T Nation

What Can A Good Gym Do - But Doesn't Yet?


Hi guys. We've just opened our second facility, and it's a commercial (membership-based) gym. We've had success being unconventional, and we want to expand our offerings. One example: about 2 months ago, I chirped a couple of women into trying our 'truck pull' challenge.

Now, on Tuesday nights when I return from our other facility for the Strongman Group, there are usually 5-6 women waiting to try pulling a truck. These are pretty girls, who may run or do Pilates and maybe do a bit of Crossfit at our gym. They're not beasts.

And so, if you were joining a gym, what would you love to find there that's out of the norm? This isn't a hypothetical. Good suggestions will be implemented at our membership-based facility.

I'll also give a gift certificate for a t-shirt from our gym for the best suggestion. How's that? TC or Lou - if this is in any way uncool, let me know and I'll retract my offer right away.
You can see the gym at catalystgym.com. Thanks for your help - I can't imagine any group having more to offer than T-Nation!


Why do I not live in Canada?

I would like to see regular competitions. The truck-pull bit is really cool, and my first thought was other strongman-ish stuff, but honestly I think the coolest bit would be to provide seasonal contests, either for highest lift or most improvement or something.


Your power cages look like they are out of Star Trek! Those things look really nice!


Thanks _kid, they're just TuffStuff's basic cage now. I used to deal TuffStuff, and I still like them. I modified them a little bit.


Awesome, thanks. We just did the 'Catalyst Games' in Sept - I'm attaching a picture of the winners, holding their gigantic, gold Championship Belts. Bodyweight Bench Reps+Truck Pull for time, then Max DL divided by bodyweight, and then a Crossfit workout at the end. Good crowd. No trainers showed up from other gyms - surprise,surprise!

We're hosting a VirtualMeet here Dec. 6 (www.virtualmeet.net) for newcomers to the sport. Puts them in a real powerlifting environment with real judges, but no pressure, really. I'll look to add more stuff; we have a SWAT team here once per week starting in January, so maybe something with law enforcement?


I would do keg tossing. Way back when I was in High School we used to have hay bale throwing contests, who could throw the bale the highest over the pole-vault bars.

Everyone always joined, it was a blast. Keg tossing is more recognizable from strongman, and you don't get covered in hay!!


I think some sort of partnering-up system for weight trainers.

That way you could take peoples goals and typical training times and give them a list of people who are similar and they can talk. People train harder when they have someone else there to train with them.

I haven't had a training partner in YEARS; and loved when I did.

I'll take an XL; thanks! :wink:


an inspiration room. I would absolutely love it, if they had outrageous strentgth and athletic mano y mano videos playing with fairly high volume everywhere.

have one screen with ronnie coleman deadlifting and screaming,one screen with a a defranco clip, a powerful knockout, or mike tyson in training, reggie bush getting hit so hard he couldn't walk, and a gorgeous woman screaming lift hard. I'd be ready to go


to B rocK, I'm not sure that would be worth the effort. Every time I've found a new training partner from whichever gym I'm lifing in at the time, I know who has similar goal that train when I can train, because I see them there at the same time as I, lifting by themselves. Of course, I don't own a gym, so what the hell do I know?

Inspiration videos would rock too, at my gym we can't even get inspirational music. No one wants to alienate the old ladies on the treadmill which is where a lot of their money is made. Oh well, maybe I should just buy enough stuff to have a home gym.


Facilities like this just dont exsist in the UK sadly.

nothing to add yet, ill give it some thought


We did a deadlift for reps contest recently which was a blast. We also had a betting sheet with over/unders for whether or not a lifter could do X weight for Y reps. Lots of fun with a contest like atmosphere, but it was clear that everyone was just trying to set a PB.



As much as I think the 300 workout is flawed you could do a contest for time using a % of bodyweight. Could do the same with Cosgrove's complexes for the 15 minutes. Both really impressive workouts when somebody goes balls out.


A 'Catalyst Gym' PL crew, 'catalyst gym' strongman crew, highland games, OL - anything and everything. As long as you have the equipment guys from your area will converge on the gym. That's the base of the crew.

From tehre just try to figure out days and times of the week that are conducive to everyone and just have everyone get after it together.

It's easy and doesnt cost anything, (or heck, print up some t-shirts for everyone who competes for a couple of bucks. even then that's just an advertisign expense) but having the gym take the initiative and give it's blessing is pretty cool.

Having guys be a part of the team makes them feel a little more loyalty to that gym and im betting that theyd be a lot more hesitant to join up wiht a cheaper gym unless theyre really strapped for cash.

And while it might not be a selling point for some people, others in the area will hear about it and anyone who's interested in getting into one of those sports may very well join for that explicit reason.

Full sanctioned meets for all of the above iron sports, or any other you want, held at the gym (if you have the facilities.) Not to knock on unsanctioned backyard stuff, but we all know some of it is crap.

I did an unsanctioned bench meet at a supplement store over the summer and fortunately there was nothing shady in my weight class, but I cant say that for every weight class. This one would obviously be more expensive what with sanctioning fees, but you might break even or maybe even turn a little profit


Damn it looks like your gym is awesome.

Stuff I'd like to see at a gym / training facility that you don't seem to have (yet?):

Sledgehammers of varying weights
Tyres for flipping and hitting
Sleds for pushing and dragging and stuff.

You say in your ebook (excellent BTW) that if we can make exercise more like play we'll do it more often and I think those items are designed for fun (maybe I'm a bit twisted).

  • do a mini powerlifting meet for novice folks who would have never entered a real meet, winner gets meaningful prize like year free membership.
  • mini strongman meet, same as above
  • hold quarterly seminars on different topics such as: kettlebells, Oly lifts, West side principles, CrossFit stuff, you'd bring in variety of different speakers from stregnth, sports, fitness community.
  • out door area on grassor plain earth (not paved) for outdoor training such as: keg toss, kbell toss, tires, etc.
  • maintain a reading room full of books, videos on bbing, strength, fitness, nutrition, mags, internet articles, get the idea? a place for gym members to read up or study proper training,nutrition, correct form on those hard to learn lifts.


Thanks. We just had Crossfit Total - a mini powerlifting meet, sans bench. Lots of fun.
We have 3 tires: 200lbs, 550, and 1100 (I'll try to post a pic here,) plus farmers' walk logs, welfare Prowler, sled, sledges, hex bar, and keg.
I love the reading room idea! We have space 12' off the floor (over the washrooms.) It's about 100sqft, and we were going to put couches up there anyway. If you've seen the video tour on catalystgym.com, I was standing up there to shoot.

Also, the quarterly seminars are a great idea. We have some fairly high-level guys here, and we've been setting up an interview schedule to put on our site, but it would be better in person.
OK, the video shows some of our outdoor stuff. Missing is the sledge and keg. We have a grassy area across the cul-de-sac to which we're going to add a muscle beach setup/obstacle course in the summer, and on which we can throw stuff.


Glad you loved my ideas,now where's my t-shirt, LOL :slight_smile:


I think you're the front-runner with the seminars so far. Should have put a deadline on this thread, but why don't we say Oct. 31?


I wish my gym was like this,


Having some mini climbing walls - wider rather than taller to save yourself some potential injuries - would be a cool change of pace for a back workout.