New readers are encouraged to read Glitter and Rust before proceeding.
In order to understand my perspective on gyms I need to go back in time and explain my influences. I started free weight training in the hard-core gyms of Tampa Bay (1994-1998). The guys who lifted weights there wanted to be stronger. They weren’t there to lean out or take spin classes. The members were mostly blue collar guys. They built homes, not home pages. I was still a stick-boy back then but they were supportive. These monsters would actually say hello to me if they saw me at the grocery store, which is something that has never happened to me with Glitter Gym members.
Rust Gyms are mostly free weights and they play aggressive hard rock music. You don’t want John Mayer playing when you’re squatting 2x your weight. The membership was 95% male and the 5% of the females would best be described as the anti-Barbie. One of the gyms I went to sold steroids before they were labeled Schedule 3 narcotics in 1990. There were several guys benching 400+ pounds. It wasn’t Westside Barbell, but it was in spirit.
These were my early influences and I’m proud of them. Rust gyms are rare to find these days. The fitness business model favors Glitter Gyms where the members rarely show up to use the equipment. You can make more money selling sugar water carbo-loading-electrolyte-replacing nonsense than if there is a puke bucket by the squat rack. True story: one gym I went had a strict rule about cleaning the bucket after you used it.
Now you know how Tales From the Glitter Gym got started. This post will be good background for the next installment. 🙂