A Real Gym

Zach Homol

Growing up in rural West Virginia we had 1 gym in our small town. The gym was roughly 3,000 sq. ft. with a garage door at the end that would stay open all summer. The gym never closed, 24/7 availability so that those who work swing shift would still be able to get a workout in before or after work. There was nothing fancy about the gym. No hot tub, sauna, pool, or towel services. Everyone that came to the gym was there for just 1 reason - to better themselves. At the time, I didn’t realize how rare these gyms were, until I moved to Indiana. I quickly realized that there were NO GYMS in metro Indiana that were like the gym I was accustomed to. I thought for sure moving to a big city there would be dozens of “Hardcore Gyms” I could train at. Man was I wrong. Instead of a “Hardcore gym”, on every corner there is a Planet Fitness or LA Fitness. Now, there is nothing wrong with these gyms. I respect and admire anyone who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle. But these gyms just aren’t cut out for me. Or maybe I’m not cut out for them? Ha - I don’t want the saunas, towel services, hot tubs, quite casual music, and 120 machines getting in my way. I want loud music, weights slamming, chalk, specialty bars, and loud screams of encouragement. I get it - this isn’t for everyone, but for some of us it’s everything. These gyms, the small, gritty hardcore gyms that are few and far between, are so much more than “just a gym” to us. It’s a lifestyle, it’s a mentality, it’s what has molded us into the men and women we are. Speaking for myself, the “hardcore gym” has molded me into the man I am today. From my grit to my work ethic, I owe it to the old rusty weights that I have been slamming around the past decade.

The first 9 months I lived in Indianapolis I jumped from gym to gym trying to find that “Real Gym” atmosphere. I was never able to, and that’s when I decided to open IRON VALLEY BARBELL. Just like the gyms I was accustomed to, Iron Valley Barbell is a “REAL GYM” - no sauna, hot tub, pool, or towel services. But what Iron Valley Barbell does have is goal driven individuals who want to help one another accomplish their goals, a motivational atmosphere that is impossible not to become better in, and a wide verity of specialty equipment for strong man, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. When I opened Iron Valley Barbell I envisioned creating a gym where both athletes and goal driven individuals could train HARD. Walking into Iron Valley Barbell you will hear words of encouragement, weights being slammed, and motivation being spread throughout. It’s hard for some people to understand what is so special about a “Real Gym” or why anyone would want to train in that sort of atmosphere. I truly cannot put the feeling into words. If you have never trained at a real gym and you have the opportunity, I strongly encourage you go and try it out. You will quickly see that putting yourself in that atmosphere will quickly make you better. You will have no choice but to get better. That’s what a real gym does…

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