When a Client Deadlifts in a Thong and People Are Upset

On a white background, a photo of leopard-print swimwear bottoms.

Would you let someone do hamstring curls or deadlifts at your gym in barely there swimwear?

The issue arose in Australia in September, when “fitness influencer” Andréa Sunshine wore the smallest of bikinis for her glute-focused workout in a globo gym filled with people who were wearing more traditional workout clothing.

The whole thing was filmed and posted to Instagram, and a article reported that an unapologetic Sunshine said the gym manager actually asked her to train in a separate room.

We’re not here to debate freedom of expression, personal rights, fitness influencers with only-fans accounts or anything like that.

Gym owners just need to know what to do with people who don’t fit.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

If you care to dig into the Australian apparel issue, you can check out Sunshine’s borderline-not-safe-for-work Instagram account here or read the article here: “Ripped Grandma Breaks ‘Gym Protocol’ With Racy Workout Outfit.”

On the Two-Brain blog this week, Chris Cooper has been talking about how to deal with clients who aren’t a good fit for your gym.

Short summary: You don’t need every single client and should refer poor fits to other gyms that can serve them better.

That’s a simple, effective plan that’s been used by many gym owners to remove “weed clients” so they can focus on “seed clients.” Still, entrepreneurs sometimes struggle to implement the plan for a host of reasons, including:

  • “My gym is unprofitable and I need the money.”
  • “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
  • “Maybe I’m the problem and should just suck it up.”
  • “Maybe I can just accommodate the behavior even though it bothers me and other clients.”

If you think things like this, you aren’t alone. Every gym owner does.

In fact, we regularly see questions like this in our support group for clients: “This gym member wants to do X. It doesn’t fit with my vision for the gym. Is there any way I can make it work?”

Such questions don’t arise because the gym owners are dumb, spineless or unfocused. Far from it. These are some of the best gym owners in the world. The problem is that they started businesses to help people, and they want to serve everyone while building profitable businesses.

When these questions appear, it’s fantastic to see peers pop in with advice. The objective perspective of another person who runs the exact same kind of business is invaluable. Many peers in the group have already dealt with the exact same situation and can offer great advice based on actual experience.

Below a recent post about potentially accommodating a member who was pushing the gym owner’s limits, I saw stuff like this:

  • “Hold the line.”
  • “Make it black and white for all.”
  • “Hard pass.”
  • “Stay strong.”

A few people went even further and offered constructive solutions to the problem based on their own experiences with a similar problem. Overall, our community provided great ways to address the situation as well as support and encouragement. For the original poster, the responses were no doubt comforting and confirmation that they should stick to their vision for the gym.

Beyond encouragement, gym owners also need exact plans to solve problems. Two-Brain has those, too. Here are two resources for dealing with sticky situations and one that will help you prevent them from popping up:

The full complement of resources—the support of a community, step-by-step action plans and the one-on-one guidance of a mentor—makes huge, confusing, time-sucking problems much easier to deal with.

Are You Prepared for Thongs?

So a client just showed up to your gym to do high-rep deadlifts and GHD sit-ups in a thong.

Your other clients are clearly very uncomfortable.

Do you have a plan?

If you don’t, book a call to talk about how a mentor can help you solve any problem in your business.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.