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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Why commercial gyms shouldn't be successful

They never seem to get people the results they pay for, they cost a lost of money and they have one of the highest customer turnover rates, yet commercial gyms continue to make millions.

It's a disgrace - and I'm going to tell you what happens. Believe me I've worked in one, been the top trainer within months (mainly by treating people like clients who deserved results rather than Member No 4253), and seen it all.

Why gyms are successful when they shouldn't be!

1) They get thousands of people to sign direct debits every January. Easy money - take advantage of the post-Christmas podgers. If all these people turned up on a Wednesday night, the gym would be screwed. The truth is the average gym member goes to the gym 0.8 times per week. Generally this translates as going all of January then getting bored or sick of putting in a lot of time and effort for no results.

2) They successfully play on the innate human trait of needing entertaining. They put on new classes every few weeks with new music, new choreography or a new instructor and everyone gets excited. They add new shiny screens or new machines. If you're a keen class goer you'll have seen adverts for the latest 'BTS launch' every 3 months. you now have to listen to the latest annoying 'Cheeky Girl tricep track'. You think this will spur you on to results. It doesn't. Again. And why are you excited by machines? I've met so many girls who say "I don't want to bulk up like a bodybuilder", then I see them sitting on those machines which are all designed by bodybuilders, for bodybuilders!

Progress in training needs to come from lifting a heavier weight, resting less between sets, performing variations of key, functional exercises, eating better and becoming more flexible. Anything that forces your body to adapt will bring results - new music won't!

3) They play on the 'burn factor'. Most gym goers wrongly assume that if they ache and can't move after a class and they 'felt the burn' it must be working. Whilst this may be true in some cases, generally the 'burn' in gym classes comes from a build up of lactic acid from high repetition exercises. Whilst this may improve your lactic acid tolerance slightly, you can keep dreaming about lower body fat! Body Pump for instance is a shocking, dangerously unsafe, and grossly ineffective way to lift weights. I won't go into it here or we'll be here all day - just trust me! I've seen (and felt) the results.

4) Most people have no idea how to exercise outside of the gym. They wrongly assume 'the gym' is the training meccah of their local borough, completely blind to the much more effective, cheaper and more exhilirating ways to train at home at outside. The poor, unsuspecting members get into a routine of going to the gym after work, so that's the way it is!

5) They rely on the fact that people think if they keep trying a particular way of getting fit it has to work eventually. "If I just keep banging my head on this brick wall it will eventually break...even though there is a sledgehammer on the other side of the wall"

6) Good gyms are busy gyms - there are some around! However, busy gyms become annoying gyms because no equipment is free. Good gyms then become bad gyms.

7) They give you what you want. Surely that's a good thing? Yes and no. You THINK you need treadmills with heart rate monitors, cross-trainers, steppers, weights benches and aerobics classes. So the gyms give you all of the above so you don't quit. They don't educate you on what you really need to get fit otherwise you wouldn't stick around! You don't get results but it's not a problem....see Point 5!

I could write all day about this topic but it should have given you food for thought.

Take time to stop and take stock of what results you are getting for the time and money invested in your health and fitness. Once your eyes have been opened, seek a different way or you will be stuck forever in the putrid, crowded, recycled air of the local gym!

I know one, and the growing member list do as well - Storm Force Fitness

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