Many people go to the gym so that they can feel healthy, strong, or just generally good.
If you lift a barbell that looks like a barbell, then you probably feel pretty OK. But if you lifted a house then you would feel really awesome, right? What power and strength!
But most gyms are the same. There are no gnomes to save.
What if instead you are a giant amongst a land of maybe one foot or six inch or three inch tall gnomes. You tower over them like Gulliver or Godzilla. You are a behemoth. You are amazing. This is what it feels like to go to the right gym.
Instead of lifting barbells, you will lift gnome homes. They are about the same size and weight as a barbell but you feel much more awesome when you lift it.
In this gym you will do things that are the things Godzilla would do. You kick over cars and you push skyscrapers to the ground with your bare hands. You must save the gnomes. Everything in the gym is exercise equipment, but disguised in a way that makes you feel like Godzilla saving gnomes.
Have you heard of this gym? No you have not. Because gyms are (generally speaking) terribly unimaginative places.
There are gyms that have classrooms where you ride a stationary bike while looking at a big video of what it would look like if you biked on the road. It’s almost always a road. I don’t understand this. If you have a video screen you can make it anything. Anything. Make it everything.
What sorts of places would Godzilla bike to (or over) in the gnome gym? I bet he can fly. He might go to outer space. He might go underwater. He might bike through a country filled with gnomes to save their species from extinction. There are no gyms like this yet.
The Narrative Gym
What is the narrative when you go to the gym? “Do this. Then do that. Get sweaty. When the clock hits a certain time then go home.”
That’s the worst story ever.
Who wants to watch that? Much less be a part of it. No wonder a lot of people don’t like going to the gym.
I want to know that when I go to the gym I am doing it to save a bunch of gnomes from their destruction for some reason that really doesn’t matter as much as the fact that I get to go to a gym filled with gnomes.
Anything would be way better than the current plot of “30 minute interval on the elliptical”. Borrrrring.
I think having the whole gym be about saving gnome village is way more interesting than being able to choose a program that happens to be “save gnomes”. Because with the former, you know that everyone going to that gym is there to save the gnomes. You’re all on the same page here – if you’re one of those people that would feel embarrassed about selecting “save gnome village” as your workout routine, then that’s no longer an obstacle for you.
Why keep it bikes? Put video screens more places: Going up the stairs to save the the gnomes. Then rowing across the lake to save the gnomes (as they cheer you on). Then swimming to save gnomes.
Let’s talk about the bikes. If you are coming to the gym to ride a bike on an imaginary road and you never go ride on a real road, then the whole thing is a fiction so why even keep it a bike? Why keep any of the traditional equipment? You could make up all sorts of new equipment to get a workout while saving the gnomes. I’m sure there’s exercises that no one has ever thought of because they haven’t put gnomes into the equation.
We can use the biofeedback of our devices to change the plots. Heart rate can drive the narrative to faster or slower motions in different plot points, for example.
There’s no reason you only have to save gnomes. It could be puppies. It could be any number of narratives. You want to go to the Seinfeld gym? Sure no problem. You’re now involved in the show and doing things with those characters. You prefer the Sopranos or Breaking Bad? Sure, no problem. Star Wars? The force will be with you.