Niche Gym Idea

Bread made last night, served with some olive oil and honey butter

To my surprise, there are a lot of videos out there on YouTube of big, strong folks talking about the difference between a regime of manual labor (think chopping wood, digging holes, breaking rocks) versus a conventional workout routine at a gymnasium (dumbbell curls, bench press, squats). Here is an example . The speaker, Johnny, talks about the fact that human ancestors lived a much more manual and physical life 100 years or further back. Spending one hour a day or less on physical exertion of any kind is a far cry from these past times of human existence. Inasmuch, I was wondering if someone like myself who does a lot of desk work, computer work, etc. could make the time to get some form of manual labor into my week. One example is kneading dough, which I did a bit of last night when I made some focaccia bread. However, making dough is not that hard compared to other manual labor. It was fun and tasty though. 

My brain wandered onto the idea of a niche gym in which, instead of conventional gym equipment, there was an array of tools and materials setup for individuals to engage in bouts of manual labor for the sake of it. Now, I fully acknowledge how silly this image is. Having someone give money to a company to let them do manual labor is sort of crazy; especially in the context of how little prisoners are paid to fight fires in California ( :-( ). However, I think this could catch on in heavily urbanized areas (think LA, NYC, SF, Boston, etc.). In those locations, there's a plentiful supply of desk jockeys who are interested in new experiences that also benefit them physically. I'm certain some band of yuppies would shell out cold hard cash to churn butter or carry goats around for an hour each week. In fact, if the so-called 'manual labor gym' was able to sell the products of the labor (i.e. butter, gravel, chopped wood) to the general public as 'artisanal products', I think this whole concept could really take off; as funny as it all sounds. On the high level, if this niche gym idea became an actual thing, it would say a lot about the problematic valuations that our society has placed on various manual labor professions like garbage collectors and farmers (high manual labor jobs that often pay near poverty wages). Maybe after COVID I'll try and get a loan to get this gym idea off the ground. (lol)


  1. This is the problem with capitalism when you either work in a commodity market (e.g., farming), or in one where there is a low barrier to entry (e.g., garbage collection), which I guess makes it commodity market, but for labor.

    You could market the gym as "training" for those Yuppies who want to buy a farm, and move into the country. Also I'm guessing you haven't seen The Office...

    1. Not all jobs in which people sell their time to a company (i.e. labor) are 'low barrier to entry' jobs. Corporate lawyers are an example of a high barrier to entry job in which they can sell their time for a high price per hour.

      It has been a while since I've seen an episode of The Office (US). I believe I know which episode you are referring to, the one in which Dwight's family farm is used as a B&B?

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