Scary Gym Secrets You Must Know

  • Make Sure Your Gym is in Good Shape

    Before I go any further, I should note that I don’t want any super buff men (or women) coming after me for bashing their fitness sanctuaries. I am a scrawny writer who merely wants to shed light on some facts I found online. Please, don’t beat me up. The truth is that working out is an important and healthy step in a person’s life. But there are plenty of hidden risks you should know about before you join up. So whether you’re a long time member of a gym or just considering making it your New Year’s resolution, check out this list of facts you may not know. These will help you figure out whether your gym is actually improving your life, or making it much worse. Photo Credit: WikiCommons.org
    You Can Sign Up Anytime You Like But You Can Never Leave
  • You Can Sign Up Anytime You Like But You Can Never Leave

    Some may think that the hardest step is just working up the courage to sign up for a gym membership, but the real struggle is ending your membership. Many customers have complained that their gyms never really let them go. One couple signed up for a two-year contract with a gym and when the contract ran out, they assumed they were done, but they kept receiving monthly bills in the mail. In one over-the-top account in Fortune, author Stanley Bing describes his long and difficult process trying to quit his gym, only to be asked for more and more payments. If you are stuck in a bad gym relationship, MSN offers some useful tips for quitting. In particular, research your local laws, because many states allow for "cooling off periods," during which you can back out of your membership. This period could be a few days or a few weeks depending on the state and the price of the membership. Alternatively, you can pay a little more for a month-to-month membership so you can get out of it hassle free. Photo Credit: NobMouse
    They'll Keep Charging You Even When You're Dead
  • They'll Keep Charging You Even When You're Dead

    Planet Fitness charges one of the lowest monthly rates of any gym in the country, but in one notorious instance, they more than made up for the price difference. Back in 2007, one member of a Planet Fitness in California was murdered tragically, and for almost two years after, the gym continued to bill him $15 a month for his membership. When the mother of the deceased realized this and told the gym, they refused to give her the money back, but instead offered her a free six-month membership. We hope the poor guy’s ghost haunts those Planet Fitness people for eternity. Photo Credit: moonhouse
    You're Bench Pressing Germs and Bacteria
  • You're Bench Pressing Germs and Bacteria

    According to some estimates, there are one million times more bacteria in a typical gym than on a toilet seat. While that number may sound a little high, there is no doubt that gyms are a very dirty place. A cluster of men and women sweat together in a cramped space, grunting innocently as they improve their bodies, not realizing they are really bench pressing germs and bacteria. And let’s not forget about the bathrooms. Even smaller private gyms are at risk, as one government official found out earlier this year. WebMD reports that infections are one of the biggest risks of working out in a gym. Bacteria and viruses thrive in damp areas like showers and pools. Not to mention on the machines. “Bacteria can also thrive on used towels on locker room floors, weights, sweaty cardio machines, and benches that members sit on between workouts,” according to the article. The best thing you can do to avoid getting sick in a gym is to be mindful, and use hand sanitizers before and after touching every machine, and always wipe down the equipment before and after you use it. Photo Credit: jason.lengstorf
    There Are Bound to Be Confrontations With Other Members
  • There Are Bound to Be Confrontations With Other Members

    Everyone’s adrenaline is running high in the gym, so it should come as no surprise that there are often altercations between members. There have been reports of shouting matches and physical abuse. Not to mention all the times members probably want to lash out at each other, but hold back. Obviously, if it ever reaches this point, the best thing to do is bring it to the attention of a gym employee, but don’t wait too long. One health club receptionist told CNN about an incident involving two men. “They were chest to chest yelling at each other. And by the time I finally got over there to break it up, they were wrestling. We eventually had to escort [one] guy out of the gym and cancel his membership." So if you don’t like sweaty people shouting at you or accidentally dropping a barbell on your toe, you may want to consider working out at home for a while first. Photo Credit: darkpatator
    Subversive Activity
  • Subversive Activity

    It’s bad enough that you have to deal with some macho jerks in the gym from time to time, but that’s tame compared to another gym horror that members have dealt with.  For years, there have been stories of people having sex in gym locker rooms. Equinox, an upscale health club in Manhattan, had faced several allegations that members would have sex in the showers and saunas. So, if your gym is one of THOSE kinds of gyms, you might consider changing and showering at home. Note: The people in this picture are not having sex in a gym sauna, as far as we know. Photo Credit: jenschapter3
    Dangerous Equipment
  • Dangerous Equipment

    According to SmartMoney, fitness clubs don’t actually need a license to operate and there are relatively few guidelines, all of which can result in lackluster equipment maintenance. There have been plenty of complaints about people injuring themselves due to faulty machines. So don’t rush from one machine to the next. Be on your guard, and check the machine before you launch into your workout. Photo Credit: Steve & Jemma Copley
    Gym Scams
  • Gym Scams

    Make sure you sign up for a reputable gym, and not just the cheapest place on the block that has a bench press. Otherwise, you may fall victim to a bad gym scam. The Consumerist reported on one case where customers signed up for a gym membership only to find out a few months later that the gym had gone bankrupt and sold their contract to another gym. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the new gym had several locations, but most were either in inconvenient or only accepted female members. Tough luck, guys. Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon
    Professional Trainers Are Not Always Professionals
  • Professional Trainers Are Not Always Professionals

    Personal trainers that you’ll see hanging out in fitness centers aren’t always properly certified. Many pay a nominal fee or just take an online test so they can claim they are a professional. Smart Money recommends seeking out trainers who do have credentials from institutions like the American College of Sports Medicine. Photo Credit: XWRN
    Robberies Will Happen and Gyms Will Not Take Responsibility
  • Robberies Will Happen and Gyms Will Not Take Responsibility

    It might be a stretch to call this a secret, but it’s definitely something worth keeping in mind. Most fitness centers will mention in print somewhere that they are not responsible for any goods that are stolen. Yet, robberies do happen more often than they should, even when members take the necessary precautions. One person was caught earlier this year after robbing multiple gyms in the New York area. The person in question stole more than $20,000 worth of items from lockers. So it’s probably not a good idea to bring anything of value to the gym. Just take your sweat pants and keep your keys on a lanyard around your neck. Leave the iPhone at home or rock out during the workout. Photo Credit: lovelypetal
    Home Gym Risks
  • Home Gym Risks

    After reading all of the above, you may feel tempted to set up your own gym at home. In general, this can be a great cost saving measure. If you have kids, however, be careful, because there are some risks here, too. According to one recent estimate, as many as 25,000 kids a year are sent to the hospital because of injuries from gym equipment in the house. (If you doubt this, just think about the tragedy that befell Mike Tyson’s daughter earlier this year when she was playing on his treadmill.) That said, just take some basic precautions and you should be fine. Make sure you keep any equipment in a room with a door that you can lock. Also, be strict with your kids; they can wait until they’re teenagers to work on becoming bodybuilders. Photo Credit: TineyHo
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