Multiple Gym Memberships: Ideal or Overkill?

Multiple Gym Memberships

What the hell? You have multiple gym memberships?

That’s right.

Three to be exact.

And I’ll probably have more soon…

To most people this seems like overkill.

Or crazy…

Just give me a minute and I’ll show you why YOU probably need multiple gym memberships as well.

I assure you, it’s not overkill.

Sometimes it’s absolutely essential.

I’m a member at several different gyms because each gym serves a different purpose.

Do I recommend this for everyone? Not really.

But if you have the money and actually USE THEM, multiple gym memberships may be exactly what you need to take your training to the next level.

Different gyms specialize in different areas, and it’s very rare that you find one single gym that has everything you need… or is it want?

All you really NEED is your body, a barbell with some weights, and somewhere to do pullups. You can build an entire program with barebones equipment like that.

But I don’t like barebones… I like my toys.

I don’t have a problem spending money on training and lifting.

#1 — One For Business

First and foremost comes the place I do business.

I have a membership to a private gym where I train my own clients.

I pay the owner a small fee each time I service a session, and I have a key to access the gym whenever I want.

Everything is based on the honor code. Nothing is tracked, there is no overhead, and I have complete use of the facility.

There’s no extra hassle for my clients. They don’t even need memberships as long as they’re with me.

The cherry on top?

This is a hardcore powerlifting gym.

I’m surrounded by people squatting 400+ lbs and pulling over 500 lbs… FOR REPS.

We’ve got all the old school Hammer Strength equipment, trap bars, chains, chalk, and good music. Classic rock and the like… none of that catchy “corporate approved” BS.

When it’s warm, we throw open the big bay doors and let the fresh air inside. There is no AC, just a big industrial heater hanging from the ceiling for the winter.

This environment really rubs off on you.

It’s motivating as hell, and it’s exactly what you need to make some serious gains without any of the distractions you’ll find at a commercial gym.

Which brings us to…

#2 — One For Bodybuilding

This is my commercial gym membership, and where I do most of my bodybuilding routines.

You’d know the gym if I told you the brand, but I’m not sending them any business.

Here, I have access to a wider range of isolation and cable machines, plus all your standard equipment.

Everything is modern and decently clean, but this gym definitely doesn’t have any hardcore or old school equipment.

They’re too neutered for that and don’t want to scare away the senior citizens…

Despite this, you can absolutely build a physique here.

They have locations all over the country, so I’m able to use them whenever I’m out of town.

This was one of the biggest benefits for me during my first few years of lifting. Back when I worked in tech, I had to travel to different office locations all around Seattle depending on the project.

Having the flexibility to use any nearby gym made my training much more convenient and allowed me to avoid rush hour in the evening since I would usually lift until traffic died down.

Finally, I also have access to a bunch of extras at these gyms — saunas, steam rooms, pools, large studio rooms with mirrors, towel service, and even free classes which I never attend.

I don’t use these amenities all the time, but they’re nice little additions, especially the sauna!

#3 — One For Boxing

My last membership is to the boxing academy.

The academy has 30 heavy bags and an Olympic-size boxing ring, as well as a small weightlifting area.

I attend the morning classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and then Friday nights we have hard sparring for anyone that wants to throw down.

Each day of the week has a different focus.

Mondays are focus mitts, Wednesdays are bag days, and Fridays are power days with shields.

After warming up with jump rope and shadowboxing, we’ll pair up with a partner and work on the focus for that day.

I take every opportunity I can get to work directly with my coach, and these are always the hardest days…

But that’s exactly what I want. Training shouldn’t be easy…

I love the days where I get to go six or more rounds, back-to-back with my coach. There’s been a few days where I’ve put in well over twelve rounds between shadowboxing, mitt work, and sparring.

We typically end each class with some light sparring drills, pushups, and core work.

And then a select few of us started the tradition of finishing off with the speed bag.

Other than learning self-defense, one of the biggest benefits of a martial arts academy is the community.

Where bodybuilding and powerlifting is usually more of a solitary endeavor, training martial arts at a legit academy will help you forge bonds with other people on a similar path with a similar mindset.

At some point, I’ll have to open myself up to another community and start training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu , but for now I’m focused on striking.

How To Decide Which Gym To Use

Never sign up for a gym online unless you know what you’re getting into.

I highly recommend visiting the actual location beforehand, so you’ll know what type of equipment they have, how much space there is, and the types of people who go there.

You don’t want to be a powerlifter at a gym with mostly senior citizens… It’s only a matter of time before you’ll get thrown out for slamming weights.

You don’t want to be a bodybuilder at a gym that doesn’t have isolation equipment or cable machines… Unlike what some people believe, free weights aren’t always the best option to target a muscle group.

You don’t want to be a martial artist at a gym with only one heavy bag… You’re never going to be combat ready that way. You need a true academy and people to spar.

Your gym needs to fit your intended purpose.

I’m not going to bodybuild at the boxing academy. I’m not going to box at the powerlifting gym. And I’m not going to powerlift at the bodybuilding gym.

This should be common sense, but some people need it spelled out for them.

When you have multiple gym memberships, you’re able to make these choices on the fly based on what you intend to do that day. This usually comes down to several factors:

  • Equipment selection.
  • The time of day.
  • Travel time and distance from home or work.
  • Familiarity with the facility.
  • Convenience or additional amenities.
  • And whether you’re meeting a training partner.

What I’m intending to train, and in which manner, has a HUGE impact on the gym I select each day.

For example, let’s say I intend to destroy legs.

That means I’ll want somewhere with a high probability of a squat rack being available, as well as the presence of an angled hack squat and hinging leg press. Why? Because that’s the equipment I like to use.

It would be stupid for me to go to a busy gym during prime time that only has two squat racks. I’ll most likely have to wait for equipment, so a better choice would be a gym with more squat racks.

But at the same time, I’m not going to drive an hour out of my way to go train in downtown Seattle when a suitable gym is five minutes away…

Now, let’s say I have a CrossFit-style circuit planned (and yes, I occasionally do these).

This changes everything.

A challenging circuit like that means I’ll need somewhere I can safely drop weights without damaging the floor, and somewhere that has plenty of space for performing several movements near each other.

It’s hard to train like this with any intensity at a commercial gym. You probably can’t drop weights and they’ll say you’re “hogging equipment” or being “dangerous.”

A warehouse-style gym would be a better option… just like most CrossFit boxes.

Finally, let’s say I’m training with a partner.

It’d be pointless going to a gym without a guest policy or a way for me to get them in.

This stuff isn’t rocket science.

Figure out what’s in your area and which gyms will work for you.


Nick Hagood
Demons & Destiny

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