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Can You Get A Good Workout At A Discount Gym?

Equipment at a discount gym.

How much do you pay for your gym membership? $50, $75 or even more. What if you could get just as good of a workout for $10 a month?

My Discount Gym Experience

During the pandemic, I let my gym membership go like a lot of people. A few months ago, I decided to get back in the game but wanted to go cheap. With the current state of the economy, that high dollar membership is just not in the cards.

Instead of the high dollar gym, I decided to go with that large purple franchise you have probably heard of. It is certainly not a body builders gym, but I wanted to see if I could get a good workout there. My results have been surprisingly good.

The Dilemna

The first thing that I had to face was the “anti body builder” image that this franchise has. They built their business off of being the opposite of most gyms. Being a bodybuilder, I wondered if I would fit in.

The answer is yes. You can be a bodybuilder and still workout at the purple franchise. Just don’t be grunting, dropping weights and calling everybody “brah”. These are things I hate anyway, so no big deal.

The Gym Equipment

The gym equipment is mostly what you would expect. They have a lot of machines and a ton of cardio equipment.

What you will not find at the purple gym is weight benches with free weights. While that is a bummer, they do have plenty of Smith Machines and a good selection of dumbbells.

Can You Get A Good Workout?

So, what is the final word, can this be a bodybuilder gym? My answer is, it depends.

If you are like me and just want to stay in shape and maintain a good physique then yes, you can get a good workout at a discount gym.

On the other hand, if you are a competitive body builder this gym will likely drive you crazy. There is just not enough equipment to hit every muscle from every angle.

Overall, I like the purple gym and for the money, it is hard to beat. It is nice to get my workout in without all of the over the top bodybuilders strutting around. If you just want to get in and get out, give it a shot.

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Consistency During A Pandemic

Weights not being used

Are you having trouble staying consistent with your workout during the pandemic? You are not alone.

On the surface, you would think that the pandemic would be good for workout consistency. After all, with forced shutdowns and there generally being less to do, you have more free time. There are a number of problems though.

No Gyms

The biggest problems is that gyms are just not open. Many of them have permanently shuttered, some are temporarily closed and others, you just do not want to risk going to. Even with the best of cleaning, a gym remains a real risk if you are doing your best to stay healthy and free of the virus.


Another problem is that despite the extra free time, we can get rather apathetic. The attitude of “what is the point” tends to creep in. You have more free time, but your routine has still been changed and you probably do not like it. Things are just different now and, what is the point of looking good anyway, especially when you can not go out and show it off.

Getting The Drive Back

There comes a time in just about everyone’s fitness program where they simply lose track and lose focus. It happens to everyone, but these are the times when you need to step up. Here are some things that you can do.

Invest In A Home Gym

The gym is a great place to work out in good times, but now might be the time to make the leap to working out at home.

This sounds like an expensive proposition, but it does not have to be. Look to Craigslist to find cheap used fitness equipment. If nothing is available, go with the new market, but start out with the basics. It is amazing what you can do with just an adjustable bench and a set of dumbbells. Start there and add equipment as budget allows.

Think About The Future

This pandemic will not last forever. In fact, with the speed at which vaccines are coming around, we could see some real relief by next Spring. Think about that, Spring. Do you want to be out of shape at that time or do you want to be ready to enjoy the beach?

Think of yourself as being in a cocoon right now. When you emerge in the Spring or Summer next year, do you want to still be a caterpillar or do you want to be a butterfly.

Chat Online

One thing that we miss about the gym is the camaraderie. Working out with fellow body builders can help give you motivation. Perhaps it would be a good idea to start chatting on some of the fitness boards like It could be just the thing to keep you in the body building scene.

Above all else boys and girls, keep lifting and stay with it. We will get through this together and come out better on the other side.

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Mixing It Up

Mixing things up with a mixer

Do your muscles get bored?

Many people say yes, they do. They say that you should mix up your workout to get the most gains. While most people do the same thing every day, they say that you should constantly be varying your workout to get the most benefit.

So, is this true?

In my opinion, after years of workouts I can honestly say, I don’t know.

To be honest, I have never noticed too much difference between varying my workout and doing the same thing. That might be because my standard workout is pretty involved though. I already hit my muscles from just about every angle so for me, it is probably not necessary to vary my workout.

Now that this is out of the way, you should know that there still might be some strong reasons to vary your workout and mix it up. Everyone is different, so here are some reasons that you might consider changing your routine.

Changing Your Routine

Hit muscles from a different angle.

If your workout is not as varied as mine or is a bit simpler, you might want to change up your exercises to hit the muscles differently. There are many little helper muscles that you might not be hitting with your regular workout.

Build a different type of strength.

For most of us, we want size and strength. But what about endurance? You might be able to bench 315 pounds but how many times can you press 225? At the NFL combine, for example, the 225 press is one of the main events. How do you compare to these guys? It might be nice to build up the endurance and see.

End the workout boredom.

Doing the same thing each and every day can get quite tedious. It can make you dread your workout and possibly even limit your motivation. You can keep things interesting by varying your workout and adding some new and possibly more challenging lifts.

How To Mix Things Up

Change The Exercise

This is the most obvious way to change your routine. Move from the bench press to the incline press or dumbell press. Change from leg curls to stiff legged dead lifts. There are hundreds of different lifts out there, all you have to do is search for them.

Change The Reps

If you normally press heavy with low reps, switch it up. Move to a lower weight and higher reps. A little time building endurance could eventually spawn new gains in strength.

Move Your Days Around

Sometimes, just switching your days around can make things interesting again. Move your leg day from Tuesday to Thursday or switch from a 5 day workout week to a 4 day one.

