So today was my second attempt at no-shoes deadlifting and squats. I finished up both of these exercises and was very pleased with my results, when I began my crossfit workout of the day. At this point a 24 Hour Fitness manager approached me and told me that I would need to leave the gym unless I put on close-toed shoes. He was concerned that someone could drop a weight on my foot and injure me. There are a couple of reasons why this is unfathomably stupid:
At the time, I was doing leg extensions, on a machine far away from any free weights. In order for anyone to drop any weights on me, they would have to walk over to me and throw the weight at my foot.
If someone drops any substantial weight on my foot, it’s going to hurt if I’m wearing shoes or not. This is clearly policy written up by pathetic little corporate lawyers. I would love to drop a couple of plates on their loafered feet and ask them if the shoes helped prevent injury.
If this was the gym’s only offense, I could look past it, but I am a member at one of the worst gyms in America hands down. The bathroom and locker rooms are a disaster, the availability of machines and weights is pathetic, and the staff seems to take no pride in their work.
I’m not going to waste time talking about the incompetence of the 24 Hour Trainers. They’re not even the worst employees at the gym. That honor goes to the front desk employees, who I have seen almost every day for the past 4 months, and who have never bothered to learn my name or face. When I was a member at Equinox in New York City, I felt like a member of a family (a nice clean family, with lovely showers, and weights that were racked with some sens of order). After the first week at Equinox, I was let in without showing my membership card and I was greeted with a smile and a kind word. At 24 Hour Fitness, I am greeted like a convict who murdered the loved ones of every front desk employee.
Not to mention the pathetic promotions that the gym constantly seems to run. For the last month or so, the gym has been covered in posters that say “Final Day”. It is as if the Seventh Day Adventists had taken over the nation’s largest chain of gyms.
It’s not really a mystery how 24 Hour Fitness got to be the largest gym chain in America. There are thousands of members at my gym alone, and they are all treated like dung. When you spend almost nothing on upkeep, or on hiring qualified, cheerful employees, it’s extremely easy to be profitable. Hopefully, in the long term, this strategy will catch up to my local gym, and they will be forced to clean up their act. I already know that most of the members are dissatisfied: the mid-Wilshire 24 Hour where I work out is currently ranked a pitiful 1 1/2 stars on Yelp ( http://www.yelp.com/biz/24-hour-fitness-los-angeles-5#hrid:P5FPEPtYSdSlpcPTXFqbJQ/query:gym ), which makes it the lowest ranked business in all of greater Los Angeles. As soon as someone opens a half-way decent gym anywhere near here, I predict a mass exodus.
Oh who am I kidding, no one’s going to change their ways least of all me. American’s are comfortable with mediocrity. It’s how “Disturbed” has the number one album in the country, and “Indiana Jones” is the number one movie of the year. We do what’s easy and familiar, and I’m no exception.
Well, hopefully my weight-lifting can defy mediocrity. Here’s the numbers I put up today:
10 x 135
8 x 185
5 x 205
5 x 225
3 x 245
3 x 275
2 x 295
0 x 315
10 x 45
10 x 135
10 x 155
5 x 175
5 x 195
4 x 205
2 x 225
At this point my legs were pretty dead, and I moved over to the crossfit portion of the day. It was a bizarre little superset of shoulder presses and back extensions. I got through three sets before I was so rudely interrupted.
A1. Shoulder Presses-
21 x 60
21 x 60
21 x 60
A2. Back Extensions
The injuries are still extremely nagging. You don’t realize how remarkable the human body is until it stops being so remarkable. I think about pull-ups and burpees now and feel like I’ll never be able to do them again without pain. Hopefully this is paranoia and not an indication of reality.