Gym survival

I learnt the other day that the gym I attend, whilst being packed out every day, is struggling. There’s no money in it, and they very often break even. Money is tight and no-one is getting rich off the project.

How can that be? Well it works something like this. The gym is built on land owned by the nearby school, therefore the lease for the land is cheap. Perfect? Not quite. One of the conditions of the gym lease is that the school gets to use the gym for free. Ooooo-kay… but the business is a private one, it needs to make money to survive. Its not council funded – without paying customers the business would fold and close.

Not good.

As I stated earlier, the gym is packed out most days, but no-one is paying. Its so busy that normally only towards the end of the evening can I get my camera out once all the kids have left. To say the gym owners have their hands tied behind their back is an understatement.

They literally need every penny they can get from the extra classes at the evenings and weekends to operate.

I found this unbelievable, and was a reality check to the face like a slap with a wet trout. Its all too easy to take things for granted and assume things will last forever and someone somewhere is raking it in, or covering all costs – but that is simply not the case. Its made me realise that the gym I love visiting really needs people like me and you to attend, and more than that, it needs me and you to try and bring new people to it.

With all the popularity of parkour and free running and backgarden trampolines in the spotlight, I think its easier than ever to mention to friends and workmates about what we are having a go at and show them a video clip or 2. Most people I know, that are reasonably fit, and don’t consider themself over-the-hill yet, their eyes seem to light up and say ‘I’d love to be able to do that’. Well thats your cue to invite them along.

The massive Government agenda to get people fit and healthy is forever rolling it seems, more and more people I meet are paying £30-£50+ a month to bore themselves senseless doing running or pushing weights, wishing the time to fly past as quick as possible so they can get back home and do something more interesting.

Have you ever tried being bored whilst bouncing on a trampoline?

I’m not saying going to a gymnastics centre is for everyone, but everyone at least deserves the chance to be offered a go at it. You never know they might just get into it.

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3 Comments

Filed under Gymnastics, Life

3 responses to “Gym survival

  1. Tell me about it.

    There are a grand total of 4 gyms within 100 miles of where I live.

    3 of them have real facility’s, one has the use of a church, which has mats or something, I haven’t been to that one yet, though I will this Sunday, but I bet the chance of it having Plyo floor let alone a runway or other gear is about on par with finding a needle in a hay stack.

    Out of the 3 ‘real’ gyms near me, all of them are 89 miles away (a 2 hour drive or more each way, with how the roads are.) 1 of them is for kids under 10, and one of them is for kids under 15, and the last one is open to all ages. Also, the last one is the ONLY gym there with an afternoon class, so its the only one I can go to anyway. It has a small plyofloor, a trampoline and a crash mat(a big one, they are called something I can’t remember).

    After that, the next closest gym is in San Fransisco, a good 6+ hours away.

    The reason for this, is of course, that there are no major city’s around here. even the few gym’s there are don’t get a whole lot of business.

    There are some school gyms, but they are for students ONLY, I home schooled, so I’m totally screwed.

    So, for all those who have access to a great gym, with good teachers and plenty of space, be grateful, practically everyone not living in a major city isn’t so lucky.

    Or maybe crescent city CA. Is just the worst place in the US and Europe to find a gym. :P

  2. Pete Cracknell

    I wholeheartedly agree. And that’s not in the gymnastics sense either; a gymnastics club like the one we attend caters for martial arts, parkour sprites plus pretty much every form of gymnastics under the sun.

    Yakri, you have confused me. I don’t know why, but I get such a rosy picture of gymnastics in the US (money for a start: http://gymnasticscoaching.com/?p=5411) – I couldn’t imagine there wouldn’t be clubs on every corner!

    Maybe our gymnastics centre should simply adopt the narcissistic approach that fitness gym’s approach and dupe unfit wannabies into signing up for a 12-month £49.99 a month ‘special offer’. I don’t approve but maybe that’s what it takes for businesses to stay alive these days…

  3. Maybe there is money in the US in general, but not in THIS part of the US, in San Francisco there are a ton of great gym’s. there are even a couple of decent ones down in Humboldt, but only one of them has an afternoon class for all ages, and its not one of the better ones. also, its two hours both ways to get their, and gas is ridiculously expensive, so on top of the time needed, it’s actually pretty pricey to go down there.

    Now, today I finally got to take a class at the one and only place in town. They weren’t as bad as I expected, I kinda thought I was going to see a tiny gym with some small light mats, as are often seen in MA dojo’s. Well, they didn’t have a trampoline, or a runway, or foam pit, but they did have a bunch of those multi colored wedge’s, pretty decent roll out mats, and a couple of students, though apparently there are normally a couple guys my age there, but they are on vacation.

    All in all, not too bad, and they charge 5$ for drop ins. However, if they make a cent in profit I’m the queen of England. :P

    PS. Both places do not teach gymnastics, they teach tumbling, apparently there is a difference.

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