Since I got into powerlifting and I educated myself on the subject, my choice of gyms that are suitable for my needs has been severely curtailed. For example, it took me many months to find a good gym in Holland which is a 30 minute drive from my house on a good day. Coming home from work the commute to the gym and then to home adds significantly to the length of my travel, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The right gym is a gift. My gym is large and spacious with top quality equipment dedicated to serious lifting. It is always clean and it has good light. The temperature is just right; just a little south of comfortably warm. The instructors are knowledgeable, professional, and friendly. The clientele are the same. Nobody wanders into this gym by accident; you have to want to come here. It is a destination.
In this rocky period of my personal life it has also become a second home for me. I only go three times a week but I have been going there long enough that I am on friendly terms with at least half of those present at any given time. I don’t make a point of socializing, it’s not why I’m there, but a friendly word is appreciated, particularly when my conversationalist is blonde, female, Dutch, and young.
But now I’m away from home for work for three weeks. I’m not a fan of traveling at the best of times but my biggest challenge hasn’t been coming to terms with the local fried cuisine, dodging pickup trucks in carparks, or pondering the preponderance of solar eclipses caused by the sun disappearing behind enormous locals. No, my biggest issue is finding a suitable gym.
There’s a gym in the hotel and so that’s automatically out. I have used it once which shows my general level of desperation. The first real gym I tried was a bust; the very nice lady proudly showed me a Smith Machine when I enquired about squat racks. I also went to the local YMCA which had fantastic equipment that nobody was using. I understood why when the cost of 2 weeks membership would have got me through an evening at a wild no limit session. It seems that administration fees are rather expensive down here. Who knew that it cost so much to type someone’s name into a computer.
And then last night we were out for a drink to celebrate Saturday night. We went to a local sports bar which is directly across the road from our hotel. It took us almost 10 minutes to cross the 4 lane highway with no median strip, one of the more terrifying moments of my life. As we finally made it across I pondered how the return trip would go after a few beers and the sun really disappearing.
The bar turned out to be a real find, or at least the best thing we’ve found down here so far. Our waitress was brunette, female, Creole, and young, not to mention slim and pretty. I predict her local monetary value to be in the low millions. We got chatting about gyms; she doesn’t work out and eats whatever she wants. I told her to cherish the next few years. But it turned out that her manager was also a powerlifter. He came over and immediately set me right as to which gym to patronise. He even gave me his card so we could get a discount by dropping his name. He had a video on his phone that he had taken which he showed us. The gym was just what I was looking for.
“I work out in the morning,” he told us. “Best time to be there. I’ve never had to wait for a squat rack.”
“How is it around 5pm?” I asked.
He frowned and shook his head. “I wouldn’t go at that time. Lots of gym bros spending lots of time not using the equipment that they’re hogging.”
Back to square one.