Dear PoP – What’s Up With One World Fitness by 14th and S St, NW?

“Dear PoP,

Like many Yelpers, I was approached by these guys on 14th St., though I did not interact with them at the time. I looked them up later, and their business practices appear to be super sketchy. What’s the story?”

One World Fitness is located at 1738 14th St. NW south of S St, NW. Anyone ever stop to chat with them? Any positive or negative experiences here? Do you think it’s normal for a gym to solicit members like this?

When I pass them and they start to talk to me I just say that I’ve already donated to Greenpeace…

39 Comment

  • They approached me with a line of something along the lines of “You work out, right? I can tell…”

    Yeah… I told them I used the gym at work and they left me alone.

  • I don’t know, but I think it might be a cult.

  • I live a block from this place and walk my dog by there every day. The guy out front is ridiculously aggressive. He’s friendly enough, but I don’t care for their tactics. It’s harassment.

    I have two friends who joined, both second guessed their choice hours after dropping thousands of dollars. One friend was pushed into signing a Five Thousand Dollar package. No lie.

    The other friend thought the actual trainer was great, but still questions the cost.

    I don’t care how good the trainers are, it’s a blight on the neighborhood. I wish they’d pack up their fat and move somewhere else.

    • me

      Those globs of fat outside ARE pretty disgusting.

      I’ve walked by on my way to my own gym, in workout clothes, and I am a tall girl (5’10”) who is a size 4 tennis player. Not overweight. And the guy still came at me, asking me if I wanted them to help me lose weight. I could have smacked the guy. He should know that that isn’t the proper way to address a girl about weight at all, no matter what they look like!

  • I got suckered there and actually PAID for them to give me their spiel (yes, I am a sucker). I thought I’d get to work out and they’d show me some exercises that I would then do on my own at my usual Ymca. Oh no. I got a spiel – and a guilt trip when I turned them down – about “body chemistry” and how they’ve helped people create these “amazing” bodies (which they then showed me on Facebook). Super sketchy. They even gave the sales pitch in an upstairs office, on a Sunday morning, and the door was locked when I got there – despite having an appointment. Looking back…what the heck was I thinking?!?!

  • I fell for the friendly routine once, and it went straight into something that would make a used-car salesman ashamed. Local low watermark.

  • the guy out front is a grade A douche.

  • Scientologists – they are, really.

    My husband joined and he did lose about 20 lbs. His trainers were decent and dedicated, but it was really expensive. Weirdest thing is that they put you on this diet based on your body type – he was a “liver”. He couldn’t eat anything but cruciferous vegetables, raw nuts and plain yogurt – no wonder he lost weight. They were always trying to sell him the meal package too.

    I found the whole thing really creepy.

    • Sounds pretty strange. You could follow their quackery or lay off the Snickers bars for a couple of months and lose 20 pounds either way.

  • One day I walked by with too much time on my hands and agreed when they asked me to take a quick survey. After asking me if I worked out and what I wanted out of an exercise regime, I said I’d like to give my body more endurance. They then spent the next five minutes trying to bait me into saying I was unhappy with my body’s appearance and wanted to lose weight — neither is true (I’m slim and generally toned). Eventually I just walked away after it got particularly insulting.

    So yes, very sketchy, but also incredibly rude.

  • huh … he used to be a trainer at WSC back in the day. Was always great to work out with him … he had great tips for new exercises. Haven’t talked with him since he left WSC though and it sounds like that is a good thing.

  • check out their yelp reviews – the only good reviews are from people with 1 review (theirs) – very suspicious

  • I agree with all of the above. I got trapped and bullied into an “assessment” one day, which I was charged $30 bucks for in advance. When I showed up at my requisite time I was left waiting for a solid 20 minutes only to be told that they were too busy. In that 20 minutes nothing I observed made me interested in working out there. I left and never came back. They are so aggressive on that corner that I literally go out of my way to avoid getting stopping.

    • “Bullied?”

      So, it was easier to stick around and give them payment information than just turn around and walk off?

