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A Disheartening Experience at LA Fitness
This morning, I had a truly disheartening encounter at the LA Fitness Club located at 163 Ave and Kendall Drive in Miami. The incident left me feeling humiliated and demeaned, which is something that I never expected in all the years I have been a member.
A Routine Disrupted
As someone who sticks to my own regular exercise routine, I have always used the classroom for my push-ups. This allows me to stay out of the way of other members who are engaging in various exercises throughout the club. Since I don’t engage in strenuous activities, I make it a point not to bother those who do.
An Uncomfortable Encounter
After completing my 20-minute cardio session, I headed over to the empty classroom to do my push-ups. I always choose the farthest corner of the room and make use of a mat that has been previously stretched. However, on this occasion, things took an unexpected turn. An instructor entered the room with a less-than-pleasant attitude, picking up materials left by other members and displaying condescending behavior towards me. It felt as though I was being scolded by an annoyed parent cleaning up their child’s messy playroom, when all I had done was assume that I should tidy up the classroom. At least, that’s what I assumed based on her expressions and grunting.
Feeling incredibly uncomfortable, I decided to leave and finish my exercises elsewhere. Once I had completed my routine, I returned to the classroom to do my stretches in the same spot as before, at the back of the room on the already stretched mat. This time, however, a class was in progress. Despite being situated at the back and not bothering anyone, the instructor interrupted the class to ask me to leave, stating that I could not be present if I wasn’t an active participant. This confused me because I have seen countless others working out on their own while classes were ongoing. It made me wonder why different rules seemed to apply to certain members. I didn’t argue with the instructor and was about to leave when I overheard something said that made everyone laugh. Was she making fun of me? I couldn’t quite catch the remark.
Unprecedented Treatment for a Longtime Member
As a member of this club since 1989, back when it was called Scandinavian, then Bally’s Scandinavian, then Bally’s, and now LA Fitness, I have never encountered such treatment from anyone. I have always enthusiastically recommended this club to everyone I know.
Seeking Answers at the Front Desk
I approached the front desk to voice my complaint, but the person I spoke to, who identified himself as Manny, was uncooperative. He refused to provide the instructor’s name and claimed that nobody was allowed in the classroom unless they were actively participating, as it was a corporate policy. Strangely, there were no signs on the door stating this policy, and I have seen others and even engaged in my own routine during classes on numerous occasions. Why was it not permitted today? If such restrictions were in place, there should have been clear signage. Instead of attempting to embarrass me, Manny should have addressed the issue and informed management to put up appropriate signage.
Disappointed by Unprofessional Behavior
I am deeply disappointed by the unprofessional and rude attitude displayed by the Zumba instructor, Giselle, and by the unhelpfulness of the front desk employee, who claimed to be the manager. It is my hope that the corporate office takes immediate measures to rectify this situation and prevent it from happening again, not just to me but to others as well. Implementing clear signage and ensuring adherence to the rules by all members would be a step in the right direction. During my next visit to the gym, I will make a point of documenting instances where others use the room while a class is in progress.
A Call for Improvement
As we approach the end of 2021, I can’t help but question whether we have learned anything about respect and inclusion. What happened to the principles of nurturing the mind, body, and spirit? I visit the gym to feel good, not to encounter disrespectful treatment from an instructor who fails to appreciate the loyalty of long-standing members and who shows condescension towards others.