Wednesday, June 03, 2015

One True Gym

Suppose you belong to a gym. You've belonged to this gym for a very long time. Maybe it's the only gym you've ever belonged to. You love this gym, and yes, you've done some great toning and muscle-building as a dedicated member. But lately, you've started to realize that a lot of the equipment is messed up, broken, and/or incredibly outdated. It's not that you can't get a decent workout at your gym. But now you realize that if the equipment were more up to par, you would be much further along in achieving your health goals. You would benefit more quickly if the machines worked the way they were supposed to. Oh sure, once in a while, something crazy happens and the machines work flawlessly during one of your workouts. You celebrate those days. You can feel the difference and how much better your body feels after one of those workouts. You wish it were like that all the time. It's not, of course. Maybe it's even rather rare. But, joy of joy, those workouts sure feel good! And they always give you a little bit of hope that the next time you walk into the gym, the machines will work just as well as they did last time. They rarely do, of course. But you hold out hope. Sometimes you see them working on one of the machines and actually fixing or upgrading something. Maybe they never quite bring the machines up to current standards, but they improve them. That also gives you hope. Maybe someday the countless back pains and injuries that are caused by some of these flawed machines will be a thing of the past. You are well aware of how much pain some gym members experience because they hold fast to the flawed machines and even purposely contort themselves in dangerous ways, assuming that if the machines work this way or that, it must be what's best for the body, no matter how painful it is. Fortunately, you don't suffer as many injuries nowadays because you've learned how the machines should work, and you can adjust accordingly. It's still impossible for you never to get injured on the machines, of course. They don't always work right, even if you can influence them a little bit. And so, pain continues.

Despite all of the above, you remain a dedicated member of the gym, for a variety of reasons. You really like a few of the other regulars at the gym. Many gym members can treat you terribly, but there are some really awesome people there, too. The gym has an amenity or two that you really like but can't find at other gyms. You also like the gym's convenient location. Plus, it's familiar. And maybe you just don't want to be in any way responsible for the gym going out of business. You realize that there are other gyms around, and some of them are phenomenal. Some of them offer almost everything you could ask for in a gym if you designed one yourself. They have machines that work exactly as you wish the ones at your own gym did. Their gym memberships might even be cheaper! But you're dedicated to your gym. So you stay. After all, maybe one day your gym will be just like the gym across the street, the one you wish your gym would emulate. You don't actually want to go to that gym across the street. You just want your gym to be almost indistinguishable from the one across the street. And who knows, maybe one day it will be. Probably not in your lifetime, but maybe 100 years from now. But not if it goes out of business first. So you continue to go to your gym, wishing it were like one of the other gyms out there, rejoicing every time you have a good workout and weeping the many, many times when you don't. You've made it your goal to continue supporting your gym, tending to those who get injured there, and dealing with your own injuries as they inevitably arise. You get together with other members of the gym to bemoan the state of the gym and to applaud when they actually (but rarely) fix something. The positive stories you share about the gym are couched in the understanding that such things are rare to come by or easily overlooked if you’re not watching carefully for them. But hey, you've definitely got brand loyalty. And maybe that's worth some pain. Maybe even a lot of pain. Right?


1 comment:

  1. Interesting metaphor... or I'm assuming it is :) I don't believe that something like a gym should be broken or cause pain. And if you can get a better workout somewhere else, then you probably should go. My concern is the ammenities you can't find at other gyms. But I can't think of a good argument for staying at the gym that causes you pain, injury, and is always broken.