Recently I was away from my studio for a couple of days and I decided to do a workout in a public commercial gym. Let me say that I was completely surprised and appalled by the poor technique of the people working out. It was very clear, after only a few minutes, of observation of the people around me, that absolutely no support, guidance or training was offered by the trainer on duty. It’s been many years since I’ve worked out in a public gym, but the lack of guidance was astounding.
Just glancing around the room there was bad form and poor technique everywhere. Exercises from bench press, to decline sit ups, squats, planks, assisted chin ups, bicep curls, tricep kick backs and more. EVERY single person had terrible form. I don’t mean just a bit sloppy. I mean verging on the edge of very dangerous to their health.
So my first reaction was to say to myself…..is that guy on duty up there at his desk going to walk around and offer some support and guidance to these people? After an hour of my own workout I realised that the answer to this was a resounding “NO”!! He seemed far too interested in observing the ladies, chatting them up and filing membership cards than ensuring the members were getting results and training safely! Interestingly, during my workout there was a change of shift and a female trainer took over and she was also more interested in chatting up the members than providing practical and useful feedback!
I had to use every ounce of my will power not to go over to people near me and correct their form. I mean SOMEONE needed to show them the right technique and explain to them how they may injure themselves. I literally sat their shaking my head. This was a big commercial inner City gym. Have things gotten that bad in gyms that you’ve got to pay extra for the fundamentals like program structure, safety, results and guidance? Clearly, if this is an example of the gym industry nowadays….the gym “model” is obviously failing people.
This gym had members jumping from one piece of equipment to another, exercise to exercise with little to no thought as to their program or the muscles they were using. There was just no structure to their programs at all. It’s no wonder that people join a gym for about 12 weeks, don’t see results and never return.
I saw young guys (18 to early 20’s) coming in and just working their chest and biceps – the beach muscles. Not working out hard and just going through the motions. A lot of the ladies were on the cardio equipment, did some light weights with high repetitions, poor form and then left without really raising a sweat. Did they really have a plan to improve their bodies or do they just like telling people they did a workout in the gym today! It was terrible and painful to watch. It made me realise just how much people need quality coaching if this environment is an example of what’s going on in gyms.
When I started training in a gym back in 1988 I was fortunate to get a lot of good guidance. Nutrition, program design, technique – it was just part of your membership! But these days it looks like there is no guidance….unless you pay for it! What have we come to? Are gyms really failing us? When you consider the number of 24 hour gyms that are opening up I can’t see how this trend is going to shift in the right direction. So yes, I think they are failing. You get exactly what you pay for and nothing more! This is why people are moving away from gyms in droves and looking for a more personalised type of service. People are busy and time poor and can’t be bothered trying to work it out for themselves in a gym.
The answer? You need to work with a fitness coach you like, know and trust. You need a workable program for you and it MUST include a realistic, individually tailored, sustainable nutrition plan, resistance and cardio exercise program. Your coach should be qualified in providing nutritional advice and can show you the correct technique for each exercise on the equipment that you have available to you. It is critical that each of these elements is consistent in helping you reach your fitness goals over a realistic time frame.
If budget is an issue, don’t worry. You don’t have to work with a fitness coach like Studioz on an ongoing basis. We’ve completed dozens of programs for people who want to get a tailored meal plan, exercise program and a few private sessions to understand the various elements of their program, and then go off on their own to conduct their regular workouts. Some people we don’t see again as they’re empowered to do it by themselves, whilst others come back two to four times per week, once per week, once per fortnight or monthly to refresh their plans and programs. The key is to work out your budget and then find the right person that qualified to work with you. They should have great credentials for getting sustainable results and you need to feel comfortable and confident in working with them.
Bottom line – if you’re going to join a gym make sure you’ve considered everything I’ve said here and take action to ensure you’re guaranteeing yourself of results. Otherwise you’ll be like most people in the gym network who have their direct debit working out more regularly than them!!!!