Thought Catalog
April 1, 2015

12 Ups And Downs Of Working At A Gym That Only A Gym Employee Could Tell You

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Flickr / Jessa9
Flickr / Jessa9

We’ve all thought working at a gym would be great at least once, especially in college when we need some extra change and that gym down the road is hiring. What better place for a single, young female to work? Through experience, I can name quite a few. Before submitting that gym application, take it from someone who learned the hard way and check out these advantages and disadvantages of being a gym employee.

1. Yoga Pants

Advantage: All right, let me go ahead and state the obvious. The best part of working at a gym is, of course, wearing yoga pants to work. And not only yoga pants, but sweatpants. Goodness. Sweatpants are amazing.

Disadvantage: Yoga pants are a part of the dress code but we all know what yoga pants do to the booty and we also know the effect that booty has on most men. Sometimes, for the sake of self-respect, it’s best to save the yoga pants for the house and throw on a pair of jeans- But no, not at the gym. Jeans are not a part of the dress code and wearing them would make me look weird and lazy and I’d split my pants while trying to show someone how to use the Butt Master. I suppose I’ll stick to sweatpants.

2. You can literally roll out of bed and head to work

Advantage: Sometimes, if my sweatshirt is enough sizes too big, I don’t even put on a bra and it feels wonderful. I don’t know of anyone working at a law firm who has benefits quite this great. 


Disadvantage: “Yea, I’d love to go to lunch with you when I get off work; I just need to fix my hair. And put on a little blush. And put on real pants….

and put on a bra.”

3. The guys who hit on you

Advantage: Occasionally you’ll get the stereotypically charming, nice guy who comes into the gym. These are the types of guys I’m personally interested in, but usually they’re respectable guys who don’t come to the gym to hit on girls (Kind of a disadvantage). And that’s totally okay and normal for that matter. I enjoy the sporadic conversations throughout my shifts with these guys (or maybe they’re just not into me which could also be a result of my previous point).

Disadvantage: Please do not wink at me or try to impress me with the 60 leg curls you just did. I feel uncomfortable because you’re sweating and I can’t focus on anything else but the sweat that’s about to drip off of your face and onto the counter in front of me.

4. Mirrors everywhere

Advantage: Mirrors mean your narcissism is expected, Kanye.

Disadvantage: Once again, I am reminded that I actually did roll out of bed today not because I saw myself in the mirror, but because the guy lifting free weights just called me sir. Also, I may or may not be checking out the Ryan Gosling look-alike across the gym and mirrors don’t make it an easy task. Trust me.

5. The sweat

Advantage: *~crickets~*

Disadvantage: Sweat. Sweat everywhere. And no sister, you do not glisten or sparkle. The salt water running down your face is not glamorous.

6. The smell

Advantage: The only time the gym smells good EVER is when someone, usually a woman, leaves the dressing room after lathering in a Bath & Body Works shower gel, then compliments the wash with an allover body sprits. Breathing in sweat and iron for extended periods of time can begin to take over all of your senses, but the smell of Japanese Cherry Blossom or Twilight Woods makes a gym employee want to take a bubble bath of their own. This is a rare occurrence, but when it happens, man does it smell amazing!

Disadvantage: The smell is obviously a result of the sweat but oh my lanta is it awful! Bring in the Febreze cans by the dozen because by the end of your shift you’re going to have used about 6 of them.

7. Working in the kids’ corner

Advantage: Working in the kids’ corner is great for two reasons. First, you’re not responsible for physically taking care of the children. As a matter of fact, by law gym employees are not licensed to handle the children. This is nice because it gives a gym employee more reason to just sit without much responsibility, which brings me to my second advantage. While sitting and chatting with six year olds all day you learn new things about life, love, and even marriage. You may also gain wonderful insight from toddlers. So far I’ve learned that I’m very tall for my age and that as a 19 year old, I should have AT LEAST 9 kids by now.

Disadvantage: While the life lessons are great, it is the most God-awful thing when a child starts crying and their mother is in yoga class. You’re unable to pick the child up because as I mentioned before, you’re not licensed to, so you quietly tip toe to the yoga classroom with a screaming baby as your background music to politely interrupt a mother’s downward facing dog and inform her that her son, Charlie, is very, very upset (someone bit his finger).

8. Walking in on half dressed men in the men’s locker room

Advantage: You open the locker room door to clean mirrors and boom- attractive human male detected. You see said male with 12-pack of abs getting out of the shower. Do you slowly sneak out with the hopes that he didn’t see you? Abso-freakin-lutely not. You casually continue walking toward the mirror pretending not to see said attractive man. I’m just being real.

Disadvantage: You can imagine how this plays out when the man is over 40 years old and has more hair than Chewbacca growing from his chest (or back). My sincerest apologies for that unsightly mental image.

9. Men in tight pants

Advantage: Imagine this point as one similar to guys wearing baseball pants. Yeah, I rest my case.

Disadvantage: Oh my God, do I really even need to explain myself? Nope. Everything is already plainly exposed.

10. Easy work at the front desk

Advantage: COMMISSION! “Thank you for calling the health club, can I help you?” “Yes, is this pizza palace? I need to place an order to go.” “Wrong number, but while we’re on the phone, would you like to sign up for a gym membership?”

Disadvantage: So freaking B O R I N G.

11. Free gym membership

Advantage: If you choose, you have the option of working out whenever you want, free of charge! Not that I know much about this, but if I worked out I’m sure I would enjoy this benefit.

Disadvantage: Anyone with a free gym membership should constantly feel the need to work out because memberships do not come cheap. Working at a gym also gives people leeway to expect you to be buff. Yeah, I know. That’s not going to happen for me either.

12. People assume you know what you’re doing when it comes to using gym equipment

Advantage: “Yes, I totally know the name of that machine and the recommended weight and reps for your gender, age, and weight.” Ha. Ha. Ha.

Disadvantage: Fingers crossed no one asks me to demonstrate. Yeah, I work here. I should know how to use this equipment but honestly, I just needed a job. I didn’t choose the gym life; the gym life chose me (really I need to somewhat support my Starbucks habits and it was the only listing available). Do I practice fitness? Yeah, fittn’is pizza in my mouth. TC mark