The Top 10 Worst Things about Joining a Gym in Germany

“There’s no place like home…” — Photo Credit: istolethetv ( — Image blurring added — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

My wife and I finally joined a fitness center here in Hannover, Germany. I haven’t been a member of a gym for over 3 years, and needless to say, things have gone a little soft. (Damn you, German pilsner. You sweet, delicious bitch.)

Both of us were super psyched the day we joined — we couldn’t wait to work out, get our sweat on, and then go back and do it all over again the next day. This is the honeymoon stage of gym membership, and it is temporary. Sooner or later, going to the gym becomes just another necessary evil in your daily routine. Reality clears your vision and you begin to remember, oh yeah, exercise sucks, I hate it, and I want it to be over as soon as humanly possible.

Beyond the actual exercise is the fitness center itself. I cannot help but notice the differences between the gyms to which I’ve belonged back in the States, and my new gym here in Germany. It’s a small, local gym — not a national chain — so I don’t know if all gyms in Germany are like mine, but I’m going to go ahead and make totally uninformed, sweeping generalizations about them anyway:

The Top 10 Worst Things about Joining a Gym in Germany

 1.) The membership fee will shrivel your pink parts.

“Good heavens, I can no longer tell if I’m circumcised.” — Photo Credit: Freddie Murphy ( — Image cropped from original size — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

You’ve seen them before: those massive billboards with a couple of sexy halfwits advertising a gym you can join for “JUST $19.99 PER MONTH! WOW!” Of course, here in Germany, that’s €19.99 euros per month, which, at the time of this blog post, converts to $25.33 US dollars. Still not a deal, right? But then you actually go inside the gym, talk to somebody and find out it’s only €19.99 per month if you sign a 1 or 2-year contract and pay for it all up front. (Month-to-month payments at my gym range from €35 to €50 euros, so after a couple years, you can tell your kid his or her college fund might be gone, but hey, “Do you see any other dads at the park with guns like these? Pow pow!”)

Oh, and even with the 2-year contract, I still had to buy some kind of “start-up” package, which amounted to my membership card, a water bottle with the gym’s logo on it, and a coupon for 1 free personal training session with Arnulf the Human Drumstick.

2.) Not all gyms are open 24 Hours per day

“This view is GREAT for stalkers.” — Photo Credit: Mike_fleming ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

The biggest fitness center chain in Germany is called McFit. My wife tells me the “Mc-” part of the name is a play on the worldwide brand recognition of McDonald’s, but that just makes me think of fat people running on treadmills with Chicken McNuggets dangling in front of them as bait. “Almost got ’em, tubby!” Anyway, McFit is one of the gyms which is actually open 24 hours per day. My gym, on the other hand, seems to be operated more on a schedule of whenever the hell they feel like it. On Monday they open at 6:00 am, but Tuesday? Oh, then you’ll have to wait until 8:00 am. As for Saturday and Sunday, well, you can go ahead and kiss their shapely asses until around 10:30 am.

Now, It’s not that I actually need my gym to be open around the clock — it’s that I need consistency in my life. I’m like Rainman when it comes to my workout routine; if I’m not done by exactly 8:15 am every day, I start hitting myself in the head, screaming, “Qantas never crashed! Qantas never crashed!”

3.) You can only wear “indoor” athletic Shoes

“Another wonderful Christmas gift from the in-laws.” — Photo Credit: SuperFantastic ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

The very first day my wife and I walked into our gym, the girl behind the counter informed us we could not use the exercise machines because we were wearing “outdoor” shoes. Apparently, one cannot simply enter the gym wearing a certain pair of sport shoes and then wear those same shoes to exercise. You need a pair exclusively for indoor use, the girl explained, or else the machines get dirty and worn out. Jesus Christ, it’s not like we were wearing soccer cleats and stomping through puddles of scalding hot tar and broken glass. (Although now I kinda wish we had.)

