Muscle Sport Magazine

Finding a Real Gym

By Darren Mnahan, Old Skool Iron The world of gyms has evolved to the world of fitness facilities seen today, with child care, juice bars, pizza parties and goofy shirt or sock day. Really?  WTF does any of that have to do with getting stronger, both mentally and physically? The answer is, “nothing,” but it does have a lot to do with making money for the owners or franchise. This is what it takes now days to get people in the door of a fitness facility; it’s no longer about physical fitness.


Keeping the doors open of a real strength training gym is very difficult. Even well known gyms from the past have fallen prey to the new world of the fitness facility in order to make money and stay open. Yes there are more and more so called garage type gyms opening up lately but they are hard to find and will they be able to remain open? If you want to succeed in your training you need to hunt out, support and train at these gyms. If you can’t find any, try and find an old hard core gym that has turned into a franchise fitness facility. Chances are they will still have some of the old real strength equipment and barbells.


My parents would tell me “You are who you hang around.” Dave Ramsey (a famous financial advisor) says if you want to be a millionaire, than you must hang around millionaires and do what millionaires do.



You do hear of some well known lifters training alone in a basement somewhere and then coming to the meets and breaking records. Some people might be able to do that but most need some other type of help and motivation. If you want to get stronger in powerlifting than go hang around and train with other powerlifters. Find guys stronger than you, they will know where a good gym is.


You must find the right gym to improve and succeed in your training. When going into a new gym (or fitness facility) ask some questions. Ask where they keep the squat bars. Ask where you are allowed to do deadlifts. If the 20 year experienced fitness facility manager looks at you confused about the squat bar question or tells you deadlifts are bad for your back then you need to run as far away from the place as possible. You might be able to get by for awhile at one of these places but your progress is going to be hampered by the equipment and atmosphere of the place. Look around when you are in there, people sitting on machines, looking at themselves in the mirror, that’s who you will become, because that is who you are hanging around with.


I have personally seen people go into a real gym and set 5lb to 40lb PR’s in the first day just from using the right equipment and the atmosphere of the place. PR’s the first day and we haven’t even got into correcting their fucked up form yet. You want to improve? Find the right the gym for the type of training you want to succeed in. I have driven over 45miles one way to get to the right gym. Some people drive two hours one way on the weekends to train at our gym. Why? Because they see the value and improvements they make by training at the right gym. Try it I guarantee your training will improve.


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