A Letter to the CEO of 24 Hour Fitness

I just sent this to the CEO of 24 Hour Fitness:

Dear Mr. Roussos,

I am a member of 24 Hour Fitness and just started going regularly to the Tilden branch in Flatbush, Brooklyn. While the gym certainly isn’t open 24 hours (which is hilarious, no?), I love it there. My membership cost is very reasonable and considering what the gym offers, I would say it’s a steal. The employees are just lovely, the locker room is clean by locker room standards, and most of the cardio equipment works. There are more types of cardio equipment than at any gym I’ve used, including “Gucci” gyms like David Barton, I’m just extremely impressed.

Here’s what I don’t love, and actually hate every time I work out: Flatbush is a predominantly black and mainly Caribbean area of Brooklyn. I’m one of a handful of white people at the gym, the vast majority of the members here are black and almost all of the staff members are black. With this in mind, why on earth [or in hell, as the case might be] would the design and/or marketing team decide that it was appropriate to plaster HUGE posters across every wall depicting white people exercising? You guys couldn’t see fit to put the image of ONE black person on the wall? This mistake is so glaring. I’m a white woman, and it leaves me shell-shocked; I can’t imagine how this makes the black gym members feel…actually, I can, because I spoke to a black woman in the locker-room about it, and she said “Welcome to my world” and rolled her eyes. Do you really want to be contributing to that version of her world or mine? I find it hard to understand how nobody thought about this when choosing the design elements of this gym in FLATBUSH BROOKLYN, you have got to be kidding….I’m laughing, it’s so stupid. I’m sure you can understand how laughably or otherwise cryably stupid and pathetic this mistake is.

Speaking of flatbushes, in the women’s locker room there’s full-length wall-to-wall mirror, and on the mirror, there’s a sign that reads “Want to get motivated? Look at yourself in the mirror nude every day.” I get that this might be effective, but I would find it most concerning if a woman stood staring at herself naked in the mirror while stone-faced, or blubbering, or mumbling slogans to herself, punching her hand with her fist, psyching herself up, while I changed beside her. I’m not saying this should be outlawed by any means, but should it really be encouraged? Christ on a cross, this is a gym locker-room, not the Psych Ward at Bellevue! And also is the sign supposed to indicate that our bodies are so gross that they would inspire us to do ANYTHING to fix them? I hope that’s not the message…

Thanks for the wonderful if extremely flawed facility. A few small changes could really improve the collective work-out experience of all of your members (except for the white supremacist members…but see, they aren’t going to this gym).

With Love,
Dina Seiden