A Hardcore Gym Opened Nearby. Possibly Beneficial?

A “hardcore” gym opened just further along my commute route from my current gym (which is like a Golds).
I say “hardcore” because it’s not air conditioned, has no treadmills (maybe one was hiding in the corner, but I didn’t see) or Bosu balls. A bunch of power racks, a section of strongman implements, (An ANVIL??? WTF) and DBs up to 150. They offer a “strongman training” class. When I stopped by there were dudes training with no shirts and women with thighs thicker (and leaner) than mine.
It’s clearly a place where I’d be among the weaker members; whereas today I’m at least top quartile LOL.

I AM AWARE that only time, effort, consistency, and nutrition will get me to a 315 squat and 405 deadlift. i am aware that those “goal numbers” of mine are “day 1 numbers” for lots of people; I am not those people. I am aware that joining a hardcore gym will not magically add weight to the bar. And my brief visit was not enough to get a feel for the actual “culture” in the weightroom. But I’m curious if you folks think that training around these people, and (presumably) interacting with them during sessions, would inspire me to train harder, perhaps overcoming some psychological barriers, and grow my strength faster?

Some of the strongest people here train only at home, so this seems kind of silly to ask LOL.


Yes. At least for me that was true.

Seeing some of those lifts you want to achieve being regular lifts makes them seem more achievable. My Bench PR is about +125 lbs, Squat +125, deadlift +150 lbs since joining a bit more than 5 years ago.

The description sounds like my gym, but we do have some cardio specific equipment.


From my own experience, yes, this would be a good idea, AS LONG AS you don’t feel you’d be intimidated into not going, simply because you’re on the weaker end of the trainees there. I used to train at commercial gyms, but once I found a hardcore gym, I never looked back. I could never see myself training consistently at a commercial gym ever again. The environment at more hardcore gyms is just soooo much better to me.

I’ll also add that members and coaches at this sort of gym are almost always very friendly and supportive. At the two gyms I train at, the entire gym will stop and cheer you on if they see you’re setting up for a big set or a PR. To me, that’s an awesome community.

If the goal is the get bigger and stronger, training with people bigger and stronger than you is almost always the best option. Hope this helps you make your decision!


It helps me a ton simply to consistently see folks doing stuff I can’t do. I think you’ll like it


I’m one of these guys, but FWIW, this is the kind of gym I’d want if I were to join one.

And I’ve always believed that being the small fish in a big pond elevates the small fish’s game… It’s why I joined these forums in the first place.


I’d die without air conditioning in most climates but gyms with people significantly stronger than you are awesome, I’d give it a shot for a bit if they have short-term or month-to-month contracts

1 Like

Go for it!! I think you will find it very inspiring and you’ll learn a lot.

Those were my first goals as well! We all start somewhere and I think being in a new environment with like minded people will be a great experience for you.

1 Like

The lack of AC would concern me. I could do everything but squats. I like it cold and a fan blowing in my face when doing squats.

Everything else I could work through.

It is a huge benefit seeing big weight get lifted. Why not you too?


Today’s high in MN is 102F. I am still going to go, but I am doing shoulders today and not squats (like I am supposed to). It will be about 10F cooler tomorrow, so I’ll do the legs tomorrow.

Really for me, no AC is a serious issue about 25 days a year. It is only a situation like today like 3 days a year though. The other ones I just gut it out.

1 Like

I’m in Dallas. It’s rarely under about 98 for 3-4 months straight here during the summer. You get used to it. We even train outside a lot. For me, it’s made competition conditions feel… Luxurious, lol.

For strength athletes, I firmly believe in training in the toughest conditions you can find, so you’re ready for everything.

Also: I bring 3 shirts for every workout.


Lol. 101 here today, heat index worse.

Bonus: no AC forces me to get it done in the morning - a spoonful of sugar with the medicine kinda thing!

1 Like

I only train in the morning. Once the day begins, shit starts flying and theres no way for regularly scheduled activities.


Tganks, everyone, for the encouraging responses!

Gyms aren’t hardcore, people are. Go and train with them for a little a see how you like it. Really all depends on how you’re motivated. Some people really thrive being around others and pushing each other for motivation. Others prefer to lift alone and are internally motivated. Neither is right or wrong you just have to figure out which group you fall into.

Side note: You guys talking about no AC, for a majority of my lifting life I’ve trained in uninsulated garages. Upstate NY in winter with no heat. I’d pre heat the bar with a blow torch and then chalk the shit out of my hands because gloves are for pussies :smile:


I like to believe that the three shirts are for tearing off in triumph after big lifts.


I have no idea if this is better or worse than the Texas heat, lol. You can always put on more clothes, there’s only so much you can take off. But that’s nuts!


I lifted at one of my state’s strongest gyms for a year or so, a place mostly centered around geared powerlifting. If this gym is calling to you, show up and put in work. As long as you’re demonstrating effort I highly doubt anyone will give you a hard time or anything other than support.

If there is by chance some gym douche I doubt he’s shaping the culture. My biggest gripe about lifting at a powerlifting gym was listening to grown men have petty debates about technicalities at this competition or that, along with the odd brand of gossip that accompanies competitive powerlifting. Easy problem to solve with headphones or just tuning it out.

But, if you want to listen, the same chatty guy with a 4x bodyweight deadlift in his 50’s would tell you everything you want to hear about his thoughts on lifting.


Thanks, all. Im definitely open to trying this gym. But at the moment I’m on a program (531 Morning Star) and nothing about my current gym restricts my performance. Percentages are calculated in advance so for at least 6 weeks i wont be psyching up for a big lift - which im sure would be a benefit of the hardcore place.
I’ll update if i do go! And i much appreciate all the advice/comments.

If you’re worried about perception, which you shouldn’t be if you’re running a Wendler program, I think you’ll be just as well served with a legit 5/3/1 top set pushed for reps as you would hitting a heavy single. I’m not current on what Morning Star is, but I highly doubt a gym full of lifters who have managed to become quite strong will look at sensible training and view you in a negative light.

Do you want to be an animal? If so, I recommend you at least go check out what your local barnyard is like.

1 Like