Gym Rant

by tinareale on June 26, 2013

So, you have a gym membership you pay for, right? You go to the gym expecting the chance to get in a good workout, right? You pay for a membership to use equipment you don’t want to or can’t purchase for your home, right? Why do the gyms I join seem to not understand this? Seriously!

If only my gyms would love me back, though.

My previous gym that I left about a year ago had this group boot camp that would take over the entire gym. They would even set up camp in the rows between weight machines as well as in the free weights section with their Barbie how skimpy can I dress trainer and go to town. Always in the way….and screaming. Oh, the screaming. Wannabe Jillian Michaels right there. That would echo through the gym and seriously distract from others trying to focus on their own workouts. Then, that gym’s environment became this whole “if you aren’t part of the in group we will make it known and treat you like crap and disrespect the heck out of you”. So, I left. Do you blame me? Didn’t think so.

I found a new gym, that I loved. Much, much bigger with two fully decked out separate rooms with open floor space and equipment like TRX, Bosus, stability balls, medicine and other weighted balls, free weights, kettlebells, and so much more. And all of that was in addition to a much larger general free/machine weights section and cardio sections of the gym. They still had a good group fitness class schedule AND the bonus of hot yoga. Really good hot yoga. Loved it!

Then, they started offering their little version of a group fitness Cross Fit type training thing. That started out in one of the “advanced training” open floor rooms. Then, proceeded to move to covering both rooms. And the free weights area. All. Morning. Long. For their credit, the trainers seem more legit than Jillian Michaels Barbie…but still. To quote Stephanie Tanner, “How RUDE!”.

I mean, people PAY to come to the gym and have the ability to freely workout. I’m a trainer and I understand you have to make a business for yourself. These classes are popular right now. I give them credit that the workouts look good and they appear like quality, professional, motivating trainers. The classes are probably pushing people to improved fitness, too. Which I’m ALL for. But can we please find a common ground – for the great group training offered as well as those wanting to do their own thing? I almost feel like to get a workout I’m forced to pay their $10/day fee (or stare blankly at a TV screen while walking on the treadmill or visit a group class). 

Otherwise, I will come to the gym just to have to turn around and leave or alter my workout to train with literally zero space or zero equipment. Which, for the record, a lot of times isn’t even being used just set out and set aside for this group training. I go to the gym generally for strength training (along with a side of free child care) and if I know I can get a better workout at home because of space/equipment constraints then I will leave. What makes me side is there may be others feeling the same who don’t have that option, so leave and give up on their workout for the day. Grrrr…

What to do? I need to bring this up with a manager (tried to before but the only person working the desk wasn’t able to really help) but I fear getting the same response as I got at the previous gym (You can always sign up, too, if it’s a problem. << REALLY!). Or I could just switch gyms now that I have moved. Would be more viable if the closest option wasn’t the first gym I left or options with ZERO child care (biggie for me). Or I suck it up and alter my personal workout schedule to go later in the afternoon before the post-work rush and when the group training madness has cleared out. Which, by the way, can be affected by kids naps and their regular lunch time and afternoon activities with them. Not a fan of that option. Or I scrap the gym altogether and call it my “yoga studio with child care” and only go for that alone.

I’m a wee bit frustrated. And I can’t even go work out to blow off some steam. Ha! Which is why I’m laying it all on you people. I know you’ll get me.  I’m done now, but would love to hear any suggestions you may have…or open the floor if you have a gym rant to get off your chest too.

{ 37 comments }

1 Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family June 26, 2013 at 7:49 am

I’d be frustrated too! There definitely needs to be a balance. Especially when you’re paying for a service.

2 Lee June 26, 2013 at 8:06 am

I go to LA FItness and while it’s not the greatest, I find that most of the locations are fine…except for the one by my house (of course). They blocked off this area for “personal training only,” meaning their trainers, which is fine except that they take the free weights from the other part of the gym and use them in that area so people that aren’t doing personal training don’t have access. I’ve thought about complaining before.

3 Debbie @ Live from La Quinta June 26, 2013 at 8:11 am

It’s all about the $$ and group training and crossfit are all the rage these days. Gyms have never been known to worry too much about their member once they have signed on the bottom line. I am sorry to see that still seems to be true. You should definitely speak to the manager, and if that doesn’t work, move up the line.

4 Miz June 26, 2013 at 8:12 am

reasons number 8374387 why I no longer belong to a gym.

