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10 Reasons to Dump Your Gym

Feeling that it's time for a workout environment change? Here's 10 reasons that will confirm you need a new place.

6) A dirty gym

Gyms are filled with sweaty people pushing themselves to the limit. When you lie back to do a bench press, there’s no telling how many guys have done the same that day, and it’s unsettling when it’s obvious that no one’s wiped down the bench since the last guy lifted. That’s just one example though – there are tons of things that need cleaning and the gym should be employing a diligent staff that makes sure everything is constantly being disinfected. A gym crowd is normally healthier than the general population, but you never know who could be sick or have come into contact with someone with a virus, and you don’t need to be sharing their germs anyway. Just look for the obvious things: “Dust balls for days, soap scum on the shower walls, sweat marks on the treadmills and holes in the carpet,” Duffy says. “These are all signs of a dirty gym. If these are things you can see imagine the things you can't see!” If they can’t keep up appearances, they’re probably not sanitizing the equipment – you can do better.

[see: How to Avoid Germs]

7) Membership expenses that are greater than the gym is worth to you

Not every gym is worth the money it costs. For some lucky people, money doesn’t pose much of an issue, leaving only quality and proximity to be considered. However, for most people, it’s a good idea to really weigh the pros and cons of every gym in the area within a comfortable distance. That list should include the positives and negatives for you personally – maybe the gym you pay for boasts a good price considering it has a full rock wall, but why pay that much if you only used it a few times in the last year? For some, the glossy look of a state-of-the-art facility is enough to draw them in and keep them there, but if you don’t see yourself using most of the equipment they have to offer, it might not be worth it to you. Go for something more basic and economical if you find yourself using equipment you’ve seen in every gym you’ve ever been to, or consider ditching your membership altogether if you’re getting good results with little to no equipment workouts.

[see: Best Membership Deals Around the Country]

8) Pricing that does not take care of the people who take care of the gym

Some gyms don’t understand the idea of taking care of their longtime customers first. As important as it is to gain new members and expand the business, they can’t do it at the expense of the regulars who have supported the gym for several months or years. Duffy puts this problem perfectly: “Imagine being a member of a facility for years and paying $60 per month. Hey, everyone has a right to make money and you never had a reason to question it. But imagine one day you walk into the gym and you cannot get onto a treadmill because they are all taken by new faces. Then you find out that these new faces all came in on a "deal or promotion" and are only paying $19.99 per month.” If your gym has an ongoing problem with running promotions that allow new people to walk in for practically nothing, all while leaving you high and dry and with less equipment to use, it’s time you got out. They’ll learn their lesson when the n00bs drop their memberships before their rates go up, leaving them with fewer customers than they had in the first place.

9) High Pressure Sales Tactics

Some gyms have crazily crafted contracts that rope you into a full year’s worth of membership payments before you’ve ever put on shorts. Duffy describes some of these as “contracts that OJ Simpson’s attorneys couldn’t get you out of.” Watch out for this before you ever join a gym in the first place. If a contract includes several paragraphs of legal jargon making it incredibly difficult to leave the gym and stop making monthly payments, that often means the gym doesn’t have confidence in the product they’re providing for you, and it may also mean they don’t believe in your dedication to fitness. Try to find a gym that allows you to have a trial run, will allow you to sign on for shorter membership contracts and will understand if you have to cancel due to a move or some other extenuating circumstances. “You will want to be a part of something where there is a bright, clean, well maintained, friendly atmosphere with a lot of positive energy that is fairly priced,” Duffy says. “And, if they keep this up over time, why would you ever want to leave?”

10) You’re the Strongest Person There

First of all, if you’ve gotten to this point, congratulations. However, if you’re the strongest person at your gym, what chance do you have of getting much stronger? By taking a look around, you’ll think of yourself as the benchmark of fitness. You’ll be tempted to coast until you see other people putting in the same effort and getting similar results. Robins suggests to move on if this is ever a problem. “You are the product of your environment, and unless staying stagnant and mediocre is your goal, then you will seek out a place where people are better than you,” he says. Even if you don’t care about being competitive with other people in training, it’s still important to be around stronger people with more experience. Hopefully, they’ll motivate you to keep moving forward and give you some idea of how to go about doing that.

[see: 10 Post-Workout Partner Challenges]

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