Are You a Gym Gypsy?

TAGS: gym clients, gym gypsy, Chris Janek, social media, training partners, strongman, personal training, Sports Training, strength training, training

Throughout my life, I've been around numerous lifters, athletes and ‘weekend warriors,’ and I've seen a wide variety of personalities. That said, there is a new breed in the gym, appropriately labeled the “gym gypsies.”

‘Gym gypsies’ can be seen all over social media. One can spot these ‘gym gypsies’ when they state that their current gym, facility or crew is "The best!!!" But hold on—last month their old ‘gym of the moment’ was the best. 'Gym gypsies’ constantly hit a different spot and change every other month or so sometimes. At that time, their current gym, facility or crew is deemed "the best."

At my facility, I see this frequently from both ends of the spectrum. I've had many upset new members, clients or lifters come in “just wanting a fresh start.” It's hard to listen to them talk badly or trash their previous gyms, facilities or crews. You always have to take their opinions with a grain of salt until you get to truly know the situation.

A good example of my experience with ‘gym gypsies’ involves a couple of local, amateur Strongmen. They came to my original facility years ago with the desire to join. They first came in bashing a local gym in a neighboring city. Hearing how much they couldn’t stand the owners and their comments that the place was trash should've been an indicator that something didn't make sense. Then they started talking trash about the gym they had just left. I knew the owner and used to lift at the gym they were bashing. It was a good place. And the owner of the other gym had never even charged them. A free place to train? What a deal!

gym number one

These amateur Strongmen trained at my old location for years. They always talked on social media and to people in public about how ‘bad ass’ my facility was. They had it ‘made in the shade’ at my facility. I gave them memberships for next to nothing, and I took care of them with 24-hour access as well (something that only a few people had). On Sundays, they held seminars discussing the techniques of Strongman movements. I found out later that they charged for this. So now the “gypsies’ had found a facility that not only gave them discounts but provided an opportunity for them to make money on Sundays as well!

‘Issues’ started when gym fees were due. They either couldn't pay me or dodged me. This went on for a while. Once I bought and moved to a new, bigger and better facility, I changed all the rules and clamped down on fees. I enforced the rules for everyone and made everyone pay (as they should). Once these local Strongmen found out that they would have to actually pay full price like everyone else, it was the end of the world. They were pissed. How dare we charge ‘gypsies?’

Needless to say, they have since started going other places. Losing them was a blessing. I never received any thanks for the discount or free time over the years. However, I did receive the cold shoulder from them. At a fundraiser, I saw them and said hello. Not only would one of them not look at me, but he exhibited attitude (i.e. fake tough guy/fake biker). I've since heard through the grapevine that his opinion of me has changed. I went from "the best ever" to an "idiot and my facility sucks." These ‘gym gypsies’ went from loving me to hating me all over one issue—I charged them regular price to train at a top-notch facility!

Another great example (see my "Loyalty Issues and Disappointing Clients" article) involves an ex-athlete who turned into a powerlifter. I trained her for years (2009–2015). I taught her so much and helped her get a scholarship to play collegiate soccer. The time that I devoted with this ‘gypsy’ was insane, and I brought her into the powerlifting world. She set huge PRs in every meet that I personally trained her for and was on the road to domination. She told me that my facility and knowledge was top notch. However, things went south and we had to let her go. Currently, she is at another local gym. That gym is now a "better gym," with lifters and trainers who have way more knowledge than I do. Really? That's a ‘gypsy’ mindset. The grass is much greener on the other side...or is it merely fertilized with bullshit?

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I feel badly for the current lifters and people helping her and investing their time because ‘gym gypsies’ are always on the move. They're never content. Does the group of lifters (none of who are elite level) she now trains with make her current gym the best? Social media tells us yes. Social media is a safe haven for ‘gym gypsies.’ Constant selfies with #beast, #doworkson, #wedabest or any hash tag are the first indicators that you're dealing with a ‘gym gypsy.’

Be careful not to follow them, as many in my area are definitely not beasts and they certainly aren't the best or doing work. I know this firsthand because I'm familiar with many area ‘gypsies’ and the other gyms or facilities where they lift. To be clear, I do believe that all lifters can and should try out every spot possible in order to make the best decision about which place will help them reach their goals. However, claiming that their current place is the best via hash tags is the first sign that you're dealing with a ‘gym gypsy.’

A few of our members and lifters go to a few other gyms throughout the year to lift. Some of the pictures they take and post along with comments are so annoying that it's close to an automatic refund and cause for expulsion from my facility (I say this half jokingly). Let me repeat that it's 100 percent OK to go to other gyms and facilities and find one you like. Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes. The issue I have with ‘gym gypsies’ is their own insecurities and having to feel that wherever they are is currently "the best." How many gyms or facilities are truly "the best?" Judging from what I've seen and heard over the last few years with the explosion of social media, many would be deemed "the best" by ‘gym gypsies.’


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At my facility, we go above and beyond to help everyone who walks through our doors. Does that make us the best? I don't think so. I personally know of a few facilities in the country that I consider better. However, I'll say that we strive to be the best and our goal is to be there one day.

Many ‘gym gypsies’ get sucked into gyms because they're being told that this is “the way” and other “ways” are wrong. They start to believe that they're at the best place. Hyping the current place where they train is only the normal thing to do, right? I guess? Everyone wants to be a part of what they think or consider to be the best.

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Once they stop seeing results though or they get bored with the place or have to pay next month's dues, ‘gym gypsies’ move on to the next "best" gym or facility. Many ‘gym gypsies’ recruit, so be especially careful when wandering around a gym. Make sure that it's a place where you can see results!

Don't fall into the trap of becoming or ‘rolling with’ a gym gypsy. If you're frequently setting up shop at a new location and claiming that the current one is the "best," it's a sure sign that you have crossed over to their side. Be careful not to step in their bullshit! I suggest finding somewhere you love to workout. Bust your ass there and reach the goals you've set. Don't fall into the trap of becoming or following the ‘gym gypsies!’

I vow that, in the future, I'll worry less about negative loyalty issues and let downs and instead focus on all the loyal clients and positive input resulting from the many successes achieved. I'm committed to using the newest techniques available in order to enable my clients to reach their highest competitive level. They must have the desire to do so though.

The word great speaks for itself—growth, readiness, exercise, attitude and toughness.

Chris Janek's Coaching Log

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