Muscle House is pretty much diametrically opposed to Gold’s. Where Gold’s is your typical, up-scale, big-box chain gym, Muscle House is more or less the personal gym of Dave Camacho, an amateur bodybuilder turned gym-owner and personal trainer. Since Dave is a huge fixture in the gym, let me talk a little about him.
First and foremost, Dave’s obviously a guy who loves lifting. He’s been doing it for over 30 years, and at 54 still looks like he’s in his late 30’s and is in great shape. He also seems to be reasonably nice, and spent about half an hour with me showing me around the gym and making sure I found all of the equipment I needed.
As far as the gym itself, the place looks clean and tidy, if a bit cramped. Dave’s got a lot of equipment crammed in here, some of it rather eclectic. He actually has a few power racks (much to his credit), along with a ton of different standard selectorized and plate-loaded machines. Interspersed in all of this equipment is a single cardio machine (bike maybe? can’t recall), a drink case, a magazine stand with about 40,000 issues of Muscle and Fitness, a couple of big exhaust fans (no AC), and three (yes three) different Harley’s, one of them a Boss Hoss. The décor is rounded out with what basically amounts to a hundred or so framed prints of the same bodybuilder hanging above the mirrors of every possible wall – None other than the owner, Dave.
Now, to Dave’s credit, he’s got his priorities straight. Obviously, the iron rules, and the cardio fairies can go take a flying leap. Here we are in agreement. Where our paths begin to separate is when he begins covering the rules.
First and foremost, he doesn’t allow any outside drinks in his gym. You must buy your water from him when you come to lift, at $1 per bottle. He gives me a line about how this place is a family and everyone has to pitch in, while standing in front of roughly $100,000 of chromed pleasure bikes that are eating up about 100 square foot of gym space. Sorry Dave, not buying it.
Next, his hours are basically at his leisure. He doesn’t come in at any set time, and he doesn’t hang around if no one is there. You have to call him if you want to come lift, and if he has to go out for personal reasons, you are SOL.
Third, his prices are a little on the high side. He charges $10 for 1 day, $59 for 1 month, $109 for 3 months, $209 for 6 months, and $399 for a year.
Finally, I was personally a little creeped out by all of the pictures of him hanging everywhere, if I’m honest.
However, I was still pretty interested in trying the gym out, as it seemed to be set up reasonably well, and had the most diverse range of machines I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance. When I called Dave to see if I could work out an arrangement to lift for a week, I got his VM. I left a message, but he never called back.
So, while I would have liked to check Muscle House Gym out, I’m certainly not going to go chase old Dave down to throw my money at him. Hopefully he’s happy with his current membership and really just didn’t want another meathead banging on his gear.