So I’ve just entered the “real world” of personal training. Formerly, I was isolated from the shock of commercialism by working for an institution. As a staff trainer, to a certain degree, my performance did not matter. Not that I didn’t try.
I’ve always taken my job seriously and have made an effort to be at the top of my game, using only the most effective methods. That has now changed.
I have tried to begin sessions by analyzing clients, telling them when they have serious shoulder issues, internally rotated humeri, kyphosis, etc. I’ve tried to explain why the circuit is a waste of time. I’ve tried to explain how cardio is the best way to get a six pack.
After going through the process, watching another “functional” trainer reach ridiculous success, and getting tips from my boss, I’ve realize that people don’t want a trainer who is like a doctor. They don’t want a specialist.
My job, I realize, is just a souped-up babysitter. I’m an entertainer.
People don’t want to do squats - they want to play with colorful balls. They don’t care about what rep ranges actually work - they just want to feel sore the next day. People just want to have fun and pretend they’re not exercising. I’ve realized that the job of the trainer is really to just make exercise seem like - well, not exercise.
There’s a trainer at my gym who actually has a client who comes in three times a week, paying $40 a pop, to - get this - do the circuit with the trainer. Yeah… really.
So the other day, I try it. Abandon it all, pick up the pretty ball, and run a client through a functional session. Guess what? She… “loves” me. Yeah. Should I be surprised? I guess not.
I feel like I’m giving up my convictions. I feel like people should be coming in and doing their squats.
Then I step away and look at these people. These are simple people. They live hard days at work. They already have a hard life. And they’ve actually stopped making excuses and have decided to come into the gym. Unlike everyone else out there, they’re going out on a limb and they’re making an effort to change. And I have to admire them for that.
So should I blame them for wanting to make exercise more palatable? I realize maybe I shouldn’t judge. After all, in between work on the stupid BOSU, I can throw in some light squats. I can sneak in stuff that works.
If I can just get them to keep coming, maybe I will get them to the point where they’re actually making real progress. Get them to enjoy lifting. Keep them entertained so they keep coming.
Am I compromising my convictions. Yeah, maybe. But I got into this game to help people. Being stubborn won’t get me there. I have to help people in the way they’re actually willing to helped, and hope to gradually turn them towards the light.
Well, what can I say? If you guys have any ideas for making “real” training fun, I’m all ears…