The number 300 is an interesting number.
It means a perfect game in bowling. It’s the number that separates good hitters from great hitters in baseball. It’s a number that has significance for people who lifted weights. A person who is able to bench press, squat or deadlift 300 pounds is in an elite group.
That same number also seems to be a benchmark for weight gain or cholesterol. Weighing 200 pounds is not a really big deal to most people. It’s easy enough for the weight to slowly creep on, pound by pound, but when a person steps on the scale and the number 300 is achieved, it seems to be a gut check for most people. Round numbers tend to do that to us, whether it’s our age, our weight, or our cholesterol. A person with a cholesterol level of 300 has a 5 times greater risk of heart attack.
In the 80s and 90s we did our best to serve people who hoped to lift 300 pounds– and everyone else who wanted to come along. Today we are doing our best to serve people who want to avoid weighing 300 pounds – and everyone else who want to come along.
Interestingly enough, some of those who hoped to lift 300 pounds in the 80s and 90s are now focused on trying to avoid weighing 300 pounds. That only makes sense as two-thirds of America is overweight and one-third is obese, with 30% of children overweight or obese. Most of America has a weight problem.
While we will gladly serve people who weigh much less than 300 as well as those who weigh much more than 300, we are particularly fond of serving people who tell us that they were overweight, obese, pre-diabetic or Type II Diabetic but are now living healthy lives after losing weight. Diabetes from lifestyle choices is at epidemic levels in the US and diabetes takes years off of a person’s life.
In November 2018, the Journal of American Medical Association published the results of studying 122,007 patients over 23 years. This study indicates that not exercising is worse for you than smoking, diabetes and heart disease. That’s startling, since we know patients with diabetes will shorten a person’s life between 10 and 20 years. And not exercising is worse!
The point everyone involved with Blue Moon Fitness needs to understand and must respect is that we are striving to create facilities where people who want to exercise to regain their health know they are welcome. Walking into a new gym can be terrifying for anyone. Walking into a gym for the first time, especially for an overweight or obese person, is one of the most courageous things a person can do. We get that, we respect that, and we will do our best to honor those people.
If this sounds like something you can support then you are welcome to be a part of Blue Moon Fitness. If this makes you uncomfortable, if you think gyms are only for athletes, or if you think you have more of a right to the gym than others, then Blue Moon Fitness is not the place for you. We’re not going to say our way is right and your way is wrong, but we will acknowledge that we are definitely not a good fit. We will not apologize for our position nor will we compromise, so we respectfully ask that you find a gym that better suits you. If you tell us what you want in a gym, we can probably make a recommendation.
Blue Moon Fitness works. It has a nice sound to it and it feels right. We want the gym to feel right, too. We’re going to do our best to be comfortable enough and cheap enough that even those who exercise “once in a blue moon” can belong at Blue Moon Fitness.
Bell Curve of Fitness
The Fit Happens Bell Curve of Exercisers will help determine if you are in our target market.
People who will never exercise – no matter what – occupy one end of the bell curve. For whatever reason, many of these people would rather die than exercise. Unfortunately for them, they may get their way. We would love to have an opportunity to help these people, but they have to want our help.
People who do exercise, but whose personal habits intimidate or alienate most people, occupy the other end of the bell curve. These are people who drop or slam weights, scream while lifting, leave messy areas or sweaty equipment behind them or are just plain rude. These people are not welcome at our club.
The middle of the Fit Happens Bell Curve of Exercisers is where the average American resides.
Today, the average American is overweight and they know they need to exercise. And while they wish they were in better shape, most of them have no real desire to look like Arnold did in his prime, either.
Some in this group currently exercises, but they’re not fanatical about it. They’re exercising because they know they should and they know how much better they look and feel when they do exercise. There are also many in this group who have never exercised and want to get started. And some of the people in this group are serious about fitness, but not to the point where they are inconsiderate of others.
Most of these people simply want a comfortable, affordable, and clean place to exercise. They know that the support they get by working out around others benefits them. They know that getting away from the distractions of home adds to their focus and their results. Some of these people want to find a workout partner so that they have an increased commitment to their program and added encouragement.
These people do not want to be around people who intimidate, alienate or disgust them. They don’t want to feel uncomfortable, whether that comes from slamming weights, someone making fun of other people, being expected to wipe someone else’s sweat off the equipment or having to pick up after someone else.
These people just want a place to go where they get the same respect that they give others.
If this describes you, we would love to have you as a member of our club!
To The First Time Exerciser
Welcome to my gym. If you feel out of place, that’s okay. I know I sure did the first time I walked into a gym.