  • Passive-aggressive winners like this one on Yelp are great!

    “I was barraged for 20 minutes on 14th Street (“Where do you work out? How much do you pay? How much weight have you lost? Ooh, that’s not very much.” Thanks.) and because of my personal inability to tell jerks to eff-off, I signed up for the $30 consult. ”

    Seems like a pretty successful business model to me.

    • Thanks. That’s my review.

      I don’t think it’s a successful business model, because as the majority of reviews exhibit, no one wants to come back. I got stuck talking to the guy (that’s on me, I know) and in the end it seemed easiest to put down a credit card, walk away, and then call back and cancel, which is what I did. I’m incredibly happy with my gym (Crossfit MPH on Church Street) whose owners’ business model is EXACTLY the opposite of this place’s. I have never been harangued or pitched.

      Your anonymous comments add little to the discussion, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to talk more about this place. Their practices are abusive, and, if this talk about signing people up for credit lines is accurate at all, criminal.

  • they also blast a video late at night out of their front window, you can hear it clearly from across 14th street. nuisance.

  • After much the same story as above I had a “consult” with a trainer to decide my needs. I was skeptical and asked what his credentials were and he (with a straight face) told me his mother is a doctor! I asked for my $30 back.

  • I live down the block and walk by all the time. I find him super annoying but then I realized he’s the owner, so I just try to have empathy for him trying to make a living with a small business. I eventually told him to look me in the eyes, and I said, “Remember this face. Don’t ask me again.” And he hasn’t. But my favorite “pickup” line ever was “Have you been eating enough kale?”

  • In case you didn’t know, those guys operate with mind control. It’s best to avoid Scientologists at all costs.

  • Ugh, super annoying. My dog used to go to Dogs By Day and every time I walked by he would try coax me in. I finally said “Dude, thanks but no thanks. I will never be interested. Please stop talking to me every day.” Worked like a charm.

    And I have no sympathy for the suckers who give them money. No other gym charges you to talk options over with you – here they were trying to get me to pay $60 for an evaluation. Well fuuuuuuck that!

    Protip: during the summer they give away free water bottles to entice people so be sure to grab one.

  • I tried the “remember this face” routine with the guy – didn’t work.

    Is it even legal to solicit on the sidewalk like that? Has anyone raised this with the ANC or Graham’s office? Or the police? I agree with others, this is a public nuisance. If someone were panhandling this aggressively, I would expect at the very least a cop would suggest he move along.

  • A while back (in the warmer months), one of the food trucks was out front. I decided to grab some on my walk home from work, and while I was waiting, the guy out front approached me and asked if I wanted to find out my body fat percentage. I answered politely “No, thank you” and turned back to wait for my food. Then he asked “Why not?” I was sort of stunned because he was getting in my face, and I was like “Because I don’t want to today.” I didn’t feel like I owed him an explanation in the first place, but then he pressed on, talking about how they can help. I was finally like “Not today, thanks.” I just wanted to wait in peace. I was so put off by it, I would NEVER go there, and would advise people against it.

  • I live a block away….he is super terrible and his leather jacket and the salt lamp just add to the creepy factor. He tried to approach me one night one I was on the phone. Now I scowl when I see him. It’s just plain annoying. I’ve been waiting for them to go out of business…for over a year.

    • Just use profanity, it shuts him down every time.

      “Do you work out around here?”

      “Fuck off.”

      End of unwelcome sales pitch.

  • I was in the market for about 20 sessions with a personal trainer and this was one place that I looked into among many, including WSC (where I’m a member), Mint and other personal training gyms. I never got a run around, a lot of questions or strange comments. Like most of these types of places, you have to negotiate. I ended up getting the sessions I wanted at a price lower than what other gyms would go. I have done personal training before and my trainer at One World is excellent. They haven’t pushed the nutrition stuff any more than any trainer would (anyone that has done real personal training knows that nutrition is just as important as anything). I know other people that train here and they are satisfied.

