from the February CF Journal:
"The big-box health club industry at large is the concentrated, stinking, gelid mass of the sum total of this silly bullshit. The industry-standard floor configuration is 55 percent of the space in treadmills and the latest fashion in "cardio" equipment. Closing The Sale is the only valued expertise on the staff. Deadlifts and chalk are prohibited, sweating is discouraged, and noise is considered offensive. Squats and presses are understood to be Smith Machine exercises. There is probably a wrist curl machine. The two-year contract sticks it all together."
- Mark Rippetoe, C.S.C.S. & owner of Wichita Falls Athletic Club/CrossFit Wichita Falls
Although I am that young 'kid' in the polo at Gold's, I understand the difference and importance of training for health versus training to look "toned and sexy". "Form follows function"- your body will look more athletic the more athletic you become. I agree with the quote above how most facilities will boast about what equipment they have and to follow whatever is currently hot in the fitness & health world.
We've known for ages how to lose fat and stand more straight. Science has proved it too many times. People are just too lazy to get it done because it takes a lot of time and more importantly, a lot of dedication.
Gym chains primary goals is to keep their membership quotas up. They could care less that you've had back problems for ages, they just want your monthly dues. Costs used for equipment forfeit quality for staff resulting in high turnover rates, in turn lowering success rates for clients. These clients end up not wanting to continue in exercising and fall off back into the unfit population. It's a great business, but it shouldn't be classified within the Health & Fitness category.
So how do we change the public perception of gyms? With education. Word of mouth from a group of people who have seen the changes that stick. Leading by example. Showing more that doing something, and more importantly, doing something right yields the results you've been looking for. Big-box gyms are great for those who already know how to workout, but for the beginning novice, exposure is key.
Not everyone does what's best- only smart ones do.