Three Ways Gyms Could Better Serve New Members

by bluevase

My friend and I just started going back to the gym. Actually, let’s be honest: he hasn’t been there since High School. So I was going back to the gym. Let’s pretend he crash landed on an alien planet into a building filled with people lifting weights and moving their legs in various types of circles, because that’s a more accurate description of what happened. I did my best to help him along, but honestly we felt a little under served. How so? Well, for starters…

  1. New members may need a crash course in “The Gym.”

Smiling male trainer assisting woman with dumbbell in the gymEveryone knows the gym is a place to work out, but they might not know the exact how’s and why’s of the gym. One of my friend’s first questions was, “why is everyone wearing spandex?” My wife says it’s more comfortable, offers a better range of motion, and that some brands have heating or cooling properties, but I’ve always worked out in sweatpants and T-shirts, so I couldn’t answer him while we were there.
What’s more, he had no idea that there are instructions on the vast majority of the machines. A quick internet search will yield thousands of results where  you’ll find people using machines in all sorts of weird ways. They’re doing push-ups in a leg curl machine or trying to use the pull-up machine as a stair climber, I know a lot of gyms have staff members available throughout the gym to help you get acquainted with machines and equipment, but perhaps that should be mandatory. At a certain point it becomes a safety issue. Speaking of which…

  1. A primer on gym etiquette may be helpful.

I saw someone today who was straddling an elliptical and using it to just work their arms. I hope that person doesn’t hurt themselves, but it seems inevitable. I felt like I couldn’t correct them because when my wife goes to the gym, others are always telling her how to lift when they aren’t lifting properly themselves. Providing instructions throughout the gym might lead to less confusion for gym members, and a more positive experience overall.

  1. If you’re going to have TVs, make them worthwhile.Woman on Elliptical Machine

Two TVs are visible from the cardio machines in our gym, which are most frequently muted with closed captions. Channels are usually tuned to ESPN, a 24-hour news network, or one of the various networks that shows Law & Order. In my opinion, these are the wrong choices.. ESPN is nice when there’s a game on, which isn’t often enough. The news can be informative, but the visuals and closed captions never sync up well. Dramatic programming is usually the worst of both worlds. Technically anyone is allowed to change the channels, but there’s about 15 strangers sharing this TV with me, and I get enough push-back trying to change the channel in my own home.
Know what would be great, though? Television that was either all-visual or intended to be read. Set up a simple news scroll if people want the news.. Or put on cartoons! Talking heads do nothing for me in the absence of a game, but Bugs Bunny hardly even needs audio. Even new cartoons are surreal enough to be visually stimulating. Failing that, it would be simple enough for staff  to make sure there’s a game on. Bars do it easily enough, why can’t the gym?

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