As I approach the entrance to Fit N’ Fun a large neon sign displaying the facilities name catches my eye. When I walk in the front door I notice a multitude of nice paintings and exotic plants in the lobby. Next, a lady and gentleman who work in the club approach me. They both offer to give me a tour. Before I know there is yet another employee offering to show me around. Now, I feel like vultures are attacking me. I could care less who shows me around as I indicate to the salespeople. After a few minutes of discussion amongst themselves the young lady informs me that she will give me the royal tour. I am thinking to myself this will be great a royal tour of candyland.
The first thing the lady shows me is a room she calls Cardio Carnival. This room has probably twenty televisions and 100 different machines including ellipticals, bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, and more and more ellipticals. She explains to me this is the most important section in the gym. She goes on to tell me of the numerous benefits that these machines offer. The most common benefit she expresses frequently is the easiness of using these machines.
In the next room we look at the Hercules Strength Circuit. This circuit is lined with machines that look like spaceships. Once more the employee explains to me the safety of the machines and ease in which they can be performed. In closing she stresses these machines are great for men as well as women. The machines can also be used on top-level athletes as they provide less stress to their body, which in return allows them to perform their sport better.
Next on the agenda the free weight area. This area consisted of chrome dbs, two benches, two smith machines and two incline benches. My tour guide told me this area was for serious athletes only. She then explained why the bench and incline bench press were the most important tools for competitive athletes.
Finally we arrive at the aerobic room. I see signs posted everywhere of the numerous benefits that are afforded with aerobics. My tour guide shows me the 2lb hand weights that are used for power aerobics. She also tells me about the benefits of using hand weights to enhance strength while training your heart and lungs at the same time.
The sauna and whirlpool are the last items on the list. I am informed that both of these are great for weight loss. Tanning beds are also great for weight loss and help to build mental strength. I had to ask the employee, how do they build mental strength? She said they aided people in looking better which helped their confidence levels and allowed them to train more efficiently.
After the grand tour it was time to sit down and sign the papers that allowed me to be a privliged member of Fit N’ Fun. I began to tell the lady a little about my background and my profession and she began to panic. “Excuse me sir I need to go to the restroom,” she replied as I was telling her about my work in the industry. A few minutes later a man approached me and informed me that the employee I had been speaking with was sick and would not be able to continue talking with me. He informed me he was the manager and he would be able to help me with anything I needed. I let the manager know that the sales tactics used by his employee were very mis leading and this facility was not equipped with the tools or staff to train anyone that was serious about fitness.
First let’s take a look at the Cardio Carnival. Just as the name implies this looks like a carnival not a workout area. Training is not supposed to be easy. Some of these machines take away the role of stabilizers that is so important in real life human movement. They are detrimental to natural central nervous system functions that take place when movement occurs. The machine I would like to particularly mention is the elliptical. These things belong in a toy store. You get on the machine and glide through the air. Virtually no impact takes place in the joints. No impact that’s great. No, quite the contrary walking or running requires impact in the joints. This machine deconditions the body to absorb impact, allows minimal leg flexion (as movement is primarily generated form the hips) decreases balance and proprioception etc…. Actually Mel Siff speaks of the numerous problems presented by this apparatus in Facts and Fallacies of Fitness.
I am not saying never use these machines, but I am saying use them with the understanding of their benefits and their applications to real life movements.
Next, we look at the Hercules Strength Circuit. Machines are inferior to free weight movements. They inhibit stabilizers, destroy neuromuscular patterns, weaken anabolic hormonal effects, often begin from mechanically weak positions, require no balance, and can often lead to injury due to repetitive restricted lines of movements and range of motion performed over and over. They have their place, but their place is very limited for most trainees particularly athletes.
The free weight area was barely visible amongst all of these nearby spaceships. The facility had no platforms, squat racks or anything that resembled serious strength training. Sadly, this is common practice in Candyland gyms. They do not want serous trainees in their establishment as they may scare away the customers. I have plenty of serous athletes in my gym as well as general fitness enthusiasts. Guess what they get along fine. I would not have it any other way.
Aerobic classes that make you more powerful and stronger using two pound hand weights. I seriously doubt if the employees of this facility actually believe this. At least I hope not. This is a great marketing tool, because this is an easy way to become stronger around more powerful. I would have to write an entire article addressing this ridiculous statement, but I will save you the boredom and say use common sense.
Probably the funniest statement I heard while I was touring candyland was the tanning bed confidence statement. I have hundreds of people come into my facility who use tanning beds but would not dare to set foot in the gym. Why, laziness and lack of self-confidence.
If you have frequented many commercial gyms you have probably encountered this problem. It is a growing epidemic. In my opinion these quackos shops should be shut down. This field just like all other fields is heavily influenced by the dollar. Easy sells good to the public. Easy also deceives the public. It is possible to run a facility and be honest and appeal to athletes as well as general fitness enthusiasts. My facility is unique in light of its mixture of people. I have pro athletes as well as housewives who just want to be toned (funny word).
Total Body Fitness is equipped with the basic general fitness tools as well as sledgehammers, Kettlebells, barrels, Olympic Weightlifting platform, tires, pulling sleds, ladders, cones, padded walls and anything that is needed for athletic training. If you are ever around Winchester Ky stop by and check out my facility. I am sure I will have something that might interest you.