Gym Pet Peeves! – The Best Gym In The World

Arrrgh! Attention Gym Owners! Want your gym to be the best in the world? Your gym could be improved 1000% with a few minor changes and most of these dont cost anything! If I opened a gym I would make it the best gym in the world by doing the following:

  1. Rip the speakers out! No music! 99% of the people hate the music that is being played anyway. Back in the ’60s gyms played music because there were no portable music players, the Sony Walkman hadnt been invented yet. Wake up gym owners! MP3 players cost less than a day-use fee at a gym, if people want to listen to music they will bring their own!
  2. Allow powerlifting, its not a crime! Optimally, have a separate room for the powerlifting so the chalk and noise does not disturb the other members but by all means allow it! Powerlifting is at the heart of our sport and it seems criminal that it is discouraged by most gyms. If the gym has 100lb plates, this is the only place for them!
  3. Keep dumbbells and plates racked, its easy to train members to do but it requires a little work from the gym owner.
    • Get rid of 35lb plates! I know its traditional to have 35lb plates but they are a major cause of mis-racked or unracked weights. People always put them in the wrong place and then the complete organization of the weights goes to heck. When there are only 45’s, 25’s, 10’s and 5’s it is much easier to get members to rack weights properly.
    • Get rid of the 100lb plates! The only place for these is in the powerlifting room, move them there. 100lbs is too heavy for many members to move and they quickly cause weight grid lock if one single person doesnt re-rack them.
    • Make “No Standing Allowed” zones in front of dumbbell racks! This is the simplest and cheapest thing a gym owner can do to keep the dumbbells racked properly! Here’s what happens all the time. Someone grabs dumbbells off the rack and does their shrugs or bicep curls right there in front of the rack, blocking it. Someone else is done and wants to put their dumbbells away but they cant because that person is blocking the empty spot where the dumbbells belong. What happens? Either they put them in any spot that happens to be open or they just leave abandon them on the floor and walk away.
    • Use music as a weapon! Announcement on PA system – “Attention members, cleanup time. Please rack any weights in your vicinity or the yodeling music starts in 1 minute”. The threat of yodeling music played at high volume is enough to get anyone to rack weights :)
    • Plainly label weights, weight trees and dumbbell racks. Members cant put weights in their proper place if they dont know where that is. Make the labeling BOLD and bright so it can plainly be seen. Many weight trees use raised black on black lettering that is virtually impossible to see, make sure its neon bright.
    • Have staff check every hour and make sure things are in their proper place.
  4. Have a suggestion box and read the suggestions! This is my biggest and most important point! I have never seen a suggestion box at a gym. They always seem to have the attitude, “I’ve got your money, I dont care about you any more”. In fact 95% of gyms only concern seems to be how to get more members (money), once people sign up they are treated like trash. Your members are your clients and you have to respond to their needs, how can you do that if you dont know what they are?? If you are high tech, do one online. If not get a $10 corkboard and pin up the questions with your answers pinned below. You will be surprised how a suggestion box will improve your members attitudes and how they will then recommend your gym to friends.
  5. Keep it clean! As many of you know, I like doing a lot of my chest dumbbell exercises on the floor and its kinda gross when the sweat picks up all the dust bunnies leaving me looking like a human sized cotton candy. The powerlifting room (where chalk is allowed) gets daily cleaning as well but of course will get dirty over the course of a day.
  6. Keep equipment maintained! There is nothing as depressing and unsafe as a gym with poorly maintained equipment. Frayed cables, loose dumbbells, bent curl bars, missing carabeners on the cable machines, wobbly benches. Maintenance is a cheap insurance policy and does wonders to keep members morale up.
  7. No cellphone usage in gym! People may accept emergency calls but must immediately proceed to lobby to talk. Talking on phone while on cardio equipment or gym floor should be grounds for immediate membership termination. Members on phones are completely oblivious to the needs of those members around them and interfere with everyones workouts.
  8. Wipe up your sweat! No member should ever go to a piece of equipment and find streams or puddles of sweat. The gym needs to either provide towel service or paper towels for wiping up sweat. Most often the reason sweat gets left on benches is because a member forgot their towel and the gym doesnt provide towels or paper products for cleanup.
  9. No sprays anywhere in gym! At a gym many people are trying to operate their bodies at 99.99% of their capacity. The lungs are very sensitive and this becomes even more important when you are huffing and puffing while on cardio equipment. Any perfumes, colognes, or cleaning products in the air can ruin a workout. No sprays of any kind should be allowed in the gym. No spray deodorants, no foot sprays, no spray disinfectants, no spray cleaners.
  10. No weight dropping. It amazes me how many gyms have their silly “safety” rules but then allow members to throw dumbbells around and drop plates. The only place that weights should be allowed to be dropped is in the powerlifting room, nowhere else. There is no excuse whatsoever for dropping a dumbbell to the floor, get a spotter or use a weight you can control. Some people like showing off how strong they are by tossing the dumbbells to the floor after their set – their memberships should be immediately terminated.
  11. No reading on weight machines. Reading on cardio equipment is fine but people who read while lifting weights lose track of time and hog the equipment.
  12. No machine hogging allowed during prime time when gym is busy. Members may not reserve multiple machines during busy periods by putting towels or personal effects on them. If your workout requires supersetting with three different machines, come when the gym isnt busy. If you must superset during prime time then you just have to wait your turn at each piece of equipment if someone is on it when you arrive.
  13. Mark equipment if you step away for a moment by leaving a towel on it or leaving your keys, this avoids some really annoying situations. You go and get a drink of water only to find someone is half done unloading your machine and has already re-adjusted the bench. They are annoyed because they think some yahoo didnt clean up after themselves and then find after working to clean it up that they wasted their time because someone was really using it. Note, this is not license to hog equipment while you are talking on your cellphone outside :)
  14. No singing! Singer’s memberships will be terminated! Doesnt matter how good you sing, nobody wants to hear this in the gym. If you cant listen to your music without singing then dont listen to it!
  15. Keep it cool! Most gyms are way too hot and poorly ventilated for my taste! Gyms are about intense workouts and the way to keep the gym smelling good is to have it cool enough and well ventilated enough. If members are too cold, they can wear sweatshirts. If you are too hot you dont have any options because there are only so many clothes you can legally take off :)