Coach Ron Dayley leading a class at SSF.

“I want to train but I can’t afford the gym membership.”

Well, then you don’t really want to train. So, how bout you shut it. This annoying incessant refrain . . . people come in and ask a million questions about training, only to tell me after I humored them with an hour of my time, “I want to train but I can’t afford the gym membership.”

Please don’t get me wrong – I am more than happy to answer questions from serious prospective students, but the keyword here is “serious” and if you’re not, get the hell out of my gym.

Over the years you would not believe how many times I’ve heard this: “I want to train but I can’t afford the gym membership”. Statistics show that 99.987% of the time the person is full of crap. I mean, I’m not a statistician, but . . . Screw statisticians, I’m right.

The only thing worse than the wannabes are the “almost weres.” I had a guy tell me that he couldn’t afford his tuition any longer because he bought an aftermarket exhaust system for his Harley Davidson. Now I’m sure this would have gone over great with his landlord, “I can’t pay/make rent this month, I had to buy an exhaust system for my motorcycle.” Uhh, what?

A contract’s a contract. I’m not playing “MMA trainer”, this is how I feed my kids.

The thing is, we all know this guy. He would love to train but can’t afford to pay the monthly fees. He’s got a laundry list of reasons why: work, girlfriend, wife, car, mom, etc. But, go out on a Saturday night to your local bar. You’ll see him there. Running up a tab, eating hot wings at 2 a.m., hitting on some girl by buying her and all her friends a round of Vegas Bombs.

It all boils down to how serious you are about it and how badly you want it. If you want it, you make it happen. It seems hard, but really – it’s not. If I don’t know you (and because you have a friend who is the brother of a guy who is dating a girl who is the cousin of a guy who is training at my gym DOES NOT MEAN WE KNOW EACH OTHER . . . AT ALL), do not come up to me with some BS story about how times are tough and how you could be the next GSP if someone would just give you a shot, i.e., let you train for free.

As a gym owner and trainer I hear this story every week from someone. If you sign up (and pay), show me that you are serious, and I see that you have potential then I might be willing to work with you.

Eventually, you might help out around the gym by cleaning the mats everyday or we work a trade of some sort, but don’t ask for free training with nothing in return for the gym. And, believe me, trust me, listen closely – until you have proven yourself on the mat you have nothing I want.

No matter how sure you are that you’re “gonna make me famous and put my gym on the map,” I’m not buyin’ what you’re sellin’. It costs money to pay for good instructors, utility bills, equipment, insurance . . . I am not in the business of giving free training because you think that you could be great.

Most of the time these guys only last a few classes, at most a couple of months, never to be seen again. I, like many gym owners, have fallen victim to a sob story here and there only to be repeatedly disappointed in said student’s work ethic, heart, commitment, sheer lack of talent, the list goes on.

Show me you are serious. Most of us have fighters that we let train for free because they fight for the gym, clean the gym, promote the gym, support their teammates from the gym, love the gym, love the team, and love the coaches.

These guys . . . these guys, they’re pretty rare. So when I get one of them I try my hardest to hold on. But if you’re not one of these guys – and before you insist you are, take a hard look at yourself because these guys eat, drink, and breath competition – if you’re not one of these guys, go away.

If you’re just looking for a free ride, don’t ask for free training. You’re asking me to give you the equivalent of several thousand dollars a year for free and to that I say, “There’s this little ‘fight club’ down the street, hold on a minute, let me find their number . . . you’ll be a perfect fit.“

One thought on “Coach’s blog: I want to train but I can’t afford the gym membership”
  1. the part is i cant afford it right now lol but im also young with no job and i just graduated high school and geting shit ready for college but as soon as i get A JOB IM GOING TO GET IN TO ONE OF THE LOCAL GYMS ive already started look for good ones

Leave a Reply