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Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:14 pm
by Baby Hercules
One of my lifting buds was all excited about a new chain of big gyms opening up because it was only $10 a month to join. I told him that sounded suspicious but he said his son goes because it has a full weight room, cardio machines, etc. just like a big fitness center. Still, something about it didn't sound right.

I decided to call them up. Here's how the phone conversation went....

Boom Fitness: "Hello, Boom Fitness."

Me: "Hello, I was looking over your website and I had a few questions."

B: "Yes?"

M: "It says that you are open 24 hours but you are only staffed from nine in the morning until eight at night. How does that work?"

B: "Our staff is available during those hours."

M: "Yeah...Okay, and then how about after those hours?"

B: "The facility is available to you 24 hours a day."

M: "Yes, but the staff goes home after eight."

B: "That's right."

M: "So, who's there?"

B: "Our clients."

M: "Working out all alone in a big gym with lots of big, nasty equipment in the middle of the night?"

B: "Well, we have fitness instructors to show you how to--"

M: "But they're gone after eight, so it's just anybody in there. Even people who don't know how to use the equipment. What if some guy gets pinned under an overloaded bar on the bench?"

B: "We have an emergency phone to dial 911."

M: "How's he gonna reach it if he's trapped under the bar?"

B: "--"

M: "What if a woman goes in to work out at midnight and a group of guys decides to follow her inside and gang rape her?"

B: "We have full security--video cameras, slide cards--"

M: "Yes, but if the rapists steal a membership card and wear ski masks, they're pretty much in the clear. And what does she do, use the emergency phone to hail a taxi to the hospital after she picks up her shredded clothing and stops bleeding?"

B: "--"

M: "Just seems like an unsafe situation to me."

B: (getting impatient now) "Do you have any more questions?"

M: "Plenty, but I think I'm done here. Good-bye."

I hung up and laughed my ass off. It was one of those sad, creepy kind of laughs, like What In the Hell? Just out of curiosity, I dialed 24 Hour Fitness next and asked if they ever left their building unstaffed. They were appalled at the notion and guessed that it must be one hell of a waiver you have to sign at Boom. I'm guessing they're right.

Baby Herc

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:33 pm
by VeganEssentials
Actually, more and more of the 24-hour facilities are unstaffed after a certain hour. I worked out at Anytime Fitness for about 3 years, basically, after 7 PM there was nobody on duty until the following morning. That being said, they apparently never had any problems, and regarding the "what if you get hurt?", they had little pager things you could wear around your neck that would dial 911 if you'd press the button (basically like the old "I've fallen and I can't get up!" commercial thing for the elderly), so there was something in place. Anytime Fitness, Snap Fitness and others have been using this formula with great success, but of course, if you want a late night trainer, you're out of luck. If you want to know someone's at the desk when you pop in for a late night workout, you're not going to be happy. However, it's akin to being anywhere else at that hour, if you go to ANY location in the late night hours, there's more potential for someone to be lying in wait for something bad to happen.

It sounds odd, but typically, unless the gym would be in an area that's not known to be safe (of which, nobody should put a 24 hour unstaffed-at-night facility in a bad area if they want to have their place last more than a year...), it's actually not a bad thing. These places also have house phones for emergencies, so if you got in, saw anything outside that looked wrong, you could dial the police ASAP even if you didn't have a cell phone with you. And, the doors close FAST behind you when you go in, preventing anyone from being able to follow you in unless they were pretty well already breathing on the back of your neck as you swipe your card to get access. Considering the overly litigious nature of Americans these days, these places wouldn't be expanding like crazy if the formula didn't work safely for just about everyone.

It's particularly nice for those who become anti-social when training (like myself, I prefer to not be disturbed or do any talking when I lift), most nights after 11 PM I'd have the place to myself, I'd sneak in my iPod and sound dock and cover their crappy music with my own playlist and enjoy myself thoroughly in solitude :)

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:15 pm
by Baby Hercules
This place doesn't have pagers. And I'm guessing, Ryan, from the size of you, that you are not particularly at risk for gang rape. :wink: I'm glad you enjoy the solitude you find and put it to work. I'm a more social lifter but it's all good.

