Thursday, February 10, 2011

G's G

I love gyms. When you grew up at a time when gyms were out of the way holes in the wall, you can't help but marvel at how far we've come. But, at some point in the late 90s, it got to the point where if you walked into a big-as-a-mall "fitness center", you'd be mobbed by sales reps, just like you would at your local car or furniture dealership. If you couldn't escape their clutches, or if you were actually interested in exercising, they'd sit you down (notice the irony there) and discuss "options". You couldn't just "go lift".

Sales Rep: "Plan A gives you access to the weight room, the cardio theater, day care, towel plan, exercise room, the Zumba class, the Pilates, class, three free training sessions minus gratuity fee with an assigned trainer, a private locker, three drinks per week at the juice bar, and the pass code to the sauna."

Me: "Wow. That's a lot of stuff. How much is that?"

Sales Rep: "Well, it's very reasonable."

After about 30 minutes of nailing down details, I'd end up walking out of the door investing "a dollar a day" into a $1000/year family plan... 

HOWEVER, apparently some things DO change. About three weeks ago, I walked into an area big-time chain gym (I won't give away which one, but the initials are G's G) and walked away with minimal sales talk and a 3x/week pass for only $10 A MONTH! There are no lifting platforms, chalk, or bumper plates, and for a gym of its size there should be more squatting racks, but I'm enjoying it immensely. I've missed the sparkling clean facilities, the upper body Mr. Olympias, the television monitors, the pop music blaring in the background, and the round middle-aged grunter-men in tanktops.

What am I doing there that I could not at my home or school? Very little, but a change of environment is good every once in a while and getting to see people (regular people, not meatheads like me and you) train is healthy. I keep to myself for the most part. I made the mistake of making eye-contact with round middle-aged grunter man in tank-top last Friday, and less than a second later I was his "spotter-boy", avoiding a moist grunty exhalation on every single rep... It's good to be back!


Fatman said...


Spotting people is okay, for me it's part of the whole gym experience and it lets me ask for a spot without feeling bad about it.

Old dudes in tank tops are bad tho, I'm glad my gym caters more to the younger Bro-types who generally do curls. Unfortunately I have been seeing some Crossfit-type behavior among them lately.

And yes, the era of the Metro gym seems to be over. Now it's all about power cleans with light weight and atrocious form and knees-inward half-squats supersetted with quasi-muscle-ups. I have a feeling we will come to miss the old Globo-Gym.

Boris said...

I agree about spotting - it's part of being a community member, and I don't consider myself a germ-phobe, but after being breathed on for that set of 20 Hammer Strength presses, I came down with something two days later..

Agreed completely - we will miss the globo-gyms when small 24-hour pass key gyms and studios become the norm.

Fatman said...

Spotting Hammer presses??? That's a new one for me... how does one even do that? Sorry to hear about the germs.

Matt said...

I'm wanting to open up my own S&C studio to train my clients, run barbell classes, allow other trainers to train their clients, and have general memberships for those looking for a more hard core-esque place to train...

I have no experience with gym ownership. I Figure I could source the equipment for <$25,000 and could comfortably have ~10-20 people in there at any given moment.

Coming up with a profitable pricing structure is what I am trying to wrap my mind around right now.

Any tips?

Matt said...

Would that gym happen to have concept 2 rowers?

Matt said...

Possibly, probably a variety of cardio/conditioning equipment. Whatever I can find at a reasonable cost.

It's not a crossfit, but something similar. Mainly free weights, bumpers, KBs, couple of platforms/racks. Sleds, tires, chains, etc.

I envision a place for people to come train hard, with equipment you don't normally find at traditional health spa's. A little grittier, but definitely no fear of needing a tetanus shot before you train there.

Boris said...

Hi Matt,
I have no experience setting up or trying to run a profitable gym - zero. I wouldn't know where to begin. I could tell you what I'd like, but that would probably only serve a very small niche. Marketed well, and in the right location, you might do well, but yeah - sorry I can't advise.

Hi Matt,
I really wish they did, but no - no C2s, just a lot of ellipticals, treadmills, and couple stationary bikes and stairmasters.

Boris Terzic said...

Welcome to the world of glob gyms. I work in one and I can't stand to try and train in them... I still to my storage locker.