I was a very unlikely exerciser when I started working out in 1976, but I quickly recognized the benefits of what I now know as fitness. Jack LaLanne, the world famous diet and exercise guru was also an unlikely exerciser. As a kid, he was addicted to sugar and junk food. Jack suffered from blinding headaches and had no energy. He was so sickly that they kept him out of school for 6 months. His mother finally took him to a health seminar that planted the seed that would become his life’s vocation. All the way up to and into his 90’s, Jack exercised 2 hours a day!
You may not be the next Jack LaLanne, but we need to get you exercising either way. I probably would have never started if I didn’t have a comfortable and reasonably friendly place to work out. Part of the reason my first gym was friendly was because it was nearly empty. There were few exercisers, very few gyms, and the equipment was mostly homemade. Many looked down on the fitness industry. They thought it was a fad or a scam. But I saw the value of diet and exercise so I decided to venture into the gym business in 1989, despite what the “experts” were saying at the time.
The opportunity to introduce first-time exercisers to fitness is the biggest reason I got in the gym business. Today it is my goal to provide you with the kind of facility where you feel welcome. I am going to do my best to make you realize that you are important to my staff and me. I am sincere when I tell you that I get more excited when we enroll a first-time exerciser than any other type of member. I believe fitness can change anyone’s life, but he or she must get started in order to experience the almost endless benefits of exercise.
You are not expected to know everything and I encourage you to ask others for help. Everyone who works out today started somewhere, so we know what it is like to feel overwhelmed. Those who are truly knowledgeable tend to enjoy helping others, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
You have some responsibilities, too. You are expected to be polite and respectful towards yourself, others, the equipment and the facilities. You are expected to share equipment, pick up after yourself and wipe down equipment when you are done using it. If that doesn’t happen, we won’t get along and eventually you will be asked to leave.
I’m willing to bet that if you stick around awhile that you will make a few friendships that last many, many years. I’m proud to say that I know many people who met in my gyms that have gone on to become lifelong friends. There have been many romances, marriages and children come out of people meeting in the gym, too. But don’t think of this gym as a meat market, because it isn’t. It is okay to think of it as “meet” market. You can “meet” many great people here.
To The Experienced Exerciser
Welcome and thanks for being a member. If you’ve been exercising for any length of time, you know most of the rules that come with working out in a gym.
Nevertheless, I expect that you have been to a variety of facilities and recognize that some of the rules vary from gym to gym. I want to stress to you that I expect everyone to follow the typical etiquette and safety rules here but my standards are higher than most gyms. I expect everyone to do the normal stuff that includes picking up their weights, not dropping or slamming weights, and wiping off equipment after they are done using it. But I am going to be more intolerant of not doing these things than other gyms and I expect everyone to act like a nice person – even if they have to fake it some days. Life is too short to be mean by choice.
I also want to remind you of what it was like the first time you stepped into a gym. I expect you were nervous – most of us were. My goal is to offer facilities that are clean enough, comfortable enough, friendly enough, and helpful enough that first-time users feel welcome. If that happens, then I expect you will feel comfortable, too. If you treat everyone with the same respect that you would like to be treated with, you will probably get along well here. I ask that you treat new exercisers with extra consideration so they stick with the program long enough to realize the benefits. Your kindness and encouragement just may save someone’s life.
To The Muscle Head
Where do I start? First off, if you’re offended by being called a muscle-head, get over it.
You probably worked your butt off to earn that moniker. I was a “muscle-head” at one time and I was damn proud of what I had accomplished. And you should be proud, too. Being heavily muscled is a unique experience that most people will never experience. Being able to perform feats of strength is fun. I used to love putting 12 45-pound plates on the bar, feel the bar bow as I walked out from the squat rack and have the gym stop as I popped out a set of 8 or 10 reps. One of the highlights of my lifting was squatting in Gold’s Gym – Venice and having Tom Platz stop to watch me squat. Tom was one of my heroes. To have him watch me squat was very cool.
Being big you have a special responsibility. You are a very visible example of your pastime. People associate your behavior, good or bad, with everyone who shares your hobby. If there is a chess player who is rude, the public doesn’t condemn all chess players. If there is a bridge player who gets in a fight in a bar, they don’t assume all bridge players are barroom brawlers. Nevertheless, weightlifters do get lumped together because of how easy it is to identify them by their hobby. You serve as an unelected ambassador for all muscle-heads.
I expect you to set a positive example in my club. You know that being big and being a jerk are not synonymous. You know it is easy to intimidate people, even without trying. People are often intimidated by your size. So be nice. Go out of your way to be nice. Make sure that people know that you are nice. Be the first to stick out your hand in friendship. Help others learn how to do exercises more correctly. Be the muscle-head that people talk about in a positive way.
