How Your Gym Is Screwing You - AnabolicMinds.com
    • How Your Gym Is Screwing You



      By James Fell AskMen

      Recently, I was invited to attend some event at Huntington Beach with the Kardashians. I replied to the publicist that I would rather stuff my private parts in a hornet’s nest.

      True story. Since I do a lot of celebrity fitness interviews for the L.A. Times, publicists just naturally assume I live in Los Angeles, and so I am regularly invited to all sorts of parties, events and grand openings that have celebrities in attendance. Once I was actually tempted to fly down from Canada because Borg Babe Jeri “7 of 9” Ryan was going to be there.

      I digress. My latest email from a publicist was from a casting agent for reality TV shows. They were inviting me to audition for a new show called Gym Rescue in which they take crappy, failing gyms and turn them into good, profitable ones, or something like that.

      This show is about “mom and pop” type gyms that are struggling, but it got me thinking about how to make a gym profitable, and how large chain fitness clubs really screw people over in the quest for improving the bottom line.

      Here are four ways gyms -- especially the big franchise gyms -- screw you over:

      1. The Activation Fee

      Say you’re out gym shopping, and you see a place advertising a special rate of $30 a month, and you think that sounds pretty good so you drop in to discuss buying a membership. There is lots of hype about all the awesome stuff this gym has to offer, and how it’s going to become your new home away from home, and the people there are going to become your friends, and the hot girl at the check-in counter is going to seem like maybe she’ll date you, and … And then after the tour and contract discussions, they spring the small matter of the “activation fee.”

      $199 seems to be a popular amount for this fee. What is it? Is it to pay for those little plastic swipe cards they give you? In reality, it’s just a bullsh*t “We’re going to charge you this fee because we can” fee. They get you all hyped up, and then try to milk a couple of hundred extra bucks out of you.

      How to avoid it

      Refuse to pay it. Say it’s bogus. Say it’s false advertising. Say you’re going to shop somewhere else for a gym that doesn’t charge a fee like this.

      There is a good chance they’ll waive it.

      2. The Never-Expiring Membership

      A gym membership can be like herpes -- impossible to get rid of. You can jump through all their hoops and do the cancellation procedures, and some places will still keep charging your credit card or debiting your bank account.

      They don’t care if you ever use the place; they just want to keep charging you that monthly fee. And if you come in to try and cancel, they might guilt-trip you about “giving up on achieving your goals” or some crap like that. There was an episode of Friends that poked fun at this phenomenon, and I’d link it, but I think anyone with testicles and a brain hates that show, so I won’t.

      How to avoid it

      Pay close attention: ONLY PAY CASH!

      Chances are, gyms are going to get you to sign up for a full year. The pay-by-month plan is sometimes available, but the fee is so much higher that it’s not worth it. Quite often the way to go is to sign up for the full year because it has the best rate by far.

      But there is no law saying you have to pay month to month on your credit card or, god forbid, letting them debit your bank account. Just pay for that entire year upfront, in cash.

      As a warning, they might not like this.

      At my last gym, before I finally went home gym, I did this, and they pressured me for my credit card: “It will be easier to renew your membership if we have your credit card on file,” she said. Me: “Easier for whom? If I want to renew at the end of the year, then I’ll just buy another year then.” It turns out, I didn’t want to renew, and after my year was up, all I had to do was walk. No cancellation paperwork or other crap, because there was no way for them to keep charging me.

      Again, never, ever let a gym debit your credit card or bank account.

      3. Personal Training

      I can’t tell you how many trainers of former big-box gyms I’ve spoken to who left their place of employment in disgust. Here is the reality of personal training in a large franchise gym: the trainers are valued far more for their ability to sell more training than their abilities as actual trainers.

      These trainers do not want to lose you as a client. Ever. So they teach learned helplessness. They teach you to be dependent upon them by constantly keeping you off balance and always having some new repertoire of bullsh*t exercises to teach you. These trainers have quotas to meet. There are meetings with sales managers where they discuss strategies on how they’re going to sell you ever more sessions. You are viewed as a cash machine.

      How to avoid it

      Don’t ever use the trainers at a large chain. Many (not all) have only pathetic, weekend certifications and don’t have a proper understanding of exercise physiology, but they sure can sell.

      And when I say never, I mean don’t even take the offer of “two free sessions” that come with the new membership. That’s because those sessions are going to be sales pitches for more training. It’s OK to have a membership at a big box gym, but get your training elsewhere, like a community center, a university gym or a personal training studio. Get someone with top-notch qualifications and discuss a plan on how you’re going to “graduate” out of needing their assistance after an agreed upon number of sessions.

