Your Gym is Too Intimidating

Ahhh, shucks, we’re flattered. However, it just isn’t true.

We hear it almost weekly here at Renfrew, “I’d like to join your gym but it is too intimidating.” We understand why people think this, but the fact of the matter is, it just isn’t true. We understand that the environment here is different than in most gyms. In our gym, you will find lots of strong women and men, many of whom are intense looking at times.  They are lifting very heavy weight and banging it around. We know that giant stones and tires and kegs and oddly-shaped barbells are not the norm at other gyms. We know that the things you are used to seeing at gyms – the things that make other gyms easy to use – do not exist here. We know that our music is often loud and the floor is sometimes covered with chalk dust. We know these are not the normal things for other gyms. At first, these things can seem a little intimidating.  But these are the very things that are going to help you meet your goals at our gym.

Let’s start with the people, our members. Our members are what make our gym and create an amazing atmosphere. Yes, some of them seem inhumanly strong. Some are big and cranky looking and some are very, very intense. We understand this can be intimidating, however I promise you that all of those people will welcome you, encourage you, and provide you with answers to your questions.  These people will show you how to do something new and generally be happy you are there. Our people just want to see you succeed, see you reach your goals, and help you along the way. If you accomplish something new at our gym, I promise the people will notice and congratulate you, even if it seems insignificant compared to others. They know it is not insignificant to you. Strength training may be an individual sport, but at the right gym it is a true team atmosphere.  Even the strongest member started where you are.

Another thing that can seem intimidating at first is the equipment, or in some cases, the lack of it. One of the first things you will notice when you walk into our gym is that much of the equipment you are familiar with is not there. There are no treadmills, no ellipticals, and no stair climbers.  Cable crossovers, Smith machines and other trendy strength stations are nowhere to be seen. What you will see instead are squat racks, barbells, weight plates, benches, dumbbells and lots of weird stuff to pick up, carry, flip, throw and jump onto. Don’t worry, we do have some equipment for cardio too, like bikes and rowers, just nothing that plugs in.  You have to power it all by yourself. We understand that all of this can seem intimidating and overwhelming, and you may have a hard time knowing where to start. This is where you ask one of the amazing members, or an employee. Aside from showing you how to get started, they may even explain how this will make you better, faster. It’s a true atmosphere of support.

Sometimes, people who are used to the atmosphere of a shiny corporate, ‘please don’t be too loud’ gym may be shocked by the actual environment they encounter here. It will be loud.  Weights are banged around, people cheer for others, the music may not be top 40 – it’s all a part of the soundtrack at a true strength and conditioning facility. At first this may seem excessive but once you start to see and learn you will realize that it just comes with the territory. When people lift heavy weights, they make noise.  When people push themselves and discover new limits, they make noise. Cheering and encouragement cannot (or should not) be done quietly. Before you know it, you will be dropping bars loaded with weight and screaming encouragement at your fellow gym members.

OK, so I’ve convinced you that it may not be that bad after all.  Now what? Well, all there is to do now is come give it a try. Start out by doing the things you know – use the dumbbells, the few cable machines we do have, and the other equipment you are familiar with. While you are doing that, watch and ask questions. Watch what other people are doing then ask them about it. Before you know it you’ll be planning out your workouts with this “new” equipment like a pro and smashing all of your goals.  And you will be ready to welcome the new person, just like we are. Welcome.


Here’s what some of our members have to say:

When you enter Renfrew you won’t see treadmills or elliptical machines, what you will see are lifting platforms, squat racks, tons (literally) of weights and strongman implements offering a great variety of options for training not often seen. You will meet the serious (competitive powerlifters and Olympic lifters) as well as the majority of us, the not so serious people training to stay or get into shape. What you will find is a welcoming community of lifters where we help and encourage each other to do the best we can to meet our goals.  Motivation is never far away when you train with experienced lifters and the answers to questions are always at hand. I would encourage anybody regardless of experience to try Renfrew.  As a 55 year old lifter, training here for the last 18 months I have a great appreciation for the facility and the people who chose to train here. – Glen Rudolph, 55, Fitness enthusiast


Renfrew is a place where we can go to the gym as a couple but not have to do the same workout. We both enjoy the gym but have different things we like to do while we are there, from power lifting to Olympic lifting to cross training and everything in between we have tried it all and Renfrew has all the equipment you could ever need to hit your goals regardless of the style of training you want to do. The owners are well versed in several training styles and are always willing to point you in the direction of someone that can help you if they can’t. The gym is full of people that are always ready and willing to help you out whether you need a spot, some pointers or in most cases just a good chat.  The members at the gym are like our gym family. If you are looking for a gym where you can feel comfortable trying new things or are looking for a place to help you meet your fitness goals Renfrew is the place for you. – Matty and Angela MacNeil, 33 and 36, Fit Couple


Facilities like Renfrew are what keep me in this life.  After spending years at commercial gyms, I got so tired of that atmosphere.  I understand how people new to a gym like RSCC might feel a bit overwhelmed but it did not take long to feel the sense of support and family that the members create.  I am stronger and healthier as a result. – Chad Ball, 45, Powerlifter


I started at Renfrew in 2015. There were classes offered at that time. When that trainer left the gym I stayed as it’s a very relaxed, comfortable place to be. There are powerlifters and Olympic lifters and cross fitters and everyone is accepted and get along. I could do without some of the music choices at times but I appreciate that the only comment I’ve ever gotten on my appearance was ‘are those new lifting shoes’.  -Dawn Ross, 46, Weightlifter


One might think upon first walking into Renfrew Gym that this place is only for the  physical elite. Or possibly for Viking men and women who first conquered the new world. But this is a place you absolutely can not judge by its cover! If you can just bring yourself to turn the cover you will quickly be impressed by the welcome wealth of community and knowledge that comes from all who claim membership here. It won’t be long before you will find your inspiration ,motivation and a community to help you reach your fitness goals. – Kirt Silver, 41, Body Builder and Tattoo Artist