Why I Quit My Gym Membership At Virgin Active

For the last 18 months I have been using the Virgin Active on Deansgate in Manchester to train myself. I like to train in a different environment to the one where I work and the facilities there are excellent to be honest. They have lots of equipment that I use including Kettlebells, TRX and Vipers. Most of you might not be familiar with these but they are excellent pieces of kit that we as fitness professionals use in our own studios. In fact I even recommend the place to some of my clients and fit camp members who have joined on the back of my recommendation.

Anyway I have been happily using the gym since August 2011 and have always found the staff to be very friendly, however as someone who works in the industry it can be frustrating to train in a commercial gym and watch how uneducated the general public are about how they train themselves.

I find it hard to not be able to help people if I think they are doing something wrong or training incorrectly because that’s what I do, but it’s not my domain or place of work so it’s not for me to talk to these people.

It is however the job of the gym instructors or the personal trainers in the gym and today when I was doing my own workout there just happened to be a guy training next to me. Now when I say training he was actually doing some bicep curls with 10kg on the cable machine resting for about 2 minutes and then repeating, after that he moved on to the calf raise machine and pretty much started to do the same thing. The guy wasn’t even breaking sweat or getting out of breath and it was obvious that he was quite obese. Now when I was working in LA Fitness or Fitness First I would have been over chatting to the guy and explaining how he could get faster results by doing compound exercises, having less rest time and generally working even a bit harder to get his heart rate up.

Now I might be being presumptuous here but the reason why this member was in the gym was to lose some weight so I paused my workout and went over to the desk where the personal trainer/ gym instructor was standing and just said “there is a member over there who is obviously here for weight loss and he looks like he needs some help. He is just doing bicep curls and pretty much wasting his time walking around aimlessly. You might want to go and help him out and give him some pointers.”

The trainer actually laughed at me thinking buy xenical online cheap australia this was funny, grabbed his cleaning spray and headed to the nearest treadmill to give it a wipe down.

Those of you that know me, know that I’m usually the most chilled out person there is normally and I don’t get angry at things but this really pissed me off as it was basically the gym saying we don’t give a crap about our members. It was a deciding factor in me quitting my membership and looking for somewhere to train when I move out of the city centre in the next few month. Maybe it wasn’t the Personal Trainer’s fault, after all I’m sure he didn’t get into health and fitness to spend his day wiping down treadmills and sweaty machines, however whoever’s fault it was, it is a massive disservice to the members who use the facility and is quite frankly not on.

These big box gyms that pay their fitness professionals to spend their day keeping the gym tidy and cleaning machines don’t work for the general public who are uneducated. Sure for the guys who buy the muscle building magazines and the educated who know what the are doing gyms are great but for someone who is too intimidated to ask for help or has never really exercised before they can be daunting environments where you are left to your own devices.

Having a gym membership if you are a novice is the equivalent of being asked to cook your own food in a restaurant.

I know that I run a personal training studio and a weight loss boot camp but this is not a promotional post. In fact if you live in Manchester you are spoiled for alternatives to gyms. There are loads of results based facilities apart from our own that you can use that are run by experienced and passionate health and fitness professionals who care about their clients. People like Ric Moylan if your into boxing fitness, Paul and Johnny Stannard of Lean Fitness, Ben Handbridge’s Body Fit Academy in Swinton is another and if you live or work in Didsbury you have Mike Bach and his ABC Boot camp.

If our fit camp members  miss more than one session we are on their backs phoning to see where they are (and I bet the guys above are the same), the same goes with their nutrition and other aspects of weight loss and health. They pay us to get results, so we make sure that’s exactly what they get.

With a gym membership you are paying for access to the gym and that it is after that you are pretty much obviously on your own as I witnessed today.