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Top 10 Reasons To Stay Out Of The Gym

I used to think it was absolutely necessary to be in a gym to get results. I thought that a good workout required you to be in a health club or weight lifting room of some sort.

Back in my college days, I would spend hours in the gym “pumping iron” and doing all the bodybuilder routines like bench press and lat pulldowns all the time.
Then I started working at a local health club as a personal trainer after I graduated. In the early days of being a PT I kept that same mentality. From shadowing other trainers and reading school text books, I thought I needed to focus all my clients on the machine weights for exercises like smith machine squats, bench press, lat pulldowns, leg extensions and leg curls to give them a great workout.
I soon realized how inefficient that type of “bodybuilder” training was and quickly began to implement a functional training format that produced real world results but required very little use of gym machines. I wanted my clients to be able to lift a bag of groceries in one arm and carry their kid in the other. I wanted them to increase their range of motion and improve their balance so they wouldn’t slip and fall on the ice. I wanted them to learn how to properly lift objects so they didn’t throw their back out.
I didn’t give a crap if they could squat 500 lbs and bench 275 lbs. Please tell me when, in your daily routine, will you be pushing a 275 lb object off your chest while laying on your back? Please leave a comment if this is part of your normal day 🙂
My clients would get amazing workouts only using their body weight, resistance bands, kettlebells, free weights, stability balls, medicine balls, boxing gloves, and jump ropes. I would say that about 90% of the workouts I put clients through would focus on this type of training.
And even though I had all of those high tech machines at my disposal on the main workout floor, the majority of the workouts I took my clients through were either down in a basketball gym, dance studio, tennis court, or some other open space in the weight room.
After some thought, I put on paper what I feel to be the top 10 reasons NOT to go to the gym:
1. Needless Travel Time: The daily gym workout will cost us at least 10-20 precious minutes round trip in wasted travel time. Add that time up over the course of a week and you are looking at losing at least 1-2 hours going to and from the gym. That doesn’t even include showering, changing clothes, and running into “Chatty Patty” in the locker room taking up another 20 min. of you valuable time.
2. The Sheep Mentality: I have witnessed people doing some of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen at the gym. It doesn’t matter if they’re accomplished doctors, lawyers, or business men. I truely belive that the example most people set will make you worse or get you hurt. Everybody is doing the same thing. Most men and women are just following the herd like sheep. They follow all the misinformation provided in the form of the amazing fitness magazines and infomercials. People just go to the gym and do whatever everybody else is doing.
Most women are cardio queens who spend hours at a time on ellipticals, bikes, and treadmills…sadly getting nowhere fast. Here’s what you need to be doing to get sexy and finally blast that stubborn fat from your hips, thighs, and butt…..Resistance training and high intense cardio intervals that last 20-30 minutes.
And then there are the meat head guys who spend all their time working those “mirror” muscles (chest, biceps, abs). They do all kinds of upper body isolation exercises and take extremely long rest periods between sets. They shout, scream, and make crazy animal noises when they lift to both annoy you and help them get that last 300 lb rep on the bench press. I bet these macho guys would be crying if they were put through a 45 min body weight workout.
When in doubt, DON’T do what everybody else in the gym is doing.
3. Needless Waiting Time for Equipment or Space: People spend about an average of at least 15-20 minutes per workout waiting on a piece of equipment or a certain space of the gym to complete their daily routine. You’re not only wasting valuable time and money but also slowing down your results. Your body is in a constant warming/cooling cycle. When your working out, your body is staying warm but when you’re waiting for that next machine, your body cools down back to normal levels. You want your body to stay warm and ready for exercise to not only decrease injury but rapidly increase fat burning.
So build your own gym at home so you and you alone control your workout environment for optimal results.
4. Sickness and Disease: You go to the gym to stay healthy, but in reality, gyms are cesspools for sickness and disease. Everybody sweats. Sweat is not the best smelling or most sanitary thing to be sharing with one another, but you do it all the time if you’re at the gym.
Let’s just be honest about this- most overworked, burnt out trainers working at the typical health club are forced to double dip and clean up the gym at the end of their 10+ hour workdays.
How much energy do you really think they have left to thoroughly clean and disinfect equipment that hundreds of people have sweat, dripped and coughed on all day long?
Beyond catching the common cold, there are some other real serious things that have been spreading at gyms like wildfire recently like the merca staph infection epidemic.
So keep you and your family healthy by getting your own equipment and working out at home.
5. Annoying People: This is one of the biggest reasons I’m tired of working out at gyms. Some people are so dang annoying. My workout time is MY time. I use it to clear my head and forget about everything in life for awhile. It’s a time to get away and kick my own ass for awhile.
But for most people going to the gym isn’t about getting results, it’s about socializing. You know who they are. The ones that you see in the gym just going from one person to the next just talking their ear off. Then they go lift for a bit and find someone else to talk to.
Sure you can chat when you’re at the gym, but I find it extremely rude and also dangerous to do so when someone is working out. People can easily get distracted from what they’re doing and not pay attention to their form and possibly injure themselves.
Just wait until after the workout and go down to a snack bar or lobby to have your conversations.
6. Expensive Memberships: Paying money for a place to workout. Isn’t your current rent or mortgage enough of a monthly overhead! Plus, these health clubs lock you into a long-term contract that makes it almost impossible to get out of. With the economy the way it is, you would think they would have more affordable options available. Plus, if you want “expert” help, you hire a personal trainer and tack on another $600 bucks to your bill. No groceries for you this week.

