I’ve decided to start tracking the number of people I help at the gym on the two machines I see them misuse the most – the calf extension and the torso rotation. Yesterday, I watched a woman put her face into the pads because she didn’t know to lower them and I stopped her before she got going.
The danger of this kind of tracking is it becomes an ego boost rather than a good deed. And indeed, I am tending to think ‘@$$@ can these people not see the %$#$@ picture on the machine right next to their face!?!?’, but I talk to them nicely enough on the outside and am friendly about it. I think it’s good for me to build up a little good deed balance tho. So we’ll see how it goes. My count is on the side under my weight stats. We’ll see if any other good ideas for tracking come up.
I posted up 12 things that amuse me about Planet Fitness a little while ago. Other night I was reminded of another one:
13 – People missing the point of going to the gym – I go to one in the back of of a strip mall. PF is roughly dead center of the parking which wraps around and beyond two sides of it. No parking spot is more than 60 seconds from the entrance at a casual pace. The parking lot also has a one way system that sort of drags you around from the two entrances. The lanes are sort of barely two way, really 1 1/2 cars wide. The number of times the entire system is gummed up by people insisting on waiting for that perfect spot right outside the door is ridiculous. Even on days with great weather. Why are you going to the gym again? And you can’t walk for 60 seconds either way? I mean I will take a spot if it happens to come up on my way around the one way but I don’t wait or go slow for one.
As a side note, renewed my membership, all amusement aside. For $99 for a year, in NY, it’s a steal. And it comes with a free t-shirt (excellent for projects where shirt will get slopped on).
What To Do
WeightTraining.com has a hundred+ health plans and rotations worked out already with some pretty reasonable descriptions. From beginner to advanced.
Free Weights vs Weight Machines
How To Do Things Properly
Oracle Fitness has hundreds of videos on demonstrating the proper way to do different exercises and weight machines here. Excellent resource.
Where To Learn More
A commonly quoted bible for power lifters and body builders is the Rippetoe/Kilgore:
I also have their video demonstrating the proper way to lift and common problems. I’ll be quite honest, it’s (edit:) 20-30 minutes (edit:) per exercise (x5 exercises) of showing people streaming doing sets of 5 over and over again. Really informative, but insanely dull at the same time. I feel asleep mid-way through the second exercise. My wife woke me after and said it was the most boring thing she had ever listened to while she was doing work in the other room. That said, if you want to see how to do it properly – this will show you.
There is a free wiki here.
As mentioned, I currently belong to a Planet Fitness gym pretty close to my house. Overall, it’s the 7th gym I’ve been a member of in my life. It’s by far the cheapest, less than $10/month with promos for last two years. For NY metro area..that is CHEAP. Also, it’s near my house, so I can just go in gym clothes. Even in the winter I use sweatpants instead of shorts and just add a sweatshirt. So no need for locker room/gym lock/etc.
It’s also open 24 hours a day weekdays – I used to really struggle with 9 or 10pm closings at most gyms, since I don’t get home until 7:30 pm or later most nights. It’s less flexible on weekends (7 – 7), when I wish it were open just another hour or two either end to fit a schedule that involves a pre-schooler and my other projects. The gym does not have trainers or classes, which is fine by me – don’t use them and keeps the price down.
Overall, it works for me, lots of cardio machines, a decent range of weight machines (if a touch crowded at times) and some free weights, though if I ever get serious about free weights, time to find a new gym.
That said, it’s also one of the most amusing gyms I have ever been a member of, but not intentionally. Some of it is the gym itself and how they do things to keep prices down and people joined and some of it is the type of people the low prices have brought in.
- Bucket of tootsie rolls at the entrance/exit. Not a small bucket either. 140 calories a roll. Most people skip, but the ones that don’t take just one. Why would a gym have tootsie rolls on hand?
- Pizza Monday – first Monday of each month, free pizza. When I roll in around 8/8:30 it’s pretty decimated, and there have to be 30-50 boxes on the table and they have cleared some off already. Why oh why? I’ve yet to partake, but why put temptation in front of people (see point 4).
- Bagel Tuesdays – second Tuesday of each month – I’ve yet to see it but I can only imagine the consumption of cream cheese and butter.
- Lots of people who make me look kind of healthy – Part I. It’s the first gym I’ve been to where almost every session I see people in way worse shape than I am. There are definitely lots of people in better shape too, but more unfit people than any other gym I’ve been in. Makes me feel good about myself to compare. I know PF is a “judgement free zone”, but not when I’m in it.
- Lots of people who make me look kind of healthy – Part II. Some of those unhealthy people – the staff. These are not your usual beautiful gym people staff. When I first joined, at least 1/2 the staff were seriously out of shape. We’re down to about a 1/4 these days, but I guess PF is not the best pay-master.
- Not for first time weight equipment users – Part I – part of joining such a low-cost gym is that there is no orientation session. I see people using equipment in incorrect ways every time. Every piece of equipment has a clear picture and instructions on it, but every week I see people doing the calf extension by bending their knees (as opposed to this way) or the ab rotation by rotating their entire body instead of pressing against the pads and only rotating the mid-section (like this way) and various other mistakes. I will point out if someone is doing something really crazy, but mostly no one is interested.
- Not for first time weight equipment users – Part II – first gym I’ve ever been in where I need to explain the concept of rotating in between sets to someone using the equipment I am waiting for. If you are going to do 2-3 quick sets I’ll wait. If you want to do 10 sets with 3-5 min breaks in between, um, let’s rotate.
- Tanning booths. No further comment.
- The odd things people wear – Part I – once watched a guy do an entire session dressed in khakis and a button-up/collared shirt. He did have sneakers though.
- The odd things people wear – Part II – once watched a guy working out in a home-made sauna suit. When I first noticed him, I thought even the homeless came to PF since all I could see was the top-half of a wild-haired, wild-eyed looking man on the elliptical literally wearing a hefty garbage bag with head and arm holes he had cut out (with nothing underneath as far as one could see through the overly large holes). Thankfully, he had normal sweat pants on.
Edit/Update: Boy am I glad I went. Knocked the last of the feeling iffy out of me. It also gave me a new point and reminded me of one I forgot.
- Not for the first time weight equipment users – Part III – this evening I watched a women do 4 sets of weight machines with a cell phone pressed between her shoulder and ear, including machines that are about moving the arms and shoulders.
- The odd things people wear – Part III – occasionally you see a kid running around playing cause their parents couldn’t find anyone (that part doesn’t bother me, I haven’t seen any one kid in there a lot), but I did see one 7 or 8 eight year old wearing a kid-size version of this t-shirt. Cracked me for an kid.