The writing, apparently, is on the wall.
Since Xperience Fitness took over the Woodbury Gold’s Gym, power lifters say new (or newly enforced) rules are singling them out.
New “sarcastic” signs have been put up, warning members about grunting, using chalk and wearing torn clothing, said Val Huerta, of Woodbury, who has been a member there since Gold’s Gym opened. He says the signs target power lifters such as himself.
One sign, according to Huerta’s son Chago, says: “We want our members ripped, not their clothing.”
“It was really disrespectful,” said Huerta, who has since quit the gym. “Basically, you’re not wanted there.”
He and Fenn Cournoyer, also a power lifter, said a friend was told not to wear sleeveless shirts and the signage seems aimed at keeping power lifters out.
“We feel like we were blindsided,” Huerta said.
Patch stopped in at Xperience Fitness and left two messages but never heard back from workers there.
Regarding grunting—or hearing encouragement from a spotter—Cournoyer, who recently got back into competitive weightlifting since he turned 40, said, “That’s going to happen when your body is under strain. And your spotter (shouting encouragement) kind of helps you finish the rep.”
He added: “It’s like banning belching when you’re drinking beer.”
“They’re trying to get rid of us,” said Cournoyer, who also equated not being able to wear torn gym clothes to cyclists not being able to wear spandex.
Also, equipment at the gym—particularly the grip on barbells—has worn thin, making chalk a necessity when they lift heavy weights, Cournoyer said, adding that they always clean up their chalk when they’re finished.
Huerta said he thought about just “riding it out,” but in the end decided that he goes to the gym to get away from stress and the atmosphere at Xperience “isn’t fun anymore.”
Cournoyer said he switched over to LA Fitness, where there haven’t been any problems with noise or chalk.
Huerta said he feels that he was “pushed out the door.”
“I feel like they forced me out of there,” he said.