Big Bold Predictions for 2010: Part 1 – The Minimalist Gym

I hope you're having a very safe and happy holiday season thus far.

It's the usual "craziness" in the Lopez household with family time, family time and more family time.  

Food, as I'm sure you know already, has been abundant for the past week. I've managed to keep things under control by making sure that I fill my plate with vegetables and limiting my starchy carbohydrate intake. I'm not a big drinker either so I haven't consumed many "empty" calories.

From a workout standpoint, I haven't picked up a kettlebell in a week! I'm taking these 2 holiday weeks off and am just doing some bodyweight training.

I got a copy of Combat Conditioning from Craig Ballantyne for Christmas, so I've been devouring it and really getting into the handstand push-ups and back bridges.

A few weeks ago, Craig asked me to give him my 3 Bold Fitness Predictions for 2010 for a report that he did that you can pick-up HERE.

My predictions are based mainly on my own experiences and how I see the fitness and health industry evolving.

My life lately, has taken a bit of a minimalist "turn". Maybe it's because I have 5 kids or maybe it's because as I get older I'm starting to realize that there are other things that are more important than "stuff" – like family, friends, relationships.

Some say that I'm taking this SIMPLICITY thing a little too far because I shaved my head on Christmas Eve. 

In saying that, I do think that Living With Enough and Simplicity will be big themes for a lot of people for 2010, so with that my 1st Big Bold Prediction for the Fitness Industry in 2010 is the rebirth of… 

The Minimalist Gym – Machine-less & Cardio-less gyms.

I knew this was coming  for a while now, it was just a matter of timing. Now, with everyone being "spending conscious" and living simpler lives, it looks like that time is now. 

There are only a handful of gyms/training facilities doing this currently, but I think the concept of gyms without treadmills, ellipticals, butt blasters and ad/abductor machines is going to go mainstream. Partly because of the economic times (big cardio machines are expensive) and partly because the end user is becoming a lot smarter and more informed than before.  

It's becoming less and less of a secret that machines are unnatural and that cardio flat out sucks. Now I'm starting to notice more gym owners educating themselves or hiring staff who actually know what they're doing and are advising against recumbent bikes, leg curl machines and ab crunchers. 

So now, you'll see more people doing metabolic weight training, kettlebell swings, bodyweight circuits, short distance sprints and interval training instead of cardio.  People will be squatting and deadlifting more, using free weights, barbells & kettlebells. And trainers are going to have to work a lot harder – no more standing by a treadmill talking to your client while he or she walks for 10-minutes to warm-up.

If I were to put together my own facility, there wouldn't be a machine in sight.

I'd have ropes hanging from the ceiling for climbing (like in PE class), a series of different horizontal bars of various heights for chin-ups, 1 or 2 power racks, a glute-ham raise, dumbbells that went up to 100lbs, a bunch of kettlebells and club bells and 1000 square feet of open space.

As a director of the gym, I would make it mandatory that all participants complete and master proper form on the basic bodyweight exercises (or their variations) – squats, push-ups, (assisted) chin-ups, bridges, planks, etc.

My Philosophy … You don't have much business using external resistance if you can't handle your own bodyweight.

 It's not sexy, and a lot of keeners will be put off by that statement, but this isn't about milking you for your gym membership money.

It's about delayed gratification and long-term results.

After all, anything really worth achieving requires hard work and patience.

Stay tuned for Big Bold Prediction #2 coming on Wednesday.

Enjoy your holidays!


p.s. Don't forget to pick-up your copy of the TT Kettlebell Revolution and get 2010 started off the right way!

=> Get your copy of the TT Kettlebell Revolution HERE




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  • Reply January 1, 2010

    Sara Hutniak

    Hi Chris,
    Happy New Year to you and your lovely family, and thanks for a great post. I couldn’t agree more, that less is more. So often I’ve walked into gyms and all you can see is rows of treadmills, bikes and massive resistance equipment and people using them incorrectly because they haven’t mastered the basics of a squat or pushup.

    I guess I’ve been a minimalist, too. Not buying into all the fitness equipment fads that come and go. I would love to learn more getting a kettlebell certification like you have. I purchased the TT Kettlebell Revolution and it’s amazing, but as a trainer I would like to get a bit more “how-to” skills so I can feel more confident teaching this to my clients in the safest and most effective way possible. Can you provide me some info on how you got this awesome credential? Thanks Chris. Keep up the excellent blog posts with very informative information.

  • Reply January 19, 2010

    Graham Gayle


    I love your kettle bell exercises. Could you tell me where to go to get other ones.

    I agree with Sara that when you go to the gym all you see are people doing those bikes and tread mills and they still look the same. So sad.


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