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Gym Snob - Geek Turned Athlete

Gym Snob

Are you a gym snob? I am. I almost feel embarrassed to admit it. I’m also a food snob, but that is another post.

I’m in the process of switching gyms this week since my tri club masters swim has moved to another gym. Like I said in my last post, I have put this switching off for about month AND pretty much put off swimming for 3 weeks before this week as well. Since my masters swimming is canceled this week (coach is in Hawaii, lucky him!), I decided to get back in the “swimming groove,” and try to make it 4 times this week. I got in my 3rd swim in today. Just have one more to get in this weekend. 😉

Anyway, I cancelled my Y membership this week and joined the new gym today where my tri club has masters swim at. I decided to join at the northside location for no particular reason other than the fact that their pool is 25 yards long instead of 20 yards long like the valley location (where the tri club practices). Both locations are 20 minutes driving distance from my house which sucks, but I really want to have coached swims.

When I paid for my membership, I asked to be given a tour of the facility (Isn’t this a standard procedure?), and the girl at the front desk told me that she had to watch her friend’s baby, but she would come find me on the treadmill when her friend came back. I did not think this was professional, but I’m pretty laid back, so I told her no problem.

As I walked to the locker room to drop off my bag, I started looking around, and this REALLY bad feeling came over me.

  • Paint was chipping off the walls. They must have not painted since the 80’s? I don’t know, but it was this really ugly yellow/gray color.
  • I noticed their “tanning bed” room that looked like it was a dirty closet.
  • Children were screaming on the racquetball courts (I guess they were ripping up and putting new carpet in today, and had to move all the kids in there?). REALLY screaming. In unison.
  • There were a LOT of elderly people. A LOT.

I made it to the locker room and discovered that it had not been remodeled since the 1970’s. The locks were VERY old-fashioned. The lockers were stained yellow on the inside. I cringed as I put all my stuff inside. I prayed my lock would stay on the locker while I ran.

While on the treadmill, I noticed their spinning room that happened to be open to the public. I not only heard the screams of little children (that were annoying the elderly including myself), but I also heard the LOUD music of the spin class loud and clear.

tumblr_l0u62hF4AX1qby3b0o1_400.jpg [Source]

Old men in 80’s hammer pants (WAY worse than the pic above) with bandanas walked in front of me while I was on the treadmill. I also noticed an older woman wearing a faded cotton t-shirt that read, “Chubby and Dangerous.” The gym rep never did come find me on my treadmill.

I started to freak out that I had signed a year membership for this club without actually working out there first. The vibe just wasn’t right. Was the valley location the same? I don’t think I could handle that. I will cut them some slack for the messiness of the gym since they were putting new carpet in, but everything else was just plain horrifying.


I decided to make the 45 min trek from the northside to the valley location to find out for myself if it was the same. Maybe they could cancel my contract within 24 hours of signing up or something without a penalty?


Thank goodness, it turned out to be okay. This location was a lot cleaner and more current. There were members close to my age. I started talking to a lady in the locker room while I was changing, and she said that the new owners are really trying to improve the place. They were replacing the roof at the valley location. The heating pump was also broken for the pool so the water was 74 degrees. No wonder no one else was swimming! They said they were working on it. At least the water was clear which is NOT something I can say for the Y.


I thought to myself, I have been through hell this morning including getting lost coming over here, I’m SWIMMING!! I froze my butt off, but at least I got it done.



Although the Y is a LOT newer than my “new” gym, I know that I will get some good swimming done in the pool. I really need someone to push me. Plus, the pool is so much cleaner there than at the Y. Some other better stuff about my “new” gym: the showers are bigger and they have Body Pump!! So excited to try that one out since I have been seeing it all over the blog world.

I need to stop being so prissy!! I’ve been spoiled over the last few years with completely new facilities! haha.

Are you a gym snob?? What are some changes that you wish would happen at your gym? Or is your gym perfect? If it is, I’m jealous!


{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Erica April 8, 2011, 3:35 pm

    I LOVE a nice gym, but the classes are usually whats most important to me. If the instructors or the schedule are way off- I know I won’t like the place!! Glad you got in your swim!!!!!!!
    Erica recently posted..E- Banana Chocolate Chip Bars &amp A Lazy Dinner

  • Beth April 8, 2011, 3:36 pm

    Ugh, that first gym sounds disgusting. That is not snobbish at all to want clean, at least marginally updated facilities. Gross. I wouldn’t want to walk around barefoot or touch anything in there. Definitely no swimming. I hope the second gym works out for you!

  • Lisa April 8, 2011, 3:38 pm

    I am a TOTAL gym snob. I hate my gym but it’s the closest one and I have a membership until September so I’m stuck. It’s dirty, the locker rooms are nasty, the pool is often broken (ie freezing). The machines are always broken. The slobs that go to my gym leave towels and garbage on the floor. It makes me mad. I’m so grossed out.

