“I believe the Rules of Conduct are important for every gym to implement. It’s what allows us to maintain a great fitness community at A-Town Family Fitness and provide an outstanding member experience for our gym family.” - Rachel Bowles, Owner of A-Town Family Fitness
Long before I opened my gym, I dreamt about everything that would go into making it happen. Being a member at multiple gyms over the years, and dropping into others, I knew I could use my experience and resources to create an operations plan, design a marketing strategy and, as a way to protect my fitness community, write a list of gym rules.
This wasn’t because I’m a stickler about rules. I've simply met so many athletes over the years that I knew what others loved and loathed about their gyms. I paid attention to what they liked about how owners handled things, and what they thought could have been better.
So I set out to create a list of gym rules that clearly outlined the expectations and optimized the member experience.
Gym Rules From Day One
I opened my gym - A-Town Family Fitness - in Ashland, Ohio during autumn of 2021 . I knew from previous experience that setting expectations from the very start was key to managing my fitness community, so I set out to specify the rules on the first day we opened.
All new members, visitors and drop-ins received a New Member Packet upon coming to the gym, along with a branded shaker cup, pen and car decal. The New Member Packet included our carefully-crafted Rules of Conduct, that I’m sharing today in the hopes of helping other gym owners with setting expectations and leveling-up their member experience.
Gym Rules of Conduct
1. Support Other Members.
We are community driven. When it rains, we all get wet. We might train as an individuals, but we workout as a community. If you finish first, you should be the first to cheer everybody else on. Please do not clean up equipment before the last person finishes the workout.
2. Show Up.
Do your best to be on time. It is respectful to the coaches and to the other members if you arrive on time and check in early. You can also use this time to practice technique and learn new skills. BUT we would rather you come in late than not at all, so if you’re late, come in quietly and join in.
3. If You Don't Know, Ask.
Our coaches are all professionals and are here to help you, so we recommend leaving the technical advice to them. Ask questions and you will get answers. You have access to an experienced team of coaches who know what they are talking about. It ́s their job to inform, instruct and correct technique.
5. Avoid Injuries With These Simple Steps.
Eliminate unnecessary risk by listening to your coaches. Always follow this sequence: TECHNIQUE - CONSISTENCY - INTENSITY. Do plenty of mobility and let a coach know immediately if something doesn't feel right.
6. Leave Your Ego At The Door.
Functional Fitness is humbling to everyone. Aim for progression, not perfection. Trying to be perfect and better than the entire fitness community will leave you frustrated. Also remember, when you’re at the gym, it’s YOUR time to work out, so use that hour to enjoy yourself. We spend enough time outside the gym stressing and taking care of those around us. Use the gym for YOU!
7. Be Honest With Your Effort And Results.
It can be difficult to count repetitions and rounds when you are tired, and it’s okay if you lose count or forget. But knowingly “shaving” repetitions will not get you to where you want to be. You are only shorting your self when you’re being dishonest to beat others.
8. Nutrition Is Key.
We’ll say it again: Nutrition is key! We plan to give you lots of coaching and advice inside the gym, but what happens outside the gym walls is up to you. You could come to five classes per week, but if you neglect your nutrition every day, you’ll severely limit your results.
9. Clean Up After Yourself.
When everyone is done with their workout - and not a minute earlier - it’s time to clean up. Wipe down your equipment, put away the things you used and help others put their stuff away. Remember, we’re a community and we help each other out.
10. HAVE FUN.
While we take the programming and training seriously, this should be the best hour of your day. Have fun and hand out LOTS of high fives!
And then there’s the one big rule I verbally tell every new member of my fitness community since the day we opened:
If you do not like someone, too bad. You like them while you’re here.
In Summary: Gym Rules For Your Fitness Community Are A Must
In my gym, we show up for our health and fitness. Unnecessary drama - disliking people, starting drama, talking behind others backs - only puts our health at risk. We deal with so many things on a daily basis outside the gym that this place should be our time to let it go.
My staff and I work hard to preach - and follow - these rules since day one. We know that members look to us for guidance so if we aren’t following these rules, why should they?
I believe the Rules of Conduct are important for every gym to implement. It’s what allows us to maintain a great fitness community at A-Town Family Fitness and provide an outstanding member experience for our gym family.