I recently had to spent a work week in a large city to attend work related activities. While there, I found the closest gym to train at so I wouldn't miss any workouts. There was a "fitness facility" only five minutes from my hotel room, which offered a cut rate for those staying at the hotel. I was on a very tight schedule and didn't have time to go to the local weightlifting gym as I usually do.
I guess I'm spoiled, but if this is the trend of commercial gyms in large cities, it is indeed sad. This was a large facility which had a lot of money poured into it. But it was obviously designed to sell memberships and not get results for the members.
My observations were as follows (I was there six times in three days):
Let me just say right off the bat that all their "trainers" should be taken outside and shot. I have never seen more bad form and advice given.
The "free weight area" was half the size of the aerobics room. There is just something really wrong with this. Most of the time while I was there the aerobics room was empty, but I did see a class for twig women who wanted to learn to lift light weights while standing on some kind of thingy. They had another huge area just filled with Hammer Stength and other machines. People seemed to be using this area mainly for conversation.
I couldn't use the only squat rack they had as the cross bars on it would not allow me to go deep enough (I'm 5'6"). Now I am of the opinion that half squats are a helluva lot worse for your knees than full squats. But while there I never saw a single person even attempt going past a half squat. That's probably how those "trainers" showed them to do it.
The bench presses were built for midgets. These were the lowest bench presses I had ever seen (and I've seen a lot). I was laughing that it was almost like doing floor presses. BTW, they only had two benches which is what every one wanted to use. So when I was doing my eights sets of triples with 135, I thought these guys were gonna split a gut since I was doing more than three sets. And no, none of them asked to work in with me.
No room to deadlift, but I did it anyway. Had to sneak the chalk in.
I have never seen more of a collection of metrosexuals in a gym. And it didn't take long to figure out why: the music they were playing would drop anyones T levels. Thank goodness for MP3 players. There were so many pussies there I was wondering if they had a veterinarian on staff.
WTF is it with the stability balls? Can we get over this fad now?
I finally realized where the majority of the members were; doing cardio endlessly. I counted at least twenty treadmills, eighteen ellipticals and a bunch of other cardio machines. But the funny thing is, the majority of them were just jogging along, some reading, some just watching one of the five plasma TV's mounted on the wall. No one was really working at it! Just going through the motions so that they could say they worked out.
The men and women who utilized the weight room all did the requisite three sets of ten reps. No one strained, no one made any noise (except for me). It was like the Stepford Wives gym. All the while I'm feeling these staring eyes while I'm doing barbell shrugs with 185.
What a bizarre experience. I will be so glad to get back to my gym tomorrow. I'm going go give the owner a big kiss and tell him thanks for keeping it real.