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  • Gyms

    While I am daydreaming about them, my husband and I came up with some lists about gyms. Nowadays when we travel, gym tourism is a highlight. Curious to hear from others. This is what we got.

    Favorites:

    - Will Power Gym in Hillsboro, OR. Small, clean, good music, and cool posters/pics on the walls. REAL WEIGHTS. Good selection of machines for every body part - carefully chosen & hand picked by Mouss, owner & bodybuilder. Highly motivated and friendly members. Posing room.

    - American Iron in Reno, NV. This is the fucking gym of my dreams. Room after room after room of equipment for bodybuilders, power lifters, and strong men/women. Posing room. Also clean & GREAT music. Seems like an awesome community even though we only trained here once. If I was twenty years younger and serious about competing, I would move to be able to train at this gym.

    - Santa Monica in Granada, Spain. An amazing gym, which is essentially a museum...timeless, unreal. Autographed memorabilia of decades past, original artwork on the walls. Incredible diversity of machines, new and old, including original chain-driven Nautilus. REAL WEIGHTS

    Runners up:

    - West Coast Fitness Lacey, in Lacey, WA. This is our home gym. It's pretty awesome, good selection of weights (two rooms), but too many cardio machines. Varied membership that I sometimes wish was a little more hardcore, but we've got a fair number of competitors. We've got saunas, tanning, smoothie bar. They are community-minded and I love this place.

    - Big Tex in Austin, TX. We have trained here a few times, and this gym opened my eyes to independent gyms. Friendly and family owned. I think the wife is powerlifter and husband is a bodybuilder. Fairly sprawling and definitely a hardcore/old school feel. Tons of strong men equipment and small boxing ring. REAL WEIGHTS.

    - O'Malley's in Troutdale, OR. Great equipment and atmosphere. Hardcore. Owner is a competitive bodybuilder. TVs showing bodybuilding films. Small shop with food products & clothing. Really cool 'look' with bright green equipment and black walls and Incredible Hulk original artwork on the walls.

    - The original Metroflex in Arlington, TX. Historical. You know.

    Gyms on our list yet to visit:

    -
    Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym
    - Quads
    - West Coast Iron
    - Armbrust Pro Gym
    - Gold's Venice
    Last edited by frauke; 03-29-2020, 12:34 AM.


  • #2
    My wish list of gyms to train at, and their respective time periods, in no particular order:

    - The S5 Compound, Present day
    - World Gym, 1983 & 1999
    - Temple Gym, 1992
    - Metroflex Gym, 2003
    - Lee Haney's Animal Kingdom, 1987
    - Gold's Gym, 1974 & 1999
    - Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym, 1999
    - Vince's Gym, Whatever year it was when he called Arnold a fat fuck right to his face. I just want to have been in the room.

    I'm sure there's more, but that's what immediately comes to mind. Some of those don't exist anymore and I don't think I'd want to go to the other ones today other than to just walk through and say I've been there.

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    • #3
      This is a great topic.

      I have trained at more gyms than most in my 35 years of training, some of which still exist while others are gone, unfortunately.

      I have never been to Gold's Gym in Venice because to ME, it isn't the same as the old one. I have no desire to see it or train there, now.

      I spent years training at Armbrust and it is a GREAT gym but it isn't the most well-equipped gym I have trained at. Armbrust is great simply because of the caliber of competitors that train there. It is pretty fucking hardcore, for sure.

      My favorite gyms:

      1. Coffee's Gym in Marietta, GA: It went out of business and someone else took it over so even though it still exists, it is NOTHING like it was when I was there in the early 90s. This was easily one of the best equipped and more hardcore gyms at that time.

      2. The best equipped gyms I have ever trained in were Better Bodies Gyms in Denver. They had 3 and all of them had the same exact equipment. They had EVERYTHING and plenty of it. The atmosphere was not as hardcore as Armbrust or Coffee's but easily the most well-equipped gyms I have ever trained it.

      3. Iron Prodigy Gym in Fort Collins, Colorado: Mutasis (Chris Havekost who is an expert here at IM owns it). This is probably the best gym as far as balance of hardcore vs. old school vs. well-equipped. He has worked harder than any other gym owner that I know of to find the best pieces of equipment for his gym. I taped the TRT bodybuilding off season footage at this gym so if you are interested, you can check it out at TEAMSKIP.com.

      4. Quads Gym in Chicago has been around forever and is well-equipped and hardcore, as well.

      5. Iron Temple Gym in Miami. This is a small, cramped hardcore gym that is card-key entry 24/7. It reminds me of a basement gym with an old-school set up and no air-conditioning. It's brutal but badass.

