What Makes a Great Gym? Part II

IMG_4833On Tuesday, I wrote about some of the most important factors that we look for in a gym. I break the factors into two major groups: Time well spent in the gym, and time enjoyed at the gym.

You want to spend some well-earned time at the gym, but you also want to enjoy yourself while you’re there. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Enjoying time well spent is something we search for in all aspects of life, like with your job or hobbies.

So how do you find it at a gym?

Many larger corporate gyms will always have the state-of-the-art equipment that is on the cutting edge. And Boomer Fitness isn’t on the low end of the spectrum either. I’m very proud of the equipment we have in-house, and I know it helps us work the entire spectrum of your muscles.

Many larger corporate gyms have multiple locations, which means they can cover a lot more ground than a smaller gym. But like I wrote on Tuesday, many people seem to go out of their way to get to their own particular gym, rather than settling with the one that’s closer to their location.

Boomer Fitness measures up to any gym in either of those regards, but I know that it has something that no other corporate gym can boast at having: a community that cares about your fitness.

A community is more than a group of people you see from time to time. Its a group of people who you know on a first name basis, who asks you how your weekend was, or how your hike up to Mt. Hood went. It’s a group of people who genuinely care about whether you’re making improvements in your life, and who are there to support you when you’re making those improvements.

So how does Boomer Fitness have such a great community? Let me count the ways:

Personal Trainers that Care – There’s a terrible plague I’ve noticed that has taken root in a lot of corporate gyms: many personal trainers simply don’t put their clients fitness as their first priority. Unfortunately, many gyms have started putting their focus in sales quotas, getting as many people signed on with a personal trainer as possible. Trainers don’t have much of a choice in the matter, either. It’s either bring in a certain amount of new clients, or we will have to reexamine your place at this gym.

It’s not like that here at Boomer Fitness. Fitness is always the priority among the personal trainers who choose to work here. I know this is the case because none of the trainers here stop working after you leave the gym. We say hello when you come in for a seminar, or we pat you on the back when you do that extra set of squats, or cheer you from the sidelines when you finish the 5k you trained for the last 6 months. We’re here because we want you here.

Group Sessions – Whether it’s one of our Saturday morning Boot Camps, a class on the dangers of sugar, or just a busy day at the gym, Boomer Fitness always has something going on. Having group sessions is a great way of motivating yourself to push a little farther, do one extra squat, or do one extra push-up. You have to work together as a group to achieve your overall goal, and you go much farther when you’re working with someone rather than on your own. Plus, it’s always more fun to do something when you have others to talk to.

Best of all, some of our group events help contribute to a local charity. Last week, we had the chance to donate 100% of the donations from our Saturday Boot Camp to the Pink Lemonade Project.

It’s Your Gym – This isn’t just any other gym that has the standard music playlist in the background. We don’t tune out the world and just watch SportsCenter while we run on the treadmill.

We talk about how your March Madness Bracket is doing, or how your son Matt is enjoying school. We talk about how we really liked that movie we saw last night, or how you’ve been making some great progress since our last measurement check-in 4 weeks ago. We talk about your dog GiGi, or about the Boot Camp session that’s coming up this next Saturday, and how you’re planning on coming to that, right?

Why do we do this? Because we aren’t just any gym. You can get “any gym” anywhere else. We’re your gym!

To me, the community is the most important thing about any gym. You can’t substitute it with space-age technology, nor can your simulate it with inspirational words written in huge lettering on the wall. It’s something that you have to create and work on. And that’s the difference between an average gym and a Great Gym.

What Makes a Great Gym? Part I

10420366_800561496659196_5160659795092338580_n“What makes a great gym?” Is it the equipment? The location? The atmosphere?

It’s a question I used to ask myself when I was starting Boomer Fitness. When I was planning this program, I wanted to make sure that my ideal gym had all the best traits you could ask for. Sometimes, I still find myself asking the same question when I’m reviewing my progress over the last few years. I love Boomer Fitness, and I know it’s got some of the best features you could find in any gym out there. But I still like to ask myself: What really makes a Great Gym?

When I ask clients about why they join a gym, I usually get a few variations of the same handful of answers. “It has some great equipment that I don’t have at home.” “It’s really close to where I work.” “My friends go to that gym, and I figured I would do the same.”

All perfectly valid reasons to go to the gym, but it just doesn’t seem like the right kind of answer. Most gyms have comparable equipment, and a lot of people seem to go out of their way to get to a particular gym. So what really makes a gym a place you want to go back to?

To discover what’s in a great gym, we actually have to ask another question: What do you want to get out of your gym? I break that question down into two answers: Time Well Spent and Time Enjoyed.

Time Well Spent – Let’s face it, when you’re going to be spending a lot of time working out, you want to be spending the right kind of time there. I have said time and time again that fitness is a long-term process, and not something that you can get results in with half-hearted effort. You have to give it your all, 100% of the time. That means a lot of dedicated hours at a gym.

So why would you want to go to a place where you feel like your time is being wasted? Heading to a gym and getting nothing done is like going to a Packers Game and playing angry birds on your phone. But so many times when I worked at a larger gym, I would see people who weren’t using their gym time to its fullest.

It’s game time when you’re at the gym! Use it to your full advantage!

Time Enjoyed –  It’s a lot easier to go to the gym to work out if you’re looking forward to your time there, but sometimes that isn’t always the case. One of my clients has told me that in the past, the hardest part about going to a gym was resolving herself to get out the door. Going to work out wasn’t something she necessarily enjoyed; it was a chore that she had to do.

Sure, it’s a workout, and it’s probably going to push your physical condition. But that doesn’t mean you have to dread going to the gym! You want to enjoy the time that you spend at the gym because you will be more willing to back to the gym. Turn the idea of ” I could go to the gym” to “I get to go to the gym,” and you’re going to find you’re spending a lot more time working your muscles.

It’s not rocket science. When you go to the gym, you want to spend your time working on relevant parts of your body, but you also want to enjoy yourself while you do it. But like a lot of things in life, this might sound easier said than done. What do you factor in when you’re signing up for a gym to make sure you hit these two marks?

To me, both of these points can be attained by making sure your gym has one key factor: the right kind of community. This ranges from the personal trainers to the people you work out with, from the group work out sessions to the individual one-on-one meetings we have. It differs from person to person, but having the right type of community that fits your work-out style is the difference between having an average gym an a Great Gym.

So how do you find that kind of community? Where do you start to look for the right kind of atmosphere that will help you be your best at the gym?

Be sure to check in with my blog on Thursday to find out!