:/

5 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats June 26, 2013 at 8:25 am

That’s so weird, I can’t even imagine my gym doing something that ridiculous – classes are in the big functional room for classes and that’s that. Although my rant is that they took away all the extra equipment (free weights, bosu balls, stability balls) in that room, which is how I got my BBC workouts done. Now I don’t have any equipment for the next round that I join!

6 Heather June 26, 2013 at 8:26 am

that’s crazy I have never heard of a gym doing that before! I would DEF speak to a manager (and not a college aged kid working the front desk!) They need to be confined to a room OR only do this for one hour a day and not all morning. yeesh, I would be annoyed too!

7 Megan June 26, 2013 at 8:28 am

Definitely talk to the manager… And if that doesn’t work, post a bad review on Yelp. Be honest about the processes you went through to try to get this remedied. Typically a poor public review affects their bottom line, so they may be forced to come up with a solution.

8 Jen @nutcaseinpoint June 26, 2013 at 8:42 am

Oh man! I can relate 100%!!! I recently changed gyms and my new place has a lot do independent trainers using the space with clients. Dude, I’m a trainer too and I get you want to incorporate lots of different equipment and all, but it doesn’t mean you have to take all ALL the free space and hog ALL the machine so that your ONE or TWO clients can slowly rotate through! I get awful glares from the trainers there every day and am beyond annoyed at their attitude- shouldn’t they be happy I’m working out? My favorite is when I see them instruct an exercise and they do it WRONG!! I always feel so bad for clients paying good money only to unknowingly receive bad information!!! I could go on and on and on about this…

9 erin June 26, 2013 at 8:43 am

that’s what happened to me. and it’d be like at 5 in the morning when i would go to the gym. But this wasn’t even an official class. it’d just be 10-15 people basically taking over the entire free weights section (which is what I prefer to do). I talked to the manager several times, finally i just gave up and quit the gym. it wasn’t just because of that, it was also the maintenance of the bathrooms (they started becoming unsanitary).

10 Amanda B. June 26, 2013 at 8:43 am

Finally! An appropriate place to get my gym rant off my chest. Without being too specific, I belong to a gym that opens very early and their main clientele at that hour are elderly people. I have always been taught to respect my elders, but some of them go too far with their antics. There is limited floor space to do extensive routines, so I don’t have the same issues as you, but what I do experience is some passive aggressive elderly behavior while doing my BBB workouts. Now that i am writing this down, its cracking me up. But I’ll set up a small space in front of a mirror with a stability ball, mat and weights. Usually within 30 minutes into my workout one guy comes over to do his workout, and since he views himself as a helpful elderly guy, he lays out an additional mat for another elderly woman who does her workout in front of the mirror as well. He lays the mat for her far too close to mine and if I’m not using the stability ball at that exact moment he takes it away for the himself. Every.Single.Day!! I have said “I’m using that” and he sighs and walks over to get another. Then the lady comes and starts her workout and she has no sense of personal space so she encroaches on my workout, waving arms around, she just does her routine no matter what is near her. I want to scream because it is like experiencing Groundhogs Day every day with elderly people. I don’t feel right snapping at them and I am having trouble figuring out a way to say “back off” nicely.

11 Coco June 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

Reason #1001 why I workout at home!

12 Paige @ Your Trainer Paige June 26, 2013 at 9:11 am

That’s just wrong! I would definitely talk to the manager.

13 Laura June 26, 2013 at 9:12 am

Hey! The first gym (wink, wink) actually remodeled and built a new group fitness room (must have happened after you left). Now all the bootcamps, etc. are in the old group fitness room so Barbie and her bootcampers are out of the middle of the weight machine area so you can work out in peace. Also, they switched over to Les Mills’ programs at the beginning of this month, so the have the “RPM” spin class, “real” Body Pump, etc.

14 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More June 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

Girl, I get you! My gym has several group fitness spaces though they do do smaller group trainings but thankfully my gym does have a space on the main floor that allows them to do this without getting in the way too much. What usually gets in my way are the teenagers who take over the entire weight area, cluster in groups, taking every bench, weight and machine and making the rest of us try and figure it out.

15 Kim June 26, 2013 at 9:36 am

Ugh – so frustrating!! My feeling is that classes should be in separate rooms not the main weight room – because, like you said, not everyone wants to be part of the class!
I’m a home work-out type (but I remember the days when my boys were younger and that was a challenge!!) – I get the need for childcare!!!

