If you don’t understand that weight loss, fat loss, body composition, health, vitality, energy levels and everything else is mostly controlled by your nutrition then go back through the blog and read the post on clean nutrition.
Understanding that, it’s incredible to believe that gyms are signing hundreds of people up with the dream of improving their body composition without any mention of improving their nutrition or worse giving them bogus advice!
Typically gyms will have posters, magazines, maybe TVs or in-house music advertising nutritional supplements and post workout drinks that the gym sells on site. For me, none of these products ever cut the mustard. The big brands advertise themselves as health products and vital to performance when this is rarely the case.
Take Lucozade as an example. The advert in the picture was actually banned, thankfully, for making a false claim. This is one example that got stopped though, whereas in reality the big corporations that own these products are funding scientific investigations aimed towards getting the results they seek to make such claims.
A sports drink will definitely be beneficial to Mo Farah, or the England boys at the world cup, because they’re working hard at the top level of their sports and eating good foods to support this. For most gym users this sort of processed sugary drink (which most people drink in some other form throughout the day) is doing them no good.
If you need to hydrate, I would urge you to ditch alcohol and sugary drinks and stick to water mainly with some tea and coffee. If you need energy I would urge you to sleep more, ditch processed foods and move more throughout the day. If you need something for recovery then start with great quality food after exercise and maybe then start looking at a less ‘toxic’ post workout drink (like anabolic drive).
Very few instructors are giving this information out, and the gyms totally undermine the advice by promoting the same mainstream industry nonsense. I don’t really blame them as that’s where the money is, plus people do like to buy into it and they can get great results anyway.
This is a real key factor that has recently driven me to change the gym that I go to. Though I have a free membership at Cambourne, I chose to drive the extra distance to St Ives, and now Cambridge due to the environment of the gyms and how important I think that is.
For a more serious gym user / athlete a TV isn’t an essential piece of the gym, however most large gyms will have plenty of screens around the place and possibly every piece of cardio kit may have a screen. This encourages what I’ve heard described before as “zombies” but I prefer the hamster on the wheel. People who come into the gym with no motivation, inspiration or plan, so they jump on the cross trainer / bike / treadmill and just start watching the TV. Why not..? The TVs are right there in front of you… everyone else is doing it… exactly.
People just turn into these hamsters on the wheel, same time every week, same shows every week and they look the same every week. If you go to the gym to change the way you look, then you’re not going to be able to watch TV doing it. The hardest workouts I’ve done I’ve barely been able to see at the end of a tough interval let alone watch TV.
A lot of this is due to the fact that we are sold a lie that duration is more important than intensity, and going to the gym more will get you more weight loss. The gym is happy to buy into this because the more time you spend in their facilities the more money you’ll spend in their facilities.
I’ve recently moved out of a gym which had lots of TVs and I’m now training at a facility where on my second day another member told me I couldn’t leave until I’d done a farmers walk with the 70kg dumbbells… It was awesome.
The average gym can be a scary experience for many people, especially if they’ve never been to one before. It’s often a big room, music pumping out, full of unfamiliar equipment with lycra-clad ‘regulars’ throwing their judging eyes around the room and don’t get me started on the young, ridiculously buff, unattainably hot personal trainers. (Tongue in cheek here, not talking about myself there, but I know it can be intimidating). Adverts and posters within the gym reinforce these images depicting a totally unrealistic view of your average gym user.
My problem with this is that it sets a bench mark for what you should be aiming for, and falling short of that is failure. It underpins the attitude that going to the gym is something that you have to do in order to look like a model, rather than doing it for enjoyment or physical mastery.
If you go to a gym with a ginormous cardio theatre that makes you feel self-conscious then unfortunately the management are not going move a treadmill into a quiet corner for you, but there are alternatives. For the last 18 months I’ve been working in small facilities aimed at a more personal service, or small group exercise. They’re becoming increasingly popular and I’m predicting a trend for the future where the market for private and small group training sessions will grow, as we have seen with boot camps.
Firstly, I love group exercise and I’m not trying to vilify it, rather than help to understand how to make it work for you. The biggest benefit of group exercise is the sociable, fun element to it, however this can come at a cost to the individual, and for this reason I think it’s best to ‘exercise’ caution before you jump straight in to group exercise.
If someone has poor or faulty movement patterns, history of injuries or is a complete novice then I’d recommend they seek some personal advice before they start. This must be proactively done by the individual and the gym won’t tell you that. This could result in stagnation of results or even an injury. Some gyms offer introduction courses or clinics to help you with the group exercise classes but I don’t see enough of them.
One instructor is often overseeing 20-30 different people and it’s impossible to even think they might be able to check form, ensure everyone is doing everything correctly for maximum benefit and attempting the appropriate intensity. Smaller groups allow for more one to one time with members and in my classes I will often give individuals exercises to work on at home and be able to monitor each person closely throughout the session adjusting the intensity for them personally.
It’s only natural for a big corporation, such as most gyms, to turn members into numbers – just another member who pays their subs. I believe we are moving out of the age of mass-exercise and mass advice for the general population. People want more than that, and deserve to be treated as individuals on an individual basis.
I know from my experience as an instructor that you want to help people on a one to one basis but the gym’s system makes it very difficult to do. For me, one of the best parts of being a personal trainer in Cambridge is making a big difference to someone’s life, and this happens much more often now I spend more time with less people.
A lot of what I’ve discussed today is rife throughout the whole fitness industry, and I don’t mean to have a pop at all gym facilities (after all, it’s where I do my business) but these are a lot of the things that I think are wrong with most commercial gyms and how you can avoid it should you feel you’re being held back.
I have worked, trained and studied at quite a few different facilities countrywide and would recommend them highly as a place to feel valued, enjoy yourself and get great results.
Gymbos – Meldreth - http://www.gymbos.co.uk/
Full Circle Fitness – Dry Drayton - http://full-circle-fitness.co.uk/
Crossfit Stags and Does – Milton - http://www.crossfitstagsanddoes.co.uk/
RP Fitness – Arbury - http://rpfitness.co.uk/
From around the country:
Ipswich Fitness - http://ipswichfitness.co.uk/
Progressive Training Systems – Northampton – http://www.progressivetrainingsystems.co.uk/
Centre for Functional Performance – Watford - http://www.cffp.co.uk/my-website
SC Vital Fitness – Portsmouth - http://www.scvitalfitness.co.uk/
Strength-Tec Gym – Fareham - http://www.strength-tec.com/
Team Breakthrough – Bath - http://www.teambreakthrough.co.uk/
Storm Fitness – Newcastle - http://www.storm-fitness.com/
The Training Lab – East Grinstead - http://egrfc.com/pages/the-training-lab
Whatever your goal is, I hope you can find a gym and people that support you.