Exploring the Drawbacks of Gym Memberships: Poor Staffing

Last time, we talked about the germs that you are exposed to when you join a gym, but that isn’t the only potential drawback to a gym membership.  Another potential problem is lack of training among the staff members.

Many people who join a gym have a false sense of security that the staff knows how to handle medical emergencies and have a misplaced trust that the trainers actually know what they are doing.  While some gyms do employ highly-trained individuals and do keep medical staff on the premises, this isn’t always the case. 

Frighteningly, the American Heart Association reports that nearly one-third of all cardiac arrests that happen outside of the hospital and home occur in sports facilities or fitness clubs.  Even if the staff is trained in CPR, this doesn’t mean they can get your heart going if you suffer from cardiac arrest.  To do this, you will need an automated external defibrillator to be on the premises.  While some states do require this equipment to be on the premises of fitness clubs, many are out of compliance.  So, before you sign up, find out whether or not the club is properly prepared for such an emergency.

In addition to selecting a club that is prepared for medical emergencies, it is also a good idea to check into the training and certification of the trainers who are on staff.  Unfortunately, there are several “certificates” that can be easily earned by completing simple online courses, but this doesn’t mean the trainer actually knows what he is doing. 

If you are going to work with a trainer, make certain to select one that is certified through a reputable institution such as the National Strength Conditioning Association or the American College of Sports Medicine.  This way, you can be relatively certain the trainer will be able to provide you with an exercise routine that will be effective and that will not result in injury.  This is particularly important if you suffer from a medical condition that can be aggravated by the wrong workout routine.

Of course, you can run into these same problems if you set up a home gym as well.  But, when you sign up for a gym membership, you have a certain level of expectation for the staff you work with.  Therefore, make certain you are getting your money’s worth by doing some research on the gym and its staff before you sign up.