The real problem with this indoor shoe policy is that it basically forces you to change your clothes twice: from pajamas into dress clothes at home, then from dress clothes into sport clothes at the gym. What else can you do? Are you really going to stroll into the gym wearing shorts, a t-shirt and black leather dress shoes? Probably not. So your options are to buy an extra pair of sport shoes exclusively for indoor use, or show up at the gym fully dressed in the clothes you’ll be wearing for the rest of the day. This is the routine I’ve been going through every day, and it still makes me want to fastball my footwear at the vapid girl behind the counter. “Guten Morgen, Herr–” *BOOM* “–GAAAHK!” Size 11 Adidas to the windpipe.

4.) The employees are all Functionally Retarded

“I’ve got a tough question about physics. Hey, I’ll just ask this guy…” — Photo Credit: Noodles and Beef ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

Speaking of the people behind the counter, most of the individuals who work at gyms tend to slant more toward brawn than brains. For example, my wife and I had to speak with 5 different people — on 5 different occasions — in order to get ourselves properly registered at our gym. The first person gave us the wrong price, the second person gave us the wrong contract (this was the owner of the gym, mind you), the third person registered us in the system but lost our files, the fourth person gave us our key cards and free personal trainer certificates, and the fifth person took my wife’s personal trainer certificates away because of some mistake made by the first person. Jesus Tits, I want to slap these people so hard they’d forget an entire year of elementary school.

Part of the problem is that a lot of them are super young — like high school or college age — but the rest are just plain stupid. Like, I wonder what would happen if I licked this light socket, stupid. Obviously this isn’t a trend specific to Germany; fitness centers around the world are owned and operated by people with steaming dog shit between their ears. Of course there are exceptions — some genuinely intelligent people who just happen to work at a place with the lofty goal of making sweat drip from your naughty bits — but not many. I’d say 9 out of 10 staff members at my gym could debut in their own after school special: Today’s episode, ‘TOUCHDOWN!’ tackles the growing problem of steroid abuse among high school athletes, starring Hunfrid the Lovable Halfwit.

And get this — there’s this one super yoked, super tan personal trainer at my gym who smokes cigarettes every day right in front of the building. Next to the front door, so you have to pass him to go inside. Man, that’s like a vegetarian at a barbecue; nobody wants to see that shit.

5.) There are No Water Fountains

“For but one sip of water, I would sell my eldest child…” — Photo Credit: ilkerender ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

I don’t know about the other gyms in Germany, but mine has absolutely no drinking fountains. In American gyms, you can’t go more than 10 steps before taking the corner of a fountain in the dick. Here? You have to bring your own water bottle or buy one from the brain trust behind the counter. And if you forget your water bottle and don’t have the cash on hand to buy a new one? Guess what, Thunder Thighs? — you’re drinking straight out of the bathroom sink. (And yes, I’ve done this before. Many times.)

I don’t know if my gym is trying to make money by selling hideous water bottles, or if management thinks water fountains are wasteful, but as an American, I demand to see a readily available source of ice-cold, triple-filtered water just goddamn everywhere.

6.) They’ve got “Grunters” here too

“Wait, what kind of gym IS this?” — Photo Credit: istolethetv ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

You know who I’m talking about: They’re always dudes, and they’re always making loud, totally unnecessary grunting noises while lifting weights. I thought this was just an American thing — I really did — but I was sorely disappointed to find muscle-bound attention whores thriving here in Germany as well. And sometimes they aren’t even muscle-bound! Sometimes they’re just average or even subpar human specimens making all the noise! Do they seriously think anyone gives a shit? Even the dolled-up chick on the StairMaster just wants to work out and go home so she can watch The Bachelor. The last thing straight women are looking for at the gym are rock-banging howler monkeys.

In my opinion, gym grunters fall into 2 distinct categories:

  1. Hans and Franz: These are the guys who genuinely believe all the extraneous noise and loud breathing are integral parts of a good workout. They thrive on quick bursts of manic energy — grunting is just part of it — and they don’t give two flying dicks if you don’t like it.
  2. Hansel and Gretel: Just like in the horrifying children’s story, these guys didn’t get enough love from their parents. (Seriously, read the original story; Hansel and Gretel’s parents left them out in the woods to starve to death.) What I’m saying here is, these poor fellows really just need a hug. It’s not sex they’re after. It’s not really even about attention. It’s about confirmation. “Yes, you’re a good boy, Hansel. You lifted those weights very well and you really are a worthwhile human being. Now please, shut the fuck up and do your next set of deadlifts in silence.”