  • Leila @ Spinach and Skittles April 8, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Oh no, that is terrible! I’m glad the new pool is cleaner! And the Rack is in the valley, so that is always a fun double-stop 😉

    I switched from OZ Fitness to the Y last year for some of the same reasons. I used to live on the south hill, and didn’t mind the small OZ up there. But then I moved to the northside and HATED the OZ on the north side. Full of broken equipment and major meatheads that would stare at me. So I switched to the Y and my only complaint is the locker room. The lockers are tiny and I work out before work, so I need my locker to accommodate my large gym bag.

    Now I am trying to guess what your new gym is….Golds? I know their northside one is completely disgusting, or at least it was when I joined during one of their cheap 6-week deals a few years back. Ick!
    Leila @ Spinach and Skittles recently posted..I need to hire a maid

    • Nicole April 8, 2011, 5:47 pm

      Spokane Fitness Club. ;(

  • Matt @ The Athlete's Plate April 8, 2011, 4:27 pm

    I’m lucky that my school has a state of the art gym. I love it!
    Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate recently posted..Follow Friday Numero Dos

  • Katie @ Up Fit Creek April 8, 2011, 4:41 pm

    It’s tough to be a gym snob where we live. The small gym where we have our membership is the only one in our town. Thankfully, it’s very clean and well-maintained. The owners have a real estate office right next door so there’s easy to find if there’s ever an issue. The only other option would be driving 30 minutes to a gym or the Y in the closest city.

    I’m sorry you had a bad experience at the first place. It sounds pretty nasty. Glad you found the other location was nicer!
    Katie @ Up Fit Creek recently posted..Rural Hummus

  • Sarah for Real April 8, 2011, 4:49 pm

    I like my gym well enough. It’s not brand new but it’s well maintained. The locker rooms have the teeniest showers but there’s usually no one else there so I just run around nekkid in the locker room. The thing I like best is that the staff are all really nice, well trained and seem to like their jobs. That makes all the difference!
    Sarah for Real recently posted..Quick Knee Update

  • lindsay April 8, 2011, 4:56 pm

    oh I totally have been there. But now I work at a gym that I love and is clean. Kinda more like a health club. I know, SNOBBY, but gotta love those amenities!
    lindsay recently posted..Sunday’s Soul Food

  • Spokane Al April 8, 2011, 4:56 pm

    I am a Y guy and thoroughly enjoy the north side YMCA. The central YMCA is always way too crowded for and the pool too small as well.

    Good luck in your continued search for the perfect pool and swim and locker mates.
    Spokane Al recently posted..101 Words

    • Nicole April 8, 2011, 5:46 pm

      Al, I never went to the Northside Y. I heard it was really nice! If I didn’t desperately need the swim instruction, I would probably just have sucked it up and went to the northside y instead of the central location or switching to Spokane Fitness.

  • Lisa April 8, 2011, 5:44 pm

    I think you should be snobby with a gym!! You are paying for it! My old gym was a Gold’s Gym and I hated it, but I LOVED my trainer there and he was always able to swing a deal for me on the training packages, but the place was GROSS!!! Alas at the time there was no other gym near my house. Then a new Washington Sports Club opened, and my trainer moved to the new gym! I was in heaven, until I saw the new prices for personal training, boo. I’m still a member of my beloved WSC (4.5 years!) and have learned that training myself on TRX is just as effective as with the personal trainer, and that it is WORTH it to like the place you work out in. You don’t want to catch some weird bacterial infection from unsanitary gym equipment, do you? (I know that’s extreme and highly unlikely but that is how my scientist mind works ;))
    Lisa recently posted..Half Marathon done!

  • Hilda April 8, 2011, 6:10 pm

    I’d never given much thought to how uninspiring gyms can be until I started going to my campus gym a few months ago. It’s currently undergoing an expansion so they’ve crammed everything into a small space and have about 12 treadmills available for a study body of 19,000! (It also doesn’t help that it’s constantly crowded with very fit 20 year olds constantly checking each other out). I’m planning to get a private gym membership in the fall. Your post gives me some good things to look out for.
    Glad the other gym worked out for you.

  • Sean @ Learn Fitness April 9, 2011, 4:57 am

    I’m also a gym snob and I actually have 3 gym memberships right now, one of which is just for swimming. The fact is though that all 3 of those combined are cheaper than the Y out here. They are ridiculously priced, I don’t get the Y and never will.

    Anyhow, gyms need to be in nice shape, with good lockers, modern equipment, and have classes that aren’t going to put me or my wife asleep for us to join. Without some simple things like that I won’t even bother.
    Sean @ Learn Fitness recently posted..Friday Weigh-In And Race Weekend

  • natalie April 9, 2011, 7:08 am

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be satisfied with what you’re paying for.

