Why Can’t I Join Gold’s Gym?

almost as hard as my pecs

Who knew joining a gym could be so damn hard?

I have been researching various gyms in my area and near my office because I want to join one. My elliptical machine works fine, but the electronic calorie counter is broken, and I really like to watch the calorie counter. The final push I needed to get my butt in a gym is that my awesome new company pays for half of my gym membership.

So, anyway, one of the perks of the new job is the gym membership. After lots of research, I determined that Gold’s Gym would be my best fit since there is a location near my house, and also a location halfway between my office and the house my husband and I are looking to purchase. It seemed like a great idea.

It SEEMED like a great idea. There is only one problem. Gold’s Gym is making it nearly impossible to sign up!

First, I got up at my normal morning workout time, packed my gym bag, and headed to Gold’s for a 5AM workout. Yes, I admit 5AM is early, but that is the time I need to go to the gym because I work 7AM-4PM at my daytime gig, and 5PM-9PM I am either working on my freelance projects, grandparent-sitting or playing rec league basketball. (Despite not having kids, I lead a pretty busy life.) My point is, 5AM is really the only time I could get to the gym, at least these days.

Showing up was my first mistake.

I asked about the 7-day trial period I had heard about somewhere.
Gold’s Guy: “You have to have a coupon printed out to do a 7-day trial.”

Ok, I thought. No problem, I already know I want to join anyway. So I said instead, I would like to just join right on the spot.

Gold’s Guy: “You can’t join until you meet with a Membership Advisor, and they only work 7-8.”
Um, ok…
I responded with, “Well, my company has a corporate account. Can’t I just sign up?”
Gold’s Guy: “No, but you could purchase a 24 hour membership for $16.”
Me: “Ok, well, could I at least take a look around?”
Gold’s Guy: “No. I’m not allowed to give tours. Only the Membership Advisors can give tours.”
Me: “Ok, thanks.”

That was my first interaction with Gold’s Gym. I learned that there was a Membership Advisor who was the only one who could help me and apparently was the only one skilled enough to show me the facility. The way they spoke about this mysterious Membership Advisor was as though he was some kind of gym guru who could change my life with the right membership plan and a fabulous tour. In my mind, I knew he was probably some juiced up weightlifter who, like a glorified used car salesman, would try to sell me on a gym membership. (Instead of a plaid sportcoat and a polyester tie, this guy wears a spandex singlet and tube socks…at least, in my mind he does.) I really didn’t feel this step was necessary since, again, I ALREADY KNEW I wanted to join.

and this is how I pictured him. I also imagine his name is Rocco.

Today, I was privileged enough to speak to this Membership Advisor on the phone. I called them and asked specifically for a Membership Advisor. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “Hi, I’d like to go ahead and sign up for your gym with my company’s corporate account, and since I can’t make it in there in person during the day when you are there, I was hoping we could do it over the phone.”
Membership Advisor/Gold’s Guru: “Well, you really need to come in so we can discuss all of your options for membership plans and pricing. And, your company will not let me do that over the phone.”

Now, my  HR department had told me, since Gold’s is one of their preferred corporate gyms, all I have to do is tell them where I’m from, and Gold’s will bill the company along with all the other employees who have memberships. Besides, I hadn’t even told him the name of my company yet, so how he knew they didn’t want me to talk to him over the phone must have been some sort of magical Membership Advisor Guru intuition.

Me: “Really, I know what plan I want. My HR rep told me we have a corporate membership and they told me the pricing already. She even gave me the sheets with the pricing info and informed me to tell you I wanted the corporate membership. I just want to sign up.”
Guru: “Well, then you will have to come in person so we can meet to discuss the membership rates.” (Again, with the rates, this guy.)
Me: “Ok, well, I guess I will have to figure something out since I can’t come in when you are there. Thanks.”

What I can’t understand is why they would make it so difficult for someone who obviously wants to join. They want to give me the hard sell, but I’m already sold. I just want to work out!
This afternoon I sent an email to Gold’s corporate to ask them if I have any other options. I guess I will wait to see what they say. I really do want to join this gym. I just wish they would let me. I have a brand new spandex singlet and set of tube socks I am dying to try out…

UPDATE: I just spoke to my HR rep and SHE spoke to Gold’s. I will be a member as of today and will be able to work out tomorrow! It was that easy. (I never did hear back from Gold’s corporate, but I am just glad my own HR department was able to get it sorted out.)SECOND UPDATE: After seeing my rant (I may or may not have linked to it on the Gold’s Gym Facebook page…and mentioned it on Twitter) the Gold’s Corporate folks followed up to see how they could make it right. They were too late since I already got my HR rep involved, however, I do appreciate that they followed up. It shows that they care about the customer relations they provide. I will be getting buff like Rocco in no time!


  1. I joined Golds when their representative came to Relìv. Then I went there after work one day and told them my company paid a percentage of the fee. A representative walked me around the gym. I checked out the locker room myself, (the representative was a female), then I said thanks and left.

    I suspect they want to sell you on some extra classes they offer like Aqua Burn, (sounds like a contradiction of terms), Functional Fitness, Spinning Class etc. All that stuff is above and beyond the membership fee. They’re trying to get more than just the membership fee. Just stand firm and tell them you already have a workout routine and are not interested in add-ons. My wife and I work out at 5 in the morning because it is too crowded any other time. We do circuit training which means you go from one barbell/dumbbell/bench/machine to another without stopping so you kind of tie up a few stations. This would be possible when it is crowded.

  2. Those Membership Advisors are their salespeople who, at least several of them, have no morals or ethics based on many, many stories I’ve heard about them here in St. Louis and across the country. They particularly like to tell people they are obese – now of course some people are, but one I’m positive isn’t is my aunt. She went to join and the jerk proceeded to tell her how out of shape she was and that she was obese even! My aunt was so upset by all of this – she went back to her primary doctor and he said she was right in range where she should be for her height and age and not even overweight, let alone obese. The doctor also told her she is not out of shape – my aunt is very active and walks and swims daily. It was awful. We have heard several stories from others that are very similar since then.

    I’m not saying that everyone at Gold’s is like that – but there are too many that are in my book.

    • That is really unfortunate! I have to say I have been really pleased with Gold’s since this happened. Ever since the initial joining challenges, I have had nothing but great experiences there. I go to Gold’s Gym in Florissant and the machines are always clean and available and the staff is always friendly.

  3. Funny. I did my membership stuff all over the phone. My friends I’ve had sign up (with a corporate location) had pricing sent via email and had all the paperwork ready when they arrived (one friend signed up when we went for a 545 AM class).

    I think that’s utter BS they did that. And sheer stupidity on how the location itself was run. Glad you were finally able to sign up though. I’ve been a member of Gold’s for SIX years now and love them. I’ve transferred my membership twice now due to moving and have had zero problems.

    Good luck!

    • I do have to hand it to them. After the initial headaches were resolved, I really have enjoyed Gold’s Gym for the most part. And actually, the funny thing is, I’ve since gotten to know the original “Gold’s Guy” I met that first morning, and he’s actually turned out to be really nice.

      And with my corporate membership, it is such a great deal!

    • Oh, Rob. You should have actually read the post so you understood the point. It’s a shame you don’t get that.

      Anyway, this post is almost four years old and after a 3-year membership at Gold’s, I upgraded to a much better gym.

      • Good for you Annie! Rob, you are an idiot! That saying applies to personal efforts! That rule does not apply to the service industry. Would you appreciate the grocery store more if they made it hard for you to take out the groceries? Or what if the salesperson made it impossible for you to take your goods home after purchasing shoes or clothes?

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