7.) Locker Room Talkers ruin the ambiance

“Enjoy this moment of peace, for it WILL be destroyed.” — Photo Credit: flattop341 ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

In men’s locker rooms in Germany, the first thing you’ll notice is that pretty much everyone keeps to themselves. It’s nice, clean and quiet. No one says a word until somebody leaves: the person says “Tschüss!” and then everyone else chimes in unison like a bunch of naked choir boys, “Tschüss!” and then silence descends once again. It’s pretty weird. But saying goodbye to a stranger when you have literally not exchanged a single other word before is not the problem. The problem is locker room talkers.

These are the guys you never actually see working out. They tend to wander around the exercise machines annoying people, and then hit the locker room where they continue to talk to anyone who will listen. And they do it naked! Just standing around all day long (probably leaning against your locker), displaying their uncut dongs with an entirely unjustified amount of pride. I guess it makes sense though; Germans are all a bunch of shameless nudists at heart.

It’s as if they come specifically to talk in the locker room. (My wife says the gym is probably the only place they get to form social bonds because they have horrible, ugly wives at home.) And God forbid you get two locker room talkers together, then it’s a hellish concert of loud voices, gratuitous laughter and old man nutsacks swinging to the rhythm like a pair of metronomes.

8.) The showers are set to timers

“The ONE enjoyable thing about going to the gym… and you take it from me.” — Photo Credit: Amy Clarke ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

I don’t know if all gym showers in Germany turn off automatically after 15 seconds, but mine sure as hell do. Literally, you press the button and the water runs for 15 seconds before turning off, then you have to hit the button again. My wife likes to tell me this system is in place because Germans are more fiscally conservative and more environmentally conscious than Americans. To this, I reply, yes, I am American, and yes, we tend to be a wasteful people, but everyone should have the right to a continuous flow of hot water while they soap their gnarlies.

In a shared bathroom, the water coming out of your shower head is like a cone of safety; it provides hot water, pressure and soothing white noise. Now imagine you are washing your anus when your personal cone of safety disappears. Everything goes silent except for the squishy scrubbing sounds you’re making, there’s no water hitting your body — so there’s technically no reason for you to be there — and all at once you go from a guy dutifully cleansing himself to some weirdo in the corner with his fingers in his ass.

Judging from the other hideously naked dudes in the shower, the idea is to get your body wet all over, and then, after the water stops running, soap yourself up real good and hit the button again to hose it all off. This might be a reasonable method, except for the fact that during the minute or two when it’s off, the water temperature drops down to penis-shriveling zero.

You know how I deal with this? I punch that god damn button as hard as I can — as often as I can — and make sure to stay in the shower longer than anyone else. Longer than the grunters. Longer than the loud talkers. Longer than the super old bastards who are so decrepit it’s like they’re moving in slow motion. Oh yes, I’m still in the shower long after they’re all gone, taking my revenge upon the entire timed shower system, my overpriced gym, the country of Germany and Mother Nature herself… 15 seconds at a time.

9.) Locker Room CLustering is universal

“Excuse me, but you’re invading my comfort zone.” — Photo Credit: Trevor Butcher ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

Everyone has a favorite locker, or group of lockers, at the gym. Typically, it’s in the most private area — spacious, with the most room to maneuver — and as far away from other people as possible. You know who else likes that particular area best? Everyone else.

This is how you wind up with a giant room full of freely available lockers, and 3 naked dudes packed into one corner like wildebeests at a watering hole. I call this phenomenon locker room clustering, and it happens in every gym around the world. In fact, as you read this, some poor sap has just undressed and is turning around to grab his toiletries — only to find himself nostrils-deep in some dude’s loins.