Recognize that you are a guest of all the “regular members” of any gym where you workout. Recognize that your membership dues do not cover the expense of the vast array of equipment to which you have access. You need those regular members to help pay for your toys.
I will give you fair warning that if you act in a way that I have to choose between you and a “regular member”, I will be asking you to leave. I take that position because I know that if you leave, you’ll go somewhere else to workout. However, if you scare away a “regular member” a couple of things could happen. They may leave and give up on exercising – forever. They may become one of the people who say, “I tried working out and it isn’t for me”. In that case, they will never experience the benefits of fitness. And they will die sooner because of that. As a gym family, we will have lost a good member and we got stuck with the jerk of the bunch.
Don’t allow yourself to become the member that drives other members away. If you truly want to be a “big” person, let it show through your actions. Being nice, you will inspire others to want to be like you. A lot of people want to look up to athletes, but too many athletes disappoint. Don’t let yourself be one of them.
To The Cement Head
Let me define “cement-head” to eliminate any confusion. If someone embraces workout habits that alienate or intimidate other gym members, then they are a cement-head.
A cement-head can be a muscle-head, but not all cement-heads are muscle-heads. And by all means, not all muscle-heads are cement-heads. A cement-head may not even lift weights; they may just do cardio or group fitness classes. A cement-head can be male or female; they may even be a novice exerciser.
A few examples of cement- head behavior are dropping weights, lifting weights you cannot handle, and not returning equipment to its proper place after use. Think about it for a minute. You really do have to be a cement-head to pick up a weight that is so heavy you cannot control it – and even more so if you think dropping it is a good plan. If you can pick it up, you can control it as you set it down. If you can put a plate on a bar, you can put it back on the proper rack. A cement-head can also be the member who decides that they can leave cardio or weight equipment covered with sweat. Let me give you a hint here. If you do not want to clean up after yourself, why on earth do you think someone else would want to clean up your sweat?
Being loud or rude is another example of cement-head behavior. And don’t give me that “I workout intensely” nonsense. My workout partners over the years have included pro football players, pro bodybuilders, world-class powerlifters and “regular members”. All my workout partners treated other people with great respect, with the exception of one guy who let his ego get the best of him. That was Tim Belknap, Mr. America 1981.
I will share a story about what caused me to drop Tim as a workout partner that will help you understand my position on rude behavior in the gym has been consistent for many years.
Tim was preparing for the posedown that would determine who represented America on the Mr. Universe team. Joe Weider put Tim and me up in a motel in Santa Monica, California. I knew Tim was an intense guy, so I warned him that he didn’t need to be rude in order to train hard and that I wouldn’t tolerate him mistreating people. He either didn’t believe me or didn’t think things through because he continued to be rude to the people in Gold’s Gym – Venice. So I left Tim to train without a partner two weeks before his posedown. Tim lost the posedown and blamed me for that loss, but I had made it clear that it was up to him if I stayed or not. How he treated strangers mattered more to me than the outcome of the Mr. Universe posedown. Therefore, if you don’t think I will ban you from my gym for being rude, you’re kidding yourself.
Everyone starts out welcome in my gym. Whether they wear out their welcome or not is up to them. Please be nice to others so that we may have the opportunity to serve your and their fitness needs for many years to come.
To The Cement Head
Dealing with Bad Behavior
Grunting, groaning, dropping weights, not wiping off equipment, not racking weights, swearing, talking or texting on cell phones while on cardio and other rude and obnoxious behavior are not tolerated under the Fit Happens program. There is no excuse for that type of behavior in a public setting. Our good members appreciate it when the staff maintains an atmosphere where they can be assured they won’t have to deal with people exhibiting that behavior.
Our Cement Head Alarm allows us to use social awkwardness to encourage people to follow our rules. The alarm will be used as a first warning. Anytime the alarm is activated it will run for 5 seconds. Five seconds can be calculated by saying, “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Mississippi.” Record of warnings will be made in the notes section of a member’s file on the club computer system. Think of this as the Fit Happens version of the “permanent record” that we were warned about when we were younger.
If the offending person makes any sarcastic remark, swears at the staff or makes nasty remarks about the club, the person’s membership will be canceled immediately. If they do something that causes us to set off the Cement Head Alarm two additional times and they are a member their membership will be canceled on the spot. If anyone refuses to leave the premises after they have been informed that their membership has been canceled, they will be reminded that if they do not leave we will call the police and have them escorted out.
The Cement Head Alarm will not be under-utilized and it will not be used indiscriminately. Finding the proper balance will enable us to create the comfortable environment that we want our members to enjoy. Whenever the Cement Head Alarm is activated the club’s Team Leader and the CEO will be notified. This is done so the employee who activated the alarm can convey why they thought it appropriate to sound the alarm and so that they can get feedback as to the appropriateness of their decision to use the alarm.
