Looking at the UK as a whole I have noticed that budget gyms are taking over.
This may sound great to people, cheap gym! But unfortunately that is exactly the problem, cheap gyms.
I have also noticed a large number of Independant gyms in Glasgow closing due to the impact of so many budget gyms opening. There are over 10 budget gyms in a 4 mile radius of my home, over 10 commercial gyms and even if you include boxing specific and cross fit boxes less than 10 Independant gyms within the same radius. 5 years ago this would have been far more balanced but budget gyms are spreading like a plague and taking out the little guy with it.
Support Local. I hear it often and it’s usually from local business owners or those who live in an area and enjoy their community. It always suprises me when these same people jump on the corporate band wagon when it comes to saving a few pound (literally) and sign up to the corporate giants.
Now I get it, times can be tight and saving money is always appreciated. But if you’re waistline is getting a tight as your finances then you want to make sure you’re at a decent gym that you can actually use.
I enjoy working out and as my career is based around gyms, I enjoy using reliable equipment and a good environment. As such I just haven’t been able to take to budget gyms and I find most comercial gyms pretty souless too. Call me old fashioned but I enjoy somewhere with a bit of an atmosphere and god forbid it but somewhere I might even get a chat on the way in and a good laugh while being there.
Somewhere I can train, ask for a spot when I need it, advice if I need it and to have qualified people on hand to bounce ideas off. I find that Independant gyms offer this and have not found the same thing in a budget gym yet. But thats why they’re budget, keep cutting corners to keep prices down and you end up with a shell and some weights.
Ever walked into a budget gym and been reminded of an airport hangar? Some even look a bit like the terminus, full of treadmills, space and often full of people. Great for them but not so good for you when you’re there to workout and the queue for the squat rack is 5 deep and the free weights area is chock full of folk fighting for dumbbells and benches.
A thing I hear people say about smaller independant gyms is that they are scared it will be intimidating and full of angry bodybuilder smashing weights, growling and trying to keep you away from their weights.
Well…. I rarely see this in smaller gyms, in fact I usually see a lot more comradderie and sense of community in these smaller gyms. WHEREAS….. When I have taken the plunge into visiting a budget gym I usually find them to be more like this fear people have of the smaller gym! I always tell people there is nothing to fear in the free weights area, if people look angry it’s because they’re focusing and pushing themselves with their training. This is fine as long as they don’t continue with the attitude when they’re done, but in budget gyms I have found this attitude seems to continue throughout the building! It was as if “if I dont keep trying to stare at folk they’ll think i’m weak”, “If they’re lifting more they must be laughing at me”, “he’s lifting less than me so I’m the alpha now!”.
Sounds stupid but this was the atmosphere I picked up on.
I don’t get intimidated by this sort of crap. I don’t care what other people are doing when I’m working out because I am focusing on my session. I am lifting, spotting Jackie if training together or resting and getting ready for the next set. BUT I will get pissed off if every time I put my weights down folk are trying to snatch them off me. Walking to the water fountain and having to leg it back to chase some little shit pinching my dumbbells and another moving the bench over to his mates. NAW. That aint how it works pal.
I have always compared the free weights area in a budget gym to that dodgey area of town you drive really fast through and definitley don’t park in! Leave your car there for half hour and no wheels or anything of value left! But a cheap gym will always attract a cheap crowd folks so it’s something you have to deal with if you want that sort of price.
This sort of gym may suit your schedule, budget or training style. Fair enough, they are very busy and successful gyms but they just aint for me. I have tried but I didn’t like.
My first call will always be a smaller private facility over a glamorous chain. If I have no other choice then fair enough, I’m still going to train and if it’s a budget or commercial gym then so be it. When I was living on Iona, a tiny Island off the West coast of Scotland, I trained from a friends barn.
I had a power rack, barbell and dumbbell set up and trainer there through cold, wind, rain and snow. There was no heating and in Scotland that means cold most of the time! So you would have thought that any gym I went to on the mainland would have been luxury. I went to a Pure Gym for 5 days while visiting family in Glasgow and was so glad to get back to my Island set up!
So if you have yet to try out a smaller place, give it a go and see what it’s like. you may just be surprised at what you find. There may be some shit holes but you will probably find a gym with much the same equipment as the shiny big corp shells and with a lot more character to boot.
So stop lone wolfing your training and get involved in a place with a community!
LIFT, LIVE, LEARN