The New Gym

I started working out in 1983.  The gym was a very different place then—filled with body builders and aerobics people.  For the most part, you were either one or the other.  You were either trying to get big or you were trying to get small.  There were lots of machines so that you could work on each body part from multiple directions.  There were magazines out there to support your interests and give you workouts for the month.  This was where my fitness experience started.  Does any of this sound familiar to you?

In the old days, gym staffs weren’t so big and they really didn’t have much background in fitness or knowledge that was conducive to them helping you to get better.  So if you were like me, you did it on your own. You made lots of mistakes, were lucky to be young and for the most part, were able to overcome the damage that you may have done to yourself while trying the latest and greatest workout.  But so many people just gave up because they made no progress, got hurt, or both.  Does this sound familiar yet?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had this experience.  I became a personal trainer to help people avoid these issues and obstacles and get the injury-free results that they were looking for.  Now, 30+ years later, the gym looks entirely different.  There are all kinds of workout facilities, each with a very different focus. The key is that they are focused.  There are still big box gyms that try to be everything to everybody, but there are many boutique studios that focus on one specific thing, like Yoga, spin, Pure Barre, or Pilates.

Because there is no book on getting older, and we would all like to be able to be in control of our lives, instead of our lives controlling us, we all need some help. Unlike the old days, clubs now have incredibly knowledgeable staff to guide you in the direction that you should be going in.  With that being said, all training systems are not created equally.  As we get older, our needs change and our workouts need to change accordingly.  As we get older, our attention to details becomes more important, and we can’t be focused on just one thing.  We have to include everything—strength, flexibility, endurance, and core balance. Lots of core balance.  In order to combat the aging process, we need to train more for performance and less like a bodybuilder.  Having come from a body building background, what I have grown to know is that you need a lot more of the things that aren’t so cool in order to make it for the long haul.  A lot of the exercises aren’t very glamorous, but they are the ones that get us ready for life.

I know that if you haven’t been in a workout facility in a minute, the look and feel is very different.  But so is the level of expertise.  So make sure that if it’s time to make a change in your lifestyle, then that’s what you do.  Don’t just join the gym—let this be something that changes your life and makes it so that you can live your life the way you want to live it, and to its fullest.

- Bill Burnett