Rich vs. Poor

Now I live in a middle-class area, compared to Bacon-not-books, South Carolina.  The gym I go to, however, tends towards upper class people, for two reasons.  First of all, it has a lot of indoor tennis courts.  I am a big fan of tennis even though I have not played it since sixth grade and watch an average of 45 seconds of televised tennis a year.  This is because the vast majority of the yuppie douchebags, tubby soccer moms, and uppity geezers at my gym play tennis instead of cluttering the weight room. 

It is not uncommon for me to arrive at the gym to find the main parking lot totally full with 60? cars.  But, upon entering the gym, there are two ladies on the cardio machines, one old guy on the weight machines and no one on the free weight area.  The tennis courts are full.  There are old guys in the locker room with their pants off talking about racquetball.  The saunas and hot tub are presumably full.  There are 15 gross women and 5 dorky guys having a wine and cheese party (i’m not kidding) by the tables and chairs that overlook the tennis courts.  Thank goodness for tennis.

Also, my gym is very expensive ($50 a month).  But it is only $30 for students, and less if they run student specials.  So you get a wider variety of social classes in the college group.  I stopped being a grad student a year ago, but I am still going on my recurring student membership.  Shhh.  (Actually I think they have a military/veteran deal anyway, which I’d be eligible for)

Gyms in poor and affluent areas are different.  This is not a comprehensive list, and I have no idea what goes on in a free gym in the inner city, or Beverly Hills Fitness.


  • Very few people actually use the gym at all
  • Men often work out in their work clothes (work boots, jeans, wifebeater) after just taking off their top shirt
  • Average fitness level is very low (most people don’t even know how the machines work), but a few outliers are incredible (the area in SC where I lived consistently produces NFL and top college players – I remember one hulk coming in and doing a seated military press with 315×8 – and with good form)
  • Obesity is epidemic
  • Very few hot girls, as they tend to have kids early, then just get fatter and fatter
  • Lifters seem unaware of the internet, books, etc, and just completely make up their own programs.  If you say the word “crossfit” you’d be met with blank stares.

Upper-Middle Class

  • Gym is always full.  In a similar-sized population area, there are, on average, 15 times as many people in my gym as there were in SC.
  • Many men and women have expensive, color-coordinated outfits (lots of lycra for the ladies, Nike/Underarmor/Adidas stuff for the guys)
  • Average fitness level is medium.  People know how the equipment is used, or they get a trainer to show them. No exceptional athletes (who typically train at a “hardcore” facility, or with their sports team)
  • There are a few fatties, mostly getting “Biggest Loser” style workouts from a trainer, but most people are “trim and toned.”
  • Loads of hot girls.  A lot of cougars and MILFs who drop the kids off at school, then hit the elliptical or aerobics class.
  • Lifters are mostly on some program from the internet, a book, or at least a muscle magazine.  Everyone has heard of crossfit and some have actually been to a “box”

Now that I’m done playing sociologist, here was today’s workout:

Front Squat: 45×4, 95×3, 135×2, 175, 215, 255, 285, 305, 315, 325, 335; 275,280,285,290,295,300×1, 275,280×2

Not counting that front squat harness record any more.

Push Press: 45×6, 95×3, 135×2, 175, 195, 205, 215, 225, 230; 190,195,200,205,210,215,220,225,229, 190,195,200,205,210×2 190×3,3

My wrists were stiff, which prevented me from getting a good rack position until halfway through my volume sets.  Need to fix this, as I could have done a lot more.

RDL: 185×3, 255×2, 305×1, 330×3, 235,240,245,250,255×3

Note: Even though I’ve been going up on my RDL, I don’t use straps and my form is still pretty good.  This is bogus. Just because you don’t have to touch the floor with the weights doesn’t mean you can just do a Dimel Deadlift.  This is better.  Dude is strong – but his back is not in the right position.  Here’s how to do it. Note: just skip to about 9 minutes in, unless you are totally clueless, or like hearing Rip ramble.I

Pullups: 6,6


3 thoughts on “Rich vs. Poor

  1. stockholm population consists of a very high percentage of single people in their 30(+)s. thus, most gyms are overcrowded. preferably by people like you describe, who have bought the whole crossfit package, knee-high socks and all.

    • haha, i wear knee high socks everyday because I deadlift everyday and my shins would be hamburger otherwise. My ex-5/3/1 pal wears them on his DL days (i.e. weekly) Please post more things about the gym scene in Sweden. Have you ever been to the US?

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