Today I wanted to step away from science for a bit and address a topic that some of us at the gym were talking about a few weeks ago: Gym atmosphere.
As an athlete, I would consider myself very fortunate. In high school, I trained under a legitimate trainer. He was the main reason I excelled at the high school level and had the opportunity that few high school football players have of playing at the D1 level. During my career at the University of Iowa, I trained under hands down one of the best strength coaches in the nation, Chris Doyle. To me, the atmosphere of intensity, camaraderie, and teamwork had been a commonplace. Music was always blasting, everyone in the room was trying to get better, and when you stepped up to do your max set, you could BET that your teammates stopped what they were doing to spot, watch, or support you. I was lucky to have the proper atmosphere as the norm.
Little did I know until I began moving from place to place over the last four years, that the atmosphere I had always experienced is not the normal atmosphere that a person experiences in the typical gym. During this time frame, I probably switched gyms about 5 times. I would end up quitting one gym and joining another before finding a gym I could actually train at. Some of the reasons for quitting may have been equipment based, or time based, or maybe because their hours weren’t cooperating with my gigantic class load. But mainly it was because of the atmosphere. Instead of camaraderie, support, and intensity, I constantly stepped into gyms that were filled with isolationism, judgement, way more Keisha than AC/DC, and how dare you deadlift heavy weights without setting them down nicely. I had now experienced the true norm.
Each and every time I moved, I constantly searched for that atmosphere. Very few things matter when searching for a gym more than having likeminded people who are there to support you, inspire you, guide you, or just get along with you. As a general rule of thumb, if I found that atmosphere, I had at least found a place I could train at. Since moving down to Memphis and joining the team here at NBS Fitness, I can say that this place has the best atmosphere of any gym I’ve ever been in. EVER. Even if you are not looking for the best personal trainers with the most knowledge that can turn you into a total badass, you absolutely have to value the atmosphere that is at NBS Fitness. I would like to think that since I’ve experienced both atmospheres, I can be a good testimony that the atmosphere of community togetherness, teamwork, and support at NBS Fitness is far better than the normal that most people experience at their crappy gym. But just incase you think this is biased, let me give you a few examples of things you may be missing out on at your current gym.
As a caregiver at NBS and since a lot of what I do in my profession is observational and objective, I often find myself observing this one firsts hand. At any given time during a normal day at NBS you can see at least two or three different groups of people interacting, whether it be training, conversing, or teaching. You will also meet more people in one month at NBS than you will in 6 months at the normal gym. I guarantee it, because social and positive environments lead to social and positive interaction. Good luck getting that at your crappy gym where people avoid each other like the plaque. If the norm of getting in and getting out of the gym without interaction because of the judgment, insecurity, and negativity is your thing, we can’t help you here.
No matter who you are, what you are doing, or what weight. Need a lift off? A back spot? Side spotters? Press command? Depth check? Video? Ask anyone. Seriously. Do it. I guarantee you will get help by staff or a member. Its not uncommon for members and staff to stick around after their training or shift is over to help other members. Some even make a special trip to the gym just to help out others.
This last one is essentially building upon the points made above. People here actually care about YOU. If you are willing to come in, put work in and get things done, and strive to do it correctly, you will have support. Even the strongest people in the gym are willing to shed a quick tip or two. Don’t know how to do things correctly? That’s fine. Hire one of our personal trainers. We have THE BEST trainers in Memphis. As long as you are willing to work, you will get the support you need. No BS stability ball movements that look exotic but are masking the fact that you aren’t actually getting any work done. Real instruction on how to do things correctly and proven training and nutrition programs that are designed to give you real, measurable results. Not the newest line of crap that doesn’t work that your trainer has jumped on the bandwagon of.
Oh… and the best part: NBS Fitness is about to expand to an even bigger, better, and way more badass facility with more equipment. Sorry other gyms, but thats strikes two and three right there. So if you are looking to get away from “the norm,” invest your efforts into getting actual results, and train in an atmosphere that supports these results instead of holding you back, there’s never been a better time to join Memphis’ best gym.