T Nation

Complaints about your gym?

Unlike other gym owners I would like to hear what everone hates most about their Gym so I can avoid them with mine.


Thanks Ahead,
Robert

I workout at a gym that is part of a major chain. Unfortunately, this chain relies on programed music (I’m sure they have some deal with the various music companies). As such, many of the songs are straight off the top fourty charts (Backstreet Boys, Brittany Spears, Etc.). While it’s an incredible facility, hearing bubble gum pop blasting from the sound system doesn’t help with big lifts. You can’t please everyone with your choice of music, but there are defintely songs / bands to avoid. I defy anyone to get pumped for a big squat with the Backstreet Boys playing.

I hate how many gyms, particularly the franchises, refer to their salespeople as “trainers” or “fitness consultants.” This makes a total mockery of the training industry. A salesperson sells, period. You wouldn’t take your car to the dude who sold it to you, you’d take it to the mechanic. Same goes for your body.

The dumbell racks at my gym don’t have any labels indicating weight, so the dumbells are always shuffled and its a real hassle. Make sure there is a label under each pair so that everyone is obliged to put them in correct ascending/descending order.

You need to have signs at the squat rack: No Curls In Squat Rack. I HATE it when guys do this and gyms allow it.

If there aren’t enough plates, that’s a major hassle. There should be weight trees all over.
Keep it simple and don’t have many 35 lb plates. (That is my opinion and seems like a lot of people disagree with me but it just makes sense: it’s easy enough to use a 25 and a 10, and having 35’s just adds to the confusion of weights not being in their right places which they usually aren’t.)

Don’t have benches placed “head to head” so
that the spotter at one bench has his ass
stuck in your face if you’re on the other
bench. I HATE THAT.

Don’t fail to have a power rack.

Going along with the music statement, perhaps take the time to have your customers fill out a survey giving their usual work out times and preferred music type, with the majority winning for each block of time. Also, have employes that are not afraid to tell some one to not drop the dumbells or whatever, this will keep the equipment nicer longer.

I can not stand big huge fat guys with weight belts tightened to the hilt, sweatshirts cut off at the elbows, genie pants, lifting shoes, 38 DD tits, 45 inch waists, who walk around for 4 hours dispensing free training and diet advice.

I agree with the music comments - we get easy listening, pop rock, and teeny-bopper rock.

I think hygeine is another complaint: old men spitting tobacco juice into floor drains in the sauna, pools of shower water, sticky floors under the urinals, and pungent spongegrips on the machines.

My third and final complaint is that the water fountains are warm.

Trainers who obviously know more than you do, because they a)are fat, b)are atrophied beyond all belief, c)paid $500 for a home certification course or 5 day crash seminar course. I HATE when trainers come up to you (and they always have that “hey, I’m a trainer” walk and look to them), they inform you that they are a trainer, and tell you why you shouldn’t a)rock bottom squat, b)do behind the neck military presses, c)do flyes with a pronated grip, your palms facing away from you. Train chumps who pay you, keep your crappy advice away from me.

My only complaint is with the freaking bioch music my gym plays all day, when you see a lot of people walking around with walkmans it is very possible that your choice of music sucks. The guy that runs my gym does a pretty damn good job cleans everyday, maintains his equipment and replaces old equipment, carries supplements or will get you what you want if he doesn’t have it. Pretty much the only thing I don’t like is the music. As for the dropping of dumbells people are lazy bioches if they are dropping dumbells all the time, there is a sign in my gym “There are only two reasons for dropping dumbells 1. You hurt yourself. 2. You have another gym to train at tomorrow!” The situation with people curling in the squat rack puzzles me, I mean I have never seen anyone curl such an imense amount of weight that they needed a rack in case they failed, personaly I think using the olympic bars for curling is a bit assnine and considering the form most of the squat rack curlers use it’s begging for injury.

The biggest problem I have is obnoxious and condecending staff. Back when I was a newbie I lifted at a hardcore gym. The staff treated me like I was a complete loser. More recently I joined one of those general public super center gyms. These guys treated me almost as bad because I wasn’t the casual fitness type. My point is treat your members with respect whether they are newbies, fitness types, or hardcore lifters. You don’t have to pick a side. It is possible to make everybody feel at home. The worst thing you can do is make someone feel alienated in your gym.

I would like to emphasize the points made by
both Bill and ekul. On the topic of music I
would suggest: DON’T PLAY THE MUSIC TOO DAMN
LOUD. I HATE that. It’s like they are trying
to blast your brains out and destroy your
hearing at the same time. Personally, I would
prefer no music. Think about it: everyone
has differenct likes and dislikes, so at any
given time very few people will be satisfied.
If people want to listen to music they can
bring ther own damn walkman! Meanwhile, it
breaks the concentraion of those of us
focusing on intense lifts. It seems that this
need for music is due to people not wanting
to be in silence, or are afraid of sounding
stupid when they grunt out a tough rep. Grow
up people!

I’m sure you’ve heard enough from other guys about music, but this is only half about the music issue. I got sick of N-Suck and Backside Boys, so finally I went and said something about it. I asked if there is any way we could find better music. I was told that “Well, we can’t change it because you guys ask, but we will if some of the women request it.” Ok, I didn’t realize that the women pay twice as much or something. They’re catering to the soccer moms who go in and sit on the elliptical machine for an hour, and they all buy the gym’s headphones so they can watch the tv’s anyway.

