This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a “fat” person.
The only reason I called them fat was because that’s the word they used to describe themselves and I have a issue with the whole, being “politically correct” thing….eh, (kanye shrug) So don’t be all sensitive about the word fat. Please and Thank You! 🙂
After this conversation, I had an epiphany. That epiphany was that the whole…well, 90% of the fitness industry is going to die and die slow and painfully because they are going about this whole thing the wrong way.
Think on this, when someone decides to “get fit” they may first try to do it by their self, but eventually get to a point where they want help. So they call in the “personal trainer.” This trainer probably tells them their plan to help them “lose fat and build lean muscle” or “get the nice flat stomach that you’ve always wanted.” (sounding like a late night infomercial) But in reality, this “plan” is just a cookie cutter workout plan, probably taken of their favorite website or magazine (I know trainers who do this) and they call it individualized and “specific to your needs.” NEWS FLASH!!! If you don’t do at least some sort of movement assessment to get a baseline of your ability, movement patterns, and kinetic chain imbalances, your “program” isn’t specific.
So then this person trains with this “trainer” and they see some progress, but nothing major. They get discouraged and eventually quit the program. Let some time pass and then start the process all over again. After several attempts to get it right, they give up and then die of a heart attack at age 42.
This is my open letter to the fitness industry and all “fitness professionals.”
STOP TREATING ALL PEOPLE THE SAME, YO!
Everyone is different. They all have different backgrounds. They have different experiences. They have different reasons for working out. They all have different things that make them tick and different motivations. We can’t approach them with something they’re afraid of! Fat people aren’t motivated by exercise to exercise! You can’t treat them the way you want someone to treat you. You have to meet them where they are and try to see the world through their eyes! You have to understand that for some people food isn’t the enemy! Yes, we know it plays a role in why they’re fat, but there is a reason they divert from the Dr. Oz eating plan you gave them! There is something deeper that we aren’t getting to. This is a problem!
Some trainers/coaches do get to this deeper level where they are interacting on a plane greater than trainer/client. They have connected with them and created a bond that extends outside of the training facility. Once you begin to care more about THE PERSON you are training and not the money and you begin to cater to the mental and emotional/spiritual/inner being, then and only then will you begin to understand people and how to be a great trainer/coach
One of the people I really look up to in the industry is Ned Simerlein. Ned the director of the facility that I trained and coached at right out of college. One lesson that I learned from him about being a good coach was to think about the best teacher ever had, because after all that what a good coach is, a teacher. So when I think about the best teacher I ever had it has to be Mr Z. in the 6th grade. He was strict but at the same time we knew that we could get away with “fun.” He connected with us and knew how to deal with us as a whole class and as individuals. He knew how to motivate us collectively and individually. He didn’t teach us out of some teacher book and treat us like we were occupying his time in between paychecks. He CARED!
So what am I saying to fit pros? STOP BEING CARELESS, INCONSIDERATE, UNMOTIVATED, CONCEITED JERKS. You’re KILLING the industry. People want to be cared about, they want connection. We have to give more than just “training sessions.” And that’s not an excuse to sleep with your clients you sick sons of bench presses! (see what I did there :-D)
I guess the moral is that we have to change the way we operate. I know the world wont see this and it might not cause a revolution, but even if one trainer reads this and changes his ways I will consider this post a successful. So if you know a trainer, just repost this. Who knows, you could be the one to start the revolution.
*Steps off soapbox, drops mic, exits stage right*