LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Pure Fitness, Bally’s, Mountainside, 24 hour Fitness, the list goes on and on.
These are the most popular gyms in AZ. You can’t pass too many intersections without seeing at least one of these. I may piss off a lot of people with this post, but it’s my blog and my opinion. So there 🙂 (Note: this is just my opinion of corporate gyms. I’m exaggerating a lot of this, and it isn’t true in ALL cases, obviously. If your experience has been different then that is great and you are lucky. In that case, enjoy the laugh :))
I incorporate these gyms with fake smiles, women wearing no clothes, guys staring at women, guys wearing too many accessories, guys with too much gel in their hair, women with too much hairspray and makeup on, and a training staff that knows as much about fitness as Tiger Woods knows about staying faithful.
When I walk into one of these places, I am greeted by the fake smile, and see sales associates everywhere. It is much like walking into a car lot. You feel as though the salesmen are eyeing you and racing to catch the bait(aka new member.) So you sign up at one of these gyms, after they explain to you how wonderful of a deal you are going to get because they are SLASHING the processing fee in half!!! This only means that instead of paying an extra 100 dollars that is just going towards the sales associate, you are only paying 50 dollars of that. Phew, I thought I was going to get ripped off.
Next, you are set up with a COMPLIMENTARY FITNESS ASSESSMENT! How wonderful, a trainer that got his certification at Walmart is going to walk me through the gym and tell me that I am fat. He will know I am fat because he is going to use calipers and pretend like he knows what the numbers mean. Then, he will come up with a body fat percentage that is a little higher than the truth, that way, even if you make zero progress, you will think you made at least a little bit of progress and continue to workout at the gym. Gotta keep that monies comin’!!
So you finish your assessment and this “trainer” tells you that he will give you a special discount on a training package because he just likes you so much. Instead of the normal $75 an hour, you will only have to pay $65. Wow, I am a lucky son of a bitch.
Next, you will meet your trainer for your first appointment. He will walk you to the leg press, then the chest press, then the shoulder press and finally the ab machine. He will tell you to do 15 reps on each machine and he will probably be texting his girlfriend while pretending to listen to you babble. Truth: he has no idea what you are saying because the nudie his girlfriend just sent is probably a little more interesting. Just sayin.
You will finish the workout using your core, and then he will shoe you away to the cardio machines while he grabs his next victim client.
Meanwhile, I will be at my independently owned gym, studio, or community center. I am greeted by name at the door, put my game face on and train my ass off. I sign up for my membership when I want to without being pressured, I don’t pay very much for it. I also don’t get a complimentary towel with my workout, though, so there is a downside……
The trainers are usually people who are passionate about working out. There are still definitely some trainers that I wouldn’t trust to walk me down the street, but for the most part, these trainers are skilled and knowledgeable in at least some type of exercise/workout niche. They are nice, truly care about their clients because they realize they are putting food on their table, and since they don’t have to make sure corporate is happy, they are free to have a personality. Imagine that!
The other members in the gym are there to work out. They aren’t paying for a fancy membership so they can get the free towel and water bottle, they are just paying to be able to come in at their convenience, get in whatever type of workout they want, and leave feeling better.
Like I said before, this is just my take on the two different situations. Many of you have probably had completely different experiences, but that is just mine. At independently owned gyms, there is no pressure to meet sales minimums. At a studio, you are going to be with a group of people that you see very frequently and will become close to, since you are sharing a small space. It may be more expensive, but the quality will be there. At a community center, you are probably going to be using recycled equipment, but the people there are usually very friendly and appreciative. The staff is even better, as they aren’t getting paid much and likely just love the atmosphere, and that is why they are there.
I’m not saying every single corporate gym is bad, but I have trained at a studio, two different community centers, an independently owned gym, and 2 corporate gyms and between my experiences and what I’ve heard from others, that is where my position stands.
What is your opinion? Corporate or other? What is your worst gym experience?