Above is a photo of where I have been working out lately – a Chicago park district gym across the hallway from where my daughter takes a tumbling class. Yes, Chicago Reader’s 2012 Best Personal Trainer works out at a $17 per month 1,000 square foot public gym. It is very simple and limited in it’s equipment but it doesn’t matter. It fits my schedule and my needs. I get in a quick workout while my daughter enjoys a class 100 feet away. Any one of you could get in a great workout at a gym like this. Sometimes it’s important to resist being charmed by the new and shiny. The old dumbbells in the corner will work just as well.
The other day, I overheard another trainer’s client lament “Ah, these aren’t the good dumbbells.” I smiled a little and continued training. This person preferred the newer gym dumbbells – shiny handles and rubberized heads, a strong contrast to the worn and weathered metal variety.
I smiled because, how much more irrelevant could appearance be than with dumbbells? What is a dumbbell’s job? Be a consistent external load, must have handle. Appearance is irrelevant. Shiny and rubberized are not going to make your biceps any stronger, form any better or feet any safer than the older, uglier weight in the corner.