Now that COVID has gotten a bit more under control and regulations are lightening up, it’s time to get back to the gym. If you are like a lot of people, you canceled your gym membership during the COVID crisis, and are on the prowl for a new gym. Getting familiar with the signs of a bad CrossFit gym, or any other type of gym will ensure you make the right choice.
A gym membership can get costly, it is important that you learn the five red flags that indicate signs of a bad CrossFit gym. When you see the signs below, keep it moving, and find someplace else.
Bang for Your Buck
Before we get started on those five red flags, let us just address the elephant in the room, the cost. A lot of people think that if they pay more they are getting more. While it is true in some cases you do get more when you pay more. For example, if you have to pay $25 extra a month to have access to a gym that also offers spa services like skin rejuvenation treatment, then that may be worth it to you.
Unfortunately, in the case of gyms, paying more does not always mean getting more. Sometimes you are just paying for the hype of belonging to the “it” gym of the moment. You have to decide if paying another $50 a month to be “seen” at the “it gym” is worth it to you.
Instead of looking at cost, look at value, and how that cost fits into your budget. Look a little deeper at what you are being offered. If monthly eyebrow waxing is part of the gym/spa package and that is something that is important to you, go for it, but remember you are at the gym for the equipment, staff, and classes offered.
In other words, don’t lose sight of what going to the gym really means. You are trying to get fit or stay fit. Balance out the costs. Would it be cheaper just to get your naturopathic medicine treatment at a provider than to have the cost rolled into your gym package?
Once you have created a shortlist of possible gyms you want to join by tallying up the real value being offered, look for the five red flags of signs of a bad CrossFit gym before you put your name on the dotted line.
Sign Number One-It is A Dirty Place
If COVID has taught us anything, it has taught us how important it is to keep things clean. If you walk into a gym for a tour and you see that the building itself is a little sketchy or unkempt, this may be a sign that you are in the wrong place. If the owners have not bothered with tile cleaning services in a while, or the equipment seems a little gummy for all the sweat, it is a problem.
Simple things like floor refinishing to spruce things up, speak volumes about the level of concern that the owner has for the place. If you walk in and things just look dirty, you can just about predict when equipment breaks down, it is not being repaired for a while.
A dirty gym is one of the key signs of a bad CrossFit gym. If you want to give the benefit of the doubt, ask about their cleaning practices. Frankly, it is better if you just keep moving along to the next gym on your list. If it looks dirty to you, it probably is not cleaned as it should be.
Sign Number Two-The Building Is Uncomfortable
It is important that the gym you are considering is properly climate-controlled. That means that the air conditioning is on and it is working. If during your tour, the gym feels uncomfortable because of the temperature, it is a red flag that you should heed.
Sometimes signs of a bad CrossFit gym are not visual, they are more of a feeling. Let’s face facts, if the owners cared about their business, they would have had the plumbing service people out there fix that HVAC as soon as it went down. If you want to give the gym the benefit of the doubt, return a few days later to see if the HVAC was fixed. If it is not, cross that crossfit off your list.
Of course, things happen that are out of everyone’s control, but you do want to consider it a red flag if everything is not functioning when you visit.
Sign Number Three- It Is a Little Dark In Here
Have you ever walked into a gym and found it to be a little dark and dingy? Believe, that there are some gyms that just do not invest in that “bright and cheery” look. Even warehouse gyms can contract some commercial painting and get the right lighting to brighten things up.
You do not want to go to the gym and feel all dark and gloomy about it. A gym is more than some equipment strewn across a couple of rooms. It has to be open, light, and airy to motivate the members. Dark and dreary is one of the signs of a bad CrossFit gym.
If the owners are not on board with providing a positive gym experience, you should look elsewhere. Imagine how all that dreariness affects the staff’s attitude. Of course, if the owners do not recognize that their gym is sort of a downer, they may not be concerned enough with how the members feel about coming to their gym.
You want to feel good about going to the gym. It should energize you and enhance your mood. The gym should be well lit not only for mood but for safety as well. Keep looking.
