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Open Letter To Gold’s Gym

December 5, 2008

So, as some of you know, this year for my birthday my wife got me a one month guest membership at Gold’s Gym. She got it at a silent auction and got a great deal on it and in all honesty it was the best present I got this year.

It gave me some motivation when I really needed it and it gave me a way to work out that didn’t require much thought – at a time when I really didn’t have much time for thinking about workout routines.

It also served as a reminder to me why one of my fitness goals is to be self-sufficient. AKA – Not to have to rely on a gym or lots of expensive equipment to get into shape.

The bulk of my reasons for wanting to be self sufficient in my fitness regimen are practical.

For one thing – I don’t make enough money to build a bombastic home gym.

For another – Your home gym and your local gym aren’t always readily available, but the ground/floor always is.

Nevertheless, my experience at the gym served as a reminder that my goals do not match up with what the world at large thinks fitness should be about right now.

When I went to the gym that first night I was shown around by a nice lady who asked pertinent questions about my goals and answered my questions about the gym and told me about the available classes and times.

It was a fairly nice experience, even if the gym is geared more towards cardio and machine work than free weights and (crime of crimes) hasn’t even heard of Kettlebells, let alone have a rack of em on hand and a place to use them.

+ + +

The day before my birthday my wife got a day pass in the mail to come try out the gym, so after I had gone a couple times she used her pass to go with me.

We signed in and started working out.

It was Sunday and we went right after dinner, so we had less than an hour to do what we wanted to do before they closed.

The guy who was supposed to show my wife around wasn’t available when we came in, so, as I said, we started working out.

This, apparently, was a criminal act.

Thirty minutes into her workout, this tattooed gumby (little guy, lots of tattoos, lots of pretty muscles, no flexibility whatsoever) starts haranguing my wife that she is not permitted to work out before he *shows her around*

So she puts away her headphones and climbs down off her elliptical machine, cutting her workout short to listen to the gym-nazi’s sales pitch. Of course, I notice all this and come over.

This. Guy. Is. Unbelievable.

He takes one look at my 300 lb frame and immediately starts launching into all the great features the gym has to help me lose weight and get *ripped*

This is annoying, but I’m sure he sees plenty of fat people with that very determination on a daily basis, so I cut him some slack and tell him I’m not really here to get ripped but to put on several pounds of muscle.

His brain had trouble processing the thought of a fat man ready to gain weight. Seriously, he looked like he had an internal war waging between chronic constipation and explosive diarrhea.

Eventually he went back to his default presentation and walked us by several different rooms where classes would be held *guaranteed* to help us both lose massive amounts of weight.

Seriously, he was telling stories about a guy who was so into this one class he dropped over 100 lbs in 3 months.

Erm. No thanks. I’d like to keep the weight off when I do lose it and I’d like to give my skin as much time as possible to snap back rather than just sag off my newly found muscles.

Cardio, cardio, cardio.

That is all he would push.

Promising it would get me *ripped* in no time.

Honestly, too much cardio is going to eat muscle, the exact opposite of what I told this joker I was looking for. And I’m sorry, but at 300 lbs I can be as *ripped* as you like and nobody is ever going to see it.

Dropping below 20% body fat is the only thing that has any hope of allowing me to appear *ripped* and I’m sorry, but at this point there’s just no quick fix that’s gonna make that happen for me.

I’m still a little pissed that I just walked away from his sales pitch (which pissed him off to no end) without pointing out to him (and perhaps to his manager) just how bloody wrong he was.

I expressed specific goals.

He ignored them.

He then proceeded to treat me like an idiot promising solutions that weren’t ever going to happen using a string of buzzwords straight out of the 1980’s, outlining training schemes that have long since been discarded by the bodybuilding world at large.

Gak. It was on par with watching an 80 year old hooker in a lace teddy and 2 lbs of rouge hitting on a 20 year old stud.

Near as I can tell he never even tried to listen to my wife nor did he ever ask her about her goals – and she was the one he was supposed to be selling.

The day after my 30 day guest period expired, the nice young woman who took me around my first night called and tried to sell me a membership. She got my voicemail and I have never returned her call.

I suppose if I ever find myself in need of a pile of iron to sling around I’ll pay the $15 day fare, but I wouldn’t join that gym at this point if they gave me the first 6 months free.

It served its purpose. It got me motivated and provided me a place to work out without much thought during the busiest month of my year, but I think I’m going to stick to my playgrounds and trails and my trusty dusty kettlebell from now on.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2008 18:22

    Well, most big gyms’ business models are based on getting people to sign long-term contracts and then hoping a majority of them stop coming. (No-shows with long-term contracts = free money.)

    So they put a lot of money into marketing and they hire low-wage, low-benefit, and (usually) low-skill people to keep costs low. Good customer service doesn’t fit anywhere in that model.

  2. December 5, 2008 20:26

    Yeah, that’s starting to become an ugly trend just about everywhere anymore.

  3. December 7, 2008 18:48

    One of the local $10.99 a month gyms has various trainers trying to get you to sign up. And since they work on commission, they have some hard-sell tactics.

    Once, I’m on the treadmill and they guy comes over to talk to me. “Dude, I’m running, here.” He keeps going on about what they offer, as I’m only watching out of the corner of my eye and panting away. Did he think I was going to stop running to talk to him?

    Apparently so, because as I watched, several other people did just that. Geez, he could have at least asked if I’d talk to him when I was done, you know?

  4. December 8, 2008 06:24

    Yeah, annoying customers seems to be the new business-model-du-jour.

    Sadly, the more people who opt to be *polite* in the face of this carp rather than sticking to their guns the more it becomes accepted (and acceptable?) behavior.

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