Where did all the free weights go???

“Many gyms should issue the following notice to their members. Keep this notice in mind should you ever hope to find good instruction from an appearance-first gym:

“This gym is all appearance and no substance. It is only because we have a lot of fancy-looking equipment that we impress everyone who knows little or nothing about training. Because we spend alot of money on marginal, useless and sometimes dangerous equipment we must encourage our members to use it. We never encourage the old-fashioned basic exercises. In fact, to save you from being tempted to use the latter, you will never find a power rack or lifting platform here, and squat racks we have are flimsy and unused. Who on earth wants to squat? Too much like hard work. Our instructors are as useless as we are.

We make exercise fun. You can watch yourself in the many mirrors we have, listen to the music, talk while you train, and ogle the skimpily clad bodies of the genetically blessed, sensual female instructors we employ to keep you (men) interested in renewing your membership. Training here is fun, and fun means lots of members, though few of them stay long term. We depend on a constant influx of new members to make a profit.”

When I read that, I thought Mr. McRobert did a perfect job describing 99% of most gyms. This sad state of affairs is something I have spoken about before. The thing is commercial gyms make huge profits and pay their staff peanuts, with self serving certification companies working with the commercial fitness companies to produce weekend certificated gym instructors. Would you turn your training fate into the hands of someone who has had 16 hours of weight training experience?

Up and down the country many people do and wonder why they don’t achieve the results they’re after. During my brief stint in the commercial sector I found myself dealing all sorts of pathologies other instructors couldn’t deal with, poor posture, muscular/structural imbalances, poor diet. The thing is that ideally a well trained team of fitness instructors should be able to deal with “common” issues faced by the general public from a strength and conditioning point of view. The biggest two being muscular imbalance, involving tight chest and shoulders , tight hip flexors and under active glutes and scapular musculature.

What is more shocking is that when querying fitness instructors experience many had never deadlifted, squatted or bench pressed. Many are cardio bunnies and see much like the rest of the fitness industry cardio as the cure all it really is not. I remember one instructor who was blessed with a very high metabolism who would “eat KFC because it don’t make me fat” and did nothing but push ups and boxercise classes and would dispense training advicesuch as “CLA is like creatine it makes the muscles bigger” and “avoid using free weights they’re bad for your back” Would you expect this kind of advice from any other health professional you’d seek out?? A dentist, a doctor, a physio or a nutritionist.

So where did all the free weights go??

Well thanks to a fitness industry bent on maximising profits its been heavily marginalised. Quality weight training supervision and instruction needs quality staff and the fitness industry just isn’t willing to push that kind of investment. Its sad because at the end of the day it is the consumer’s health that suffers.

Falcon Athletic Center Weight Room
(how a gym should look, i count 10 GHR benches)


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