The Dumbing Down of Fitness: “Globo Gym” Style

TAGS: corporate gym, Charles Gardner, fitness, personal training

I've had plenty of time to think about my experiences in the corporate fitness world over the last year, simply because that’s where I cut my teeth and then subsequently got them knocked out.  Now, if this is beginning to sound like a rant, you're partially correct. It's a bit of a rant and a bit of a cautionary tale.

I worked in the corporate fitness world for ten years, and before I was pushed out, I was as perfectly happy as a fish in an aquarium. Then something happened. I realized that I was captured. I was contained. Once I realized this, I started to expand my knowledge and do things that the competition wasn’t willing to do. I read more, listened more, and tested more techniques and programs.

As I was doing this, a funny thing happened. I got smarter, my clients got smarter, and we all grew physically and mentally. As this progressed, I found that gym management wasn't too thrilled. I found this to be quite disturbing. I thought to myself, “Aren’t we, as professionals, supposed to bring our clients the best in training principles and training knowledge?” Unfortunately, I was in for a rude awakening. As with any corporate model, it’s all about the bottom line—money.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Money is necessary to live and get things done, especially in this economy. However, it isn't the end-all be-all and at no point should it get between the coach/trainer giving his clients/athletes the best knowledge he can. I learned that this isn't the case at your local corporate “Globo Gym.” In this environment, it's a sanitized, watered down, politically correct form of fitness where everyone needs to feel good about himself and never push himself because he might get hurt.

I'm all for safety and making sure that clients and athletes don’t get hurt, but whenever you're pushing the limits of what the human body can do, getting hurt has a higher probability of happening. I find that this happens only when both the coach and client get lazy and stop paying attention or they both get ahead of themselves in ability and coaching capacity. The lesson here is know your client/athlete and pay attention.

As I stated in the title of this article, the other problem is the dumbing down of both trainer and client because everything is so sanitized and watered down. What do I mean by this exactly? I mean that every trainer does the same thing. Every trainer uses BOSU balls and overuses core training and functional training. After a while, no one is different, and if you try to be, you run the risk of having gym management come down on you like an iron fist. This is why whenever you go into a corporate gym, you see everyone doing the same thing. Aerobics classes are the exception. There's always a variety of classes for the women who year after year get hustled by the instructors into believing that dancing around for an hour is going to get rid of the cellulite on their butts (that’s another story). That, too, ties into this dumbed down, sanitized form of fitness that we see today. It frustrates me greatly to see people fall for these schemes and shortcuts when really if they learned how to not be afraid of hard work and put forth some effort in their training and diet, they would reach their goals much more quickly. I hope this article has been entertaining for you to read. Feel free to leave comments below. I'd love to read about your adventures in corporate fitness land.

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