What image does the word gym conjure up for you?
A hi-tech, confusing torture chamber filled with beautiful bodies?
A sawdust covered floor where massive muscle marys are taking turns to swap pumping iron and pumping steroids?
Or maybe its somewhere that you can get fit for cricket. You already know that I think a gym is an essential place for almost all cricketers, so what is the ideal gym for cricketers to go to?
If the truth be told, the answer will be different for individual players. Everyone has different requirements and facilities available to them.
All I hope to do is show you the options and help you decide what works best for you.
But before we get to the 7 things to look for, lets take an overview of the gym world:
Types of gym
Essentially there are 3 types of gym:
- Luxurious. These gyms are the places that give you everything: Fitness, pampering and excellent service. Usually part of a chain, they often have lots of extras like a spa, pool and grooming. The gyms tend to be based on weight lossrather than strength and conditioning, but often there are excellent instructors.
- Hardcore. The hardcore gyms tend to go for bodybuilders, power lifters and other serious trainers. They are independently run and have great free weight facilities and hardly any running machines. My local Spit & Sawdust gym has 1 stationary bike for example. The instructor quality is more varied.
- Inbetween. Most gyms are somewhere between these 2 extremes. Some start out as hardcore and expand, some try to appeal to everyone. Each one will be slightly different.
What should cricketers look for in a gym?
Now you know the 3 types, you can go to your local gyms armed with the following questions:
- How far is it from my house? If you have to go out of your way to get to the gym you are less likely to go. Choose somewhere that is conveniently near your house or work. Im lucky that I have two gyms within walking distance. That would be ideal.
- What are the opening hours? We all have busy lives. Its no good joining a gym that will be closed when you can go. Its also pointless paying extra for a gym with long opening hours if you know you will always be there a 5pm.
- What are the staff like? Do the instructors have an awareness of the specific requirements of cricket or are they trying to fit you into their mould? Ask what sport training they have done with others and what kind of training they think is best for you.Find out how friendly and prepared to help the instructors are by chatting to them.
- Is it clean and safe? Look around for equipment that is out of order and make sure you check the changing rooms. If the place is dirty and unsafe steer clear, but that doesnt mean avoid a gym if it is a bit rough round the edges. Many excellent independent gyms run on a shoestring.
- What are the members like? Take some time to talk to the people working out. Are they friendly and interested? What is the general atmosphere like? If you dont feel comfortable you wont go back even if you join.
- What equipment do they have? As a cricketer you will not have much need for stationary bikes or rowing machines, although treadmills can be handy. Do they have a few light weights only or are you amazed by the size of the squat rack? Ideally you will be looking for a good range of free weights or weight machines.
- How much is it? Luxurious gyms cost a lot more but you get plenty of facilities. You might like to have a spa or masseuse on hand, in which case paying more is sensible, but dont pay for things that you are not going to use.