This Gym Pissed Me Off

Sorry, no question here, just venting.

Background: I work for Shell Oil. For the past several months they have been building a brand new “wellness center” (gym) in their downtown Houston headquarters.

After waiting for months to get to see the facility and the equipment, I had my orientation today. I left in utter dismay. Nothing but a sea of machines and cardio equipment. Not a single olympic bar, no exaggeration. Not even a standard bar, let alone olympic or standard plates. The best they have are those shorter rubber barbells in fixed increments of 10 from 10lbs to 110lbs. They have not one power cage, not one power rack, no half squat rack, not even a bench press.

This facility was designed to entice the non exerciser to become more active. With limited space we made a conscience decision to limited the free weight area and knew that our experienced weight lifters would not have everything that a full blown commercial gym provides.

After seeing the state of this shiny new gym, I was both shocked and horrified. I even asked the Wellness Manager for the Americas region and his response was that:

“This facility was designed to entice the non exerciser to become more active. With limited space we made a conscience decision to limited the free weight area and knew that our experienced weight lifters would not have everything that a full blown commercial gym provides.”

As for not even having a barbell, I was told that olympic bars were deemed to be a “safety hazard” and are not allowed at any of the three wellness centers in Houston. As if barbells are inherently more dangerous that some idiot not using the seated leg press properly and crushing their spine or some idiot tearing their abductors using way too much weight on the abductor machine or someone else sticking their finger between plates on a machine or any one of a thousand other possible scenarios.

TL:DR Shell has a flawed view of what a gym should be and this is bullshit. Looks like I will be keeping my other downtown Houston gym membership as I can’t even try to milk this free Shell gym.

I kinda hate to say it, but I can see it from their perspective. Their main goal is just to encourage people to get fit enough to not endanger their health by being totally sedentary. For someone who’s only trying to do that, barbells may very well be more dangerous. At the Gold’s gym I go to, I see most people using horrendous form on most free weight exercises especially barbells so for most people I really do think barbells are more likely to get them hurt. Mostly because most people aren’t going to be using good form, especially someone just trying to get ‘fit’ and who isn’t going to put in the time to learn the nuances of barbell lifting.

It’s not a gym, it’s a wellness center. They aren’t bullshitting you, they’re being upfront about it.

It’s like being upset that you go to a McDonalds and it’s not a butcher.

I concur. This is an effort to get inactive people active and probably save the company some money on health insurance premiums. They are probably taking the Planet Fitness approach by limiting the appeal to guys who are going to grunt loudly, deadlift 500lbs, and intimidate the public from wanting to work out there. I don’t see an issue with it.

My company - ironically enough who has done work for Shell Oil and has an office in Houston - also did a “Wellness Center” on site. I was incredibly excited - especially when they announced they had some former “personal trainers” on the committee that worked in the company.

The result was similar to what you’ve described. We did get a smith machine, and one power rack. We didn’t get a preacher station, anything for leg curls/extensions, etc. We do have 3 bicycles, 5-6 treadmills, and 4 ellipticals. Take a guess which equipment sees the most use? The weights do, because the company is primarily male, and most people who try it out for the cardio, end up quitting because they aren’t dedicated.

The company spent thousands on the cardio equipment when they could have taken the cost of one, and doubled the free weights. I have my own gym at home, but it was disgusting. Price they were charging - $15 a month. I could join LA Fitness at the same price for the works in equipment, space, and scenery. People are horrible planners.

There’s a gym in my office building that has a few machines, light DBs, and cardio equipment. It’s awesome, because it’s free and convenient.

You’ll enjoy life a lot more if you can appreciate things for what they ARE instead of hating them for what they AREN’T.

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
There’s a gym in my office building that has a few machines, light DBs, and cardio equipment. It’s awesome, because it’s free and convenient.

You’ll enjoy life a lot more if you can appreciate things for what they ARE instead of hating them for what they AREN’T.[/quote]

Sounds nice if you want to flush your legs with some blood and get your heart rate up during lunch if you did a tough lower body workout the day before and have bad doms.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
There’s a gym in my office building that has a few machines, light DBs, and cardio equipment. It’s awesome, because it’s free and convenient.

