Saturday, September 1, 2012

5 Super-Annoying Things About The Gym

(with thanks to our Guest Writer, Clara Richman for a-musing on her gym-experience :)
Ever since I was in high school and enrolled in a three-month sports training program at my local gym, I've been hooked on working out. For many, like myself, the gym is a personal safe-haven; a place where I can eliminate stress and a day's (sometimes weeks) worth of frustrations in a single lifting/cardio session. As an avid user of numerous gyms all over the world, there is a number of things that myself and many others find extremely annoying. Not all gyms are alike; but there are definitely some common problems that often prevent less-enthusiastic individuals than myself from going all together.

Here are a few things to avoid when shopping for a gym membership
that you will enjoy using in the long or short term.

1. Membership Hassles

Before signing up for a new gym, I like to shop around and compare prices
between my local gyms, and weigh the costs and benefits of each of their different membership plans. Unfortunately, this is usually never a straight-forward task. Gyms love to include things like enrollment fees, membership cancellation fees, first and last month's membership fees, “fees for being alive” fees—fees, fees, fees.

2. Pushy Sales Rep

What's worse, is that when you're signing up for a new gym, you have to go through a pushy sales rep who's always urging you on for a higher membership class, personal training sessions, performance products, or some other purchase that you weren't interested in to begin with. Many times, I've gone to a new gym that offered a free 3-day pass, or two-week membership—but in order to use it, you have to give this ungodly windshield-repair-guy-at-a-car wash salesman the time of day in order to use it. And if you show even a hint of interest while meeting with him, but don't yet sign up for the membership? He'll call and e-mail you three times per week for the rest of your life. Seriously, I'm still getting voicemails from Ross, the 'Member Specialist' from gyms like Lifetime Fitness
from over two years ago. It never ends.

3. The People

If you spend enough time anywhere, such as your work, school, or other hang-out, you'll begin to make certain observations of the people you like, and don't like. The gym is no exception. The Grunter, the Weight-Dropper, the Space Invader, the Show-Off, the Cell Phone Fiend, the Sweaty Non-Wiper, the Treadmill Stomper, the Lovey-Dovey Couple, the Chick Wearing Too Much Makeup, the Equipment Hog, the Smelly Guy, the Casanova, the Run-In Acquaintance Who Wants To Talk, the Unwanted Advice Giver, and The Guy Who's Just Sitting There Watching TV are all examples of the most horrible people at the gym.

4. Overcrowding

If you've been to a gym during “Happy Hour,” you know exactly what I'm talking about. The treadmills are all taken, and there's eight guys on one bench press. Fitness classes, too, can overflow in a heartbeat, with numerous middle-aged women who recently canceled their membership showing up 30 minutes early to place their yoga mats on the cardio room floor in order to claim their spot. Your 45-minute power workout turns into an hour and fifteen minutes of waiting for open equipment and waiting in line at the drinking fountain.

5. Inconvenient Bathroom Locations

Seriously- where is the bathrooms?! At almost every gym I've been to, bathrooms are always located about 5 miles away from the weight room. Many times while working out, I've decided to 'hold it' just to avoid the long trek down the stairs, around the hall, passed the 'kidz zone' daycare, and through the sauna doors. Gym owners- consider your patrons, and please install more bathrooms.

No matter what your qualms are with the gyms in your area, there are many positive points that can be found as well. When shopping for a gym, it's important to compare prices and offerings from each gym to see which one is the right fit for you in meeting your own fitness goals.

 Clara is from Minneapolis, MN, raised by parents at the opposite end of the education spectrum: her father, an elementary school principal; and her mother, a middle school substitute teacher. Now living in San Diego, Clara draws on that dichotomy when writing about education.


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