I'm about to say quite a bit about the sad state of affairs in most gyms today, and I know I will offend some people, but... too bad! It makes me sad to see the gyms of today, and their participants, wandering around aimlessly from fancy machine, to fancy machine, in quest of something most of them don't know how to find.
I'm talking about learning how to achieve results, with their meager half-hearted efforts. Most of the people in gyms today don't have a clue why they are there, or what they are trying to accomplish. Sure, Mary might want to lose some weight, but she usually doesn't have a clue as to how to go about it. I know this may sound harsh to some, but back in the day, newbies in the gym learned a lot from bodybuilders and more experienced lifters.
Bodybuilders and powerlifters are actually frowned upon these days in most gyms. It's a shame because these people should be used as inspiration, and watching them train could benefit a lot of people.
As far as giving them a clue as to what intensity level is required to actually get results from their training... Gyms back in the seventies and eighties, were really gyms, and not fluffy, frilly, "Fitness Centers," trying to pass themselves off as gyms. People worked together in pursuit of their goals, and learned from each other.
Today's gyms, and I use the term loosely, are too caught up in making money, and could care less about their clients progress, or lack of progress, as is usually the case. There's too many people that don't have clear-cut goals, and know nothing about training, even though there are "personal trainers" at most gyms.
The sad part is a lot of the personal trainers I've seen know very little themselves, and most look like they can't get out of their own way. If you are going to train people, at least look like you train a little yourself. I call these half-@ssed personal trainers, "professional rep counters," as that's about all they are doing that is correct, in their approach to training clients.
Fad Fitness Items
Another thing I find ridiculous today is fad fitness items. Swiss Balls, rubber tubing, medicine balls, and TV sets, are a bunch of junk, that should be kept out of a serious gym. Do you really believe that doing crunches on a big blue ball, is any better than doing them on a floor, or a bench?
Stabilizers come into play more with the Swiss Balls some would say. Stabilizers also come into play when squatting like an animal for 20 reps, with a heavy weight, but that's too much like work. I guess I'm just "old fashioned," but give me a gym full of sweaty, hard working animals, who are hungry to grow, and make progress, any day.
Today if you lift anything remotely heavy, or make the slightest grunt while squeezing out a hard rep, you get asked to tone down the noise. Don't even think of chalking your hands, you might get some on the spotless floor. What do these people think a vacuum cleaner was invented for?
I've trained at 4 hardcore gyms, at different times, for years, places where you made progress, and other people in the gym were genuinely concerned about you making that progress. It was no-holds barred, all for the betterment of the guys working out. If you didn't train your @ss off, you were considered a wimp.
Sadly, it is getting increasingly harder to find a good ol' sweatshop type of gym, where results are demanded. Today I see people come to the gym religiously, every day, only to talk, roam around, use the same weight forever, usually one plate on some contraption, for months at a time, gab on their cell phones, or some other practice that has nothing to do with staying focused on their training. These same people wonder why they do not make progress.
Ask a typical trainee in today's gym why he or she does a particular exercise, and what part of the body that exercise is for, and they look at you like you asked them for their wallet.
I think if you're going to workout, then you should at least have a basic understanding of the exercises, and body parts they work. Maybe even sweating a little once in a while would be productive. I really miss the "old school" gyms, and the animals that inhabited them. You can take this rant with "tongue in cheek," but I won't. Train Hard!
I obviously (I hope), meant this article to be taken with a healthy dose of sarcasm, but I hope I opened people's eyes to the fact that they should ask questions at the gym (not while someone is training), and do a little research, before beginning their program. Learn about what you are doing, and you'll do it better.