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Choosing a gym.


Your philosophy matters

A common fear among people who have never been to a gym and even current gym enthusiasts is feeling a little intimidated when they are there. The atmosphere of some gyms can be quite intimidating indeed for some.

I know I felt that same feeling many, many years ago when I first summoned the courage to enter a gym. After a few tries, you will get over this initial feeling of discomfort – something all trainees will have to deal with at some time.

Now, I could go through a top 10 things to consider when assessing which gym deserves your patronage such as – cleanliness, Equipment conditions, equipment in general, personal training services, locker availability and cost etc but I won’t.

Why? Well, you could easily do this yourself on the internet these days and maybe even get on a web-site that compares gyms and ranks them based on your buying criteria. A common method of deciding on a choice if you are that inclined.

However I believe that sometimes, in life it is more fruitful if you make your decision that is the best for you not based on your ‘need’.

No, sometimes in life, you need to base your decision on what resonates with your philosophy in life. If you don’t, then you may well find yourself (like hundreds of thousands of gym goers world-wide) jumping from gym to gym, searching. Searching for the gym that best suits their needs.

Your philosophy matters.

With Margaret and her guide dog. She was such a lovely human being. Never said never.
I trained her daughter (who was also partially blind) to represent Australia at the Paralympics.
She was one tough school girl with a lot of GRIT. Just like her mum.
Choose a gym that resonates and agrees with your philosophy of life.

Choosing a gym is an ínternal’ exercise, not an éxternal’ one

It is highly likely that you will not find your answer to your dissatisfaction by constantly switching gyms (for whatever reasons you generate). Instead you will likely grow tired and you will eventually feel de-motivated, like millions of trainees worldwide do. When this sets in, you can kiss your work-outs goodbye!

Sad, I know … but true.

After being in and around gyms for almost thirty years now and owning my own family gym for about seven years, here’s what I believe you need to do:

  1. Determine your philosophy on life – ascertain what you value in life, what are you principles?
  2. Find a gym that is aligned to this.

I am almost 100% certain that you will be content. This is not an exercise in ‘external search’ for a gym but it is an exercise in ‘internal search’ for the Real YOU. What I am trying to say is that choosing a gym is an internal exercise, not an external one.

For some, this search for a different gym and never being satisfied may be a manifestation of a deep seated fear of rejection that may likely go back to their formative years where they may have been subjected to ‘conditional love’. This manifestation becomes an obsession with what other people think and fuels this search for that elusive gym that meets all their needs.

Me and my family of extended family of members.
I created an environment to replace something I was missing living in a busy, big city like Sydney: the intimacy and connectedness of a truly local and extended family feel that I grew up with in my youth in Fiji.
I missed my éxtended family’ and this served my needs and the members needs too

The perfect gym does not exist

You won’t find that, a gym that meets all your needs, that is. It is like searching for “Mr Right” … or “Mrs Perfect”. They don’t exist like the perfect gym that meets ALL your needs does not exist. Accept that the Perfect gym does not exist. What exists is a person or a gym that meets most of your key needs and resonate with your philosophy on life.

I must warn you though: it is not an easy exercise. It can be a little scary. Remember though that all negative habit patterns can be overcome by giving your mind new nutritional thoughts. The most powerful, most nutritional thought we can think is “I like myself”.

A simple, yet profound statement of belief and I liken it to an anti-biotic for the mind. Makes you feel better after repeating the statement for a period of time. Try it, see how you feel.

A hallmark of a mature human being like you is the acceptance of total responsibility for your life and all the decisions you have made to date. The acceptance of total responsibility is a line in the sand in your life that from that point, you have no more excuses.

Your feeling of personal freedom and total control of your life and happiness is a direct product of your acceptance of total responsibility. This includes your responsibility to investing time in your health and fitness.

So – Accept. Totally.

Then ….

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym

Join the club that chooses you

Join the gym that is aligned with your values and principles. Join the club that chooses you.  I prefer good old-school gyms (very few around these days) where there are a good selection of free-weights (barbells and dumbells) and good benches, a power rack or cage (to let the animal inside of you out).

A gym that has outstanding free-weights equipment and the best ambience wins, hands-down all the time for me.

Personally, I prefer a gym that doesn’t treat you like a number. Where everyone knows your name and your know theirs. Where people talk to each other instead of just connecting with a machine. A gym where if you’re absent, people notice it. A gym like they used to be – a social club. Like the gym I owned and managed for about seven years of my life, a real ‘family gym’. I was so connected to each and every member that they would tell me of their travel plans and almost everything about themselves and their families and ups-and-downs in their lives.

My life was intricately connected to each person, so much so that if I noticed that they hadn’t come for a while, I would personally call them up ( I wouldn’t get my staff to call them). If I didn’t get them (and if they lived alone), I would drive over to their residence to see if they were ók’.

Believe me when I say that I had intervened in many people’s lives and brought them back to this reality. There were people that no one called up on, except for me. There were people that, if I hadn’t knocked on their door of their residence to see if they were ok, they wouldn’t be here today. That was one of my roles as a caring, trusting and compassionate gym owner.

Members of my éxtended family’ also connected over food (protein for the hard-working muscles) and beer (for the biceps peak)
We were a family in more ways then just one (training together)

What type of Gym Goer are YOU?

Join a ‘type’ of gym goer. What type are you?

Feel ‘connected’ with a real person instead of being connected through technology mediums. Talk to other patrons of the gym (the way my old school gym was, where everyone spoke to one another and knew each other’s names. Just a big extended family, like I lived in my early youth, growing up in the paradise islands of Fiji.

You’ll probably find that you would have more in common with more people there then you would be different.

We’re all social beings after all and your time in the gym satisfies one of the most basic of human needs in a very healthy way – our innate social need.

And become the … the … social animal that you know you are but instead of swapping alcoholic recipes, you’ll be sharing protein shake concoctions. Realising this and accepting it in your life can make you look on the bright side of life more readily. It could move you closer to the elusive ‘happiness’ state … something that the world can learn from the Happiest Citizens on this planet: Fiji.

Just so happens, I was born and lived my early youth in Fiji and understand why Fijians are the happiest people on this earth, a few of the many reasons why are touched on in my words above. Find your gym by allowing the ‘fijian’ in you to speak to you.

All the very best in your choice!

Until next time,

Cheers & Ahoy!


The old Captain Viking Pirate …. & choosing the right gym for YOU

Building your strength in the gym is only one definition of what it means to be ‘strong’


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