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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Another Rant... (oh but this one is GOOD!)

During the course of my career in fitness I’ve worked in three separate gyms. I can freely admit that I’ve left in disgust every time. It took me a while each time to figure out that gyms are more part of the problem with our nation’s health then they are the solution.

A stretch? I don’t think so. Let me explain.

Someone recently asked me about PX90. It’s a fair question to ask a guy who calls himself “The Fitness Guru”. I gave her may answer and I’ll summarize here.

PX90 is a great program and it works…. for one tiny segment of the population. These are the people that are driven to succeed and have made that choice. For them is will work. For the other 95% of the population it’s a waste of time and it gives them another good excuse to fail. (it’s was too hard or it took too long or I got hurt or…)

Want to know something interesting? PX90 is exactly the same as the “Brazilian Butt Lift”, “Tao Bo”, “Zumba”, “Spinning” and the other 15,000 programs that some sellout made millions on. Exactly the same! If you are driven, determined and motivated then you will succeed. Period, the end.

Now here is the really cool part. Those people that succeed on these programs are the same that succeed on the “yeah, I changed my diet and started walking” program. Same people.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of these programs are good and will yield fabulous results… to the people that are motivated, determined… you get the picture.

I’d be willing to bet though that 85-95% of the people that enroll in any kind of program that they buy at 2am on TV fails to see results.

By the way, I’m talking about fitness here but please keep in my mind that all diet programs are EXACTLY the same. Picture me writing about “Atkins”, “South Beach” and all the other waste of time diet programs as well.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Not many people get results of workout programs.

I once heard a story about a friend of mine who went on a long RV trip to “find inner peace”. He was in some faraway place and he called his friend up to say hello. The friend asked him if he’d found what he was looking for. Of course the answer was no.

As you know “inner peace” is not something you find. It’s already there. You just need to bring it out.

Same goes true for “results” or your “beach body” or “six pack abs”. It’s all there. No program is going to bring it out. It’s up to YOU to find it.

PX90 won’t do it for you. YOU need to strap on a pair and get the job done.
Now how do health clubs fit into this?

First of all I can tell you that they don’t fit in real well.

Let’s do some math. Let’s say an average health club, let’s pick one at random, uh… let’s say the YMCA. Let’s assume the YMCA signs up about 1000 new people per year. OK, if in 2005 they have 1000 members. How many members would they have in 2010?

A) 1000
B) 6000
C) 0
D) Somewhere between 1000 and like 1004

If you said B then you are absolutely wrong. Of course it’s a trick question. Why? Well I really didn’t give you enough information. The answer is likely to be D or perhaps A. Most fitness facilities experience very small or even negative growth.

Why is that?

Believe me I know the answer and in a few minutes you will also.

You join a gym because you need to be more physically fit. You join a gym because it’s the right thing to do. Right?

No. You join the gym because you thing that are supposed to you see all the flashy equipment and programs and willingly pay your money not knowing you are going to also have to pay the price in sweet equity. It’s hard work but you don’t know that because you see a pretty girl at the front desk, a buff guy in the weight room, and a hot aerobics instructor on the wellness floor and you believe that somehow that is going to be you. This gym is going to make me healthy, fit and HOT.

Of course that is all a fallacy. The gym provides the runway. You just need to take off. Very few people understand that.

So our random gym (the YMCA) signs up 1000 people and 1000 people leave in the course of a year. Again we ask the question: WHY?

Don’t think I’m just talking about the YMCA, or Gold’s, or Anytime Fitness. This is how it is everywhere.

And our health continues to decline at an exponential rate…

I could go on all day but I won’t. I have several distinct points to make hear before I go off to teach class.

Point #1: Health clubs and infomercials are going to try to sell you on programs and equipment. Neither one is going to help you if you don’t already have the drive and will to succeed.

Point #2: YOU can succeed on any program if you want. Again, it comes from within you.

Point #3: Most people that work at health clubs do because it is their job. The successful ones do find some people that have passion (people like Rhonda Taylor at the YMCA). These people are out there but unfortunately are few and far between.

Why the rant against health clubs today? I don’t know. I guess the mood hit me. When I started writing this morning I started with a title. Now that I’m about done I guess I need a new title because this essay has nothing to do with the original topic. I guess that will be a topic for another day.

I have nothing against the health and fitness industry. I shouldn’t. I make a living here. I have no problem with any fitness facility. (EVEN the ones that ban me) I hope that you understand that.

Working out at a health club can be a great experience and I encourage people to do that. The problem is when facilities claim they are going to do things for you that they cannot. The problem is when people believe that getting off the couch and walking into a gym is going to make everything better. It’s simply not true.

When the same number of people leave a gym in a year that sign up, you have a fundamental problem with your business model. Am I wrong?

Figure out why you want to be better tomorrow than today. Once you find the reason the results will find you.

Your best you is in there waiting to come out. Everything you’ve ever wanted is already there. You just need to dig deep enough and you get it out.

Have the right attitude. Have the right guidance. The sky’s the limit. Have faith in yourself and your will to succeed will become you measuring stick. Good luck!


  1. great post!!! Love the fact that its not the program its the person!! I so get that!!! I guess it comes down to finding your drive and then using the vehicle at your disposal to get there!!!

  2. I get what you are saying. I have an even deeper question. Is it healthy to go into an enclosed room (where many people with compromised immune systems have been) to work out on machines? That is what I've been wondering as of late. I appreciate my Y membership and the opportunity to use a gymn but something in me wonders if it is really the healthiest way to do things. It is convenient because I can work out no matter what the weather and my kids can find things to entertain themselves with while I'm there. I know I won't quit my membership because it did help me to get in an exercise routine and get more fit. I am seeing results but as you said, I would also see it with swimming, running, hiking, etc. outdoors. Just a thought. I also wonder if God laughs when He sees us using machines for a means to get fit in lieu of the natural physical exertion mankind did outdoors prior to technology. Do you ever wonder that?

  3. Right on bro. The question is do you really want it. No one can deliver it. You have to get it!

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