Good Christ I hate when that happens. This is why I go out of my way to choose the worst locker at my gym. It’s the one right up front — the one everybody passes when they first enter the room — and which can be briefly glimpsed by everyone on the cardio machines when the door swings open at just the right time. “That’s right, shoppers; today in the meat aisle we’re featuring Grade-A, 100% American tube steak, but sadly, some greedy young German woman already bought it all…”

10.) Going to the gym sucks no matter where you live

“Even with the place all to myself, my heart pumps with hatred.” — Photo Credit: Dr. Abdullah Naser ( — Subject to copyright (CC BY 2.0)

Half of the complaints I’ve raised in this post are specific to Germany, but the rest are just part of the overall gym experience. Going to the gym blows, but we have to do it anyway. (With the exception of my old German integration class, it’s probably the only thing for which I pay money that I genuinely hate.) But for most people, going to the gym is a luxury. Like, if only they had the time, money or basic mobility to go work out, life would be truly grand. Not for me; I’m one of those rare assholes who is honest with themselves about how much going to the gym sucks, but does it anyway.

This is probably why my wife and I cannot go to the gym together. Oh sure, we can travel there together, but that’s where the fun ends. She’s a teacher, you see. She’s always busy, so she’s grateful for any opportunity to go. She’s relaxed, takes her time, speaks politely to the staff, and smiles at everyone because she’s genuinely happy to be there. I, on the other hand, am a freelance graphic designer and I work from home, so I can go anytime I wish. I speed through my workouts with a hateful grimace on my face because I can’t wait to get them over with. I just want to go home and get back to work. Hell, I’d say the gym is the one place on earth where I am openly hostile to people (which would explain why everyone gives me a wide berth, like my body language is telling everyone they can go fuck right the hell off).

So with all of these points in mind, I’m going to go ahead and rate my German gym experience thus far with a solid 3 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:


… but if you absolutely love your German gym, by all means, tell us about it in the comments section. (Our chubby fingers eagerly await the opportunity to mock you for it.)

Would you like to read another angry blog post about life as an expat? You might like this one: American Expat in Germany Nearly Killed by an Acorn, Vents His Shame upon the Biggest Spider in the Universe




85 thoughts

  1. The showers in the saunas in Korea were on timers too, so you’d have to push them about 100 times for one shower. They should really sell a device that just holds that sucker down to keep the water on for the whole shower. It’s not like you’re going to walk away and leave it with the water on, since you paid for it. Now I’m wondering if I could market one…


  2. Except for the fact I know where 4 different water fountains are and I can wear outside exercise shoes this sounds a lot like my gym here in the good old US of A. I had a really good trainer who moved and now all of the ones I talk with just want to make you move around for an hour in order to collect the ungodly fee so I have quit trainers. Do all of the women in Germany wear the tight spandex outfits to workout in? That is a plus to the gyms here, love the eye candy.


  3. The nickel and diming of fees is truly annoying. I was at a gym that charged that “intro fee” every year! Sure they labeled it as a “fitness checkup” and encouraged you to come in and have an employee caliper your fat and give you a highly detailed 18 page plan of how to work out “the right way”. But even ifyou didn’t come in for such torture, the fee was taken anyway. AND the monthly fee went up a predefined % every year too.

    The vapid empoloyees too. Actually I found the ones at McFit to be better. I somehow didn’t expect them to know literally anything, so if they occasionally were helpful it actually felt nice. We noticed that with the hands-off employee cultuer there, talking to the other workout-ers was kind of fun. Large musclebound guys telling us my wife is sitting too low for that machine.

    I think the water machines is something to do with a general German distaste for tap water. It may be related to the urge to have all water fizzy as well.

    The environmental problem I found at our gyms were that they were not air conditioned. Not a big deal in the winter, but in the summer when 100 other sweaty people and only the windows cracked, it gets hot. Like sauna hot, and yet no one seems to notice. Thankfully summer is short in Germany, I guess.

    The lockers thing is annoying. The gym we used to go to had plenty of lockers, but vast swaths of them had no nearby benches, so you were like the guy in your picture, trying to change on the ground or trying to share the last 4 cm of a bench a dozen steps away.

    I actually enjoy the gym. Especially in the winter. I get that it is painful, but somehow that pain feels good. I constantly construct my life to avoid all pain, though this particular brand of it feels good. It is the long contracts that kill it for me. Especially because you have to decide to quite 3-6 months before you actually stop paying. Though I imagine there are plenty of people in the US that pay for the gym for years without actually going, so maybe it is about the same.


  4. I’m with you. i hate going to the gym. It’s one of those necessary evils in life. If I could figure out how to get to my target heart rate watching TV and drinking a beer I’d do it instead.

