If you read any of my strength training posts, you’ll know that I often sing the praises of specialized strength training gyms – excellent equipment, like minded individuals, positive attitudes, blah, blah, blah. It’s true, all of it. If you are seriously interested in strength-training and you’re lucky enough to have specialized gym in your area you should train there. However, it’s also true, as I’ve described in some recent posts, that I’ve started hitting a nearby cheapo globo gym for some, but not all, of my training sessions. Why? Very close proximity and also a chance to work-out with my kids who aren’t necessarily interested in a hardcore powerlifting gym. Also, I must admit, it’s kind of fun, a real guilty pleasure. Let me explain…
Firstly, yes, I have in past poked fun at globo gyms but in retrospect it wasn’t very sporting. Yes, they have crap barbells and plates. Yes, they are usually quite crowded. And yea verily, you will witness some very strange behaviour quite often, in the name “fitness”. People watching is both a plus and a negative of globo gyms. If it’s not your only gym, then it’s fun to watch the foibles of human nature from time to time. If it’s your only option, it can be a drag depending on how weird people get. Globo gyms greatest strength is also it’s greatest weakness. They are “unintimidating” and cheap so they are attractive to almost everybody. The flip side of the coin is that almost everybody will go, at least some of the time. So they can be crowded at peak times therefore getting in decent training can be challenge. You have to play “I’ll use whatever is available” bingo.
So why do I get a kick out of them? First off, I don’t plan any of my serious training sessions at the globo gym. It’s just easier and safer to go to the powerlifting gym. Therefore I’m not frustrated by lower tier equipment or lack of availability of a bench, squat rack or deadlift platforms at globo gyms. What I love to do at the globo gym are accessory workouts and cardio. The choice and number of cardio machines in globo gyms is one of their strong suits. Secondly, not all machines are bad, especially for accessory work. Cable machines, for example, are great for a number of exercises. It’s a chance to apply creativity and knowledge to your training.
If I’m being honest, it’s kind of liberating in a way. I can go to a globo gym and lift with absolutely no ego. Nobody knows me and they could care less about what I’m doing. Without sounding harsh, if I did get judged, I wouldn’t care. To illustrate, I’ve got no issues training my poverty deadlift volume training at the globo gym. Nobody cares. I’m just a big guy doing this weird exercise with relatively light weights. Look, a specialized gym is great, it’s like Cheers. Everybody knows your name, your training history, what you are good at and what you aren’t good at. People know what good form is and what cues are important. I’m not saying people at specialty gyms are judgmental, it’s probably that the lifter’s ego is more engaged in front of his peers. That’s great, it’s exactly what you need – but sometimes it’s fun to be less serious and more anonymous.