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Entries in customer experience (12)


Top Gym Peeves, Part II

As you’ve probably guessed, this is Part II of top gym peeves from last month. I could probably write a post per week on gym peeves, because we all know there are plenty of annoyances and etiquette ignoramuses out there…but for the sake of having voices heard, I’ll grant you another round of peeves. Let’s just hope you’re not an offender!

Walking on the Running Track. “I can’t stand doing laps around people who use the running track to walk. They could be walking on a treadmill or going for a walk outside or in a mall,” says a gym-goer. “Clearly the purpose of the track is not to be bound to a pace or stride, like you would be on a treadmill. Walking seems to defeat that purpose.”

Putting back the weights. “It’s bad enough when people slam weighs around or use them improperly,” says a trainer. “But it’s another thing to just leave them lying around the mats for people to trip on or stub their toe. Plus, some people may not be able to pick up or move heavier weights that are left around! It’s common etiquette to put something back when you’re done using it—and the same goes for mats, exercise balls, and other accessories.”

Again, with the cell phones! “I’ve seen people talking, sometimes loudly, on their cell phones while they’re working out,” says a gym enthusiast. “Not only is it rude and distracting, but if you can hold a steady conversation while exercising, then you’re not working hard enough! How embarrassing! Put the device away and do what you came here to do—disconnect yourself.”

Dressed to the Nines. “There’s nothing wrong with trying to look good, because, hey—that’s why we’re here at the gym!” says a receptionist at a club. “But some people take it to the extreme. It’s not necessary to spray yourself down with perfume or cologne—some people are allergic to that stuff! I’ve also seen women come in with makeup and hair done, just to watch them hop off the treadmill to fix it, or wipe away the mascara that’s streaming down their face. Gym attire should be comfortable and move with your body, too—and I’ve seen people work out in regular shoes and jeans, which, in some circumstances, set the exerciser up for injury.”

Baring it all. “The human body is a totally natural thing,” says a member. “But, there’s a limit to where you should publicly expose your naked body. Changing rooms exist for a reason—the locker room is for storage; likewise, the shower is for bathing. Sometimes people bring their children into locker rooms and don’t expect their child to see a stranger’s naked body. Is it too much to at least put on a towel? By being naked, you’re inviting other people to look at your body and some people don’t appreciate the invitation.”

Who’s that smell? “Sometimes, you get people who have a very distinct and disruptive body odor,” says a trainer. “Sweat, itself, doesn’t smell. Sweaty skin does. When the smell is overpowering, it’s an indication that the individual hasn’t bathed, in some instances, for days. When shower facilities and deodorant are pretty much complimentary, there’s absolutely no excuse to smell that way. Plus, if you’re clean, you’re less likely to spread germs and viruses.”

I think I’ve tackled some of the biggest etiquette issues in the gym. However, now that we’ve addressed some of the problems, I’m anxious to learn, what are the solutions?

If you’re a gym employee, or consultant for the club business, I’d love to hear about methods of approaching members behaving badly. (I’m sure other gym staffers would love to hear it, too.) So, feel free to e-mail me with your responses or leave your comments in the “Comments” box below!


Top Gym Peeves, Part I

By Mia Coen

Let’s face it—we all have pet peeves. It could be that someone doesn’t replace the empty cardboard roll with a new roll of toilet paper, or that someone leaves, eh-hem, less than a half-inch of milk left in the gallon, or can’t park between the lines in the parking lot…but, believe it or not, your gym could be Pet Peeve Central because of members who disregard common etiquette.

Here are some of the top gym peeves, contributed by club members and fitness professionals nationwide!

In general…

People who don’t clean up their own sweat. “I can’t stand touching sweaty handles on the cardio equipment!” complains a gym-goer. “Wiping down equipment with antibacterial cleaners is essential to a fresh-smelling, germ-free gym.”

Grunting in the weight room. “Grunting, groaning, and dropping weights is a sign of improper training and it proves to be distracting to other members,” says another gym member. “Take it down a notch! This is no place for ‘roid-rage’!”

Chit-chatting. “I can’t stand when people go to the gym just to chat with their friends,” a member explains. “Especially when people are on a cell phone! It’s fine if it’s an emergency, or catching up after group class, but this isn’t happy hour!”

Unsupervised children. “There are so many parents who think the gym is a daycare,” says an evening supervisor at a club. “Sometimes the childcare areas will close, and the poor kid will be left in the room up to a half-hour by him/herself with the sitter! Some parents also let their children run around unsupervised without childcare, which is a huge risk. Better yet, some people even drop their older kids off at the club like they would at a mall!”

Acting Above the Rules. “Some people just ignore signs on the indoor tracks or just have plain disregard for the rules here at the gym,” says a supervisor. “They will try to sneak in guests after they’ve used up their free passes, or stay half hour after closing time, or will ignore our pleas to wear shoes in certain areas.”

Respecting Personal Space. “I can’t stand it when I’m going into the sauna for a few peaceful minutes alone, and then, someone comes in and sits right next to me, with all this space around!” says an instructor. “There’s the same problem on the cardio machines, where there are 10 open machines, and someone has to get on the one right next to me. It’s a matter of personal space and some people just don’t realize their invading it.”

At the pool…

Lane-hoggers. “Members will sometimes take up whole lanes in the pool when they’re expected to share,” says an aquatics director. “When they get stopped and are asked to share, they try to refuse without any consideration for the people waiting in line by the poolside to do their workouts!”

And that’s not all! The list of people’s gym peeves goes on and on. So stay tuned until next month when I’ll reveal “Part 2.” In the meantime, if you’d like to share your own peeves, please add yours in the “Post A Comment” box below.

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