You’ll enjoy life a lot more if you can appreciate things for what they ARE instead of hating them for what they AREN’T.[/quote]

Sounds nice if you want to flush your legs with some blood and get your heart rate up during lunch if you did a tough lower body workout the day before and have bad doms. [/quote]

Yes, a couple of bad doms would get one’s heart rate up.

[quote]Quasi-Tech wrote:
Price they were charging - $15 a month. I could join LA Fitness at the same price for the works in equipment, space, and scenery.[/quote]

Damn, really? My gym charges that much per week!

As for the OP, I don’t get why you were surprised. Everything you described should have been obvious the moment they described it as a “wellness center”.

haha. Is it for the office workers or the riggers? My bet is on the sloth-like office workers.

Does nobody think that my company is sending the wrong message? Spend 30 minutes a day just getting your heart rate up and save the company a bit on health benefit costs but do not dare set the message that true fitness does not include working muscles only as single joint movements and in isolation with low intensity and in an ultra safe environment? I might as well walk around the gym wearing a helmet.

You have all these ignorant (excuse the negative connotation that comes with the word, i don’t intend that here) employees from 25-60 years old that get drawn into a shiny new sea of machines that won’t do the best job of building strength or even a general fitness level and Shell setting them up this way will leave half of them with cardio bunny bodies and little muscle so that by the time they all hit 80 years old they will be living skeletons.

Maybe I am ungrateful, I don’t know. I just believe that at least one single barbell or one single half rack would have been a nice gesture rather than shutting our the entire powerlifting demographic. Heck, it isn’t just powerlifters that use barbells.

It sounds like a sound business/insurance decision like other have said. The world is full of potential members who are happy to pay just to go through the motions. It’s a gym for resolutionaries they way I see it. But to the OP, I get your frustration.

[quote]rdavis4559 wrote:
Does nobody think that my company is sending the wrong message? Spend 30 minutes a day just getting your heart rate up and save the company a bit on health benefit costs but do not dare set the message that true fitness does not include working muscles only as single joint movements and in isolation with low intensity and in an ultra safe environment? I might as well walk around the gym wearing a helmet.

You have all these ignorant (excuse the negative connotation that comes with the word, i don’t intend that here) employees from 25-60 years old that get drawn into a shiny new sea of machines that won’t do the best job of building strength or even a general fitness level and Shell setting them up this way will leave half of them with cardio bunny bodies and little muscle so that by the time they all hit 80 years old they will be living skeletons.

Maybe I am ungrateful, I don’t know. I just believe that at least one single barbell or one single half rack would have been a nice gesture rather than shutting our the entire powerlifting demographic. Heck, it isn’t just powerlifters that use barbells.[/quote]

Is it free?

You can get a decent workout from machines if that’s all you have. You’ll never become a power lifter and its not ideal for athletic training (or anything really) but I think “sending the wrong message” is a little harsh. I would assume that there is some version of a shoulder press, chest press, pulldown, Row, Leg Press, Leg Curl and leg Ext machine if they have a lot of machines. Plus several arm options. You can form a pretty good split with only machines. Not saying there wont be holes but it isn’t quite as bleak as you paint it.

The same exact thing happened to me.

Except it was a whorehouse, not a gym. And instead of no squat racks, there were no midgets. I complained to the manager and this was his response:

“This facility was designed to entice the non-philanderer to become more active. With limited space we made a conscious decision to limit the whore selection and knew that our experienced Johns would not have everything that a full blown whorehouse provides.”

It didn’t make any sense to me. I mean, if space is limited that’s the ideal scenario for midget whores.

OP, do you own the company? Did you pay for the equipment? Did you pay for the building? Do you pay to use the equipment?

If the answer is NO to any question, than your opinion doesnt matter nor do you have a right to complain.

Slightly on topic, I actually built my company’s ‘wellness center’. There are huge legal and insurance issues with free weights. I was given pretty strict guidlines what I could and couldnt have in the center by our HR and Legal team. I also understood that I wasnt building a hardcore bodybuilding, PLing, OLYing gym. I was creating something that would give people who sit on their butts for 8+ hours a day a chance to move. So I got treadmills that have Facebook in them, a ping pong table, etc. Stuff people can use and enjoy and get moving.

