How much do you enjoy walking through your club to re-rack weights or put equipment back in place? Does it really bother you to know that your members don’t put equipment back when they are finished using it? I wonder if you can even estimate as to how many people avoid certain strength areas because the weights that are left out are too heavy for them to even adjust?
If you enjoy spending time on the floor cleaning up after your members, then disregard this blog. However, if you get tired of lifting weights when you aren’t working out, simply because your members don’t put up their equipment, there is only one thing you can do — TEACH THEM!
Take a moment and look at yourself. How do you know to re-rack weights when you are finished, or put a kettle bell back in the training area where you found it? You were instructed. I’m not saying that someone sat down with you and explained how to conduct yourself in the gym, but you’ve been around long enough to know what consists of good manners and what doesn’t.
I come from a long line of golfers. My whole family, on both sides, has been playing golf since before I was born. We’ve owned small courses, managed courses and played on courses throughout the U.S. Right before I entered college I started noticing a new trend — not everyone on the golf course followed the same rules of etiquette.
Growing up, anytime I was on a course I was wearing semi-casual or dress pants/shorts, a polo shirt and golf shoes or dress shoes — not because I was told to, but that’s how everyone else dressed for a day on the links. The people that had made their way onto the courses weren’t dressed like this. They would come out in jeans, sweats, flip-flops or anything else you could imagine. They would hit into people, not ask to play through, but just pass you up and would talk loud enough on the course that you could hear them a few holes over.
Now, I’m not Tiger Woods by any means. I’ve never been a great golfer, but I was brought up to believe that it’s a game that has certain fashionable rules, as well as course etiquette.
I also believe golf should be played for fun. Adult beverages should be permissible and people should be able to let loose to a certain extent (kind of like baseball). However, that extent shouldn’t damage what has been handed down since 15th century Scotland.
Where did the etiquette go? Had people lost their minds? No, Adam Sandler had made everyone believe that anything could go on a golf course with his movie “Happy Gilmore” — which I love by the way. But, if you owned a reputable course — as you own reputable clubs — how do you bring some sanity back to your establishment?
It all rides on you. None of the players at the golf course had been around since 15th century Scotland to understand the deep book of rules and etiquette — they only knew that they wanted to pop a few cold ones and kick it with their buds. The same goes for your establishment — people don’t care about your other members or how your environment is perceived, they just want to chug some protein, lift some weights and kick it with their buds. So, in essence, your club is a lot like a golf course — just kidding.
How did the golf course win back its sanity? Well, there are a couple of ways. You can become membership only (you already do this, but not like them) or you can teach your members how to respect their surroundings — politely, of course.
Use your television monitors to display messages to members reminding them to rack their weights, or what permissible clothing is inside the gym. Remind them that cursing and the use of foul language is impermissible. Remind them to be human beings in your club by putting up little reminders throughout the club, such as attractive posters and signage. Use your personal training department to show off good fitness club etiquette. Remind them that if members see them leaving equipment off the racks, they are probably going to follow suit. EVERYONE in the club should be responsible for their own equipment — even trainers and their clients.
If you make a few easy steps to regain your club from the rowdy members, you can easily take it back. Members aren’t going to fight you at trying to do what they want in your club. They know it’s your club, and they know why racking weights and cleaning equipment is important — they have simply become accustomed to another set of guidelines. Simply reset the guidelines and save yourself some wasted time away from conversations with your members.
Tyler Montgomery is the Editor of Club Solutions Magazine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org