Why Old School Gyms Are Important

Why Old School Gyms Are Important

-Matthew Cavalie

Over the last fifteen years, we have become so remarkably connected. Just about everyone alive today has access to a plethora of avenues of communication at the palm of their hands. Conversations with people from across the world can happen in a video format. We can distribute ideas and content on platforms to millions of followers with the press of just a few buttons. There is no better time for the flow of information than right now. For those of us who are serious about training, this is a great thing. We can now get information straight from the horse’s mouth. Just about every athlete, coach or fitness influencer has multiple platforms on the internet that are mostly free to public consumption. You can get training and nutrition tips from advanced professionals at just about no cost. Unfortunately, there is a trade off with the ease of access to information. People are talking face to face less and less. How many times have you gone to some big corporate owned gym and everyone is isolated in their own corner. They’ve got headphones on and they’re training completely alone in silence. They could even be doing the same routine as someone next to them, but they’ll hardly look up to give a quick “Hi.” People don’t really train together anymore.

This isn’t a knock on big corporate gyms, and this isn’t a knock on people who train alone. Those corporate gyms tend to have solid equipment and are typically quite nice. I also almost train alone exclusively, so I understand that time constraints and responsibilities dictate when you can get your work done. However, something has to be said about the environment and culture of old school gyms. Whether it be in a garage or a warehouse, these gyms take a life of their own. The members are all there for one common goal: to be better. Whether the establishment caters to powerlifters, strongmen/women, CrossFitters or to a variety of athletes, everyone is trying to work together to improve. Weights are being slammed, loud music is blaring from the speakers and the members are yelling out to motivate their comrades. There’s an energy in the air in places like this, and people who love to train and push themselves should do what they can to find them. Places like that are organic. They aren’t neatly packaged, labeled and sold to you in a little bag. It’s an experience that cultivates a winning environment.


Outside of the camaraderie and the energetic environment, why are places like this so good for development? It is because the people are talking to each other. They are communicating ideas and critiquing each other in real time. They are helping each other with their form and motivating each other to push past limitations. They don't check their social media to see if their favorite influencers have posted anything relevant to what they’re trying to accomplish. The people are actively working together to figure out what they need to do to get better. They aren’t talking about all the noise and distractions outside. They aren’t debating and arguing about politics. Half the time they probably don’t even know or care about the other person’s political ideology. All the differences between them are left at the door, because they’re all there to accomplish one thing: to get stronger. I’ve met a lot of people during my time at the Atlas Strength Shop. They have all come from different backgrounds and walks of life, and I don’t think any of them really cared much about what my thoughts were on politics and all the other crap people like to argue about. From what I could gather, or really ever cared about, they just wanted a cool place to lift some weights. Strength training has become a passion of mine, and I only want to share that with whoever comes in the door. To me, everything else is a distraction inside those walls.

Old school warehouse style gyms are where some of the best and most competitive athletes are made. It’s also where a lot of ingenuity and creativity can be found. When you’re in an environment that fosters conversation and communication, ideas develop. People can discuss their training programs, form and technique, nutrition and even psychology. Whenever you have people who are all working together for a common goal, they all bring their own skill set and experience to the table. Novice lifters are learning from advanced lifters, and advanced lifters are learning new tricks from younger up and comers. Warehouse style gyms are conducive to learning, and a lot of that learning can be done for free. Having a personal trainer or a coach is fantastic, but it’s not always affordable for a lot of people, especially younger trainees. Being in such an environment may not be quite as good as having that coach, but it’s arguably the next best thing. At the very least people will have the opportunity to train with and question people who have decades of training experience.


Whether it’s a box gym, a garage gym or warehouse gym, these kinds of places create an environment that can be crucial to the physical development of young athletes that you just aren’t likely to find in a big corporate chain gym. In an age where people communicate less and less in person, these places allow young people to do just that: communicate. Interpersonal communication is not only crucial to the physical development of young bodies, it is also crucial to the development of young minds. People are given the opportunity to work with people who may otherwise have nothing in common with them outside of the gym. They learn to disregard differences and work together to achieve a common goal, and that is how greatness is achieved.

If you’re looking for your own old school warehouse gym to call home, check out the Atlas Strength Shop. Send an email to cameron@atlasstrengthshop.com for your next visit. You can also find our apparel here on the website as well as find information about our coaching. Be sure to like our Facebook page, and follow us on Instagram. Do you need a high quality energy supplement that won’t leave you with that crashing feeling? Check out veteran owned strikeforceenergy.com and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order. If you need a new mouthguard to protect your teeth, checkout impactmouthguard.com and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH to get 10% off of your own custom molded and custom designed mouthguard.


On April 23, 2022, the Atlas Strength Shop will be hosting the first ever Louisiana’s Strongest Man/Woman. If you want to test your mettle, claim Louisiana’s Strongest title and help push the strongman movement in Louisiana, checkout ironpodium.com for all registration information. Don’t forget to take advantage of the early bird pricing.


“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt