(edit: I mean no disrespect to the employees mentioned in this post. In fact, I feel bad for them. That’s a rough thing to have to do for half the work day.)
My inhouse babysitters are back at school, so it’s gym season for me again. This means I’m a new face to some of the “personal fitness trainers”. Actually it is rather odd that they all seem to be new faces to me. That means there is a lot of turn around in this job. We’ll come back to that, later.
I’m supersetting my thigh abductors and adductors, and one of these fresh new trainers approaches me. None of them at all realize I’m the one that scribbled “Stop using scare tactics!” on their signup board this spring. They had a sign telling people that they will get fat because of something or another. There was always some different reason that we would get fat.
What is his comment to me? That by doing the exercises that I was doing at the time, my hips would get wider.
Oh no! I might gain some muscle there.
He continued on through his shpeel that he thought was sage advice about exercise. I nodded and smiled, nodded and smiled. I dropped a few hints that I knew what I was doing, he continued on. I dropped the triatholon bit, I dropped the “under the care of physical therapists” bit. I nodded and smiled. But it became clear the kid had to wind through the whole thing. He finally ran out of steam by asking if I was good on my nutrition. I nodded, mentioned the whole wheat bread I’d made that morning before my workout. I’m the mother of four, blah, blah.
The fact of the matter is that these trainers charge a lot of money, and they don’t seem to have a lot of real knowledge about what it truly means to be fit and healthy. Remember the high turnover I talked about? This is a job for them, not a passion. When they go back to school, or find a better job, they’ll quit. If I’m going to pay someone to be my personal trainer, I want someone who loves helping people reach their top form, and really can address the unique needs of my body and structure.
These kids who are posing as trainers really only have a workout manual, a diet, a notebook, and a bit of encouragement they’re selling. Well, they probably can also spot for bad form.I’ve heard their memorized info about three times now. They’ve been given a predefined goal of creating a skinny model type body for women, and from what I’ve seen their repertoire does not seem to go beyond that.
Now, I understand that there probably is a subset of people who can use this kind of service. But for the rest of us, they have to make us think we need them. And that involves trying to make us feel, in one way or another, helpless.
That is the last thing that a person just starting out on physical fitness needs. I really wish the gym would have more encouragement for people, but I see also that their structure is set up to make money in good part by selling membership contracts to people who are excited at first, such as in new years resolutions, but quickly lose steam. They don’t make nearly as much money on people like me who utilize the gym and the kids playroom 5 days a week. Encouragement and helpful advice not laced with another sell would lower their profit margin.
They don’t know it yet, but they have lost me as a customer. When this membership runs out, I’m going to the city owned gym. At least it has an indoor track, which I enjoy much more than the treadmill. And I get to watch water or basketball on the stationary bike.
And someday, the little toddler will be in kindergarten and I’ll be able to stay outdoors for my running and biking until winter threatens to freeze the rubber on my tires.