Commercial Gyms Are Getting Smart
The winter rain poured hard from the beginning of this morning, and we are looking at dealing with a rainstorm the next few days in my hometown city of Antioch. Being that I was off work today, I decided to drive 3 miles to my local 24 Hour Fitness gym for a light lower body training session. Today wouldn’t be any ordinary day at 24 Hour Fitness, however. The club had very recently designed & built an entirely new gym from scratch, with literally 5x the square footage and a whole slew of new training equipment. And it’s not just new machines & benches we’re talking about – the gym is decked out with numerous squat racks equipped with Eleiko plates, dumbbells which range take up the entire length of the gym, and an artificial turf that contains all the conditioning & plyometric equipment an ordinary person will ever need. The realization hit upon me as I glanced all around the giant room of gym equipment – there has never been a time to get better & reach your fitness goals than this current era of the gym industry.
Commercial gyms are experiencing more competition than ever within their market. I’m not just talking about 24 Hour Fitness versus Gold’s – let’s think outside that realm for a second. What has hit the industry the past few years that’s really taken off since? Think Crossfit boxes. Think athletic bootcamps. Think personal training done at a specialty studio. What do these all have in common? The training that is being offered to people is increasingly becoming marketed as improving sports performance & heavily oriented towards fitness results. Your average Joe or Jane is more likely to pursue joining a Crossfit box and getting better results compared to what would come by doing a circuit round of machines. Less people are being fooled by the Planet Fitness and Bally’s chain of gyms and they want more value out of their gym memberships. How is 24 Hour Fitness supposed to survive? Certainly by not remaining the same business model it has used since the 1980s. They have stepped their game up, and now offer similar equipment amenities that either a Crossfit box or sports athletic facility would provide.
Your average 24 Hour Fitness personal trainer can’t compete in the marketplace without having the same lineup of equipment that their studio counterparts have – and aside from residual income derived from membership fees, personal training is how gyms make their money. I would imagine that the trend will be that trainers are programming more sophisticated accessories & strength training tools to maximize benefits for clients. No one’s getting away with loading up the leg press machine with 800 lbs. and counting calf raises as full reps anymore.
If you’re a member at 24 Hour Fitness, realize that there’s never been an opportunity for you to get stronger than now with all the fancy shit you have at your disposal. You have Eleiko plates in a commercial gym now, which would have sounded crazy 10 years ago. While there’s a lack of powerlifting grade equipment or coaching, you can definitely get by training at a beefed up commercial gym if you don’t have access to a powerlifting facility. This is also really good news for those of us who travel – having good commercial gyms spread across the area makes for more productive training when on the road throughout the year. There’s no excuse to not get better, people! With all the information you’ll ever need on YouTube, online coaching, and better training facilities, you are in the best position to reach your goals. Be grateful for what you have and maximize the use of your resources.