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Max Out For Max Strength

Working out for maximum muscle

In weight lifting, as you have probably already noticed, everyone has an opinion about what is best. Some say high reps, and some say go with low reps.

Just like everyone else, I have an opinion and here it is. If you want to get strong, you have to lift heavy.

Your body adapts to what pressure you put upon it. If you want to be strong, you have to tell it that it needs to get stronger. This means pushing as much weight as possible and maxing out.

Personally, I like to max out every time I workout to push my body and while my 355 pound max bench is not the greatest in the world, it tells me that I am stronger than the average guy and is not to bad for a 45 year old. It tells me that I am doing something right.

Lifting heavy might not work for you but if you are stalling on your gains, perhaps you should give it a try.

Lifting Heavy Safety Tips

First, here are some tips to helping you lift heavy. Take them all under consideration because maxing out is dangerous I will be the first to say that. Not only will you be placing a large amount of weight over your body, but you will be stressing your muscles and tendons. This puts you at risk for injury. Be careful and listen to your body.

Use A Spotter

If you can, work out with a buddy. A spotter can not only help you lift that weight smoothly but they can also help you complete a rep should you stall.

Use A Safety Cage

If a spotter is not available, use a safety cage. and set it up properly. Before you place any weight on the bar, make sure the safety bar will stop the weight before it hits any part of your body. Do a trial rep with no weight on the bar to make sure the settings are right.

Do Not Use Weight Clamps

If you do not have a spotter or a safety cage, working out with max weight is NOT advised. If you must though, at least ditch the weight clamps. If you use the clamps to hold the weights on and fail, the weight is stuck on the bar. If you leave the clamps off, you can tilt the bar and slide the weights off to free yourself in an emergency.

Warm Up

Never go straight to your max weight. I like to do a pyramid routine where I work my way up to max weight and then work back down. If you go right to your max, you risk tearing a muscle or tendon.

Take Longer Breaks

It takes about 5 minutes for you to regain 95 percent of your strength after a lift. It pays to wait between sets. Do your cardio at some other time, weight lifting is not about getting that heart rate up, it is about pushing the most weight.

Listen To Your Body

If something does not feel right, STOP. A minor pull often proceeds a major one, so do not try to push yourself too hard if your body is telling you that it is hurt. There have been many times when I have stopped my routine because I felt off and many times that I dod not and regretted it.

Finishing Up

Lifting heavy is not for everyone but it might just work for you. If you have stalled and need to change things up, give it a try. Just take it seriously. Using max weight can be dangerous, especially if you do it often. Listen to your body and take the necessary precautions.

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Are Supplements Worth It?

Do You Need Suplements

One of the biggest questions that we get all the time is about supplements. What supplements should I be taking?

The bodybuilding industry has made it appear like you will never get any kind of results without supplements. They parade these super bulky athletes out there who claim to use “supplement x”. “Supplement x” is what allowed me to build bulk, get super ripped and have women hanging off of me.

Well, let me tell you what helped most of these guys get ripped, steroids!

In fact, the only supplement that will really help you get huge is steroids. That is not what you want to do though, I am just saying that it is ridiculous to think some formula in a bottle is going to do anything for you. But that is what they try to make you believe.

Having said that, there are just two things that you should consider incorporating into your life. Both are totally unnecessary if you are eating a balanced diet. Those two things are a multivitamin and protein powder.

If you are eating a good diet, you do not need either but most people, quite frankly, do not eat a good diet.

About Multivitamins

This is the most important of the two things above because few people get all of the vitamins that they need through eating their regular meals. Are foods are so processed and overcooked that vitamins have a hard time getting to you. Just a simple “One A Day” vitamin can do wonders, no need to go with anything fancy.

About Protein Powder

Most people actually do not need this because they get enough protein in their diet. You do not need near as much protein as the industry says. One gram per pound of  lean mass is plenty. So, if you weight 200 pounds, 150 grams of protein a day will be just fine.

Since an 8 ounce chicken breast has about 70 grams of protein, you should have no problem getting enough protein in your diet from regular food. If you do find the need to supplement, one protein shake a day will probably suffice. The supplement industry does not want to promote that message because they have to move those huge tubs of powder.

In Conclusion

So, to wrap things up. Eat a balanced diet and you do not need to add any supplements to your diet. Take that money that you would be spending on supplements and use it towards your regular meals. Hit the farmers market and stock up on veggies in a variety of colors. Variety is key to getting all of your nutrients.

In addition, try to get several portions of lean protein a day and you should be able to easily meet all of your protein needs without having to chug down a glass of powder.

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3 Keys To Gaining Muscle Naturally

People have all sorts of ideas about what it takes to build muscle. Some will do crazy workout plans and some will try every supplement on the shelf. You do not have to go to extremes to gain muscle as long as you are consistent with your regime and do these three things.

One: Workout hard and heavy. Who cares about supersets and workouts designed to fatigue a muscle. You can wear your muscles out with low weight high rep exercises but it won’t make you bigger. You will build endurance which is great but it won’t add muscle. The trick to building muscle is to lift heavy at low reps. Shoot for doing a 95% max lift at every workout.

Two: Eat a balanced diet. This does not mean that you need to eat god awful amounts of protein. One gram of protein per pound of lean muscle is sufficient. In addition to protein, you need to eat fat as well. You need fat to make testosterone and build muscle. You can play with your carb intake as you like. Take in enough to have energy without packing on the fat.

Three: Get plenty of sleep. This is where most people fail. It can be hard to get enough sleep but this is when your body repairs itself the most and releases growth hormone. Eight hours is the minimum that you should get. If you can swing it, 9-10 hours is best. If you do not get enough sleep, you are hurting your chances for growth.

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