Note- This is the authors opinion only.
Hate is a strong word, but I got your attention, didn’t I?
It’s more an extreme dislike of commercial membership-based gyms and it’s been festering like a bad smell for a few months now.
How did I get to this point? Let me explain.
I’ve been training in gyms for over 27 years in Australia and the United States and for 10 of those years I’ve been a personal trainer.
The gym is a unique work place for a trainer because you don’t have a desk or a chair. There’s no barrier between you and the public and you’re always on show whether you’re working or not. If a mistake is made, there’s nowhere to run and hide.
Most of the time, it didn’t bother me because trainers needed to be seen or they go hungry and there was no place I’d rather be than being with the iron and surrounded by sweaty smelly people who wanted to get better.
Yes, even you gym grunter guy, even you.
The gym was my sanctuary, somewhere where I could go to forget about life’s troubles and focus on the barbell in my hands or on my back. The barbell unlike people never lies. You can either lift it or not and there’s very comforting about that.
While working a trainer and being behind the iron curtain, I became familiar with the inner workings of the gym. Membership, sales, customer complaints, quota’s, budgets, dealing with upper management and the competitiveness between trainers.
Like any job, there are parts you like, and parts you don’t. Hopefully the parts of the job you enjoy outweigh the parts you don’t, or your job becomes a ball and chain, kind of like a marriage.
Hey, before you come at me with pitchforks, it’s a joke, albeit not a funny one.
(Note- I’ve been happily married for 17 years and my wife didn’t pay me to say that)
For the first 7 years the pro’s out weighted the cons. I could tolerate the early mornings, the messy people who didn’t pick after themselves, unrealistic expectations from clients and management and the lack of employee benefits that plague the industry.
It was all water of a ducks back because I love coaching and still do.
Then I got fired because of differences of opinion with management and I may have stepped out of line a time or two. Believe it or not, I’m no angel.
This lead me into a series of personal trainer positions over the next 3 years that were seedy and driven by the greenback and not by the wants and needs of the client. Of course, we all need to make a living, however, not at the cost of the client or your soul.
I felt conflicted because of my love of coaching and the need to provide what little money I made to support my family.
However, after watching unmotivated people being sold huge personal training packages that they had no intention of using while the Mangers collected their commissions.
Then I spent most of my time trying to get them in the gym, so I could get paid
It became fruitless task and after dealing with this more times than I care to remember, I grew jaded. I was doing more unpaid work; my pay checks were low and client after client was leaving me because they couldn’t afford the monthly payments.
My last position, although good by trainer standards (remember the bar is low) nothing had changed, it was the same shit, different day and I had reached my fill. I could’ve sweep it under the carpet, sucked it up and ignore it or I could do something about it.
I decided to do something. I moved to Louisiana (by chance) and my new house has a 30ft x 40ft air-conditioned shed that I’m turning into a garage gym to train clients.
I considered it a sign from the heavens.
However, going into business for ones’ self is a risk but I cannot work for the man anymore and I wanted to offer different solution and stop being part of the problem. Benton, Louisiana, are you ready?
I don’t hate gyms per se, I hate working for them. Because where else can you go to look at yourself in full length mirrors while curling and grunting to your heart’s content?
Guilty as charged.