40 Years of Gym Pet Peeves


I am spoiled as I have trained in a lot of well-equipped gyms over the last forty of my fifty-three years. I know what I want out of a gym, and I have developed pet peeves that drive me nuts. Some might think my pet peeves are trivial, but I expect a gym owner to maintain equipment and provide the best experience for novice to advanced lifters.

Though the list of things I would focus on is long and could be considered OCD by most people’s standards, here are some of the more important points that I would focus on as a gym owner. I will begin with the most obvious and progress into points that I hope will make you react with, “Yeah, that is a pretty good idea because that bothers me, too.” Let’s get the “duhs” out of the way first.

Well-Equipped Gym
I think we can all agree that a great gym should be well-equipped. The volume of equipment depends on the size of the member base or the PROJECTED member base that the gym wants to build into. In short, there should not be people waiting very long for a machine or a specific set of dumbbells. Having a variety of equipment allows members to switch exercises without having to weight (you see what I did there). Variety is also a huge draw for people to come from other gyms to train at your gym.

As a future gym owner, I know that the more exercise selection I provide, the bigger the opportunity I have to pull members from other gyms that are not as well-equipped. Some people consider commute time when they purchase a gym membership, but others are willing to increase their commute time if they know they have a better variety of equipment.

The choice of which pieces to have in a gym is entirely up to the owner. I know what I would have in my gym, but I remind myself often that it is my personal preference, and I am training in someone else’s “house.” For example, I would make sure that my Smith Machines allow for standing overhead pressing and also allow the bar to go down as far as possible to the floor. It allows more versatility for rows and overhead pressing without the stoppers getting in the way. More versatility means less wait time for members due to having more exercise options.

I will not dig into the behavior of gym members and what I would or would not tolerate. That is a rabbit hole that I do not have time to go down.

My pet peeves in the gym that encompass how people act are not the focus of this article. No, I do not like tripods set up all over the gym, and I also do not like people sitting on equipment while on their phones. However, that is more of a cultural issue and one that if a gym is well-equipped, I can overlook people’s behavior by just focusing on myself and my training. In fact, society might be better off if we all had the same perspective, but I do not want to digress any further.

Quality of Equipment
The quality of the equipment is, of course, important and should go without saying. I do not want to go into a gym and see equipment that is halfway between commercial and home gym quality. This is just cheap and flimsy equipment that not only breaks and needs to be fixed but it is also a liability for the gym owner. Spend the money on equipment that will last and keep yourself from being sued at the same time.

Now, let’s dig into the minutiae…

Maintain Equipment
Poor maintenance of equipment is something that I have zero tolerance for.

If the grips are torn, or not even, either remove and replace them or cut them both off. There are pieces that I love to use, and will not use them if the grips are uneven.

There should be no drag on any machines involving cables and pulleys.

One of the staples that I carry in my gym bag is a can of silicone spray. I see no reason why every gym can not have someone go around once a week and spray or clean the rods that the weight stacks ride on. Even in a big gym, this is maybe a twenty-minute process. We have all watched front-desk personnel sit on their phones longer than that.

Tighten Up
Torn upholstery should be replaced shortly after it is torn. I will admit that I do not care about the cosmetic look at all. My concern is whether the equipment is functional. As long as the padding is not coming off of the machine, some wear and tear is fine. However, torn upholstery gives the impression to some members that you do not give a **** about how your gym looks. If members do not think you give a ****, they might be more apt to not put their weights away, lift the toilet seat, or even piss directly into the toilet vs all over the floor. At the risk of another digression, how is it that grown men can not seem to piss into the toilet? I always wonder what their toilets at home look like.

There should be no loose bolts that hold a pad to a bench, and there should be no play in any lever arms for machines. If one is loose, fix it. These machines are made to last for decades if maintained correctly. This is why Icarian is still functioning so well from the 80s. It is also why Nautilus equipment from the 70s still works great 50 years later.

Plates Out
I am going against the grain on this next one, I know:

I do not care about plates being put back after using them UNLESS the amount of plates is considerably high. Example: If you leave one or two plates per side on a leg press, I have no issues with that. If you leave a plate on each side of a barbell, again, I do not care. If you leave 10 plates on each side of a machine, you are just lazy, and it is not courteous to the other members. I believe that the gym community is quite capable of policing itself.

If I see someone leave a lot of plates on a machine, I catch them at their next exercise and ask them if they are done using the equipment (that they left loaded). Their typical response is, “My bad. I forgot to unload the plates,” and they go back and unload the machine. No, they likely had no intention of unloading it, but if you get busted enough—and especially by someone who is respected in that gym, I tend to think that most people would feel kind of dicky about it.

Mop the floors on a consistent basis, and I think spraying the handles of dumbbells is a good idea. I am not a clean freak, but I know a lot of people are. I would not want someone coming into my gym and thinking it is a petri dish (even though it basically is). Most people these days will spray the handles and pads when they are finished with equipment, but I can not think of one time that I have seen someone spray a dumbbell handle. My guess is that dumbbell handles are about as clean as the touchpads at the ATM or grocery store.

Again, I do not currently spray dumbbell handles when I am done with them either, but I also would not be dumb enough to lick my hands like I just finished a large portion of BBQ ribs, either. Instead, I just go back and grab my phone to change the music and transfer all of that "ew" to my phone. That way, later when I am home and have showered, I can grab my phone while eating and get all of that bacteria on my hands at that time.

And Finally
I will end my list of things that drive me nuts with this:

Is it too much to ask that SOMEONE tighten up the toilet seats in the bathroom?!

These are my pet peeves and things that I would do differently if I owned a gym.

Let me know your pet peeves, or if you feel that I missed something, in the comments below. Try to keep your pet peeves less focused on the members' behavior and more on the actual gym itself. Though people sometimes irritate me with their behavior, I am not one to think that I need to police how people act, either, unless it directly involves me or impacts me. Just Sayin'.

Source: https://www.elitefts.com/education/gym-pet-peeves/




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Something that used to get me Hott..just doesn't really bother me anymore..
It will never get better..
And..there's not a whole lot much of can really do about it..
Be courteous and respectful..even if others aren't..


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Quality of Equipment
one of my gyms has 3 x 2.5lb micro plates... for the whole gym. (3 oly platforms, 5 smith machines, 4 bench press, 2 incline press, and 1 decline). that drives me insane, having to hunt down 2 x 2.5lb plates across the gym.

do not care about plates being put back after using them UNLESS the amount of plates is considerably high. Example: If you leave one or two plates per side on a leg press, I have no issues with that.
I'm the same way. My only pet peeve in this regard is dumbbells scattered all over the place, plates laying on the floor instead of back in the tree etc. that's just lazy shithead behavior.

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