As a strength and conditioning coach I admit that I do have a different approach to fitness than the average bear which is why I was thinking about the problems with the traditional model for the health club industry the other night. Who sits around and thinks of stuff like this? Well, yours truly! Sometimes when the thoughts start flowing through my mind I just can’t stop them which is why I sit down at the laptop and hammer out on the keyboard right here for your benefit! Well I mean someone’s got to do it, right?
10 Reasons Why The Health Club Industry Is Failing You!
Well before I get started into the list of reasons you first need to ask yourself if health clubs are so great then why are we (as a nation) so fat? I train populations that are both athletes and serious fitness enthusiast and my students always understand and seek out the need for athletic performance. It is my belief that we ALL should be striving to maintain some level of practical function and be able to take care of ourselves in the long run. This can only be done by each of us laying the smackdown on some strength training that is developed for the purpose of some serious direction. Now having said that here goes…
1. The Bad Pitch: So you decide to go buy a health club membership and the sales person invites you out on the floor to give you the traditional tour of the place. The problem is that predominately all you are seeing is a Sea of Machines along with a bunch of people that don’t have a damn clue as to what they are doing.
This should’ve been your first warning. The problem is though if you didn’t know what to look for then you really can’t be held responsible, so who should be? Well if you climb the ladder high enough it goes all the way to ownership. They have everyone under them to perform a certain way and for the most part this is the culture the health clubs have developed.
2. No Direction: This one is a biggie. There is just simply no direction for members in a health club. The questions even I’ve been subjected to in the past that makes me want HULK smash the place to the point there is a smoking hole in the ground is the ‘ole… How do I do this machine? Look, this crap starts with what the club is selling and they are selling memberships, NOT results! Those need to be switched and this problem is solved!
3. Poor Trainers: There is no direction in health clubs because there are generally no good trainers that work in health clubs. Now I’m not going to paint with a huge broad brush across everybody because some good trainers do exist in health clubs, but never for long. If a good trainer exist they usually end up leaving and doing their own thing. Most clubs have trainers that are here today and gone tomorrow. They generally end up employing people that have no more of an idea of what they are doing as the student they are trying to train. With an environment like this you can forget about people getting stronger, faster, and leaner. It just ain’t gonna happen!
4. Poor Incentive: A good reason there are no good trainers in health clubs is that there is no good incentive for them to be there. I mean the plain and simple truth is that health clubs (in general) just don’t pay their trainers squat, no pun intended. The reason for this is that it just boils down to the business model that many clubs adopt. Their bottom line is memberships. When it comes to the trainers they want to charge the member for the membership and if the member wants to train they have to add on the additional cost for training. In addition to this cost of training they generally take a further cut out of the trainer’s pay. This is ridiculous. The model is flawed and the results, or lack thereof, are apparent with the members. Clubs should give good trainers incentive to be there.
5. No Education: Now this is a reason that starts at the top and flows downstream. When I say there is no education I mean there is no environment where a culture of strength and the education of it is delivered by health clubs. They don’t understand proper movement, proper programming, or even proper lifting technique for that matter. Their focus isn’t on programming at all, but rather making sure the nice pretty machines don’t collect dust. The education of fitness has drastically diminished in the modern day health club.
6. The Wrong Equipment: Yes, you heard me right. Assuming everything else I’ve touched on was fixed then the next thing would be an overhaul in the type of equipment that health clubs are so recognized for having. At least for this strength coach forget about the treadmills and ellipticals…how about some ladder drills instead?
7. Disorganization Along With The Lack Of Enforcement: If there is one thing that puts me into pissed off mode quicker than anything it’s that people don’t respect the weight room or others by not putting back equipment where it belongs. The first thing my students will do after completing a training session is to clear the floor of any equipment to put it back where it belongs. Health clubs supposedly have rules for this, but from what I’ve witnessed there is a total lack of enforcement in making sure that it happens with the members. This is recipe for disaster when others don’t know if they can even use a space because free weights are laying around all over the floor.
8. Lack Of Courtesy And Common Sense: If you are serious about your training and want to perform some dynamic lifts such as kettlebell swings, barbell cleans, and other unconventional methods of training that may involve cool stuff like medicine ball throws and slams then be cautious when doing it in a health club. When performing this stuff people will blindly walk right in front of you or directly into your working space while placing both YOU and THEM in a dangerous position. If you ask me they deserve to get a medicine ball upside the head for NOT paying attention, or having the common sense to recognize that walking in front of a medicine ball throw is a bad idea.
9. Dirty: Plain and simple if I want sweat on me I better be getting some benefit from it, not because some jacktard decides he doesn’t feel like wiping down a bench when he’s done using it. If I’m going to get someone else’s sweat on me we both better be benefiting by getting stronger, or because we’re sparring in the ring and the sweat exchange thing just kinda happens.
10. The Culture: This is probably the biggest reason health clubs are failing you if you happen to be a member of one. The culture of a health club these days is more representive of a weekend social gathering than a training center that is designed to foster a culture of strength. I don’t give a damn about how many dates Captain D-bag has lined up this weekend. Me and my students just want to pull some serious deadlift and watch the bar bend knowing that we are ready to smoke the Zombie Apocalypse when it happens…capiche! (Warning: Serious blood and violence, viewer discretion is advised)
If you need a successful plan to help you start outside the health club then make sure you get yourself a copy of my Brandon Richey’s Better Than Steroids ebook right here! The price has been slashed too my friend.
If you have had any nightmare experiences in the health clubs then I’d sure love to hear about them. Feel free to leave your experience in the comment box below. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart!