Find The Gym For Your Goals (Part 1)

radar dragon ball

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

The gym can become an important part in your life. For this reason is important to choose your gym well otherwise you will become bitter.

It’s not necessary to train in a gym to gain strength or to have a good physical condition. You can do a bodyweight workout program at home (bedroom, garage or basement).

But if you really want an athletic body, you need to have equipment like barbells or dumbbells. It’s possible that you don’t have place or resources to create your home gym (like me), so the best option is to have a gym membership.

Discover really what you want

discover

Don’t do the mistake to have a gym membership in the closest gym to your home. Think about your goals.

Make a list of things you need in a gym and make the difference between « must have » and « would be nice to haves ».

Equipment

I wrote an article in 2 parts about this topic (click here link ). Imagine you have a workout program based on barbell, you need to check this :

  • Olympic barbell

  • Power rack (or at least a squat rack)

  • Dumbells up to 45-68kg (100-150lbs) or heavier if you want to do a dumbell training over barbell

  • Pullup bar/Dip station

  • Flat bench with racks for the bench press

Classes

Gyms offer free classes for their members like kickboxing, dance fitness, stationary bike or yoga. This is helpful for beginners, don’t hesitate to try one.

Amenities

Some gyms offer good anemities like child care, a zone only for women ( my sister came one time in my gym and she said that men stared at her too much) or dry cleaning.

An environment to be focus

For me the gym has an important part in my day. When I train at home, I know I’ll be bothered by my rommates. I find it easier to concentrate when I’m at the gym with my headphones. When I’m at the gym it’s « my time » to me, I’m in my bubble. Everything about home, school, work doesn’t exist. The only thing is important is my workout.

Coach

Gyms have coaches available to help you improve your technique or workout program. From time to time it’s pratical.

Rules

A « must have » rule can be you can bring your childen at gym. I don’t have children but it looks cool for people who have children. Some gyms don’t allow to do deadlift and have vibram  so check if rules match with what you want to do.

A gym membership can be a long-term commitment so look at these points :

  • If you do a workout program based on dumbbells like me, be sure that dumbbells up to 45-68kg (100-150lbs) or heavier

  • If you think you’ll do the Olympic lift, look for bumper plates and a gym that lets you drop the weight.

  • If you think you’ll try kickboxing or yoga later, check that the gym has this type of classes.

Budget

calculator

During my travels, I saw gym membership between $9.- and $365.- per month. In Europe, it’s on average EUR 50.- per month but it depends on the area where you live and the amenities offered.

It’s useless to take the most expensive price thinking that you’ll have everything you need in the gym (I already did this mistake). It’s for this reason I’m writing this article to help you to find the best gym at the best price according to your need.

Also think of the usual thing like the towel. Imagine you go to a gym that offer a towel’s service. You know it and you think it’s great, you don’t nee to bring your towel. One day, you go to train at the gym at lunch and the staff tell you that there is no more towels available. It’s annoying.

Apart from the equipement, there are services that are important to know if the gym offer them or not :

Events offer or trips with discounts. Imagine that the gym organizes a hiking trip and member pay only 20.-. I agree, it’s not an incredible discount but during the hiking trip you’ll able to meet people who work to improve their health like you.

A child care service during your workouts. It’s possible that you have to pay an extra of $20.- or $30.- per month. I don’t have children but it looks pratical.

Free classes including yoga that is great for relaxing muscles. I prefer Tai-Chi but there is no this class in gyms.

Location and hours

hour

Having a gym that is close to your house and your school/workplace is an interesting place.

By exemple, if you gym is close of your school/workplace, it’s cool. But the problem is that if you school/workplace is at a distance of 1 hour from you home, you’ll never train on weekends.

There is something I forgot to tell you in gym’s rules. There are gyms that close at 23h (11pm) and I know some gyms don’t allow their members to start their workout after 22:15 (10:15pm). If you work late in the night or during the night, it’s better to look for a gym open 24/7.

It’s important to choose a gym according to your willpower :

  • Imagine you want to train before you go to school/workplace. You do it because you want to train immediately to avoid not training all day or because when you wake up, you’re groggy and train give you energy for the whole day ?

  • Imagine you want to train after your school/workplace. You do it because you don’t have time to train during the day ? Be carefull because if you’re the type of person who is very tired after school/workplacle, you’ll find excuses to cancel your training. I meet everyday people like this.

An ideal location is to find a gym located between your home and your school/workplace. If you can do this, you’ll save time and money. I can’t do that but it’s really effective.

Note : It’s better to pay a little bit more for a gym that you use several times a week than pay less for a gym that you use from time to time. Don’t be fancy.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

P.S. To read the Part 2, click here .

-Steph

Back To The Source Of Equipment (Part 1)

source water rhone

I read a Nerd Fitness articles  and I learned good stuff.

When I began, I went is a small gym at Sous-Moulin . It was a gym in sport center for volleyball, basketball, soccer players. There were only machines (because people stole dumbbells) and when we were 10 people, the gym was full.

2 years later, I went in a real gym. I’ll not lie to you the first time I was alone and I was afraid to the free weight section because I was afraid of hurting myself. But I had so much desire to have the 50 Cent’s body that I watched several times exercice’s video on Youtube and I did it.

On internet, there is a lot of excellent video that explain how to do squat, deadlift, etc. I downloaded videos of my workout program on my smartphone to heard instructions in the gym to do it right. It’s funny, I still have these videos on my smartphone and on my Cloud.

Now I feel good in a gym, I share with you gym’s basic principles and equipment that you’ll see most often. You’ll not have a loser’s head like me the first time.

Gyms filled to the maximum of equipment but you don’t need to use all of them to do an effective strength training. I’ll talk to you about basic equipment.

First time

first time

It’s easy to lose your mind the first time when you go in a gym. There is a lot of things and everyone seems to know what to do.

The most of gyms have :

  • Cardio zone (treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, etc)

  • Free weight zone

  • Group fitness room

  • Locker rooms

There are gyms that have pool, sauna, jacuzzi but it depends.

The fist time you go in a gym, it’s normal to ask for a visit. It’s important to do it because even if you’re used to gyms, you don’t know where are equipements you want to use. It would be a shame if you miss something. I don’t really remember but it was 6 months that I was in a gym and I discovered by chance, hidden in a corner, a machine to work calves.

Free Weight

free wieghts gym

During the visit you’ll see a lot of equipements. Personally I find that the gym’s staff concentrates enormously on machines and cardio during visits. It’s a shame because it’s the least interesting part. Let’s go to the free weight zone.

Barbells can have a size from 1.2m to 2.4m (4’-8 feet) long and a diameter from 25mm – 51mm (0.98’’ – 2’’).

Olympic bar

olympic bar

It’s the standard training barbell (Olympic men’s barbell). This bar is 2.2m (7.2 ft) long and weight 20kg (45lbs). The Olympic bar has bearings that make it spin nicely to help assist the Olympic lift, snatch and the clean and jerk.

There are also gyms that have « woman bar » is 2.1m (6.9 ft) long and weight 15kg (33lbs). There is also smaller bar to lift weight between 4.5kg – 13.6kg (10lbs – 30lbs).

Fixed weight bars

fixed weights bar

This is a small barbell with weights already fixed on it. They’re usually located next to dumbbells.

Dumbbells

dumbbell

There are several dumbbell’s design but it’s just for the style. Weights are from 0.45kg to 90kg (1lbs – 200lbs).

Ez-Curl bars

ez-curls bar

This bar is special because it is short and it has « W » form. This bar is only use for curls. I use this bar to do curls because with a normal bar, I have wrist pain, it’s my morphology (read this article). So if you hurt when you do curls with a normal bar, use that one.

Trap bar

trap bar

You can also name this bar « hex bar ». This bar has a hexagonal shape and allows you to be in the middle to lift weights with a neutral grip. This bar allows you to do deadlift and shrugs but it’s not an indispensable bar. Olympic bar is indispensable.

Safety squat bar, Cambered bars, Apollon’s axe, Strongman logs (and others)

safety squat bar cambered bars strongman logs

Theses bars aren’t necessary but it doesn’t mean that it’s useless to use them from time to time. If the gym specialized for Powerlifting, you’ll find these bars.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

P.S. To read Part 2, click here.