10 Things I Do Not Miss About Commercial Gyms

January 26, 2012 — 6 Comments

Over the course of my life, I have been a member of numerous commercial gyms in Canada and Thailand.

But ever since December 2011, I have put together a home gym in my basement and have been training at home ever since.

Here are a few things that I don’t miss about commercial gyms:

1. Personal Trainers Who Don’t Know What They’re Doing

personal-trainer-let-me-teach-you-how-to-curl-follow-me-to-the-squat-rack
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a personal trainer do upright rows at the same time their client is performing bench presses with the same bar.

Or the number of times I’ve seen trainers without a training log for their clients.

Or the number of times I’ve heard giving out the wrong advice or exercise instruction.

Don’t take this the wrong way, not all personal trainers don’t know what they’re doing, but it seems like (at least in my experience) there are more crappy trainers than good ones.

2. Commuting

I’ve always thought of commuting as a waste of time. The time spent getting to the gym and back can take as long (or longer) that the workout itself!

Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if possible, I’ll try to set up a situation for myself where getting from point A to B is minimal.

For the last 2 clubs I was a member of, I was fortunate to live close enough to be able to walk to the gym. It only took around 15 minutes each way, but that’s an extra 30 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. Multiply that by the number of times I go to the gym (3-5) per week, the number of weeks in a month, the number of months in a year, etc. and it adds up.

3. Waiting

Normally, the squat rack is never in use. However there are times when I need to use a bench. And more often than not, the people doing bench press aren’t even doing half-range of motion!

There are also people socialize in between sets, and/or use their phones while sitting on the exercise equipment. Often times they would spend more time on their phones texting and chatting than actually working out.

4. Crappy Exercise Equipment

adductor machine

This machine trains the "NO" muscles

Yes-No machines, Smith machines, elliptical trainers, & Nautilus circuit machines and countless others seem to get the most use in a gym serving the general public. They’re also the equipment that have the least impact on “getting toned”, “getting cut” and “losing weight”.

(I have to admit, I did use the Smith machine as an adjustable height pull up bar when the chin up area was in use).

5. Crappy Workout Music

I would not have known about Justin Beiber, Kate Perry or Lady Gaga if it wasn’t for those Les Mills group fitness classes. I bet there’s someone out there who loves to lift heavy weights to “Somebody to Love”, but it’s not my cup of tea.

At home, I tune into Digitally Imported and listen to either Trance or Goa-Psy Trance, which is probably considered crappy music to some people.

The choice of music to listen to while training is subjective, but since I’m training in my home gym, I can listen to whatever “crappy” music I want.

One man’s crappy music is another man’s ear candy.

6. People Asking A Million Questions In Between Sets

Don’t get me wrong, I like to help people with their training and answer their questions to the best of my ability. But sometimes people ask too many questions at the wrong time (in between sets), and take up a lot of time with their interrogation.

7. Unhygienic People

I’ve seen people picking their noses in between their sets, people who don’t wash their hands after they use the rest rooms, and others cough or sneezing into their hands before they grasp the barbell.

Nasty.

8. Dealing With People Who Don’t Put Away Weights

Y U NO PUT AWAY WEIGHTS

Why can’t some people put away the weights?

It’s just common courtesy to put away those 35lbs dumbbells and put away the plates after doing quarter squats on the smith machine.

9. People Who Drop Puny Weights On The Floor

I’m not sure what the deal is with people who drop dumbbells on the floor after they’re finished the set. I’m talking about people who are dumbbell bench pressing 50lbs (total) for 12+ reps with little effort, and then dropping it.

No matter how loud the sound of dumbbells dropping make, it won’t make you look any manlier!

In my opinion, the weight shouldn’t be dropped on the floor unless it is unsafe or impossible to put it down in a controlled manner. Or if they’re lifting with bumper plates.

10. Initiation Fees, Recurring Membership Fees, Hold Fees and Cancellation Fees

‘nuff said.

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.




Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)

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  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
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  • Guest

    “At home, I tune into Digitally Imported and listen to either Trance or Goa-Psy Trance, which is probably considered crappy music to some people.”I think the same thought every time I turn those stations as well :-)Just looking around your blog; lots of interesting/motivating stuff…we’re both about the same age and height, so I have big respect for how much weight you’re moving. Keep it up.

  • Jay

    Completely agree with those that hate curls in the squat rack….but what really bothers me are the old men in the locker room. I’m comfortable enough to be naked, but when someone’s junk is inches from my face, or when they are combing their hair in the mirrow completely naked, it just disturbs me.

  • John, any random 30 minutes is 30 minutes you’ll never get back, regardless of what you’re doing! 😉
    I like this list, it’s funny because it’s true. I don’t have a basement or the money to buy my own equipment so it’s the gym for me. I try to go at a time I’m sure no one else will be about: 5am. Makes things a bit easier to handle.

  • Craig Hirota

    great list, you should try to make a list of 10 things about commercial gyms that you do miss.  One thing I miss is having a group of training partners.  I actually do train at a commercial gym but there are no other powerlifters there so I’m always training alone when I’m at that gym.  It’s doable at a home gym but there are always those pesky liability insurance issues for the host.

    • Great idea! That article is coming right up :)

  • Bourbon_Meyer

    Not much gets me more agitated than showing up on leg day and having to wait for some clown who’s doing wrist curls on the squat rack.  

    Good post!