16 Kimberly {Manifest Yourself} June 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

That is absolutely crazy! I cannot stand working out at home, so I am really big on having a lot of amenities and options at a gym. At the gym that I go to, they close out the classes if they get too large. Period. I have never even heard of any gym allowing the class to “spill out” into the regular area. I would write a letter to the corporate office and complain to the manager.

17 Amanda June 26, 2013 at 9:52 am

That sounds so frustrating!! My rant is related to an issue that happened this morning – I take spin a few mornings a week. The class is scheduled for 5:45, but the Wednesday instructor has to get to work at a certain time, so her class starts at 5:30. It’s pretty popular, so you need to be there by about 5:10 to snag a bike. She’s been showing up later and later … today it was 5:35 and took 5 minutes to get situated/music on, etc … so class started at 5:40 and of course ended on time. I just find this to be so disrespectful, especially that early in the morning! Ughh

18 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast June 26, 2013 at 10:10 am

What? That is so frustrating! The people at my gym would be complaining left and right- I can’t imagine them getting away with it. I hope something gets resolved… and asking people to join and pay for it? Ridiculous!

19 Kierston @candyfit June 26, 2013 at 10:37 am

Wow, I’ve never heard of that before!

I love my gym! I’m lucky and grateful :)

20 misszippy June 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

Ugh! I would be totally frustrated with that scenario! You definitely need to speak with a manager…everyone there is a member and therefore deserves equal rights to the space. Rant on!

21 Linz @ Itz Linz June 26, 2013 at 11:28 am

that’s REALLY annoying! i would DEF contact someone… email is an easy way to go if you don’t want to do it in person :)

22 Katie @ KatieEnPursuit June 26, 2013 at 11:34 am

Wow, that’s super-frustrating! You have a right to be annoyed. You are a paying gym patron & should have ample space to do your workout, just as everyone else should. Group Ex should be kept to certain spaces! Good luck in finding a compromise!

23 Stephanie @ My Freckled Life June 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm

That is definitely frustrating! We have a class similar to that at my gym (which I will take on occasion), but our instructor seems to try to be respectful of those around us, and keeps our workout limited to a small area, and we share weights/balls/mats so that there are plenty left out on the the open floor for others. If a gym can’t figure out a way to be respectful of ALL gym-goers, then it sounds to me like you need to find a new gym that DOES know how to respect their patrons!

24 Mo June 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I can understand your frustration. At my gym we do have a bootcamp class that I attend and we do go all over the gym but becasue the instructor likes to do that they have the class on Sunday mornings at 11am. This is one of those low time periods so we tend to be the only people around. And if we are not we are respectful of the others working out. My frustration with the gym and why I signed up for BBB is all the individuals using the weight machines and free weights not putting their equipment away when they are done and how busy they are. There are trainers in there yelling at their clients to do more or groups of people just socializing. It’s like please move away from the equipment when you are socialzing so I can use them. Just frustrating because it is already busy and intemidating to use the weights because I am one of the few females that go in the rooms. Please just let me do my thing and leave me alone.

25 Danica @ It's Progression June 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I would definitely be frustrated, too! The gym definitely shouldn’t let any class take over space that is for people not interested in taking the class – that seems obvious…I guess I would suggest talking to the manager first, and then make your decision based on what he/she has to say. It would probably be really helpful if you could have names of others who agree with you, too. It’s always helpful to note that you’re not the only one who is frustrated!

26 Annet[email protected] June 26, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Yikes-that is really awful! One of the gyms I work at simply uses the group x room for small group training, and sets up the room for ‘smaller use’ so it doesn’t bother people out on the floor. And then for just ONE half hour in the early am, they have a session on a free space in the floor–but not inbetween weights & stuff! That is cray.

I would totally talk to the manager! ugh

27 Christiana June 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I think you have a right to be frustrated, Tina! Absolutely.

My gym frustrations come as a result of moving and having to cancel my membership. I had a membership at a gym in Chicago that tricked me into thinking that in order to join I had to commit to a 2-year contract and then pay a $50 fee if I chose to end it early. The representative that I talked to was intimidating, scary, and overbearing and said I needed to make a decision right away or the “special deal” of wiping out the registration fee would be gone. The gym was right across the street from my apartment, opened early and closed late, gave me a pretty good monthly rate, and had everything I wanted in a gym (classes at no extra charge, free weights, a huge studio space, tons of treadmills, ellipticals, and weight machines). So I joined, figuring that the $50 cancellation fee was no big deal.