    By the way, you need to find something to ram into the shower button to keep it on. ;-)


  5. Oh man, my German gym experience has been pretty similar! I went to McFit’s rival, Fit Star, and it was the same deal as you describe above minus the chicken McNugget part. The open 24 hours a day thing is nice (as *nothing* in Bavaria is open beyond 8 p.m. usually), but no matter what time you go it’s packed, and Germans have much less concern about one’s personal space, so going at peak hours was an ordeal and I completely shifted to going earlier to avoid the crowded afternoons.
    Some other Gym observations:
    -True, no water fountains in the gym, but have you seen a water fountain anywhere in Germany? (At the gyms here it’s actually how they make extra money – with an additional monthly fee to fill up your own bottle with water or their super nasty bug juice…)
    -Female staff walzting into the guy’s locker room freaked me out at first, but I’m a prudish ‘merican. No one seems fazed by it of course.
    -The whole greeting and saying goodbye thing just flew completely over my head. I never knew when it was and wasn’t appropriate to greet people in the locker room. And why was it only in the locker room and not in the weight area? It seemed so inconsistent and weird so I would only say hello or goodbye based on the action of the other person.
    -I kind of got into yoga while in Germany and it became apparent that Germans must be some of the most bodily inflexible people on the planet. It would be slightly entertaining if it wasn’t so painful to watch.
    -Good luck getting out of your gym membership! Once they get your name and your bank account you are screwed. Just like with the phone companies here. Luckily I was able to provide my de-registration letter from the State, so they let me out of it even though I had done way more than the minimum time required. They are kind of blood suckers in this regard.
    -Again, German guys are just – as a generalization – so completely inconsiderate in the gym. They will think nothing of coming up and taking your spot that’s clearly demarked by your towel or other personal item. And they take total umbrage if you try to work in with them. It’s a really strange dynamic. Luckily I am leaving Hans and Franz to their beloved gear and will go back to the US, where – though not perfect – is a place I’ve certainly been missing with the workout experiences here. Good luck with that and don’t let them steal your machine or your equipment!


  6. German sissies with their showers and saunas at the gym. Come across the border to the lowlands sometime and get a real workout at Box 074. No heating, no showers, no talkers and we make sweat angels on the floor when we’re done.

    Nice post. :)


  7. My biggest complaint is the complete disregard for gym etiquette when it comes to re-racking your own weight once you are finished. I walk into a weight room tripping over dumbbells and plates almost everyday. How annoying it is to walk up to a station and have to take all the weights off and move dumbbells out of the way because the guy before just walked away after performing a triple superset screaming his head off but was too tired to put it all back.


  8. I will actually say I love my gym here in the States. To the point where I’m worrying about finding a decent one for the short time I’m interning in Germany at the beginning of next year- no Anytime Fitnesses in Germany, so I can’t just do the easy thing and keep on keepin’ on. And given German’s innate love of rules and rule enforcement, I’m guessing I won’t get by easy on a little bit of fudging a short term membership (I’m only there for 10 weeks). I wouldn’t be worrying about this at all if I hadn’t fallen in love with weight lifting. But the prospect of getting back after it at home after a 10 week break makes me want to cry- I don’t want to go through the pain of beginning deadlifts and squats all over again. Delayed onset muscle soreness- it’s one hell of a deterrent/motivator.


  9. The indoor/outdoor shoe thing is still weird. We are probably the only people in Germany who wear shoes not slippers inside our apartment. Does the gym also have a weighing scale in a public place like the gyms in Australia? I always used to hate that.


  10. Gym? And did not nobody warn you, before you moved here, that A) Germans are the ugliest in this world B) Germans are the rudest (though challenged by Russians lately), because being nice would not get us anywhere (because being ugly) and C) If you want tap water, drink it from the tap – no need for extra fountains!


  11. I don’t want to sound like the Grammar Police, but you spelled Qantas wrong. There’s no u after the Q becasue its not a word, its an acromym of letters meaning the Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service.
    Thats your history lesson for today :)


    1. You shouldn’t correct others and calling yourself the Grammar police and while doing so adding up to 5 grammar and spelling mistakes in your post.
      1) because NOT becasue
      2) it’s NOT its
      3) it’s NOT its
      4) acronym NOT acromym
      5) That’s NOT Thats

      You’re welcome 😊.


      1. ‘a grammar nazis’ ‘a’ is singular – ‘nazis’ is plural. We’re all going blind with dementia, anyway. [Americans say ‘anyways’ why the plural?].


  12. I had to comment on this post because I laughed out loud. My other favorites are the ones were your wife is out of town and you leave the apartment a total mess.

    I love the Germans but there are so many things I don’t understand. I have lived in Germany for a semester and will actually move there in December and have definitely experienced this gym insanity. The first day I walked in to the gym, I was wearing my workout clothes and shoes. I was so excited to get a run in(I prefer outdoor running, but it was icy on my normal running route). My excitement was quickly depleted when the front desk person said I needed to go home and get some clean shoes. I should mention…I lived ONE BLOCK over from my gym!

    I’m sure you are right about the water fountains but I don’t remember at my particular gym. However, I do remember that they sold beer…

    I often forward your posts to my boyfriend(a German) on Monday mornings because they are pretty representative of my thoughts. Today as we discussed this post, I told him that I planned to wear “street” shoes to my new gym (5 minutes walk away), but drag my pair of running shoes through the mud on the way there and put them in my bag at the last second….

    Related: There are lockers at University libraries. I walked by thinking to myself “okay, Germans are really in to lockers.” Wrong. You are not allowed to bring in any bags in the library so they need to go in a locker. I know, because I tried and got yelled at. What is the the thought process there? (I know, I know, but who is really trying to steal a book from there???)


    1. That’s so cool you forward the posts to your German boyfriend! Please say hello to him from us!

      I have seen the library lockers as well. They even had baskets for people to use… like at a grocery store.

      God I love this country. :)


  13. While not a gym, we are taking a fitness class at the VHS. Notable differences to the American experience include the strange sneaker thing. So, I also wear sneakers and change into other sneakers, which have been worn of course outside as well……….my (German) husband says I need to do it anyway because “everyone does it”, and open doors to the changing rooms. I, American, go there in my gym attire and do the crazy change my sneakers to sneakers thing. My husband changes there……….for all the world to see. Okay, maybe I am a prudish American, but with that as the case, WTF is the point of separating the men from the women? Hell, why not just change in the open? Makes no sense. Also, it seems a bit like the doctor´s office in that I need to greet all 30 people in class as they come in. They will of course totally ignore me when I see them 30 minutes after class at the Döner shop, but in class we all say “Gruß Gott” as people arrive, and “Tschuss” as they leave……… every last one of them.


  14. You’ve outdone yourself with this one. Had a good laugh this morning :-)
    And the pics are priceless.
    My experience is German gyms make most of their money from people trapped in 2-year contracts but who don’t attend the gym at all. Every time I went to the gym, there were only a couple of people there.


  15. HA. See, I joined a gym that is only for ladies because THE GRUNTERS MAKE ME WANT TO STAB PEOPLE. And they are often located in gyms where I (also as a freelance writer who can do something crazy like go in the middle of the day) am the only lady for miles and then being surrounded by half naked grunting Hanses just gets even more strange and horrible.

    But they have the shoe thing there too. And the people who don’t know shit, I can only assume because they don’t actually get paid enough to care about accuracy and this is just some temp after school job or whatever. And the weird opening hours. But we don’t have the timer showers (hot water for everyone FOREVAH) or drinking fountains (though they’ll sell you a disposable cup for 50 cents if you beg). Oh and no locker problem because you are given a key for a specific one at the desk when you come in.


  16. Thanks for refreshing my own “fitness center” nightmares from my days in Dusseldorf! I got annoyed with the perfectly coordinated, brand name workout clothes in pristine condition. I’d show up in an ancient, holey t-shirt — who cares what you sweat in, right? The Germans care, apparently. There’s an outfit for everything, a rule for everything… We had the indoor sport shoes rule, too. :P


  17. Ha, that made me laugh – sldo the Image of a bunch of old naked dudes is stuck in my head now. My husband (from Alabama) would totally agree with your disapproval of the absence of water fountains in this country.


  18. Sadly, in Germany they always try to make money out of the small stuff. Public toilets, water in restaurants or in fitness centers, only being able to buy ridiculous expensive water bottles for 1.5 € (for example, when you just walk down the city and need something to drink), buying train tickets from the clerk instead of the vending machine etc. Not to mention the horrible tip culture.

    Horrible. Sadly this seems to be a character trait of all German businessmen. Never ever try to give the customer a good feeling.

    In contrast, in Japan you have free public toilets everywhere, water dispensers at most malls and in parks, train tickets cost the same everywhere you buy them etc.
    How is it in USA? You also have tips, so maybe a bit closer to Germany?


  19. Sadly, in Germany they always try to make money out of the small stuff. Public toilets, water in restaurants or in fitness centers, only being able to buy ridiculous expensive water bottles for 1.5 € (for example, when you just walk down the city and need something to drink), buying train tickets from the clerk instead of the vending machine etc. Not to mention the horrible tip culture.

    Horrible. Sadly this seems to be a character trait of all German businessmen. Never ever try to give the customer a good feeling.

    In contrast, in Japan you have free public toilets everywhere, water dispensers at most malls and in parks, train tickets cost the same everywhere you buy them etc.
    How is it in USA? You also have tips, so maybe a bit closer to Germany?


  20. Thank you for such a laugh! Thankfully in New Zealand we have pretty good gyms (at least the ones I’ve worked at, and I’m also a member at Les Mills here), but our prices are much steeper! I pay almost $25 PER WEEK for my membership, and that’s a student rate on a three year contract. In saying that, I would rather pay that and be at Les Mills than anywhere else. And one gym I worked at was “elite” and cost $50 per week for some memberships….. No timers on the showers though and they all have private cubicles! Whoop whoop!


  21. I went to a gym in Germany that was a corporate gym. It was very very small, with one small room with machines and weights and then one even smaller classroom. I used to enjoy going boxing and taking the circuits at lunchtimes. Mainly because with boxing I could imagine my boss’ face when punching and it helped me survive the day.
    One day, after going to the gym for 2 1/2 years, I went there after work for the first time. Scanned in, did a bit of a run. Then on my way out, a gym-woman I’d never met before pulled me to the side and said I had no contract with that gym.
    Nonsense, I said. I’ve been coming here who whole time I’ve been in Frankfurt.
    Nope. You paid for the 2 months’ induction and then never went on to pay for anything after that.

    It was a human/system error. Luckily I didn’t have to pay them back. And while the guy told me after my induction that I would be paying 30 a month, the woman wanted me to pay 50 and I told her to get on her bike. A tiny gym like that isn’t worth 50.


  22. So funny and yet, so akward! I used to go to Jopp and the branch I went to was rather fancy so is now a Holmes Place. It wasn’t pleasant. And why? The locker room mafia girls. Striding around as if they own the place and in the nude I might say. I’m British, we don’t do nude!

    Oh yeah, going to the sauna. Also nude, but please bring your towel. Towel? What towel?!
    Don’t even go to the showers. The women have muscles. Or perhaps, they’re men. Who knows!
    ‘Love this post mate!


  23. Have you EVER seen a water fountain in Germany? I’ve been here over 4 years and the ONLY one I’ve ever seen was in the Museum at the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, near Brandenburg Gate.


  24. Em… I think that doesnt suck as much as it is written here..
    First- the fee is not that much( of course its different for different people) but as an example I would say that Im visiting a super new and clean fitness (it in the central of the city) and it costs 20 euro per month… which I dont see as smth so expensive.
    Moreover- what do u wanna say about the indoor shoes!? OF course u have to wear another pair of shoes… or what ? u prefer the fitness to become so easily dirty .. and you want everybody to walk in and out without changing shoes.. hmm #2 was not a good argument I think:)
    Third- seems like u had a bad experience with “retarded employees”- Not every employee is one of these :) And on the other side- if they are… u can find information in the fitness- there are magazines, tv-s … I mean they are other sources of info :)
    Further- the reason that the gym sucks no matter where u go…. ermmmmmmmmmmmmmm..what can I say- if it sucks- dont go then :)

