Intimidation or Inclusion, Which Do You Choose?

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By Xima Grube

My Venezuelan mom taught me from a young age to speak up for what I believe in, and I’ve taken that assignment seriously. She has always reminded me that I’m one to seek justice. I speak up for myself and advocate for the people I love and believe in. I think it’s important as a woman in the community, as a Latina, and to set an example for others.

Last September, I signed up for High Altitude Fitness with two friends. One had recovered from a life-altering injury, while the other was recovering from major surgery for ACL repair, both needing to do physical therapy. After inquiries with front desk members, we were clear that we could sign up as a family of three. However, a month later our contract was canceled and our family of three membership was changed to a family of two, and my credit card was charged for a new membership, all without our consent or signatures. After speaking to one of the Incline managers, there was no effort to work together and come to an agreement.

I wrote a strongly worded email addressed to the leaders of High Altitude, referencing disappointing business practices and California law. The next morning, I was banned and told “we wish you all the best luck finding another gym, be well,” signed by owners Jason and Gabi Burd.

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To me, this simple sentence tells a story of power and a position of privilege, both of which can be used for intimidation or inclusion. HAF seems to choose the route of intimidation. HAF is the only climbing gym in North Lake Tahoe and not everyone has the privilege of time or money to travel consistently to Reno to train. I empathize with the former members and staff who can no longer attend because of the misuse of power to ban.

However, High Altitude Fitness is not the only gym in town. I’ve been lucky enough to visit well-run gyms that build a strong sense of safety and community, places like Tahoe Mountain Fitness and CrossFit Avalanche. These are examples of well-run businesses, led by local families who know their members by name and take notice of each individual’s interests and goals. They care deeply, lead with core values and humility, and go the extra mile to make for a memorable experience because the success of their family-owned businesses is also a source of their livelihood and wellbeing. I recognize TMS and Avalanche’s work ethic and care as a local business owner myself.

Consider this a call to action to other gyms to choose the route of inclusion: Use this as an opportunity to continue creating communities and safe havens; to connect, have fun, and leave behind life’s stressors for a moment. The community needs your value-based gyms now more than ever.

~ Xima Grube lives in Kings Beach and owns a property management business, Zen Mountain Stays, where she hires within the local community. Her core values include empathy, kindness, and safety. Outside of work, she focuses her time on mental health, well-being, and community, adventuring and connecting with close friends and her partner.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sorry, but you came with 2 FRIENDS and wanted a discounted rate as a “family of 3”?! 3 friends do not make a family. So you exploited a loophole by convincing a minimum-wage employee that you were a “family,” then gave the gym a nasty – ahem “strongly worded” – attitude when your “family” of 3 became 2 and you insisted on maintaining a discounted rate that you never should’ve been granted…and now you want to put the gym on blast? Entitled much? This isn’t about “inclusion” this is about entitlement and attempted bullying. On your part, not the gym’s. Maybe take that note of rejection and be a better person. Bravo to HAF for banning bullies.