  • Last spring, I walked past this place after leaving an improv show at Source. I see this table with fat on it in front of the door. It’s so ridiculous to look at and I had to take a photo (you’ve been warned). This is the dialogue that happened after the guy rushed out the door to attempt to lure me in:

    Guy: “Are you lost?” (Huh?)
    Me: “No, I’m just taking a photo of that nasty blob of fat.”
    Guy: “Well, would you be interested in enrolling in one of our programs?”
    Me: “I don’t need to lose weight. Thanks!” (I really need to gain weight!)
    Guy: “But you could get into one of our—”
    Me: “I said ‘NO!'” (I walk off.)

    He continued to say stuff to my back as I walked off. It was ridiculous. Are they really that desperate for clients?

  • Personal Training gyms DO NOT NEED to advertise if they’re good. We have never solicited business and continue to be very successful (even with 10 FT trainers). Bottom line – if you do a good job, you WILL get referrals.

    • +1! I agree with that – whenever I see people in any business trying this kind of “marketing”, it always makes me wary. If you’re good, you’re good. End of story.

  • I HATE this place. I happened to walk by after I tore my ACL but before surgery, clearly struggling with my giant leg brace, and the guy started waving the BMI device thingie at me. “Oooh, 24.1, you could stand to lose some…” I about lost it because clearly I was not going to be able to do any sort of cardio for a few months. Infuriating.

  • yeah i got suckered into leaving them a $30 deposit then never went back.

  • They are scientologists. I let them waste my time with their song and dance once. It sounded really sketchy so I asked them what their “science” was based on. They mentioned some douche who published a book and was featured on Fox and Friends one mornign (ha). I googled the author and he is a scientologist who was at that time being sued for shady practices in Virginia. I assume the extremely restrictive “diets” are all part of the mind control process. That is such prime real estate. I can’t believe the neighborhood will fight with businesses over outdoor patios, but no one has a problem with a cult recruiting office.

  • Has anyone ever tried to run off with the plastic mounds of fat? Now that I would like to see.

  • He is a scientologist. He is using his knowledge of the Personality Test they use to recruit members.
    I’m surprised his church is not talking to him about his abrasive sales pitch. He clearly is giving his religion of choice a bad name.

  • About a year and a half ago, I stopped in One World to drop off some flyers for a wellness event I was hosting. I was working for lululemon at the time, and probably was in the better shape of my life considering all of the free classes I was taking, on top of my usual running.

    Nonetheless, this guy sat me down and tried selling their method to me. But his approach was so godawful. He was like, “Wow – you’re tense! What do you work out – like 1, 2 days a week?” [It was more like 5]. “You know, you could really see some improvements and take your fitness to a whole new level. You just have to get all of that intensity out of your muscles.” He then proceeds to hook me up to some machine and has me sprinting across the gym to measure my heart rate. The whole time he pitching me about their method, and name-dropping all the famous people who supposedly work out there.

    I only did it to be polite, but at this point was just pissed and frustrated. So I unhooked his machine and just left.

    At the end of this past summer, I was picking up a planter from Garden District next door and locked my bike up outside of One World. When I unlocked it, the sales guy (you know, the one with the giant piece of lard that uses scare tactics as innocent passers-by), asks me, “Ma’am, how are you feeling today?”

    I turn to him, now on my bike, put my Ray-Bans on and say, “Healthy, Fit, and Happy,” then ride off, patting myself on the back for having the nerve to say it so confidently.

    To me, that place is a total joke, but I love that it is part of my neighborhood because it is a constant source of humor. I love to watch the sales guy attack people on the street, and my fiance will often sit nearby making bets about whether or not the person will be polite, or totally blow him off. Most just blow him off or ignore him completely. But you gotta give it to the guy – he never gives up.

  • My husband starting going to their gym in early January and has lost 17 lbs and 3% body fat so far. He’s eating better than he ever has and is sleeping better than before. He loved it there. He goes 3 days/week and it’s the same price or cheaper than other trainers we priced out in the neighborhood. All they do there is personal training. I would recommend them to anyone.

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