Friday, October 24, 2008

2 Hours, 2 Gyms = Stupidization

Last night, I traveled to 2 separate gyms in 2 hours. My friend is shopping around for a gym and she is a bit intimidated of overcrowded gyms and tricky salespeople, so she decided to bring me along.

And why not?

If you know someone who is a trainer, respected author, manages facilities, oversees other fitness professionals, teaches classrooms full of trainers, and rakes in over 40 hours a week in personal training sessions--you'd want them to be on your side, right?

Well, I have never been in a "big-box" gym as a member (I was employed as a trainer for Gold's Gym a few years ago), but I was going through the tour, sales pitch, and fee breakdown as a "civilian".
I was appalled at the BS that I saw in 2 facilities in a matter of 120 minutes! We started our mission at Cardio Express and I could not believe my eyes. The place was SO PACKED and the parking was nightmarish. (Perfect for Halloween I thought).

I was already skeptical about the place and I wasn't even out of the car!

When we walked in we were greeted by 4 young females that were more interested in the male members walking by than potential customers. On the tour, I saw horrendous things and I felt like I was on another planet. Trainers that looked like they don't work out teaching females to squat with a ball, lunge with terrible form, and performing endless lateral raises. Trainers that were very unprofessional--talking with cardio bunnies, talking on cell phones, and watching the overhead TV's. One guy had a complete "Under Armour"body hug suit complete with elbow and knee braces. His outfit was more fitting for a pro-wrestling career than his over-the-top dramatic squat on the smith machine with a mere 285.

The next stop was Bally's around 8pm. The one trainer that was working was spotting his client with 135 lbs. on the bench press. The client did not look like he was able to handle the weight and after few reps and shouts (and some saliva spraying) from his encouraging trainer overhead, the bar was racked and a look of disgust was on his face. The trainer was certified with some letters I had never heard of. The sales rep didn't like the fact that I wanted to cut through the "BS" and get to the prices. I think it threw him off his game. When my friend blurted that I am trainer, I think it trumped his plan. I knew he wasn't going to be able to "trick" her into anything and he knew that I knew what his "cards" were.

By the end of the night, we came away not joining any of the gyms. However, it is a realization that the longer you hang around stupid people, the stupider you get. After witnessing first hand what I typically write about, it was reassuring that when I re-read this article, I can't stop shaking my head everytime.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Hi John,

    The scary thing about that story is that's more the norm than the exception.

    It started bringing back horrible memories from when I used to work out in a commercial "health centre". I was so glad to get my own home set up.

    Unfortunately I have just moved so having to hunt around for a gym, I'm thinking I'll probably end up writing part 2 of your article :-)


  2. It was scary and the reason why this industry and our profession gets laughs and snickers;, rather than attentive ears.



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