    The gyms on post are pristine. Yeah, they might be a little old, but they’re nice! Plus it helps that there’s about 7 or 8, if you combine McChord AFB into the picture.
    natalie recently posted..Some Quotes

  • steena April 9, 2011, 8:58 am

    Whoa, that sounds terrifying!! The gym that I’m quitting is a nice gym, it’s a 20 minute drive, but their pool schedule sucks big time.
    So I’m glad to have read this before signing a contact somewhere else this week, I’ll know to give it a week trial first!
    Glad that the other location worked out better for you!
    steena recently posted..Four things that are keeping me quiet

    • Nicole April 9, 2011, 10:23 am

      Yeah, I usually try them out a few times before I actually sign on, but I trusted my tri team. I don’t think I want to make that mistake again!

  • Sana April 9, 2011, 1:46 pm

    I am a HUGE gym snob, this is also why I have two gym memberships! I can’t workout unless it’s the right for for me 🙂

  • sarah (sarah learns) April 9, 2011, 4:07 pm

    that first gym sounds awful! i’ve never thought about it, but i guess i’m a gym snob too. in my opinion, if you’re paying every month to use their facilities, they should be kept up nicely. unless your membership rate is really really low – then you get what you paid for i guess.

    i’m glad the second location seemed better. i would have freaked out a bit too.

  • Amy R (Honey, Love and Other Things) April 9, 2011, 4:47 pm

    I am a total gym snob. I love our new YMCA that we just joined. It’s brand new, has tons of classes and a great, really clean pool and there is always staff around cleaning.

    I’ve been going to the gym on campus until we joined the Y, but only because it was free and time scheduling. The equipment was rusty and ripped, and the room was small and didn’t smell all that great. It was definitely time for a change!

    I hope your new gym works out well!
    Amy R (Honey, Love and Other Things) recently posted..A Sunshine Day with Molly

  • Nrmrvrk April 9, 2011, 8:43 pm

    I don’t think I’m a snob about gyms (you aren’t either, you just don’t like crap gyms). Luckily my company is located a block away from the biggest / best gym I’ve ever seen and gives us highly subsidized memberships. 3 lap pools, huge weight room, spin class with 80+ bikes, 3 separate cardio rooms (100+ treadmills and probably almost that many ellipticals), racquetball and tennis courts, restaurant, spa, coffee/smoothie/snack bar, entire kids department, 6 basketball courts, a billion classes and hundreds of personal trainers. They even have their own magazine (which is sadly mostly ads and newbie articles). And they’re expanding this summer. Ugh. They can get pretty busy at lunch time though.

    I can’t imagine how much the membership really costs. Even with all of that at my disposal, 90% of my workout needs are just a place to put my clothes while I’m running and a shower after. Luckily I have that in my building at work so I only use the über club when I want to lift weights.

    • Nicole April 9, 2011, 9:08 pm

      Wow!! That club sounds amazing! My husband is the same though. In fact, he kinda likes the old school gyms. All he needs are weights since he runs outside. He could care less about the paint on the walls or the dirt on the ground.

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me April 11, 2011, 5:48 am

    I’m a gym snob too. But gym memberships are expensive and if I’m shelling out a fortune every month it better be kept in tip-top shape! Now I just sound b*tchy but it’s true!
    Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me recently posted..You Must’ve Been With Me Last Night

  • Kara April 11, 2011, 6:10 am

    I used to be a huge gym snob. When I took a summer course at Georgetown, I was horrified at their old cardio machines (like REALLY old), but they had good locker rooms at least. The drill hall on base here has a huge coachroach issue in the locker rooms, but I still used it because we live in the boondocks and that was my only lunch time workout choice. Now I have my own (clean) home gym so life is good!
    Kara recently posted..A running-ful weekend

  • Amy April 11, 2011, 7:02 am

    I try not to be…try to be happy with the gym I have at my apartment. But the truth is I gotta sign up for a gym…real gym! I miss all the equipment like bosu balls, medicine balls, machines, etc. and classes!!! I used to go to an awesome gym in Chicago…I need one like that again! If you actually go, it’s probably worth it!

  • Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle April 11, 2011, 7:48 am

    I am a total gym snob…no planet fitness membership for me! (Although I’ve done it in the past but always have another membership for classes). I can’t stand a dirty gym and need a gym that offers classes like spin. If I’m not happy with my gym I won’t go so it’s like wasted money anyway, so I pay more to go to a gym I like.

  • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 6:53 pm

    Total gym snob here. I’ve done the discount memberships before and just wasn’t impressed. Although, I spend a pretty penny now and the facility I do CrossFit in certainly wouldn’t win any awards. Still, it’s got me in the best shape of my life so I am happy with the cost and what I get!
    Caitlin recently posted..SoCo Afternoon


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