All I'm saying is show EVERYONE the same treatment, and don't ever blow someone off by saying "we don't fucking care what you want, just the cardio freaks". A little respect and common courtesy, is that so much to ask?

Man, this is a great question! Okay, my two cents’ worth on the music issue is this: I trained at Vince Gironda’s gym for a while, and it was the only one I ever went to that didn’t have some sort of music playing. IT WAS GREAT! Concentration was up, the atmosphere was better, and those who wanted the music, as Free said, brought walkmans, which in turn kept them from walking around talking to others when they shouldn’t have been.

Other peeves: A Family Fitness Center that I trained at spent a lot of money on some high-tech flooring, then made a rule that people could only train on it if the wore white-rubber-soled shoes. I asked about it and the head "trainer" told me that black rubber degraded the flooring material. (Of course, when they were showing prospective clients who were wearing black-soled shoes around, nothing was said.) What a crock of shit! It STILL pisses me off, ten years later (as you can probably tell). Bottom line: don't install a floor that makes your members have to buy new shoes. Also, if someone has B.O., for god's sake have one of the staff mention it to them. Failure to do this will make everyone else suffer. If they don't improve, kick 'em out. (Alternatively, you could crucify them next to the squat rack and let the other members use them, like smelling salts, to increase their levels of aggression.)

I hate the weight chucker frat boys. The rest of us are not impressed when someone does 2 shitty dumbell presses, then heaves the weight. Gym owners should put a stop to that.

It sounds like we ALL agree on the music complaint–why do you think so few gyms have figured this out? Are they hoping for more “little old lady” money? Fortunately, one of my best motivators is creating and burning a new workout CD each month, chock full of industrial music. (I’m convinced that my bench presses, squats, and testosterone levels all increase to Rob Zombie, Rage, Rammstein, Circle of Dust, Argyle Park, and Skinny Puppy.)

One of the things I *like* about my gym is the staff. with few exceptions, they're helpful and courteous, and they actually respond when I complain that someone is walking around barefoot in the freeweight room, leaving sweat footprints from their knobby, hairy toes...and the staff is free with advice and encouragement.

I'm also forunate that my gym isn't full of arrogant pricks. Even the hulks are eager to help, advise, and suggest on request, but theyrefrain from being critical or officious when they're not asked, which is great.

The music complaint is obvious, but most gyms, including my own won’t change it because the majority of people who tend to work out their the top 40s loving people, My biggest complaint is lack of, and misplacement of equipment. My gym does not have a power rack and they refuse to buy one because the propreitor believes it to be dangerous.

Well as for the music, just rotate Aerosmith, Led Zepplin, and AC/DC and the world will be a better place. I agree with the volume issue to, there is such a thing as too loud when lifting. The gym I lift at currently has a pretty ignorrant rule: NO DEADLIFTING! Funny thing is, I was doing RDLs one day (hey they’re different!) and a guy told me no DLing. I said great, but I’m not this is a romanian back raise. He said “oh, ok.” Sometimes, I do DL, they don’t know what it’s called, I think they just think I’m picking the weights up off the floor. For whatever reason however, DLing isn’t considered chick. I suppose you can hurt you back or something. Apparently squatting on the smith machine is better for you. Some benches and shoulder presses on it are also apparently safe. There is also no olympic lifting allowed. Understandable in that you don’t want some idiot trying to copy someone, but what about those who know what we’re doing? Also, educate the staff some. make sure they no that your spine will not tear through the skin and fly across the room if you squat with no belt and go low enough to “leave a stain on the floor.”
Also, buy extra benches. I rarely bench and still find it hard to get one when I do want to do some type of bench. You almost have to reserve one a month in advance. I agree with the BO problem, there’s really no sense in that! No curling in the squat/power rack should be allowed. And screw the damn “women’s sections!” The last few gyms I’ve worked out at had 20 year old machines for the “mens” section, but added on ladies sections with brand new cybex stuff! I don’t use machines often, but one that isn’t rusty or needing oiled would be a nice change of pace. Enforce the return the DBs to the rack rule, or have someone to go clean up for others. Teens should definately be welcomed to come lift, but packs of 30 (ok 5-10) shouldn’t be allowed. Two guys working out together, or even three is fine, but when you bring the whole team, there’s a problem, namely some are just hanging out.
Oh, and this is just my persoanl preference regarding attire. Any female below 15 % body fat is required to wear spandex. Any female who cannot see her feet must not, under any circumstances be allowed to purchase spandex, much less wear it!

In addition to making sure your gym has a ton of squat racks and power racks, make sure you get AT LEAST one or two deadlifting/olympic lifting platforms. My gym has two platforms which include a set of rubber 45 and 25lb plates, so they don’t tear up the platform when the weights crash down too hard. It’s nice not to have to rig my own deadlifting set-up in the middle of where people are trying to walk.

They play soft music at Bally’s which SUCKS WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO GET PUMPED! The music is a problem, but other than that it is too overcrowed. They are in it for the money and nothing else. If you keep your focus about fitness and not money, you should be successful.