Sign Number Four- The Money Grab
Here is a tremendous red flag that you need to watch out for, those too good to be true “new member” specials. A lot of gyms will give new members deep discounts for joining up. You have seen the advertisements. Join for as low as $10 a month. Yes, you can join for as low as $10 a month for the first six months as promised, but it usually comes with a long-term commitment and a steep increase after those six months.
It may seem like such a great deal when you get these super-low introductory offers, but be sure to read the fine print. Typically, what you find if you read the fine print is that you are agreeing to a two-year or longer contract. You also find that after the first six months, your payment goes from $10 a month to sometimes hundreds of dollars a month.
Once you sign that contract, be aware, that it can be very difficult to get out of. It does not mean that every gym operates this way, but it is a good bet that most will. It is important that you fully understand what you are signing before you sign anything.
Compare the true costs. For example, if you are signing up for that super-low introductory offer that skyrockets after a set period, is it cheaper just to go to the gym that does not have a low introductory offer but is lower cost overall?
Many people are paying for a gym membership that they never use anymore because they cannot get out of the contract. Some contracts come with a “buy-out” clause that no one ever reads. Basically, the clause will state that if you want out of your contract before your membership term ends, you will have to pay them X amount of dollars. Many people keep the membership because it is just cheaper to keep it.
Don’t fall into this trap. A lack of transparency is one of the bigger signs of a bad CrossFit gym. Some people have avoided this trap by choosing a gym that does not have contracts. They simply swipe their card at the point of sale systems when they want to use the gym. It is an excellent solution if you are not certain how much you will use the gym, or if you will stick with it.
In any case, business integrity and transparency are very important. If the gym you are considering seems to lack that, keep looking.
Sign Number Five-The Constant Upselling
It is nice when a gym offers added-value services. If you can find a gym that offers classes, or spa treatments, or other added-value services that you can partake if you choose, that is great. However, no one wants to be followed around the gym by a staff member that is working on commission pushing those sales.
How do you recognize this sign? You will be able to tell when you take the tour. If your “sales associate” will just not stop talking about all the added-value services even after you have said, “not interested”, you may be signing up for weekly harassment.
A recent member of an NYC gym quipped “I am paying for a gym membership I never use because the staff harassed me every time I walked in about paying for a personal trainer, it was so uncomfortable, I stopped going.” There are plenty of stories just like that one.
Less can be more when it comes to gyms. If you are the type that does not use the gym as a social outlet and truly just want to get your workout done, avoid the-eager we do it all here, gyms. It will drive you crazy to have to listen to the sales pitch every time you walk through the door.
Other Signs that Should Send You Running
If you take a tour of a gym and you see a lot of equipment with signs on it indicating the equipment is out of commission, run. Yes, stuff breaks, but there should be spares to take that broken stuff’s place. Signs of a bad CrossFit gym also include:
- Outdated equipment. The point of going to the gym is to have access to state-of-the-art equipment. A sign that you are at the wrong gym is when the equipment is outdated.
- Understaffed. If there do not seem to be enough people to staff the gym, that is a red flag. Smooth running gyms run smoothly because there is ample staff to handle problems.
- Not enough space or equipment. Not only do you want state-of-the-art equipment, you want enough equipment to be present for everyone to use. You do not want to wait on equipment to be freed up, and you certainly do not want to be elbow to elbow with people. The COVID crisis is under control but no one should be tempting fate right now.
Gyms are like any other business, some of them are more focused on quality experiences than others. Some gyms will keep registering new members to make that extra buck without ever considering what the experience of an overcrowded gym is really like.
Choose The Gym That Is In Line With Your Values
Many people will seek out women owned small businesses to support. Other people will seek out businesses that are focused on good environmental practices, and others still, will seek out minority-owned businesses to support. Whichever category you fall into (maybe it is an entirely different category), that is the type of gym you should look for.
Pay attention to the signs, do your research, and see if it can all fit into your budget. It is important that we all get back to life, including rebooting our gym attendance. Taking your time to pick the right gym for your needs will ensure that going to the gym does not add to your stress. You will use a gym that you love more, feel more confident while you are there, and get back into your fitness routine with ease.