    And finally the only fucking stupid thing about the gyms in Germany ( I dont know if all over in Germany its the same) is that if u wanna go – u have to make a contract for at least an year :) And I thing this is a good argument which you missed to tell :)

    So- it seems to me that the person who wrote this is some lazy guy… but whatever, you can always train home or outdoors in good weather :)


  25. I lived in Germany from 1999 to 2005. The first weeks I was there, in Frankfurt, a friend of mine took me to his Gym. Me coming from California, wore my shorts and a wife-beater tank top, thinking this is my usual Gym gear, right? Wrong! The minute I sad down on a machine and started doing exercises, a Gym worker came and told me that I was not allowed to wear a tank top! I said why not, and my friend explained to me that it was because you would sweat on the machines seat and bench! I was given a towel to cover the bench from my sweat. This kind of explains everything about Germany. They over react to things like this and can not adjust or understand anything other than established rules. Your point about the indoor trainings shoes reminded me of this.


  26. I am palanning to go to the gym next month, so I will check the infos in this article.
    i live in bremen , germany and the McFit gym is just one bus stop away.


  27. I belong to the “lime green logo” gym in Hanover.
    My number one problem?
    This last summer, I work out for an hour, drink 3 liters of ice water, and on my last set, I get dizzy from the damn heat!!
    There is NO excuse for this! (Germans INVENTED A/C!!)


  28. Why do americans moan soooooooo much, can you never accept that some people / countries do things differently? What you describe of Germany would equally apply to Great Britain and I presume most countries. The gym is a place to train, get fit and socialise. Comparing training techniques, learning from others is what makes it enjoyable. If its too much trouble stay home and become the typical burger munching cola swigging caricature of americans that seems to be regarded as normal

    Liked by 1 person

  29. The main trauma point of my gym is that the locker is nearly completely mirrored. So not only are you buck naked trying to find a quiet corner away from the sweaty hordes opening their lockers, but the fleshiness is doubled (and sometimes tripled due to the room’s funhouse-style configuration). Literally nowhere to hide! But I suppose seeing your lardy nakedness reflected from every possible corner IS motivating to spend more time working out. Soooo, good on you, Fitness First.


  30. Another ugly American who thinks everything is best in the good old USA, which makes the rest of the world laughing at us.


  31. This is the funniest thing I have ever seen in my entire life. I just moved to Berlin and I’m used to training at the equivalent of a mcfit=planet fitness in the US. I didn’t really know what to expect… maybe I should’ve seen the unbridled dingdongs coming but its like a sausage social club in there….. also the whole thing with the towels. Everyone walks around with a towel as if their sweat soaked towel is going to make a difference on the machines. This is why I wipe everything down before and after anyways.


  32. I think part of it is since US gyms stay open longer, if not 24/7, they have periodic cleaning throughout the day, so you can wear shoes outside. This is also based on where in the US the gym is located. If it’s right in the center of a business district, or on a college campus, people will bring sneakers so they can go after work / class and not be in gym sneakers all day. It may have to do with gym sneakers not being ok in the office, and with college kids (especially women) you don’t want to wear sneakers that you’ve worked out in around campus.


  33. Hilarious! And very relatable. I just moved to Berlin and having been very familiar with proper gym etiquette back home in the States I found the gym here to be sub-par on so many levels. What baffled me the most was the fascist towel policy. Did you experience this? I had been working out at my gym for almost a month before someone who worked there approached me and told me I needed to have a towel in order to workout. Gym policy. But apparently it was never enforced, nor did anyone mentioned it to me when I signed up. I said I didn’t have one but I have no problem bringing one tomorrow and I promise to wipe down the machine when I’m finished. Nope. Not good enough. They said I had to buy one for 5 euros or get out. So I got kicked out of the gym I pay a membership to because I didn’t have a towel with me. No warning. No signs posted or a mass email to the members ahead of time. All of the sudden one day they decided to enforce the rule with zero tolerance. I don’t fully care for the rule in general, but have no problem abiding by it if that’s the policy – It was the immediately boot in the ass without warning that appalled me. Customer service isn’t really a thing here I’ve since learned. Needless to say it left me with a bitter taste – thankfully I will soon be leaving that gym!


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