last time I had felt that way in any gym was over 20 years ago in an old YMCA basement. I wasn't just getting in a solid leg workout, I was getting a part of myself back!
I glanced in the mirror once between a set and what I saw staring back at me wasn't myself; I saw a huge guy with bulging muscles that was much larger and more ripped up than I was.
I SAW THAT GUY THAT I DREAMED OF LOOKING LIKE STARING RIGHT BACK AT ME!
THAT VISION I HAD IN MY MIND WHEN I STARTED THIS SHIT WAS LOOKING RIGHT BACK AT ME IN THAT MIRROR! That vision had slowly dissipated over the past several years but now it was back!
I thought to myself right then and there ,”THIS SHIT AIN'T OVER, I'M JUST GETTING STARTED!”
This is the type of motivation and power that the right gym atmosphere can provide…not these bullshit mainstream gyms that cater to all these entitled pussies!
This place was very affordable each month, but truth be told…he could have told me it was $150 a month and I would have still signed on!
It's easy to walk into a giant, mainstream gym and get the tour of the swimming pools, Jacuzzi, racquetball courts, and the 300 different machines on the 20,000 sq. ft gym floor!
My advice is to take a good look at the members in there and how many TV's are on the fucking walls!
Take a look at the weight equipment and see if the gym has purposely given as little space for free-weights as needed, which typically all mainstream gyms are doing lately to attract more people who don't really want to lift weights!
Sometimes I look at crossfit gyms that cost upwards of $150 per month and I totally understand it. Although crossfit isn't for me, I understand why people are paying that money.
They're paying that monthly fee for an atmosphere where others want to work hard also, and the gym is staffed with employees who are passionate about what they're doing! Not my cup of tea, but I understand it completely!
The proper gym atmosphere alone can accelerate gains! I don't know about you, but when I walk into a large commercial gym I start thinking in a way I really don't want to start thinking!
I think to myself ,”Well great…. there's that one fucking weirdo, and I know he's gonna come over here any second now, there goes that bitch in the shorts who is gonna bend over in front of me the entire time to see if I'm looking, and there is the rapper/shadow boxer who is gonna act like an asshole and wave his hands around yelling.”
Can any of you guys relate to thinking like this when you walk into your gyms? It's just awfully damn difficult to get focused when you're surrounded by idiots and attention whores!
I started getting this feeling one day that was just like ,”Man, fuck all this stuff, let me just be somewhere that's empty and do my thing without dealing with all of this shit!”
I felt like I wanted to just crawl into a cave and isolate myself from the rest of the mainstream fuck-off personalities out there. I also got tired of the problems from disrespectful assholes with no sense!
So all I'm saying here is to look around at different gyms. Is there a place that you could be going that is a better environment for you to be training in?
Do you think a better gym environment could enhance your results?
I'm sure more people drink Bud Light than craft beers and I'm sure Bud Light makes more money. But what type of people are drinking Bud Light versus the type of people drinking craft beer? That's right… STUPID ASSHOLES!
(note; I have no idea what that analogy has to do with the gym, but it popped into my head so there ya' go!)
Anyways, I just thought to share with you because this was something I had forgotten until I finally got back into a GOOD GYM FOR ME!
TRAIN HARD…PREFERABLY AWAY THE GYM FUCKERY! -JD