KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
Ever walked into a big gym and be daunted by the vast choice of equipment you see? I remember the first time I walked into a gym and it wasn’t even a big one. It was just a gym for a local sports club but to me it was like walking into Equinox NYC. Add the fact that it was 1989 when gyms were few and far between, it was daunting. So if you are a first timer or what I would regard as a novice, keep reading.
Here I am assuming you just joined a “globo” gym. “Globo” gym is just a term us boutique gym owners coin for the likes of Fitness First, Celebrity Fitness etc due to their economies of scale and number of branches worldwide. Of course if you’re reading this from the US then there’s also Planet Fitness, 24 Fitness etc. You get the idea. Back to the point. If you have just joined a globo gym then hopefully you would have been given a tour of the training area and probably even a trial personal training session. If not, the approach to have is to keep it simple. Look carefully and you will probably find 4 different variations of chest machine. And this pattern goes with all the machines. You need not hop onto everything. Just pick one machine for each body part and chances are you would have hit a majority of the muscle intended.
So why are there so many machines in a globo gym so as to confuse its members? The simple answer is because they can. They have such a huge capital pouring into the opening of a branch that they can simply tick all the boxes. They also have a greater bargaining power against the equipment manufacturer that they can actually negotiate a deep discount. Contrast that to a gym like ours who have a limited budget and space. As you may already know we are in the midst of expansion but not to the scale of a globo gym. We will be progressing from our humble 700 square feet studio to a 3,300 square feet shop lot early next year. There will definitely be room for more machines and equipment but what goes in there have to be carefully curated by yours truly. Make the wrong choice and it will be a white elephant.
The method which I use to select what goes into the new gym is through the training programs that I have personally tried and tested. Train on enough workout programs and you will realise that some equipment are just essentials, and some are novelties. Having said that there are one or two equipment out there, even in globo gyms, which are hardly used but in true fact have abundance of goodness. Case in point, the glute ham raise. It is such an important piece of equipment as far as developing your posterior chain strength but more often than not people will just walk pass it as if it is some piece of decoration.
Anyway, as far as you the perplexed gym member, save yourself the headache and have a workout program at hand. That way your program dictates which equipment to use. If you are confident and competent enough to use free weights, then by all means go for it. Otherwise look for the machine alternative. Chances are there will be a graphic illustration stuck on the machine somewhere. Do adhere to the guide so as to perform the movement correctly and safely. Make note of certain fancy machines that catches your eye and learn of its benefits on YouTube later. I intentionally mention LATER because if you were to check out YouTube there and then, you will get sidetracked and waste away valuable training time.
This next thing I’m about to say deserves its own paragraph. Please wipe down the machines after usage. No one wants to lie down or sit against the sweat angel you just made. If you are using free weights, be it dumbbells, kettlebells or barbells, please please put them back to where they are meant to be. Bonus points if you put them back according to their weights sequence.
Last but not least, whether or not you learnt how to use a particular machine properly, be it from YouTube or from another living person, please do not use it other than what it is intended to do. Do not hang upside down from a lat pulldown machine. Do not shoulder press the leg press machine. Do not hump the ab crunch machine. Do not end up being the star of Gymfuckery on Instagram. Nuff said.
Till next time, persevere and stay determined.