Old Gym Advertisements: Another Sign of Why Inappropriate Gym Culture Still Needs to Change

I stumbled upon a Facebook posting while scrolling the news feed. The post caught my immediate attention as it featured an alarming photo. A fellow gym enthusiast, Johan DeNora, came across this old Axe Bodyspray advertisement in the men’s change room of his gym. He decided to post it on Facebook, along with his thoughts on why it was disturbing.

axe gym ad.jpg

The ad reads:

She’s got 12 minutes left on the treadmill. You’ve got 12 minutes left to get her digits. ACT FAST.

Not quite the words of encouragement you would hope to hear in a gym. 

The gym is not a hunting ground. It is not the best idea to approach someone while they are running on the treadmill. This messaging further instills the mindset of aggressive gym goers that the gym is their property, and whoever walks within it is subject to their rules. 

Johan, who first posted this advertisement to social media, had many thought-provoking statements about this type of gym culture. With years of experience in the fitness industry, he helped paint a picture of how gyms should position themselves.

A gym is supposed to be a place where people can do something kind for themselves. A safe and inclusive environment.

~ Johan DeNora

We all hear the stories of unacceptable behaviour at the gym, but it keeps happening. Unfortunately, it is ingrained in the culture of the fitness industry. Over the years this excessively masculine, aggressive positioning is slowly starting to fade but is surely not dead.

What these gyms and brands do not realize is that they are shooting themselves in the foot by taking this angle. Although there is a segment of customers who may agree with this twisted mindset, the large majority of customers do not want anything to do with it. And the results are showing. Many past gym goers are migrating to alternative services/products where they can partake in a much more enjoyable fitness experience. 

Some gyms and fitness brands are trying to repair the negative perception they have earned. It isn’t an easy fix. Just like losing weight or gaining muscle: It’s going to take a whole lot of discipline and many repetitions.


Here is the original link to Johan’s Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/johandenora/posts/10155494853857027