Does sounding an alarm sound like an extreme measure to take to get people to follow simple gym rules of etiquette? Our years of experience have taught us that the alarm is both necessary and effective. Often times the staff member working is much weaker physically than the offending member. Unfortunately some people will agree to abide by our rules when they enroll, not really expecting us to enforce them. Some think that how our club is run is up for debate and some wait for a staff member they consider to be weak to be working before they violate the rules.
The Cement Head Alarm allows us to empower a 90-pound teenage girl to enforce our rules with everyone from the most timid of offenders to the biggest and most obnoxious offender. The Cement Head Alarm is intended to attract the attention of everyone in the club so that the entire club is watching to see if the offending person cooperates with the staff member who is asking them to adhere to our rules. Just as the siren and flashing lights of a police car will get our attention and cause most people to do whatever is necessary to avoid the scrutiny of all those who drive past us while we sit on the side of the road, the Cement Head Alarm will motivate most people to be very cooperative with our staff.
While we prefer not to need a Cement Head Alarm we prefer having and using the Cement Head Alarm to not providing the atmosphere for our members that we have assured them they would find at Blue Moon Fitness. At the end of the day, we know that is what we would want someone to do for our own mother if she was in a gym 500 miles away dealing with strangers.
Customer Service Cinema
We have created a small theater complex called “Customer Service Cinema” to illustrate our radical position on customer service.
Customer Service Cinema is comprised of two theaters that are identical with one exception. One theater operates under the axiom “The Customer Is Always Right” (CIAR) and the other under the axiom “The Customer Is NOT Always Right” (CINAR).
If you choose the CIAR screen, you will encounter customers who think as you do. One or two of them have brought laser pointers and a few will text and talk on their phones – all while the movie is playing. Expect to have at least one cell phone ring and to be answered. The person answering may even talk loud enough that you can share in every detail of their call. While there may be a few empty seats in the middle of the theater, when you asked about sitting in those seats you were told those seats were “taken”. Only after the movie started and you look back from your front row seat do you realize they were “taken” by the coats of the people in the seats next to them. You should also expect that someone about three rows behind you has seen the movie enough times that they are able to deliver key lines just a few seconds ahead of the actors in the movie. And they do so through the entire movie.
On the other hand, if you visit the CINAR screen you will find something quite different. Laser pointers, text messaging, cell phone conversations, and talking during the movie are not allowed nor tolerated. Patrons are not allowed to reserve seats. Theater staff enforces these rules. The first time you deliver lines others will shush you. The next time the theater staff will ask you to leave. If you do manage to get tossed, you will not be given a refund.
Which theater would you prefer?
I have yet to have a single customer tell me that they would prefer to attend the CIAR Theater. Most are actually adamant that they would want to attend the CINAR Theater and there is usually an “Aha” moment when they realize the insanity behind the axiom, “The Customer Is Always Right”.
As a business owner, I have tried to follow “The Customer Is Always Right” approach for too many years. It has been a no-win proposition for thousands of good customers, hundreds of well-intentioned and hard-working employees, and for me. We have all suffered because I tried to serve what more and more has become the lowest common denominator.
With every fiber of my being, I do not believe that the customer is always right. I believe that the customer is always served. For some requests the answer will be no and for some it will be a resounding and unapologetic “No!” Most customers applaud this approach. You can probably guess which ones do not.
As a business operator who represents the interests of my good customers, my good employees, and my own sanity, I respectfully ask anyone who believes that the customer is always right to take their business elsewhere. I promise that I am not changing my position no matter how much you voice your dissatisfaction with my approach.
Diabetes and Cancer Patients
Diabetes is an epidemic affecting us all. In adults 20 and over, more than 1 in 10 suffers from diabetes. For people over 65 that number is greater than 1 in 4. Diet and exercise are the key to managing, and in some cases even reversing diabetes.
Blue Moon Fitness wants to come alongside you and let you know we understand your struggle and more importantly, we care. We want to offer you hope and real support.
We are offering a FREE 3-Month Membership to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer or diabetes. In addition, Blue Moon Fitness will offer a personal training consultation as well as access to small group training during the 3-month period!
Diabetes is an epidemic affecting us all. In adults 20 and over, more than one in ten suffers from diabetes. For people over 65 that number is more than one in four. Diet and exercise are the key to managing and sometimes even reversing diabetes.
For over 25 years the staff at Blue Moon Fitness has been working to improve the health of the communities we serve. Every member of the staff wishes they had the ability to make things better. This offer is an attempt on our part to make a positive difference in people’s lives.