Best No-frills Place to Work Out (2001)

Doug's Gym

In August, it's about 110 degrees inside; in January, it's about 40, give or take an icicle hanging off your nose. That's because Doug Eidd, the 70-year-old owner-trainer who looks about 50, doesn't believe in air conditioning or a heater or, for that matter, anything that gets in the way of a good workout. This gym, across the street from Dallas police headquarters, looks like something out of a Damon Runyon novel (from the bare bulb in the stairwell to the hole in the brick wall to the boxing ring in back) and feels like something out of an old prison movie; working out here is like lifting in the joint (or it did until a few women from nearby offices started working out at Doug's, thank God). And we wouldn't have it any other way. The equipment may be a tad rusty or stained by sweat, but who needs a froufrou health-food bar or Olympic-sized swimming pool or sauna or Jacuzzi or air conditioning, for that matter, when you're trying to drop a few pounds and firm up the flab? We go to lift, sweat, box, sweat, stretch, sweat, jump rope, sweat, throw the medicine ball, sweat and sweat. We took a guest once, and after a two-hour workout, he wanted to know, "Is this a gym or a torture chamber?" Why, yes, it is. And we know someone with the pecs to prove it: Doug Eidd, the only man in town who would have made Steve Reeves look like a little girl.

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