Trevor Linden recently announced that he's a business partner in a new gym called Club 16 - Trevor Linden Fitness

He joins another BC sports hero turned fitness entrepreneur, Steve Nash, who lends his name to the Steve Nash Sports Clubs chain.

Linden's new gym won't be quite as fancy as the flagship downtown Vancouver Steve Nash Sports Club, but it will be a big commercial gym full of cardio equipment, weight machines, free weights and the like.

I like both guys and think they're a great fit for a gym to brand themselves under. In this day and age of drug doping, philandering athlete celebrities, both Nash and Linden seem down to earth and live what they preach by staying in great shape year-round. In addition to a long NHL career, Linden has been an avid cyclist and mountain biker for years and Nash is a pretty decent soccer player on top of being an outstanding pro basketball player.

But does having their name on a gym help you get into shape?

I suppose their local celebrity status may attract more people to the gym. And that's not a bad thing. But I'm still not a fan of big commercial gyms.

The Problem with Commercial Gyms

I was checking out the Club 16 - Trevor Linden Fitness (just saying the name burns 10 calories) website which promises the club will have lots and lots of cardio machines and circuit training available along with the latest weight training machines. Original concept isn't it?

While I've got nothing against Linden (or Nash), I do have plenty of issues with big commercial gyms. While they all promise to provide something new and different, they all still provide a similar training environment. Their monthly dues might be vary, but it's pretty hard to tell them apart.

My biggest issue with big gyms is their over-reliance on machines to provide a workout. I view most gyms as nothing but giant fitness assembly lines. Plop the customer in at one end of the maze, have them do some movements on different machines and then pop out the other end, fit as a fiddle.

You could set up a home gym for the same amount some commercial gyms charge for one month's dues and you could get just as good, if not a better workout. Use your bodyweight as resistance along with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, rocks, exercise bands, logs and whatever else you have laying around. (I've used all of these things for a workout). Some cable machines are good to use occasionally, but most of your strength training should be done on your own feet, not strapped to some machine.

And I'm not a big believer in doing a lot of cardio indoors. Get outside if you want to get your heart rate up; you're not made of sugar and won't melt in the rain. It's better for your overall health.

Indoor training should focus on strength training. And if you must do cardio indoors, a $20 skipping rope beats most cardio machines in terms of its effectiveness. I've seen people almost fall asleep peddling aimlessly on a stationary bike but I've never seen anyone do that while trying to skip rope. 

How to Get the Most Bang out of Your Gym

If you do go to a gym, the best thing you can do for yourself is get some sessions with a personal trainer. Watch them work; you'll be able to tell who the good ones are.

Getting advice on how to do exercises correctly and how to set up an effective, time-efficient fitness program can save you a ton of time and get you better results, quicker. It may cost more money upfront but it will be worth it. 

It's no wonder people don't stick to exercise programs. Who can get excited about sitting on some machine mindlessly pumping out reps? A workout should be challenging enough to engage you both mentally and physically.

While I wish Linden all the best in his new business venture, and I'm sure it will be a success, you won't catch me there reading my book while pumping away on the elliptical machine. Here's what I'm likely to be doing instead.

Read about Trevor Linden's home and real estate business.