      4. Supplement Sales

      I don’t take any supplements at all, so perhaps I’m biased. If gaining mass is your goal, then creatine can be helpful, but it’s worth knowing before you take it that most women, while they like muscular men, aren’t into “huge.” And fat burners? Well, they either don’t work, nuke your liver or possibly lead to psychological disturbances or even death. Seriously, these things can be tainted with all sorts of bad crap. And protein powders? Are you sure you really need them instead of just, you know, food?

      How to avoid it

      First off, get informed and decide if any of these supplements are even worth taking. A good site for checking out the efficacy of supplements is Examine. If there are supplements you favor taking, realize that your local gym is likely a far more expensive place to buy them than just about anywhere else.

      Read more: http://www.askmen.com/sports/bodybui...#ixzz2a9jgThnG
      Comments 14 Comments
      1. atanocc's Avatar
        atanocc -
        -->xsport fitness hah smh spot on! ESP the trainers part. I see the weirdest things they have their clients do. I give em the only look like WTF is that?! I think if I was a client I'd want to at least hit some compound movements with a barbell
      1. 804's Avatar
        804 -
        Great when we have a post like this on a supplement driven forum.. and the author is a biased non-supplement user. FAIL
      1. mf123's Avatar
        mf123 -
        Originally Posted by 804 View Post
        Great when we have a post like this on a supplement driven forum.. and the author is a biased non-supplement user. FAIL
        Seems like a pretty biased article if you ask me. Some points I would agree with but your supplement paragraph is an opinion that you did not back up with any quotes or statistics from a reliable source to support yourself.
      1. bigintensions's Avatar
        bigintensions -
        Agreed until the supplement part. Lol at creatine getting you huge. Cell tech brah
      1. ricroc's Avatar
        ricroc -
        I know AM brings us a variety of articles from sources all around, but perhaps they can forgo those from AskMen. I often get better info from informed individuals via the threads on this site than the AskMen articles provide.
      1. fimbulvinter's Avatar
        fimbulvinter -
        Creatine has turned me into a rock solid 275lbs beast and now I can't get laid!
      1. exrugger's Avatar
        exrugger -
        Originally Posted by fimbulvinter View Post
        Creatine has turned me into a rock solid 275lbs beast and now I can't get laid!
        Haha ya I never heard of a girl that didn't love a buff ripped body compared to a 'long distance sprinter' body that this Nancy boy describes lol
      1. rugger48's Avatar
        rugger48 -
        Before you guys bash the supplement part, he did say get informed and find out what works and getting them at the gym will probably be more expensive. I don't see that much wrong with what he said.
      1. mf123's Avatar
        mf123 -
        This is a SUPPLEMENT FORUM basically with some add ins. I think i speak for most of us AM bloggers that we come here to seek advice from well experienced supplement users! Imagine if this forum was filled with users who know nothing about supplements? Not only would we learn nothing but there would also be a lot of weak people in here lol
      1. Orion Bixler's Avatar
        Orion Bixler -
        Well i guess this whole time the kick boxing gym right down the road from where I live is the place to be.They are only asking for 99$ up front! =)!!!!
      1. ronald_teddy's Avatar
        ronald_teddy -
        Originally Posted by mf123 View Post
        This is a SUPPLEMENT FORUM basically with some add ins. I think i speak for most of us AM bloggers that we come here to seek advice from well experienced supplement users! Imagine if this forum was filled with users who know nothing about supplements? Not only would we learn nothing but there would also be a lot of weak people in here lol
        Sups are the biggest waste of money ever. I used to work at our local Nutrishop and take all the stacks until I did research and couldn't find anything to support the products. The only information out there is written by companies that sell the stuff. I will say that creatine is about the only one worth the money and it is about $20 for a six month supply. If you want to spend your whole paycheck on sups that is fine with me but don't tell others about all the gains you are getting from the "proprietary blend". They don't even really tell you what is in the sups, biggest racket ever. It may help you out mentally but that is about it.
      1. eluruguayo's Avatar
        eluruguayo -
        All this "cash only" stuff... srsly? If you have a credit card on file and want to cancel, all you have to do is cancel the card and get a new one, like the way you'd do if the card was stolen. Duh.
      1. RiseNShine's Avatar
        RiseNShine -
        I think everyone is missing the big take away from this article.. He at least knows that Friends sucks..
      1. mf123's Avatar
        mf123 -
        Originally Posted by ronald_teddy View Post
        Sups are the biggest waste of money ever. I used to work at our local Nutrishop and take all the stacks until I did research and couldn't find anything to support the products. The only information out there is written by companies that sell the stuff. I will say that creatine is about the only one worth the money and it is about $20 for a six month supply. If you want to spend your whole paycheck on sups that is fine with me but don't tell others about all the gains you are getting from the "proprietary blend". They don't even really tell you what is in the sups, biggest racket ever. It may help you out mentally but that is about it.

        So 20$ is your whole paycheck? What are you doing selling knick knacks at your local flea market? Lol WEAK!

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