Yeah, THAT Happened at My Gym: Embracing the ‘Youth as Employees’ Movement

Yeah, THAT Happened at My Gym
Embracing the ‘Youth as Employees’ Movement

As gym operators, we have the privilege of making lives better every day we show up for work. People throughout our communities embrace our gyms as their home away from home; a place where they develop lasting friendships, healthy routines and a means to overcome the stressors he/she faces.

While gym employees don’t usually earn salaries worthy of life’s greatest material luxuries, we earn our members’ smiles and gratitude day in and day out. There is a wealth beyond dollars that comes with every one of our daily engagements.

Many of us hire youth to work front desks, blend protein shakes, and tidy gym floors. It makes sense. Their parents want them to work at our gyms to prepare them for life after their school years – and they get to start learning the value of honest work. Here, they cultivate a sound work ethic that keeps them busy and safe.

Our working youth don’t have the shadows of mortgages, alimony, insurance premiums or retirement plans to hover over them. They can work evenings and weekends – hours which most adults need to tend to their homes and families.

That being said, with youth comes inexperience and, a few times, immaturity.

Here are some shining moments you may encounter with younger staff:

1. The infamous calling out sick (with Oscar winning coughs and scratchy voices) the day after a night of shenanigans. Better yet, the parent (or pretend parent) calling out sick for the employee

2. Simply quitting with no notice.

3. Chewing gum. Chewing gum. & More Chewing Gum.

4. Laughing out loud at members’ who accidentally fart.

5. Not knowing to say “Good morning”, “Please”, “Thank you”, “Have a nice day”

6. Constantly stepping away to check phones.

7. Asking deconditioned female members “Are you pregnant”?

8. Stepping over debris rather than picking it up and properly discarding

What did I learn?

At our gyms, we’re helping shape our future leaders – educating, empowering, motivating, and sharing moments which make them wiser and better equipped to handle the “real world”.

For the youth who work in our gyms, demands for high pay don’t exist. In lieu of a six figure offer, we provide a fantastic job experience – no sitting in a cubicle, getting to wear sweats and sneakers, music piping in the background, being encouraged to have fun. 

Most of our young employees move on to higher paying jobs not long after they arrive, but few love their next career endeavors more than their time spent at a gym.

Reminding ourselves that we had to learn the same things we are now responsible to teach is the first step. Being a mentor, a role model, and an inspiration can be as much a reward as helping our members’ improve their health. It too, does not come with a hefty bank deposit, but is a privilege and honor that is priceless.