Top 10 Signs of A Good Gym
I broke up with my gym. My friend Brianne, who recently shared her story, knows how much I’ve hated this Astoria gym because she at one time was a member. The convenience of this gym’s facility was most appealing to me. In New York, we judge everything by two things: 1. How far a location is from home/work. 2. How close said location is to a subway stop. My award-winning gym was three blocks from my apartment, and just happens to be right next to my subway stop. This Astoria gym’s facility is beautiful and affordably priced at $59 per month. But alas, I just could not get over how poorly the gym was managed nor the rude staff.
I went in Friday to discontinue my membership and was directed to the office where either J (a man) or V (a woman) would assist me. I turned the corner and only saw one woman, who just happened to be V (she didn’t say hello) and she also happened to be the rude receptionist I’ve had to tolerate for three years.
One summer in college I was the front desk receptionist at a Washington Sports Club. That summer, I learned that most people, even those who actually go to the gym, don’t want to be at the gym. I also learned that the attitude of the receptionist determines how a person’s workout will go. Their words are the first things guests hear upon entering the gym, and the last thing they hear when they leave.
LGC Tip For Gyms: Your front desk person is not just a receptionist. S/he is the face of your company. Don’t assign (or hire) anyone, like V, who doesn’t smile, say hello/goodbye, or just looks inconvenienced when they’re to do their job.
So as I hunt for a new gym, I tread lightly. I did just get out of a long term relationship of sorts. I’m allowed to take my time and test the water. I’m determined to not be fooled by shiny facilities, marketing verbiage, or awards again so I’ve come up with a checklist of sorts — my top 10 signs of a good gym for those looking for a new gym or evaluating their current one.
1. Good Front Desk Experience – Do you feel welcomed? Does the team who manages the front desk seem welcoming, genuine, and kind? Do they make you want to come back? Do they make you smile as you head your way to the weight room? This is the same as any other office setting. Imagine if the receptionist at your office, or the doctor’s office, was rude?
2. Management is Visible – Do you know who runs the place? Are they approachable? Do they make themselves accessible should you have any concerns? At some gyms, management and staff are dressed in business-casual attire because the gym is their work place!
3. Trial Period – Any good gym is confident that once you’re in the door you’ll want to stay. If a gym doesn’t give you a decent trial period (at least a week, or even better, a month), they’re not worth your time.
4. Quality of Equipment – Quality always over quantity in my opinion. Is the equipment in good condition? Is the equipment stored neatly or is there no organization? The equipment doesn’t have to be the best, the most expensive, or even new, but is it in good condition?
5. Locker Room Chatter – What are people saying about the staff and the instructors in the locker room? A good instructor or trainer has people talking and spreading the gospel.
6. Amenities – Is there shampoo, conditioner, and lotion? I’m not impressed. If there’s deodorant, face wash, hair ties, hair spray, Q-tips, or gum, now you’re talking.
7. On Schedule – Do classes begin and end on time? If not, the management and staff don’t value your time.
8. Communication – Do you ever hear from your gym when they’re not raising your monthly membership? Good gyms send you snail-mail or e-mails on how they’re improving the gym by adding classes, hiring outstanding instructors, partnering with other reputable fitness brands, or offering you discounts on personal training sessions or massages.
9. Lounge – Is there a lounge, juice bar, or sitting area at the gym? A lounge creates a welcoming environment. A good gym not only creates a good workout environment, but one that encourages a healthy lifestyle. Do you want to stay at the gym a bit longer after the workout? Do you want to grab a fresh juice or smoothie? You should almost feel at home at the gym. You’re more likely to come back!
10. The Last Push – when and if there comes a time when you go in to end your gym membership (for whatever the reason), is there an effort to keep you? Unless you are moving or have a medical condition that keeps you from go to the gym, there is no reason a gym shouldn’t work to keep your patronage. They can lower your rate, recommend a different location, or hook you up with a free training session.
You may notice that most of these tips are people-related and have nothing to do with the facilities.
Gyms fail because they fail to understand that they sell customer-service, not just the facilities themselves.
Customer service is the root of any good business. Especially in the days of social media.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you love/hate your gym and why? What should I look for in my next gym and do you have any recommendations in the NYC area? I’m willing to pay more to get more.
Note: I purposely did not list this gym’s name. The purpose of my blog is to encourage excellence, not to defame.
Photo Credit: ABC News