Overheard at a full-service fitness facility:

“I knew I needed to make reservations for dinner but for zumba?, I mean how many people come here to do zumba?”

“I joined to get exercise but with the full-service salon and food bar I never have time for spin class” 

“When did they put in all this equipment?  What’s it for?”

Like the old saying about ice hockey – I thought I was at a boxing match when a hockey game broke out – the sentiment can be similar for full-service fitness centers – I went to get my hair done and discovered I could also exercise there!  With amenities including a fresh food bar, full-service salon with massage, lobby with free wi-fi, scented towels (warm or chilled), floor staff paid to cater to creature comforts, gift shop, complimentary lemon water you might think upscale hotel.  Wrong.  Fitness facility, as in get sweaty, and grunt when you lift weights; that is if you ever find your way to the weights.   

The upside is…all the upsides.  If all the pieces fall into place, you can workout, get buffed and shined before meeting a client to close a deal, and then  purchase your better-half’s birthday gift at the pro-shop on your way out.  

Overheard at a gym:

“What’s THAT growing on the bench?”

“I wonder if they will EVER have toilet paper”

“Will s/he keep grunting like that on every lift?”

Questionable cleanliness, little regard to creature comforts and a rather INTENSE environment can make even the most brazen of us squeamish.  It’s never good to stand to use the equipment that’s meant for sitting, and it doesn’t take but one or two occasions of ‘avoidance’ before throwing in the towel – if only there was even a paper towel to throw.      

The upside is never confusing your purpose for being there.  Using the equipment or taking classes is what you do since it’s what you get, and the intensity of fellow exercisers can be very inspiring.

So, what’s the take away?  Maybe the stereotypes are a bit overstated, but the point is to understand how your exercise environment itself can play into your motivation.  Some can take the exercise right out of exercise by either offering so many distractions you forget to exercise or causing you to avoid offensive equipment for fear of your bio-wellness.      

The environment isn’t an excuse though.  There isn’t anything inherently wrong with comfort, nor does the ‘whatever’ on a bench usually turn out to be harmful.  Be aware of how your facility can dissuade your focus/purpose and take steps to combat the realities: 1.  Use Iron Footprint to plan purposeful workouts.  2.  Bring your own towel and antibacterial wipes.  3.  Leave your credit cards in the car.        

Slammed schedules, sick kids, last minute client dinner or report due – there can be so many (real) barriers to exercise, chilled Eucalyptus towels or INTENSE exercisers shouldn’t add to the list!  Maybe the solution is the ancillary service has to be earned – X minutes of cardio for X minutes of shopping…and INTENSE exercisers have to drag their equipment outside to use it…    

Note – the vast majority of fitness managers I know don’t tolerate unsanitary or unsavory conditions – they appreciate being made aware of issues.