In the past several days I have read news articles saying that the Golds Gym franchise has filed for bankruptcy and that the franchise 24 Hour Fitness is considering doing the same. A smaller gym franchise, Crunch Fitness with 22 gyms and 73,000 gym members has also filed for bankruptcy.
Each of these gyms have reported that their financial crisis was the result of the coronavirus which caused them to temporarily close just like restaurants, movie theaters, and beauty salons. My opinion is that if a business was doing well financially, with a high demand for its product or services, it should have been able to withstand a four to six week closure.
When reading some of these articles, I saw that one commentor left the remark, “Yeah, gyms are kind of on the way out anyway. Many people prefer to work out at home now.” I could not agree more, however it used to be the other way around.
I am almost 51 years old now, and most males my age who grew up in the 1970s remember having plastic-case, concrete-filled weights from Sears or Kmart, or rusty bars and weights from the 1950s that had been used for twenty years. In junior high and high school, these home weight sets limited us to bicep curls, triceps curls, bench press, overhead press, and dead lifts.
Once we got older and later had access to college weight rooms or commercial gyms, it opened up the opportunity to safely and easily begin using much heavier weight, try new lifts, and begin a much more elaborate weight lifting routine. Not only was it greatly appreciated to be able to do so much more, but the strength gains progressed much more quickly than when using a limited home gym.
Most of the people that I knew in junior high and high school, the amount of weight that they lifted or believed that they were capable of lifting was determined by the total number of the plastic-case concrete-filled weight plates that they had.
I wrote about this before a couple of years ago, when I was in my early twenties in the 1990s, there was a good competitiveness and cooperation in each of the gyms that I went to in my home town, the college town of Gainesville, and Daytona. In these gyms, it didn’t matter if a person was affluent or poor, older or younger, black or white, educated or not, what they did for a living, there was equal competitiveness and equal cooperation. It was a very positive and optimistic environment.
But back then, 90% of the members in these weight lifting gyms were male. This was one of the reasons why money, education, occupation, age, and color didn’t matter, it was just males. Males that shared the common goal and belief of getting bigger, stronger, and being able to add more weight to their lifts.
Once women began going to weight lifting gyms in increasing numbers, women and gym franchise owners began making changes. In order to appeal to not just men, but women, young adults, millennials, lesbians, gays, and transgenders, weight lifting gyms transformed into fitness centers.
To explain the difference, white-collar men, blue-collar men, military men, police officers, and convicts, would eat and train for weeks in order to arrive at a specific day in order to attempt their maximum all-time bench press for one rep, or maximum all-time dead lift for one rep, or maximum all-time squat for one rep, whereas women will come to a gym wearing their new outfit, get on a dead-lift platform, play with their phone, and lift just the weight bar by itself, in order to get in the way of the man who trained for weeks to attempt his maximum all-time lift.
Because of the increasing numbers of women going to gyms and ruining them for men, not just by getting in the way, taking up equipment and using no weight, using equipment as locations to place their phones and water bottles, and being a distraction, but by killing the competitiveness, cooperation, and common goal of men, men don’t really have the desire to go to gyms anymore.
Men now have the desire to stay home and create their own gym at home, though it is vastly less equipped than a commercial gym. Because many men are no longer going to commercial gyms, women don’t have anyone to disrupt, interfere with, or cause problems, so women aren’t going to gyms anymore either. This is the real reason why gyms are having decreasing membership, struggling financially, and are closing.
Most men would love to get their hands on the gym equipment that will be sold after these commercial gyms go out of business. You see, it is not that men no longer have an interest in weight training, they just don’t like what gyms have become, fitness centers for women.