3 Compelling Reasons Why Commercial Gyms Aren't The Answer For Young Athletes & Adolescents

Commercial gyms are fantastic, they offer the general population an opportunity to enter and develop themselves from a physical and mental standpoint… the ratio of strength based to cardio based equipment is an argument for a different time, as our intention here is to focus on their ability to cater to a young athlete and adolescent in helping them develop themselves into the athlete & person they aspire to become

I’ll never forget this story or the day the father told it to me.

He had taken his 14yr old son to the gym with him, as his son wanted to begin developing himself for his football (soccer). The father put aside his ego, and took him to the commercial gym he frequented, as he knew the people there had more knowledge and experience than he did…

But what happened next appalls me… it really grinds my gears

They disregarded the kid… they told him he was too young… and left him to his own devices with the father

They gave the father the time of day, but not the young boy – and the boy left broken-hearted, whilst his father was disgraced

What’s worse – this boy is absolutely exceptional He’s a sponge who is eager to learn and do all he can to better himself – which I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to provide him… he, along with every other Academy kid, make our days what they are, the best days of our lives

But this made me question the whole scenario, including my own adolescent years of training, and the reason The Academy exists… and it was the inspiration for this article


Reason #1: they’re left to their own devices, and if not, it’s expensive

At a commercial gym, young athletes and adolescents are left to their own devices from a training and technique standpoint – and if they employ a trainer for them, it’s incredibly expensive and likely the trainer doesn’t have the knowledge or expertise to help them in an individuliased way

This can be incredibly harmful due to:

  1. Poor technique and periodisation principles being used which can lead to a severe risk of injuries, burnout and poor movement patterns that will stay with them for god knows how long
  2.  It’ll take a chunk out of the families finances, in a society whereby we know from a first-hand-situation how difficult this already us


Reason #2:  They’re left to scour social/etc to figure out what they should be doing…

In this situation, they’re likely to end up doing what they want to do and what they think looks cool, rather than what it is they need…

Their training age is so young, and there’s so much potential for phenomenal growth and education… it’s quite possibly the most crucial stage of their career and life, as the lessons & skills they learn now will stay with them for life and will shape their beliefs and view of the world

They’ll be likely to follow something their idols are doing – even thought their idols have been working for (likely) 10+years on themselves and their craft

What they need is a solid foundation to build their future selves upon… they require the basics and an understanding of technique


Reason #3: They won’t get the individualised approach they need so much

I want to frame this by saying I’m a fan of CrossFit and F45 for what they’ve done for the general demographic, in this setting, however, they’re harmful and don’t have the kids best interests at heart

Why?

Well, they don’t take an individualised approach… we’re all beautiful unique snowflakes, and what we all require is different at a micro level

Yes, we may need more strength, power, speed or explosiveness from a macro level – but what kind of strength, and what’s our intention with it…

A netballer requires a different kind of strength than a footballer, and then if we go even more macro, the different positions within these sports require different things… and even more macro, two GS’s will need two completely different things to help them develop themselves

And if this isn’t happening, then it’s a disservice to the kids – and that’s something we’re incredibly passionate about – giving these kids everything we have to help

We exist for these next generations. Everything we do, every single decision we make is made with theirs and their family’s best interests at heart

BONUS: nobody attacks it from an all-encompassing perspective… these kids need advice and guidance in mindset and nutrition too, as in essence, they’re more important than the training

Nick Maier