Get fit from now to infinity

If you ask me, a longtime former basketball official, what was the biggest change I witnessed during my 40-year officiating vocation, my answer may surprise you.

The rule allowing for a 3-point shot was significant, but the biggest change had nothing to do with changing rules. So what changed the game forever?

Drum roll, please … the athletes have changed. That’s right. Today’s athletes are significantly bigger and stronger physically than ever before.

Having more physical athletes play the game has naturally resulted in a more physical style of play. As a former official, I can tell you that the area of concern expressed to officials annually at rules meetings was concern over rough post play. That’s easier said than done when most of the athletes are demonstrably bigger and stronger.

There are at least two reasons why athletes today are so much bigger and stronger: the availability of weight rooms / fitness centers, and an emphasis on weight training. Fifty years ago, schools maybe had a few weights in a back room somewhere, but hardly anyone used them, and there was little emphasis on bulking up.

If athletes aren’t using weights nowadays, they risk falling behind in their respective sports. Today’s young athletes are physically stronger, while maintaining their speed and quickness.

In June 2021, a new gym opened in Hillsboro called Infinity Fitness, and it’s used by people of all ages.

Owner Ryan Franz tells me Infinity Fitness averages about 450-500 members per month, with a male-to-female ratio nearly 50/50. Don’t let the membership number scare you. In my experience, there are usually fewer than 10 people there at any given time.

Members range in age from about 10 to 70. In an effort to be transparent, let me say I’m far closer to the 70 number. Someone has to raise the median age, right?

One number that surprised Franz was that nearly 70-80 Tabor College students were members during the school year. Tabor has its own weight room, obviously, but Infinity Fitness may be more accessible to the student body at large.

In addition, about 50-80 people have used personal trainers offered by Infinity Fitness for specialized training.

Infinity Fitness is about 50/50 in terms of cardio and weight-training equipment. From what I’ve seen, high school and college students spend more time on weights, while those of us more mature, i.e. older adults, spend more time on cardio equipment. Many members do both, of course.

Franz opened Infinity Fitness after talking to a number of people in the community and gauging there was sufficient interest to operate a fitness facility.

The biggest selling point of the new gym goes beyond the obvious benefits of working out. Franz made the decision to be open 24/7, 365 days a year, which is far more than most fitness centers in small towns.

Another selling point is that at Infinity Fitness, members aren’t required to lock themselves into more than a monthly payment plan, meaning they don’t have to pay for something they might not use.

Yet another selling point is the comfort of working out indoors. I take plenty of walks outside, but there’s nothing like a cool and comfortable workout inside Infinity Fitness minus the hot summer wind, or a workout in comfortable temps when the weather is brutally windy and cold in winter.

To remind and encourage members of the benefits of working out, Franz has a number of posters and sayings with words of encouragement on the walls of Infinity Fitness.
“Everyday is a Good Day to Workout.”

“Hustle for that Muscle.”

“You Don’t Get What You Wish For. You Get What You Work For.”

“It Doesn’t Get Easier – You Just Get Stronger.”

“If It Doesn’t Challenge You, It Doesn’t Change You.”

There are even encouraging passages from the Bible: “It Is God Who Arms Me With Strength,” Psalm 18:32.

“Let us RUN the race of perseverance; THE RACE marked out for us,”

Hebrews 12:1.

If you haven’t done so yet, try it. You might like it. I’m giving it two thumbs up!

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