I'm emerging from a couple of weeks of self-imposed exile, during which I wrote some income-generating articles which will help me to further keep up with this blog, my time-consuming and less remunerative hobby.
Had a good time though: the article I wrote was on "primitive fitness"--I did an entry on one of the key figures in this movement a couple of weeks ago--and found out a lot of cool things. One guy I talked to, Steve Bechtel, runs a gym in Wyoming, and he made an interesting observation (I didn't put this in the article because it's marginally controversial and I was trying to keep things positive):
At my gym [Elemental Fitness Training Center in Lander, Wyoming], we teach people how to do workouts that don't require a gym. As a business model, it's actually terrible. The big-box gym is a great business model: fill a space with expensive machines and then convince people that they need them to get fit.
In Bechtel's thinking, the "Nautilus Club" model was insidiously effective, and, now that I think of it, shockingly influential. When I was young there literally were no gyms. You had to buy your own little "DP" weight set or home gym and put it in your garage. But that wasn't really a problem: that stuff was cheap and durable and (relatively) space-efficient. Not so with Nautilus machines: huge, cumbersome, expensive as hell--no way could you have a home Nautilus gym, You HAD to join the club. Hence the belief that you need stuff, and a membership, to get fit.
Funny thing: as Bechtel further pointed out, the more this 'health club' 'strength and cardio' 'machines and gee-gaws' model of fitness has wormed its way into the public consciousness--the fatter we've become. There is, it would seem, an inherent conflict of interest in the big-box gym business model. The more they sell the machines, the more members they get. But the more people work out on machines--as opposed to other modes of exercise--the less fit they become.Â
He believes that we're moving towards a different model: less stuff, more bodyweight exercises, more freedom of movement, more fun--while still maintaining good exercise physiology principles of overload, specificity, progression.Â He even pointed to some studies which suggested that bodyweight training burns more fat and is more effective for weight loss than other modes of training.
Interesting stuff. More to come.