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Saturday morning at 10:00 AM, there were nine people gathered around the board as I explained the warm-up.  Six minutes later, I was explaining the warm-up for the 3rd time because ten people decided to show up late.  That’s right, there were 19 people in the class, and more than half of them were late.  What gives?

Be on time.

Be on time.

Official Cave policy is to have clients wear the weight vest when they show up late for a class.  But, we get it.  Sometimes things happen and you can’t help but show up a few minutes late.  Why do we really care if you show up late, anyway?  After all, it is your hour to work out.  And you are paying us for the privilege.

But really, unless you’re the only one there, it’s not just your hour.  Part of it is the trainer, part of it is the other people who are there to work out.  When you habitually show up late, you’re telling the rest of us that we aren’t important.  You’re wasting the coach’s time by making them repeat instructions.  If you’re 10 or more minutes late and nobody else showed up for the class, there’s a chance that your trainer left– if there is nobody there for my class, I have other things to do than sit around and hope somebody will show up.  Worst of all, by showing up late you’re setting yourself up to get hurt by skipping a proper warm-up.

For those of you who are still unaware, we’re going to be doing a major shift in programming starting in September.  We’ll be doing several short workouts every class and won’t have time to wait for people to get through the warm-up.  If you’re one of the people who shows up late, your options will be to jump right in without a warm-up, or miss one of the workouts.  Frequently, this will mean even more wasted time for you, as well as missing the targeted stimulus for the day.  You won’t get as good of a workout and you won’t see good results.

Like I said, official policy is to make people wear the weight vest.  I’m not overly fond of this rule because it makes you take even more time on the warm-up.  And then you trade it off in anybody comes in after you, and that wastes even more time.  In other gyms, they make you do burpees if you’re late.  When I was doing judo as a kid, if you were late the whole class got to throw you.

What do you guys think?  Should there be some penalty for people who show up late, or should we just let it slide?  Should we make the rest of the class do burpees?  Should we not allow you to work out if you show up late?  Should we give you a gentle chastisement and allow you to continue with class?

7 Responses to “Punctuality”

  1. Matt Mihaly says:

    You know my opinion!

  2. Patricia says:

    Ditto what Matt said. Also I will add, that the problem lies more with the way you guys are doing things now… trying to fit so much into one class AND having Saturday 10 be a “FREE” drop in. I understand that is going to change - so will the size of the 10am class, so that will help you.

    I will also add that the trainers, you in particular, seem “stressed out” on Saturdays. The last Saturday I was there was 10am, I was on time and i don’t believe anyone was late. In my opinion, you guys were trying to do way too many things. I wasn’t interested in do all that stuff, and I could feel the “stress” you guys were emitting trying to fit it all in. I don’t pay to come there to be stressed out over your programming issues with time. It was stressful “with” an “ontime” class, so lateness is only something that is compounding an already not ideal situation.

    In my opinion, it was way overkill anyway and I certainly didn’t need to do everything to get a good workout and as you know i didn’t.

    My suggestion, before you generally blame your clients for a situation that isn’t working well, take a closer look at the feasibility of what you are trying to achieve in one hour and consider all the other factors, i.e. You have a lot of people showing up for a free class…AND this is not the “army” or special forces training. Sometimes people are going to be late. So have a PLAN for latecomers say after 7 mins. They do a warm up on their own (no guidance) and then join in when the trainer says they can.

    There’s always a happy solution..

  3. Roger says:

    I agree with both sides of this. Yes, we try to pack a lot in the hour. Sometimes we overstretch. We as coaches are pretty sensitive about the lateness issue because it does significantly compromise the quality of the program for those that are on time. Yes there are plenty of our regulars (You and Matt certainly fall into this category) that can easily just hit the warm up, miss some of the coaching segment and get in to the workout without disrupting the class, but there are a lot of cases where this is not possible, and the entire class has to be held up for the person that was late and doesn’t know what is going on. We often just refer folks to the warm up and tell them to work their way through it, but without guidance this can be unsafe for some, and unfortunately safety is going to trump other factors so the trainer gets pulled away from where they should be at the time.

  4. Matt Mihaly says:

    @Roger But where in what you said does imposing a ‘punishment’ on the client solve any problem associated with being late? The only function, it seems, is deterrence, and did you ever really minimize late attendees that way? Most of the time, the deterrence isn’t going to rise to a level that competes with whatever caused the being late (traffic, stuck on a call, kids being ornery, etc). Piling hassle and pressure on top of the rest of real-life is unfriendly. If someone is, somehow, causing an -actual- regular disruption, say something to that person, privately.

    Just have a policy for late people that has you instructing them to get through a warmup quickly and that truncating it is fine. Long-time clients don’t really need to do the prescribed workout in order to be warmed up, and newbies don’t need to do a full warm-up, often, to be more than warmed up given how much work they’re doing during them.



  5. Patricia says:

    Agree with Matt. and regarding safety concerns for late newbies doing warm ups - don’t let them do a warmup that requires technique. Give them pushups and sit ups, a run, a row, jumping jacks etc, a trainer can make that decision in a second.

  6. Roger says:

    Actually the weight vest and shake weight rule have made a difference. People have tried a little bit harder to be on time due to it. To some it doesn’t matter and they are late consistently with our without a weight vest. There are those that are late occasionally due to unforeseen circumstances, and that does happen, there’s nothing any of us can do about that, but there are a significant number of people that are late to virtually every class they attend. This is not due to unforeseen circumstances, but just a decision (whether fully conscious or not) that being on time doesn’t matter. We’re letting everyone know that it does matter. It reduces the quality of the program overall due to us having to break out of the main group to instruct the late comer (in some cases with experienced folks not necessary, but often is). With the kids program we have cases where 2 kids are on time and by 15 minutes after the start of class we have 18 kids. This makes it impossible for us to actually run a good class and those two that were on time suffer for it.

  7. Anjuli says:

    While I understand your frustration, I will say that I have my own point of view. I try to arrive on time. I have a lot on my plate. I think that if you want to brand yourself as a place that is family / working family friendly, you can’t be too punitive. Coming to work out is supposed to relieve my stress, not add to it. Certainly your choice, as a business, if you want to take that into account. Even reading this blog makes me feel awful. I just can’t do anything more than I am already doing. I will say that if this is going to be your policy, you should make it clear to anyone joining.

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