Should a Gym Membership Come with Trash Duties?

I’ve paid for gym memberships since I was 14 years old, but never have I paid as much as I do now. When I first visited my local Crossfit Arenal box (otherwise known as a gym), I remember thinking, “There’s nothing to this place, so why do people like it so much?” In fact, the space is maybe a twentieth of most traditional gyms.

But, the buzz around Crossfit had me curious, so I signed up for “the basics,” which consists of three one-on-one training sessions where you learn the basic Crossfit movements, like sumo deadlift high pulls, snatches and overhead squats.

During my first session, Lauren, one of the owners, showed me how to clean the equipment using the wipes they provide. “If you use it, wipe it down,” she said repeatedly. “While we love you dearly, and we are all family, we ask that you not leave your DNA behind.”

“Seriously?” I thought as I wiped. “Don’t you pay someone to do this?”

As a new member, I watched as people not only wiped down their equipment, but also helped each other put their equipment away. They seemed to take pride in cleaning up after themselves.

“Jigga what?” I thought. The concept, in this situation, was totally foreign to me. Just a few weeks ago, I did something I have never done in a gym, not even the ones where I worked.

I saw that the trashcan was overfull and – without thinking about it – took the trash out. It wasn’t until Lauren sent me a “thank you” e-mail that I realized what I had done.

Why in the world would I take out the trash for a gym at which I pay three times more to use than any gym where I’ve ever been a member?

Here’s why:

Inspire Me, Thank You: Donna and Lauren (the owners) are clear about their vision, and it’s inspiring. I’ve heard them say a zillion times, “This is not our box. This box belongs to our community.  We started it to create a place for like-minded people to come together and build a community around exercise and wellness.”

Give Me Energy to Feed Off Of, Please: Research shows that we work out harder in groups than on our own. I certainly push myself harder in the group than I ever have on the treadmill, elliptical or with free weights. I love encouraging my fellow Crossfitters and getting their support.

Challenge Me, Please: Their product is stellar. The workouts challenge me in ways that I’ve never been challenged – physically and emotionally. If you do Crossfit consistently, you will get stronger and faster, and be able to do everyday lifts with greater ease.

Crossfit Arenal spends very little time managing expectations. They don’t have to. Instead, they put all their time and energy into what they love – their vision. When people seem confused about why things work a certain way, Donna or Lauren shares their vision, and people want to be part of it. In their first year, they expanded, and they’re about to expand again. Clearly, their business model works!

So, if you’re focused on managing expectations, you’re focused on the wrong thing. According to Gallup, only 29 percent of people are actively engaged in their work. That means that 75 percent of people are either just showing up to get a paycheck or, worse yet, spouting terrible things about your company.

Why? Because their leaders are not willing to get actively engaged in establishing an inspiring vision. Instead, they want people to work hard because they pay them. But just like I unconsciously took the trash at Arenal, where I pay to work out, people will naturally want to give more when they’re inspired to do so.

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations and Hidden Heroes

 

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