Maybe I come from an era of different standards but I came into my own in a Gentleman's Gym. It was so-named by the weight room manager, Al, who kept that place running like a well-oiled machine. A massive body builder, himself, he tolerated nothing but gentlemanly behavior--no cursing, shouting, spitting, dropping or clanging of weights. You treated the equipment as if it were your own. You put your weights back when you were finished. You helped others load and unload theirs. You took pride in your facility and you had your lifting bud's back. Everybody spotted everybody. If a man harassed a lady, he was ushered out. We had Broncos football players, professional bodybuilders, pro wrestlers and boxing champs galore. The trophy case was so full of gold and silver, you had to wear sunglasses to look into it. People looked after each other, bragged about one another, rode each other hard, never let each other give up--your regulars were your family. And this wasn't a shiny, new Nautilus commercial, either, these were old school weights and machines, unapologetically dirty and dinged, hard core to the max. These were the days before Purell.

One day, I was walking back to my vehicle close to dark. This gym was close to a very dangerous part of the city but I usually came and went in the daylight hours and only parked a few blocks away. This night, a violent street person started following me and harassing me. I ignored him, then asked him nicely, then yelled at him, but he just kept comin'. One of the big basketball players from the gym, a guy I'd never even met before, came out of the building, ran up and grabbed the bum, whirling him around so that bum's back was to me. He talked trash to the man, asking him why he was treating a lady that way, keeping him busy while he motioned for me to run to my truck. I blew that basketball player a kiss and drove away. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before or since and I never saw that basketball player again. But the weight room manager wasn't surprised to hear about the chivalry. He said, "This is a Gentleman's Gym. We only have gentlemen here. You need anything, you just say the word."

There doesn't seem to be that kind of love in gyms anymore. The Empty Facility Syndrome of gyms after dark feels like a metaphor of sorts. The whole thing just reminds me of a dangerous road intersection where they don't put up a STOP sign until there's a fatality. I stick to community rec centers with excellent weight rooms now. The regulars know each other, will come up to each other in public and shake hands like old friends. Hell, I hug the guys I know, they're my bros. I'll never leave there. Not even for ten dollars a month and a pager.

Baby Herc

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:41 pm
by VeganEssentials
Baby Hercules wrote:This place doesn't have pagers. And I'm guessing, Ryan, from the size of you, that you are not particularly at risk for gang rape. :wink: I'm glad you enjoy the solitude you find and put it to work. I'm a more social lifter but it's all good.

That is odd that they don't have the pager devices, without those, I can see a lawsuit brewing as we speak should anyone get hurt while there solo during the off-hours. Not a good plan for them, but sadly, I think they'll learn that lesson the hard way.

Out this way, the 24 hour key card gyms tend to be in suburban strip malls most commonly, usually in places that are on well-traveled streets and in brightly lit areas. That usually means that the odds of someone looking at the locations as a choice spot for doing anything criminal are quite low, but of course, that's in relation to where I'm located, can't speak for the other places you'll find such facilities. Throughout the area in and around Milwaukee, these types of places have a really good record of being crime-free, but you never know how it would be somewhere else!

I definitely hear you regarding the loss of quality gyms that relied on essentials for effective equipment over glitz, member camaraderie and people giving a hoot about each other's well-being and overall progress, etc. Almost all such places out this way have vanished, with a few last holdouts (including the facility I'm partnered into). I'm sure you'd love our place, just lots of barbells, dumbbells, iron and bumper plates galore, a handful of decent machines that don't suck, strongman toys and no shortage of things made solely to get you stronger with zero glamour in an environment that reeks of "Do the best f*%ing job you're capable of while you're here". Not to mention, what started as more of a one-on-one training concept has evolved more into people wanting to train together to push each other, and dozens of friendships have formed this past year. Heck, on Fridays, you can usually find a group of people from our gym who didn't know each other just a few short months ago, now all well-acquinted and heading out to grab a post-training beer together after a good session :D

