The Gym Challenge the world does not want to do …
I really like going to the gym. The gym I currently go to is Avenue Tennis Club in Gillingham Kent. It’s a superb gym. Clean – exceptionally clean. Safe, with controlled access. A restaurant and numerous social scenes laid on on throughout the year. It has as you would imagine a very unique Tennis Club attached. It is a great club.
Yet as I write this blog, the concept of gym sport remains as bleak to this club as it does to the Industry that has always had the infrastructure to support its own sport.
I know it sounds like a broken record, but I still can’t understand the reluctance of gyms to create a sport from their training programs they provide to their members.
I can only say that its worked pretty well for CrossFit – they have nailed the concept of their own sport and are now seeking Olympic participation through the event programs that are happening currently.
So as I train in the gym most days I have to conclude yet again that the division between performance sports in gyms and that of CrossFit is as wide as the Grand Canyon and for several years the experience that is so relished and loved by CrossFit members will still it seems take an age to come trough to the gym side of life.
But make no mistake on this, the level of fitness that CrossFit athletes compete is insanely higher than that of your average gym member. These guys and ladies and freakishly fit and take their training to the absolute limits of physical and mental endurance in their environment. And that is the Ultimate statement – their environment , the training, they do , the weights they do and the day to exercise programs they carry out. They are masters of their sport and rightly so.
But that does not mean it can’t happen in a gym. Forget copying the style of CrossFit that is just pointless. You can’t. It’s their domain. But what you can do is create the concept of Gym Sport . Its a starting program into pushing boundaries of your own training and then some. It’s getting a taste of performance. It’s starting to accept that your body has limitations and that you can be defeated by age or lack of experience, but also experience and age can be factors into being a formidable athlete too.
The concept of a gym challenge in your gym is still a million miles away in reality. Gym members as a whole are just not fit enough to engage at the highest level , but as with all good sports they are ready to be trained and take on being pushed if given the chance.
How do you create a sport in your gyms ?
Simply put you can’t. There are a million apps out there that allow to go online and do something that will give a taste of training but as a whole the app scene is not a sport. The raw element of actually training cannot be replicated on your mobile device – the pain you experience can not be translated into a phone. Your hour or so in the gym is the most precious time you can have, this is where you break sweat and push your self and after , when you are warming down, stretching or just taking some deep breaths, it is not the phone that got you trough it , but you. An app is a great accessory but it cannot replicate the intensity of the workout.
The workout is where the sport factor comes in , when you ask yourself what are you actually training for ? Think about it , when was the last time you walked into a gym and trained for something specific. I’m not talking about rowing the Thames over a week , or cycling 1000 miles over a period of time, but something you had to actually train for? If like me you still have yet to find a gym that will put this on the cards, then you can only do what you can yourself. But that in no way fills the void in comparative fitness, where you need to know the levels of fitness that can be achieved. That is not ego or bragging – that is not saying look at me. Look at what I can do . It’s taking the time to study and reflect on what is possible. It’s about finding someone of equal fitness , a potential training partner a friendly rival to compete against. It’s about looking forward to an event where the entire gym set on structured levels of fitness can take part and revel in the joy of competing and looking at their own levels of fitness and where they can improve. This is what gym sport does and for some reason. Something I have yet to fathom out. This is what is denied the average gym member and you have to ask yourself why in an Industry that is worth billions $ in the US, Europe and Asia .
Can we ever expect to see a sport for gyms?
Yes , certainly we can. I’m not too sure when. But the fitness world is catching up and seeing the benefits of the consumer experience in a gym. Something that was once mundane and boring is yesterdays market. The new energetic phase is slowly filtering through , and surely there will be a day , that a gym member will walk through a gym door and look at a sport they he or she can take part in. It’s not today , but it will happen – I just don’t know when.