The Gym Experience

Today is Day 1. You’ve left the safety of your home and have bravely entered a crowded, pyramid scheme gym. To your right, everyone is drooling over an episode of Rachel Ray on the Food Network, trying to distract from abusing the treadmill. In front of you is an enormous front desk where the kids working behind it look like the cover of an Abercrombie catalog. They appear preoccupied flirting and updating their face book pages. To your left are the membership offices where the gym salesmen are looking at you like hyenas at a wounded elk. Now it’s time for hunt, sorry I mean the “tour” of the gym you will be pressured into paying for.

After the salesman has flexed his muscles in the mirror, obnoxiously flirted with the girls on the elliptical, and taken you into a free weight area that looks like the prison yard at San Quentin prison system, it’s time to sit in the membership salesman’s office for the kill. This is where you will be told how out of shape and screwed you are. Upon asking to leave, the general manager (AKA the lion) has entered the den for the “hard close.” “This is your last chance to save yourself,” he says. After all of the pressure and embarrassment you have just been put through you pay a $180 initiation fee, $50 for your first month and $50 for your last month. You’ve spent almost $300 dollars and you feel worse about yourself than ever before. Welcome to the jungle.

Now you are swearing you will cancel this membership later in the week and you refuse to return to this place—only to learn, it’s not that easy.  It’s like a Friends episode all over again. The fine print says, “You will pay all year,” and there is no way out. Now for the truth—that key tag you were given with that thousand number code, is the loser stamp given to all of the other people who came in and didn’t make it. With over 1,000 paying members and only 50 of them constantly using the gym, do you really believe you ever stood a chance? Why would you even put yourself through this? I have worked at over a dozen gyms in the last decade, and witnessed these events at all facilities. Here is the answer to your next question—YES, there is a RIGHT WAY to do this. There is hope; there is a great way to get your body under YOUR control.

Movement starts with learning how we move, and how to move. This means we need a movement screening. A full movement screening shows all aspects of your structural imbalances, your deviations, and muscular overcompensation. THESE PROBLEMS ARE THERE! Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a problem. Group fitness classes, spin cycle, one size fits all programs will only make this worse. Why on earth would you do a workout program made to fit another persons deviations—or a program that was made by a “trainer” on their way to the gym on a napkin? I don’t bring my car to a shop and say, “Give me the same thing you gave all of the other cars,” when I know the problem is from a head on collision. As a society, we can only help ourselves if we are better informed. This information is not readily available because it’s more profitable to tell people we need to just blindly pay to pack into small spaces and then feel liberated about it.

I am standing for something different; MASS F.I.T. is about a higher standard. We are going to set the bar in Philadelphia and see what other studios are willing to step up to the plate and be transparent. I have heard all of the excuses, rebuttals, and insane logic from other trainers and members. This is written for those of us who are looking for a whole program, a full schema and template using science, logic, and common sense –not sales strategies and aggressive cult mentalities. If you are still reading, you know how serious we take movement. The next step is yours. This is your only body—choose wisely, or take your chances in the jungle.