Only thing that sucks is that we have to move in less than 7 weeks due to our current building being a no-go for renewing our lease due to the owner's plans to gut the whole complex for new usage, but all things willing, we'll be signing on our top pick for a new home tomorrow, which will double our space and give us a whole lot more to work with. Can't wait to get in there and rebuild something even better than we have now! :D

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:06 am
by Baby Hercules
Thanks, Ryan, for that awesome response. I can always count on you for the integrity vote. You're some of the stuff that's missing from a lot of these new gyms. Yes, sounds like I'd feel right at home in your weight room. You're welcome at mine any day, I'll make the introductions. You'd scare the shit out of the young ones using the dumbbells incorrectly, that right there would be thanks enough! :lol:

Hey, I'm psyched for you on your new home. How freakin' cool is that? I'm the weird sort who actually enjoys helping people move (yes, I have a big truck). It's a great workout and it feels good to lessen the stress of that kind of ordeal for my friends. I'll be there in spirit if not in form, warm vegan pizza and cold beer at the ready. Does the new house have a nice, big yard for home grown vegetables?

Baby Herc

PS: I have relatives in Milwaukee. It's an Indian word for "Cold Enough For You?" :lachmal:

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:46 am
by C.O.
That phone call sounds pretty hilarious. I thought at first it was planet fitness and you just changed it to a made up name to protect the business identity or your own, but not sure why you would. I wonder if people will start stealing their free weights?

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:48 pm
by Baby Hercules
C.O. wrote:That phone call sounds pretty hilarious. I thought at first it was planet fitness and you just changed it to a made up name to protect the business identity or your own, but not sure why you would. I wonder if people will start stealing their free weights?

Come to think of it, a pair of ten-pounders in my duffel would more than cover the price of admission. Unfortunately, I suck at a life of crime. I swiped a candy bar once when I was ten; I'm still feeling bad about it. Maybe because it's still in my colon. (Damned Hershey's Corporation)

That conversation is nearly verbatim. I wish I could've taped it, it was so classic.

Baby Hercules

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:20 pm
by VeganEssentials
Hey, Herc!

It's a mixed bag on the gym relocation - we actually wanted to take over the rest of the building we are currently in (they had more open units on the end from a carpet company that moved out), but apparently they want to gut the whole place of the office/warehouse units and make more self-storage out of it (we lease from a building owned by PS Public Storage). Would have been nice to just expand and not have to move, but if the new place is set and my partners want to sign the lease, at least we'll be only a half mile from our current spot on the same street.

But, as noted, we'll be doubling our space, we'll continue to have full use of the outdoor arear behind the building, but now there will be room for Kirk to be training up to about 25 people indoors at a given time in groups, whereas now it was tough for him to have more than about 12-15 people at one time. Not to mention, landlord at new spot said that if we sign, he'll give us a key to an adjacent unit to start moving our stuff in until the company leasing our spot is gone, which would be great as one of our members just bought out all the old equipment at a local high school, so now we're going to have twice the equipment, but currently we have nowhere to store it.

Fingers are crossed that when I meet with my partners tonight, they'll tell me they think the lease terms are good enough for us to sign on (they're still crunching the numbers a bit to make sure, since we're also doubling our overhead), but I should know by tomorrow how things are looking!

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:05 pm
by Baby Hercules
Way to go, Ryan! I'm rooting for you. Consider the raw man power you have at your disposal for the actual moving: you could advertise a special Moving Day Caveman Workout to members. If they show up and help for a certain number of hours, they get a free lunch. The smell of sizzling vegan brats and marinated tempeh strips on a nearby grill is tough to say No to. :twisted:

If you've got actual dirt in the back area, you could easily plant a long border of corn and have an end-of-season corn roast.

Baby Herc

Re: Holy @$%#!, worst gym ever!

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:19 pm
by C.O.
Okay so I actually worked out at a planet fitness today for the 1st time. I heard the alarm go off once when someone dropped weights too hard; pretty cheesy! Its kind of weird with all of their rules but eh I worked out for free since my friend has a membership. The place is clean and has a variety of equipment. We got in a great workout. I wouldn't recommend this place to others, but I won't put it down too hard either. It is what it is and its probably the least expensive option for a lot of people if you don't have a nice local place near where you live.