Joining Your Local Gym and Leaving The Big Box
It’s impossible to nail down a definition of fitness or even suggest what it means to people. Everyone has their own interpretation of what health & fitness means to them. It’s alot like religion, everyone has their own take, most people keep it to themselves and some people die because of their ridiculous views about it.
One thing is for sure, if you intend to live long (eat fish), then you need to have some sort of routine engagement with health and fitness. For those of us that enjoy taking our shirt off at the beach without fear of getting harpooned, we typically include weight training as part of our overall fitness plan. This often means joining a gym.
There is a changing trend with gyms today. In the 80’s and 90’s Big Box Gyms exploded with LA Fitness, Gold’s, Bally & 24HR Fitness. No longer did you have to be Harvey Specter on Wall Street to join a private gym that had crispy white clean towels, brand new equipment, an Olympic swimming pool and of course the ultimate rich man’s “sport” – squash! You could, and can still get all that for less than $100 per month. Hell, you can knock off some of that price in soap and shampoo use alone. Everyone was joining and Big Box Gyms exploded. Many have bars and restaurants where you can mingle with other men hiding from their wives on their so called “work out”. You can enjoy a Tribathalon, where you don’t ever make it to the floor. You hang in the locker room and go from sauna to steam to hot tub, also known as The Executive Workout.
Admittedly I was a happy member of these gyms, mostly because they were big. There was never a wait for a machine. I could get a healthy snack before a workout or a healthy meal to take home after a workout. I would also see NBA cheerleaders working out right next to me (jackpot!), talk about motivation. Seeing people in shape should always be motivating. In short, joining the Big Box Gym just worked for my interpretation of health & fitness with my lifestyle.
A few years later it came to a screeching halt. I got bored. Any decent trainer will tell you that when you get bored you MUST change. Getting bored is the number one reason people stop working out and cancel their membership (and go to strip clubs). The problem is that I wasn’t bored with working out. I was bored with the Big Box Gym. It felt like an extension of my job, (which feels like the 17th grade). I would pull up in the morning, carrying my pressed white shirt on a hanger, just like all the other miserable dudes about to hump it down the freeway to work. When I went after work it was worse. All the men arriving around 6pm were pissed off from their day, or traffic, or both. You also got attacked by Joey Sales Guy interrupting your workout to sell you some cloud service, even though you see him there three times a week! (incidentally The Cloud has been around for 20+ years, it’s called The Internet).
But perhaps the most deciding factor to join my small neighborhood gym was arriving each morning and constantly seeing some old dude, naked, blow drying his balls – Bam! – Top Of The Morning To You! This was my first human contact of the day – at 630am, really?! I was done. Thankfully a friend of mine had just opened up a neighborhood gym near my house. It was time to give the local gym a shot.
Joining my neighborhood gym has changed my life and outlook on fitness. Sure I miss the sauna and steam in the winter, but being able to walk, run or bike to the gym and then shower in my own home is priceless. The time I’m actually in the gym has cut down because I no longer have to do cardio as I’m traveling on foot to and from the gym. It’s much more appealing on weekends as I don’t have to get in a car to get there – (car sucks .. always). There are no pervs on Tinder, staring down women doing deep knee bends. Everyone works out and then gets the F out – as it should be. Nobody is using the locker room like a hotel room, walking around nude, watching ballgames and talking on their Bluetooth, and its cheaper.
But perhaps the best part about leaving the Big Box Gym for your local gym is changing your routine. How long can you keep going to the same place and seeing the same people and doing the same exercises? Neighborhood gyms have a totally different vibe and style. People dress differently. It’s refreshing to see people dressed like Rocky Balboa (in Rocky 1), than Ben Stiller in Dodgeball. If you are bored in your fitness routine, give the neighborhood gym or studio a spin. You will be surprised what you don’t miss!
Thanks For Reading!