Oarsman, I never thought of us "hardcore, consistent lifters" being bad for a gym's business, but I see your point.
The more stories I hear about commercial gyms, the more I'm grateful for my alumnus membership at the gym of my alma mater.
This "gym" isn't trying to make a profit. It just collects an "athletic fee" from students to cover its costs. It hasn't improved much over the years, but the athletic fee and alumnus membership is a pittance. Besides, the best thing about it is that no hardcore lifters get hassled by the staff.
The gym only sometimes has a personal trainer there. Heck, the football players even sometimes train with their shirts off! It's pretty fun and cool and hardcore.
There is no air conditioning so it can get pretty brutal in there, but you adapt. In fact, the hot conditions in the summer maybe keeps the less dedicated people out of the gym, which, for a hardcore lifter, is a welcome result.
There is one problem however with the lack of air flow. The gym smells. Anytime you have that many people in a hot room, doing exercise, with a lack of air circulating, you're going to have foul smells. Add to that the fact that some guys just have no concept of anti-perspirant and walking into the gym you think, "My god, how do I manage to train in here?" but somehow you adapt. Unfortunately, most women stay away because they seem to be less tolerant of these things, and I can sympathize with that. They say it's "gross."
But I put up with it because in this gym I can:
- lift as heavy as I want and nodody complains
- do any and all olympic and powerlifts
- use chalk
So just having the freedom to go about my workout at this gym really makes me grateful when I hear the stories here. Moreover, the gym patrons are 99% students, with the odd prof, staff or alumnus. So it's a pretty young crowd. I imagine I'd feel pretty frustrated if I was training at a traditional gym, and a housewife set down her yoga mat just in front of where I was about to attempt a PR on my deadlift. Guys will still regularly walk up to my loaded deadlift bar and do their curls in front of it, but they're considerate enough to move it away when I get up to do my next set. So we all get along fairly well, relatively speaking, to what a lot of you guys must contend with.
The worst thing I get is guys doing stuff like curls on the powerlifting platform when there is no place anywhere else for me to do power and oly lifts. But I try to be congenial and reasonable and everybody seems to try to accomodate each other so we can all get our workouts in. I'll usually just politely ask someone if I can "work in" with them in the spot on the powerlifting platform where they're doing curls or DB laterals, etc. Then once they see I'm doign something like cleans or psuh press there, they almost invariably just continue their exercise somewhere else. I think they realize they can curl anywhere, but I can't safely do cleans anywhere. Moreover, the powerlifting platform has a big sign in front of it that reads, "Powerlifting Platform is for Powerlifting only."
But I never get mad at anybody, even if they're doing some silly stuff like curls in the power rack. I just ask to work in. Nobody has ever said no, and once they see you're doing squats, they kind of take the hint that you really need the rack and they do not. I find if I'm friendly and accomodating everybody is very cooperative.
Also, because I'm bigger than most guys there, I think you just get a bit of respect and people accomodate to you just for that reason. I don't bully anyone off equipment at all, but guys that were previously kind of "goofing off" at a station or doing curls in the rack kind of thing seem to just walk away when they see you're squatting heavy and so forth.