      6. Miami Iron: Same as Iron Temple but more people and more equipment. Hardcore but not as garage-style as Iron Temple. TONS of competitors -- Kind of the Armbrust of SoFlo.


      Bev Francis' Gym I have not trained in, but I would like to. This gym should have a solid balance of being well-equipped and hardcore, too.


      Honorable mention goes to a gym in Nassau, Bahamas called Better Bodies (but not affiliated with better bodies in the US). I trained there while with a client for a show about a year ago. One of my favorite gyms but not due to huge guys but even smaller, younger dudes were all working together to push each other, yell at each other and even support people they didn't know while they were in the middle of a set. That doesn't happen much these days.


      Skip


      Facebook: Skip Hill
      Instagram: @intensemuscle
      YouTube: TEAMSKIP
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      For Training Inquiries: [email protected]

      Use discount code "SKIP" and get your TEAM SKIP protein here: www.TrueNutrition.com/TEAMSKIPblend

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      • #4
        This is such a great topic.

        I structure all of my planned vacations and business travel (when possible) around Gym Tourism. My wife and I make it a point to hit at least 3 or 4 new ones a year (planned destinations) and then another handful as we traverse the globe solo with our careers.

        Standouts:

        1) West Coast Iron - we spent a week there for the sheer purpose of visiting with Ron and immediately felt like family.

        2) Bev's Powerhouse - it's so well equipped and just emanates intensity.

        3) Steel Fitness and Tan in Oklahoma - ridiculous variety of high-quality equipment.

        4) Apollon in New Jersey - bare bones but something about the place makes you want to move some heavy-ass Iron.

        5) Equinox in South Beach - don't plan on training, just go and take it all in. The clientele is........interesting.

        Speaking more universally, there's something overwhelmingly comforting about being able to walk into any gym and feel like you belong. The gym and bodybuilding culture is amazing and despite the amount of airtime that douche bags and "Influencers" may receive, the iron community overall is one hell of a family.

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        • #5
          By far Train for Valhalla just outside New Orleans: Private gym where you get a tryout period before being accepted fully hardcore gym that is card-key entry 24/7. It reminds me of a dungeon/ basement gym with no air-conditioning. It's brutal and so are the members. Heavy weights being lifted hardcore members. A powerlifting and now strongman area have been added now which makes it HEAVEN

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          • #6
            I currently have a couple on my list but first is Lighting Fitness in Connecticut. Owned by an EliteFTS athlete/writer and it’s in my backyard. The other one is in Miami and I should be there this week with my nutritionist who’s an EliteFTS writer, he’s pretty obscure though....

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ucsumma View Post
              5) Equinox in South Beach - don't plan on training, just go and take it all in. The clientele is........interesting.

              Speaking more universally, there's something overwhelmingly comforting about being able to walk into any gym and feel like you belong. The gym and bodybuilding culture is amazing and despite the amount of airtime that douche bags and "Influencers" may receive, the iron community overall is one hell of a family.
              Now I am intrigued! We may actually end up going to Florida sometime in the next year or two because my husband's folks moved there last year.

              Yep, for sure - that happens a lot at independent gyms. I love it. I don't really socialize much - I get enough of people at my job - but I am missing the gym community, even the people I just exchange nods with on occasion.

              Of course, there are also times like when we were in Spain or Portugal (can't remember which one) and the gym owner told my husband that I should not be deadlifting what I was because "too much strong" (he did not mean it as a compliment) and my husband should not use the glute machine "because that one is for the women." Ha.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by frauke View Post

                Now I am intrigued! We may actually end up going to Florida sometime in the next year or two because my husband's folks moved there last year.

                I'm not positive but I'd venture 80% of the clients were strippers (male and female).

                We always get stares when my wife and I train much more because of her than me. There's something about a female moving big weight that seems to draw unsolicited comments no matter the venue. Did you tell the gym owner overseas that you were trying to "tone and not get too bulky".

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                • #9
                  When I traveled, I usually went to the lounge, which was in the hotel, but they are not always good, in addition, the prices there are just too high. Thank you for this selection. I'll be traveling again after the quarantine, I could use it.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by davg View Post
                    When I traveled, I usually went to the lounge, which was in the hotel, but they are not always good, in addition, the prices there are just too high. Thank you for this selection. I'll be traveling again after the quarantine, I could use it.
                    Is this a gym? I don't understand your response.

                    Skip


                    Facebook: Skip Hill
                    Instagram: @intensemuscle
                    YouTube: TEAMSKIP
                    TikTok: @intensemuscle


                    For Training Inquiries: [email protected]

                    Use discount code "SKIP" and get your TEAM SKIP protein here: www.TrueNutrition.com/TEAMSKIPblend

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I might be a little biased but I think I go to the best gym in America lol. Madhouse in Mableton, Ga.

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