If it’s gross, I’m not going. The gym can be old, it can be small, it can be beat-up, and it can even be cold. But, if it’s dirty? Pass. I’m not into catching a staph infection or MRSA. (I love a gym where you don’t have to ask for TP, soap, or paper towels.)
9. No women’s barbells.
These aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity. Women have smaller hands, so every gym that teaches Olympic weightlifting to women should have smaller diameter bars. Skimping here is like skimping on toilet paper because, you know, women could always stand up to pee like men.
8. Screaming coaches.
Maybe some folks like to be scolded into achievement. I’m not one of them, and most adults I know hate to be treated like misbehaving dogs. I’m not opposed to yelling, just to belittlement.
7. Coaches who don’t say anything useful, or who never correct.
I don’t want you to berate, but I don’t want to be ignored or placated. Be firm, be fair, be honest—and be funny, if you can! Funny can help ease athlete tension.
6. Coaches who don’t allow enough time for the Women’s Bathroom Parade before any class workout that includes double-unders or box jumps.
You know most women will want to pee before dubs or box jumps. Give enough warning time before the workout starts, so they can get in line.
5. Only Death Metal music.
You can’t find music to please everyone, but please try to vary sometimes from the “WE’RE ALL GOING TO F**KING DIE” soundtrack. Like a member once said to me back in the day when I owned one of the early CrossFit affiliates: “I thought I hated CrossFit, but it turns out I only hated the music.”
4. Warm-ups that make no sense or that are the same every time.
I once attended a class where we did hurdles as the warm-up before the 75 snatches of “Randy.” That made no sense and was negligent for client preparation. Think about the applicability of your warm-up to your workout. People like consistency and variety. Set a structure, but toss in some regularly.
I’m a human. You’re a human. (Or so I imagine.) It would be polite if you say hello after I say hello to you. Your mom should have taught you this, but if she didn’t, I’m teaching you now.
2. Sexist advertising.
I’m good with half-naked. I’m good with focusing on attractive people in photographs. I get that it’s a gym and you’re trying to sell healthy, fit bodies. I love ass photos, and I have a big ass so I don’t care if you focus on posterior chains. But if you only zoom in on a woman’s rear or you cut off her head in photos or you feature lingerie models in your ads with stupid ad copy? You’re telling how you view women and their worth. You can have any opinion you want of women, but I don’t have to give you my money. (I’d say the same thing for ads featuring men, but I don’t see that kind of focus in our society. Holler if you do!)
If I’m going to tell you what I don’t like, then I should tell you what I do like: a clean, well-equipped gym with competent coaches who pay attention to the workout and the warm-up and the clients. A friendly atmosphere where people feel like they can go hard, achieve, and fail in a safe environment—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Running a gym is HARD work and takes many hours. I know: I ran one for four years. But it can be such a wonderful place, and together we can all make it so. Take this list with a grain of salt and take a look at your gym, whether you’re a member, a coach, or an owner. Can you help make it better? Suggest, listen, do. We’re all in this together.