Christchurch, NZ is a funny place. People seems to have a fascination with which school you went to. I grew up on the rough side of town. I went to arguably the roughest and toughest school, Aranui High. I came from a white, middle class family whereas most of my peers were Maori and Pacific Island and very poor. During my professional career I get a lot of questions from people about my schooling and my upbringing. I’m proud to say which high school I went to.
There seems to be similar rivalry in Christchurch with which gym you train at also. Similar sort of stuff to the schooling. I’m not quite sure what it is all about really. Some guys seem to think that it’s important to tell others that they train at a fitness centre without a power rack, one bench and dumbbells that go up to 40 kg. I’m not so convinced that is newsworthy. Then again the fact they have hair dryers and coin operated lockers is also pretty irrelevant.
I named Eastside after the “East” side of town where I grew up. Most people who know me will appreciate that I’m not one to judge others in a hurry. I like to give others a chance and welcome most people. My vision for Eastside is certainly one of a hardcore gym. One with multiple power racks and big dumbbells. Not your typical fitness centre. It is still early days for Eastside. We continue to do our own thing. We are not trying to compete with the corporate fitness centre model. Why would we? There are plenty of those already. Eastside is about offering something different.
I don’t think the gym you belong to is as important as the environment at the gym. For me this includes:
1. It’s all about you- You must have the right attitude. You must have the desire. You must have a goal. You must have 100% belief in what you are doing. Numbers 2-5 below are not worth anything unless you are completely committed.
2. Equipment- This one is pretty obvious. The most important thing for me is being able to do everything I want to do in my gym. This means good quality bars that are not bent. Specialist bars like the giant cambered bar, safety squat bar, fat bar. Dumbbells that are heavy enough. Specialist equipment like glute ham raise and reverse hyper extension. Stuff you won’t find in commercial gyms. And at the same time the stuff you will find in commercial gyms. Remember I am a powerbuilder.
3. Training partners- Great training partners are hard to find and often don’t last. But I find it hard to believe that some people would rather train alone. There is no way I can reach the same levels of volume and intensity when I train alone. I doubt whether others can either.
4. A mentor or leader- Every top gym needs a key figure who leads the way. This person is the face of the gym who younger lifters aspire to, respect and seek guidance from. This person is a straight shooter who encourages lifters but also reminds lifters about the importance of good form and technique. At Eastside we have a no wanker policy.
The leader in commercial gyms is probably the CEO. He or she may even live in another country?
I think it is admirable that guys are loyal to their own gym and that they preach the virtues of it. But the main thing needs to be that you are getting as much as you possibly can out of your gym. This can only be measured with real progress.
bigger stronger smarter