Last week was a rough week, I got to meet some awesome new people and all that fun stuff. But what really tweaked my nips was them chatting about their experiences at other gyms. And how they are hesitant to step foot in another gym because of their past experiences. This article is simply me blowing off some steam since after 72 hours I’m still upset for these clients.
The first of our hopefully new client expressed concerns about us encouraging the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED), as her past experiences with another facility in Winnipeg had encouraged them. This blew my mind, I’m not naive to the fact that the fitness industry has a stigma around it but for that question to come up left me speechless. So in this open forum I will reiterate my answer that I gave her. “Aspire is a drug free environment, we don’t condone or encourage the use of any PED”. It made me start thinking that if one person thought this might be a concern there were others out there that might feel the same way. It is unfortunate that there are “trainers” out there that discredit the industry by promoting pharmaceutical aids instead of hard work. Now I’m not saying these people who are pro-PED aren’t hard workers, but in all reality most of the goals people have who visit facilities like Aspire have can be accomplished without PEDs.
The 2nd punch to my feelings came from another client, whose first meeting at another facility started off with her standing in front of the owner in a bikini. What?!?! That’s insane, the first meeting should be about goals and finding out if that facility is the right fit for you. Not about how good you look in a bikini, things like that can be addressed at the first workout or schedule a second meeting. The thing that blew me away about this incident was the idea of making a client uncomfortable right out of the gate. It is rare for us to do any type of testing upon first meeting, it’s because of that. There’s no value to us to make the first meeting uncomfortable, any information we may need we can assume and correct once we have the necessary data. Yet another example of bad “trainers” discrediting the industry.
This whole experience started a chain reaction of bad experiences clients have told me about. There is a trend amongst inexperienced “trainers” to train everyone the same way. By my observation only (no scientific backing to this) I would say that within the Bodybuilding community there is a belief that if you’ve done a bodybuilding competition and done well you’re now qualified as a “trainer”. Simply not the case, every sport, every goal requires a different approach. Even within the same sport each client should be treated as a unique case. I can think of a handful of clients who’ve joined us after being at other facilities who screwed them up. The common denominator is metabolic fatigue, put simply they were over trained. Their bodies no longer respond the way they should. It’s a common sight to see a bodybuilder do their first competition, do very well in it. Stop training for a short period of time and try to get back into it. It is much harder the second time around. Or even in extreme cases can’t achieve any sort of progress. I remember a prominent trainer/bodybuilder in the city once telling me “Overtraining is a way of saying lazy”. This is a big pet peeve of mine, over training is a real thing and has some very bad long term effects.
The policy we have in place at Aspire, and what I feel should be something to strive towards, is that every potential client has a meeting with myself, this meeting is free and acts as a chance to get to know each other. A simple meeting about your goals, expectations and any sort of limitations we can discover. Its primary goal is to show you how we operate and to ensure we are a good choice for you. If you like what we offer, we can move forward. If you don’t care for our operation, no hard feelings, you have to enjoy where you workout. This policy is actually why we don’t encourage people to just pop in and see what we’re about. Make an appointment that gives us the chance to give you our undivided attention.
My suggestion for anyone looking at a training facility, be it Aspire or not, is to see if the environment is appropriate for your goals, do you see yourself succeeding there? My second point would be to ensure proper education, I’ve ranted about Kinesiologists before but I truly believe it’s an important thing to look for. You should have someone who can answer the “Why” of your results and goals. Truthfully a Kinesiologist wouldn’t have needed to see somebody in a bikini right off the bat to help identify goals. There are literally hundreds of tests that can do that. Many of which don’t require you to stand there almost nude. Somebody who has the necessary education should be able to identify someone who is over training vs someone who is just being lazy. Shop around and find the right fit for yourself, it’s ok to be a critical consumer, in the fitness industry you’re rarely comparing apples to apples.
End of Rant.