Also my last point, Shell does not have a flawed view of what a gym should be, you have a flawed view on entitlements. Never complain about something that is free for you and costs others money. Also never complain about something you pay for, just stop paying for it.

[quote]Waittz wrote:
OP, do you own the company? Did you pay for the equipment? Did you pay for the building? Do you pay to use the equipment?

If the answer is NO to any question, than your opinion doesnt matter nor do you have a right to complain.

Slightly on topic, I actually built my company’s ‘wellness center’. There are huge legal and insurance issues with free weights. I was given pretty strict guidlines what I could and couldnt have in the center by our HR and Legal team. I also understood that I wasnt building a hardcore bodybuilding, PLing, OLYing gym. I was creating something that would give people who sit on their butts for 8+ hours a day a chance to move. So I got treadmills that have Facebook in them, a ping pong table, etc. Stuff people can use and enjoy and get moving.

Also my last point, Shell does not have a flawed view of what a gym should be, you have a flawed view on entitlements. Never complain about something that is free for you and costs others money. Also never complain about something you pay for, just stop paying for it. [/quote]

What are the insurance risks of free weights? Everything you do that can hurt you would be your own fault not the companies. I guess that does not keep someone from suing.

[quote]dmaddox wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
OP, do you own the company? Did you pay for the equipment? Did you pay for the building? Do you pay to use the equipment?

If the answer is NO to any question, than your opinion doesnt matter nor do you have a right to complain.

Slightly on topic, I actually built my company’s ‘wellness center’. There are huge legal and insurance issues with free weights. I was given pretty strict guidlines what I could and couldnt have in the center by our HR and Legal team. I also understood that I wasnt building a hardcore bodybuilding, PLing, OLYing gym. I was creating something that would give people who sit on their butts for 8+ hours a day a chance to move. So I got treadmills that have Facebook in them, a ping pong table, etc. Stuff people can use and enjoy and get moving.

Also my last point, Shell does not have a flawed view of what a gym should be, you have a flawed view on entitlements. Never complain about something that is free for you and costs others money. Also never complain about something you pay for, just stop paying for it. [/quote]

What are the insurance risks of free weights? Everything you do that can hurt you would be your own fault not the companies. I guess that does not keep someone from suing.
[/quote]

Hopefully someone in the field can chime in here since my knowlegde on this is second hand. It was my understanding that regardless of waivers etc, getting hurt on site allows the employee to qualify for workman’s comp and opens the door for negligence lawsuits.

We are talking about a country where an 80 year old woman can sue for spilling coffee on her crotch for millions despite no 80 year old crotch being worth that much.

[quote]Waittz wrote:

[quote]dmaddox wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
OP, do you own the company? Did you pay for the equipment? Did you pay for the building? Do you pay to use the equipment?

If the answer is NO to any question, than your opinion doesnt matter nor do you have a right to complain.

Slightly on topic, I actually built my company’s ‘wellness center’. There are huge legal and insurance issues with free weights. I was given pretty strict guidlines what I could and couldnt have in the center by our HR and Legal team. I also understood that I wasnt building a hardcore bodybuilding, PLing, OLYing gym. I was creating something that would give people who sit on their butts for 8+ hours a day a chance to move. So I got treadmills that have Facebook in them, a ping pong table, etc. Stuff people can use and enjoy and get moving.

Also my last point, Shell does not have a flawed view of what a gym should be, you have a flawed view on entitlements. Never complain about something that is free for you and costs others money. Also never complain about something you pay for, just stop paying for it. [/quote]

What are the insurance risks of free weights? Everything you do that can hurt you would be your own fault not the companies. I guess that does not keep someone from suing.
[/quote]

Hopefully someone in the field can chime in here since my knowlegde on this is second hand. It was my understanding that regardless of waivers etc, getting hurt on site allows the employee to qualify for workman’s comp and opens the door for negligence lawsuits.

We are talking about a country where an 80 year old woman can sue for spilling coffee on her crotch for millions despite no 80 year old crotch being worth that much. [/quote]

That’s correct. If it’s a corporate facility it could be an activity considered to be within the scope of employment (depending on the jurisdiction). There have even been cases where all the company did was contribute part of the amount toward a gym membership and the employee received work comp. benefits, even though he was working out off site and after work hours.