7. Useless Equipment: Machines suck- It’s extremely rare that I use any type of traditional machines for my workouts. They don’t allow your body to train the way it was designed to move and function and they cause many overuse injuries. If you want to be lean, tight, and muscular, all you need is your body weight, some bands, and a few free weight options like dumbbells or kettlebells to get the job done at home or on the road.

8. Lack of Open Training Space: Most club owners focus on filling the training floor up with overpriced, oversized machines that take up all of the prime real estate. There’s barely enough room to walk around in a typical health club let alone try and do walking lunges for your workout without running in to some piece of clunky equipment.
All you need is space- space to move freely and explore your own body’s capabilities.
9. Crippling Dependence: The concept of a gym is brilliant in the fact that they force you to create a dependence on them. Especially if you travel a lot for work, you might feel lost when you don’t have access to a gym. You don’t workout because you “Can’t” since there’s no gym available. If you’re snowed in or can’t make it to the gym, screw working out because you don’t have the fancy treadmill or elliptical to use.
So… show yourself that you can get results without the gym. Pack a resistance band in your bag and get creative. I promise you that the best workouts of your life are waiting for you at home or in new places like a park, beach, hotel room, etc.
Step outside of the box and get after it!
10. Bad Trainers: This last one really bothers me. It’s why the title of personal trainer doesn’t hold as much respect as it should. It’s the fact that most trainers SUCK! Anybody can go online and pay for a generic personal training certificate and get hired at a gym as a Certified Personal Trainer. Those slackers just want to sneak on by and don’t want to study the materials and do the work to pass the rigorous exams given by prestigious organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), or the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Once hired, most trainers just stick to the same old cookie cutter programs taught in text books and never adapt and try to learn new real world applications and techniques. Plus, most don’t get paid worth crap and don’t have any true incentive to get clients great results.
When you go to the typical gym for personal training, you enter a factory. They are trying to get you in and out. They don’t care if your reach your goals nor do they have the desire to build lasting relationships with you. They just need to hit their quota- you are just another number for them.
I have seen this countless times before where some jackass “personal trainer” gets paid $60 an hour to take somebody through a training session but then interrupts the workout by talking on their cell phone or texting somebody. Or how about the trainer that has their overweight client walking gingerly on a treadmill just having a conversation with them in a glorified therapy session.
And what about this need for the one-hour workout? Where the heck did that come from? I’ll tell you where- it’s just a default time to maintain an easy appointment schedule that most health clubs have borrowed from other businesses that have nothing to do with fitness. Not because one-hour is the magic number for the perfect workout.
It’s all about Intensity. I guarantee I can give somebody an amazing workout and get more effort and intensity out of them for better results in 30 or 45 minutes than anybody doing a typical hour session.
Don’t believe me, well then why don’t you join a fitness boot camp. Find one in your area that creates a fit community- a culture of success. If you’re in Lincoln, NE check out http://www.capitalcitybootcamps.com/ , Lincoln’s Premier Fitness Boot Camp For Men & Women.
If you’re not in the area and can’t get it done at home, I know a ton of great boot camp instructors all over the world that can get you better results for less than a third the cost of typical personal training rates. We’ll get you out in 45 minutes and have you burning fat for the rest of the day!
I mean if you are the type of person who is motivated, empowered, and dedicated enough to consistently workout on your own, it appears that going to the gym may very well be the dumbest thing you can do.
I can honestly say that if you are serious about getting results, both inside and outside of your workouts, your best move is to avoid the gym and build your own portable home gym or to join a fitness boot camp with a proven track record of unmatched results.
Break the chains of the gym and get out of your comfort zone to get the results you want!
Get after it!
Mike
PS- Be sure to post below some of the things you hate about the gym so we can share our fitness frustrations!

One Comment

Lindz on February 25, 2009 at 10:36 pm says:

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