By “high-end gyms,” I’m referring to places like Equinox, where you can easily pay well over $100 per month for a gym membership. Every amenity under the sun is at your disposal—as long as you’re willing to pay top dollar for them. The very latest, top-of-the-line equipment? Check. Large flat-screen televisions throughout the facility? Naturally. Steam rooms and saunas? You got it. Eucalyptus-scented towelettes handed to you as you enter the locker room? But of course!
Many “old school” gyms still operate across the country and, in fact, are experiencing something of a rebirth, offering “authenticity” the way many fancy places offer cryotherapy. These places tend to fall more often into the no-judgment zones where you are welcomed no matter how much you lift or where you got your workout gear. Some of these places are old, with lots of character and history behind them. Step into one and you may see old photos of long-gone bodybuilding stars, cracked upholstery, and broken, dusty, has-been machines slumped in dark corners. Some people consider these places “dumps,” but others prefer to think of them as “well loved” and “broken in.”