[quote]Waittz wrote:

[quote]dmaddox wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
OP, do you own the company? Did you pay for the equipment? Did you pay for the building? Do you pay to use the equipment?

If the answer is NO to any question, than your opinion doesnt matter nor do you have a right to complain.

Slightly on topic, I actually built my company’s ‘wellness center’. There are huge legal and insurance issues with free weights. I was given pretty strict guidlines what I could and couldnt have in the center by our HR and Legal team. I also understood that I wasnt building a hardcore bodybuilding, PLing, OLYing gym. I was creating something that would give people who sit on their butts for 8+ hours a day a chance to move. So I got treadmills that have Facebook in them, a ping pong table, etc. Stuff people can use and enjoy and get moving.

Also my last point, Shell does not have a flawed view of what a gym should be, you have a flawed view on entitlements. Never complain about something that is free for you and costs others money. Also never complain about something you pay for, just stop paying for it. [/quote]

What are the insurance risks of free weights? Everything you do that can hurt you would be your own fault not the companies. I guess that does not keep someone from suing.
[/quote]

Hopefully someone in the field can chime in here since my knowlegde on this is second hand. It was my understanding that regardless of waivers etc, getting hurt on site allows the employee to qualify for workman’s comp and opens the door for negligence lawsuits.

We are talking about a country where an 80 year old woman can sue for spilling coffee on her crotch for millions despite no 80 year old crotch being worth that much. [/quote]

This, also machines are viewed as more stupid proof. Example, newbie puts the pin on the max feeling good one day, he barely moves the handles. Newbie loads up a bench with 315, he manages to unrack it but it barely slows down as it descends. Of course he doesn’t have a spotter so he is stuck. The bench also gives free weights a bad wrap in the injury department as the overwhelming majority of gym deaths are from the bench. Squats get a really bad wrap, even though the Leg Press is statistically more dangerous. Anything that can pin a man down, machines cannot, is viewed as an extra liability by most insurers.

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:

[quote]dmaddox wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
OP, do you own the company? Did you pay for the equipment? Did you pay for the building? Do you pay to use the equipment?

If the answer is NO to any question, than your opinion doesnt matter nor do you have a right to complain.

Slightly on topic, I actually built my company’s ‘wellness center’. There are huge legal and insurance issues with free weights. I was given pretty strict guidlines what I could and couldnt have in the center by our HR and Legal team. I also understood that I wasnt building a hardcore bodybuilding, PLing, OLYing gym. I was creating something that would give people who sit on their butts for 8+ hours a day a chance to move. So I got treadmills that have Facebook in them, a ping pong table, etc. Stuff people can use and enjoy and get moving.

Also my last point, Shell does not have a flawed view of what a gym should be, you have a flawed view on entitlements. Never complain about something that is free for you and costs others money. Also never complain about something you pay for, just stop paying for it. [/quote]

What are the insurance risks of free weights? Everything you do that can hurt you would be your own fault not the companies. I guess that does not keep someone from suing.
[/quote]

Hopefully someone in the field can chime in here since my knowlegde on this is second hand. It was my understanding that regardless of waivers etc, getting hurt on site allows the employee to qualify for workman’s comp and opens the door for negligence lawsuits.

We are talking about a country where an 80 year old woman can sue for spilling coffee on her crotch for millions despite no 80 year old crotch being worth that much. [/quote]

This, also machines are viewed as more stupid proof. Example, newbie puts the pin on the max feeling good one day, he barely moves the handles. Newbie loads up a bench with 315, he manages to unrack it but it barely slows down as it descends. Of course he doesn’t have a spotter so he is stuck. The bench also gives free weights a bad wrap in the injury department as the overwhelming majority of gym deaths are from the bench. Squats get a really bad wrap, even though the Leg Press is statistically more dangerous. Anything that can pin a man down, machines cannot, is viewed as an extra liability by most insurers.[/quote]

thanks for the clarification guys. I forgot about Workers Comp. That makes perfect sense.