When I moved earlier this year I had to provide two forms of proof that I had moved. One of my forms of proof was my new lease. However, the company wouldn’t take anything for the second form of proof except an electrical bill, water bill, cable bill, etc. or the official USPS Mail Forwarding slip. All of these things require you to have lived at the new address for some amount of time before you even receive them! The billing agency (the gym had all membership billing set up through an outside company) was not helpful at all, and apparently didn’t understand how moving works – actually, I am sure they did and that they just wanted my money. I was forced to pay my $45 monthly membership fee 3 DAYS before I was moving to another state, which paid for the month after I moved when there is no possible way for me to use the gym ever, at all. In the end it cost me nearly $100, a lot of phone calls, several headaches, and a great deal of frustration to cancel my membership.

I am fortunate, though, that I moved over 25 miles away (I moved about 200 miles away) because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have been allowed to cancel my membership unless I died. I’m not even kidding.

28 Katie H. June 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Oh man, I agree. At my gym, there used to be a CrossFit class that took over the WHOLE gym every day for an hour. Pushing people out of the way, hogging machines–they never stayed in their little room. And I understand that the workouts they were doing required more equipment, but still…. NOT okay to those of us who were also paying members.

How’d we get rid of them? Enough complaints from members eventually led to the manager more or less kicking this trainer out of the gym. The trainer actually started his own CrossFit gym and is not quite successful… and the rest of us were happy to see him go :-P

29 Lisa Eirene (@LisaEirene) June 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm

My gym is doing the same thing. My gym is already small and cramped to begin with now they are ripping off crossfit and taking up ALL the space. It’s so frustrating!!!!

30 Primož June 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I could never withstand a gym for more than two months. There were just not offering enough for the price. I was quite successful when I trained at my home, even though its harder to motivate myself into working out that way.

31 lindsay June 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm

haha, we used to do that at our gym,but it was free! So it kinda encouraged people to join. So much fun too!

32 April June 26, 2013 at 10:38 pm

I found a gym near my office and home that is big enough for my needs (lots of cardio equipment, free weights, machines, and a little section to the back with kettlebells, more free weights, boso, steps, etc., but the one thing it doesn’t have….FITNESS CLASSES. I used to love having fitness classes as an option, but I found I just wasn’t using them that much. There is an outdoor bootcamp class I go to sometimes for $10 a visit, and that’s it. So, you might look into the smaller scale gyms, that have what you need but maybe not what you don’t?

33 Amanda @ Sistas of Strength June 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

As a gym owner I thought this was so interesting to read. We actually do not currently offer general membership at our gym for that reason. If we have a big class going on it would be hard for someone to train and have full access to everything. As we grow, we plan to offer membership, but only a limited amount because we want to make sure everyone gets exactly what they want/need. :)

34 tinareale June 28, 2013 at 10:32 am

I love that you guys are mindful of that. I’m sure your gym is a great space (with challenging workouts no doubt!). :)

35 Michelle June 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Yeah – I would be really pissed!! My gym weights area is TINY and thankful the personal trainers are awesome about sharing the space. They will even take people outside if they think they are going to overrun the room! I would say something for sure. I would probably talk to the group fitness instructor first and then bring it to the manager if that doesn’t work.

36 Anna Crouch June 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Wow…. I work for a gym. I guess I’m lucky in that we are not like this AT ALL. In fact, we are very cued in to always benefitting every member as best as we can. Definitely talk to a manager; and if they can’t do anything about it, then you probably don’t want to be giving money to an establishment that doesn’t respect and appreciate you anyway.

37 Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut July 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

While I’ve NEVER heard of a membership gym doing something this outrageous…I have had issues with apartment gyms. There was this zumba-esque class that took place at random times (like 9pm? right when I would finish homework and want to work out the stress!) that took up half of the gym and was just awkward and distracting. The music was super loud and there would be girls shaking their booties…one time RIGHT next to me because that was where the elliptical was located..on their dance floor!

Is there a 24 hour fitness in your area? I know they have childcare (not sure if it’s free though) and all of their classes (they offer a whole bunch!) are in a separate room. I’ve also never had a problem with personal training getting in the way of my workout.

Hope you can find a solution too! Although you can workout at home…I know it’s nice to get out AND have some “alone” time working out without kiddos under your feet!

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