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 :)

23 thoughts on “Gym Pet Peeves! – The Best Gym In The World”

  1. I've been doing work out at home all my life, but after a terrible divorce I decided to look for the best gyms in town. What should I consider before enrolling?

  2. No music – 100% agree – if gyms insist play it at half volume. 50% of people bring their own music (and don't want to listen to dance/techno). Why don't gyms play rock music – what would those who prefer techno think?

  3. I hate it when they bring novels (or magazines, for that matter) to the gym! It happens all the time here in Berlin. They sit for long breaks (say, 2 minutes) after doing incredibly light and long sets (this is already SO wrong) that won't even get them to sweat (how could they enjoy the novel if they were puffing and panting) when they could do just as well with pushups at home. Besides, the whole novel thing throws me off track. I need inspiration from the ppl around me, to workout harder and focus, and bookworms on a benchpress just kill my inspiration!

  4. You forgot curling in the squat/power racks! Nothing like waiting for two glove wearing clowns doing set after set of curls (with 10lb plates on either end of the bar) in the only squat rack in the gym. Every larger gym should have a lifting room for power lifters and olympic lifters, these guys add energy and intensity to the gym atmosphere and they keep the "light bulbs" humble. (You know the big chest/no legs guys that swagger around and loudly drop their 35lb dumbells after each set of concentration curls.)

  5. @Scooby, my gym is actually pretty cold. I say the ventilation is almost perfect, maybe even too cold. I don't think that's the problem. People just don't take care of their personal hygiene over there I guess. They've never heard of a deodorant or a body spray and it's really grosse and disgusting when people smell like BO especially when you're lifting weights and have to endure it. I also find it pretty sad no one finds it important and coming from someone like you I have to say I'm pretty disappointed.

  6. Hi Scooby,

    I am also wondering about dropping weights slightly from the dumbbell press. I hurt my back a while ago and am a bit worried about trying to sit back up since I use pretty heavy weights. I am not sure how my spotter would help me do this and I do not see how I can safely pass these weights to him. I am not trying to act macho but see this as the safest option so I would love to hear more of your opinion or advice on this.?

    Thanks.

  7. Seriously, you should open and own a gym!!! Where ever it is, I'll buy a lifetime membership from Japan.

    I really wish gym owners would read your list.

    And I especially wish shameless power lifting guys would read. Many of them are so selfish that they pack in around barbell area and literally BANG and DROP the weights! I think they think it's cool to make big noise!

  8. glennthepiemonster

    the gym i go to is very small and only has 3 staff members and lacks much equipment, for example no bench racks no squat racks just 1 smith machine and a rack of dumbells with a weight bench, also leg curl maching and leg extension, some others too ofc but no leg press etc :( sometimes only 2 people there so its ok to do what you like really weight room has a door open to the outside so its always cool

  9. A good list, but one of my gripes not mentioned is when people make unnecessary grunts and screams when lifting weights. Some noise is expected when pushing ones self, but some people are just anti social.

  10. Talking about singers… one time my focus was completely ruined by some guy dancing while walking around the gym.

  11. @BBR, you cant make an omelet without breaking a few eggs! To build a great physique takes hard work and sweat, and sweat smells like sweat. Masking it with chemicals that makes your eyes water is not the solution. Adequate ventilation is the solution! Most gyms are too hot in my opinion, they should be cold enough that people doing MAX level on the cardio equipment dont even break a sweat – odor problem solved!!! :)

  12. "Rip the speakers out! No music! 99% of the people hate the music that is being played anyway".

    Hmmm…and yet every time I open your blog in my browser my ears are assaulted by some techno/dance rubbish! PLEASE, disable the auto-play on it.

  13. I think it's disgusting how you say no sprays. It's much worse to have the smell of body odor in the gym than people smell good. i just don't get that part at all. It happens a lot to me when I'm working out and someone passes by or is working out close to me and they smell like BO. I seriously think you should take that off the list or better encourage people use sprays than not.

    Also another thing. Not everyone wants a self spotter. We come to the gym to focus on the workout not to find a self spotter. My gym happens to have rubber floors where the weights are so it's good. I think instead of not allowing dropping weights you should say to put rubber flooring where the benches are located for dumbbells.

    lol the parts where you said people read and lift weights and sing is pretty damn funny haha I never seen anyone do that before.

  14. @jacked, use a spotter!

    @Terry, I forgot that one – excellent. I will add this now

    12) Clean the gym every month whether it needs it or not :)

  15. Add bad cleaning etiquette to the list.

    Saw a cleaner ask a gym member to get up off the smith bench press machine so he could clean around it the other day. I considered this to be extremely rude. The guy using the equipment is a paying gym member, and in effect, pays that cleaners wage. The cleaner needs to wait til' a machine is free to clean it, not ask the guy whos sat there focusing on getting his next set done, to get up so he can clean the area.

  16. scoob, what if your doing db press and you drop them to the side lightly but still drop them none the less. I find it impossible to get back up with anything over 80. My legs don't weigh enough :P

  17. Only one solution Scooby, you need to lead by example. I suggest you open a Gym and show the world not only how to exercise correctly but also how to bring about the much needed changes in todays Gyms!! I will be the first member.

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