If I could gather the pioneers, visionaries, board of directors, current administration members of all of the large scale gyms in the United States, and the people that go to these gyms I would ask you one question:
"Why what?" they would ask.....
I took a break from my gym. I took a break from that lifestyle, and decided to focus on other physical attributes for sports such as basketball, soccer, activities such as backpacking, kayaking, etc. You get better, faster, and more skillful at these things by doing these things over and over. Pretty simple. Pretty elegant.
I decided to get back into lifting heavily for many different reasons, none of which are important for the point of my question.
I called LA Fitness and asked about current membership rates. Instead of communicating directly to me as a human being, the (general manager) person I called to ask a simple question starting telling me about their 4 lane swimming pool, their "stadium seating" spin room, their 150 cardio machines each complete with a television and a "fan to simulate real running designed to keep you cool". He started to tell me about how many different machines they had that were designed (by leading scientists I am sure) to stimulate and grow each individual muscle to the utmost efficient level when I interrupted him to tell him I was interested in exactly 4 pieces of equipment in his entire Gym-Utopia. The only other thing I was interested in, and was interested enough to prompt me to pick up the phone to get an answer, was how much this would cost me.
I did not want to be sold on how many different ways I can simulate running, biking, hiking, climbing, or lifting weights. I am not interested in anything in that entire 2 million square foot facility with the exception of an adjustable bench, barbell bench, squat rack, and a power rack. If I want to ride a bike, I will do so. If I want to run for whatever reason, I prefer the real breeze on my face. If I wanted to make my legs bigger and stronger, I would do real squats rather than sit in a State of the Art leg press in which I hold on to handles and press as much weight above my head with my legs as possible. I prefer the more gravity friendly, and downright more effective method of doing this.
He told me it would be $120 down, and $35 a month. Normally, I probably wouldn't have thought too much about this, and would have made an appointment to sit down and finalize a membership. Today, I started asking myself why I would pay for 99% of a gym I would never use. I decided there had to be other gyms that felt the same way.... surely.
No. They all have the same pitch. "We have dedicated personal trainers..... We have STATE OF THE ART machines, and we have thousands of them..... We have the best blah blah blah...."
The worst thing is, I would imagine 75% of their paying members have not been to that gym in the past 90 days, hence the EFT ONLY membership styles. What happened to good old fashioned cash? I want to work out for a month, I pay you for a month. I dont pay, I dont work out. What is being allowed to happen is this: Greed.
Pure and simple greed. I for one have had enough of this absolute ridiculousness, and I simply will not be embarrassed to be a "member" of a "gym" that thinks playing top 40 pop hits on their STATE OF THE ART sound system while having the capacity to accomodate 325 people running on an endless line of treadmills with the cool breeze on their face, installing the latest and greatest machines designed to "Deliver results" in making your calves bigger is conducive to my goals. I bring my own music, I run IRL (OMG), and I do squats. Next?
So again, why? Why can I not find a gym that smells like a gym should smell.... that has the tried and true pulling, pushing equipment, that doesn't feel the need to blast Brittany Spears' latest hit, won't charge me automatically even if I am halfway around the world or dead?
I'll make a promise to you all right here, and right now. I would rather go to a junkyard and fling tires over my head, than pay to join one of these gyms. I will lie on my back and bench press my coffee table before I give these salespeople my credit card number.
Its a shame that any real gyms that used to exist in abundance have been eradicated and reduced to a small fraction by these unbelievable cash grabbing opportunists that have brought advertising and profit margins into a world that once was pure and free from such bullshit.
I firmly believe that a company SHOULD make money, but only if they are really able to capture the essence of the product they are selling. I blame stupid people for falling for these gimmicks more than I do the actual fitness clubs that are profiting from them, but sooner or later, something has to give. When will a real company step up and open real gyms that offer real solutions to serious people?