Originally Posted by BendtheBar
I think modern chain gyms are more about making people feel comfortable. They don't want hardcore lifters because that means equipment wear and tear. Shiny, inviting equipment that is easy to use is all amount comfort. I think over the years the industry realized that most soccer moms aren't going to squat, but will join if the equipment looks clean, inviting and free of meatheads.
I can see this first hand, now that my university has a swanky new gym that opened this summer. It is bigger, has more equipment, which are shiny alluring. And lotsa machines and treadmills too. More and more students are now rushing off to the new attractive gym.