I sometimes get depressed!

Last weekend was a holiday weekend in the U.K. Every holiday weekend the gym I work at gets inundated with guests (the gym is part of a spa that is connected to a very posh hotel). Because the spa offers such good facilities for people taking a break (various pools and thermal sequencing areas)we tend to get guests in the gym who are quite serious about their training, despite the nice surroundings they just can’t miss a workout. Seeing this these people makes me depressed. Why? Because of the usless programmes that they follow. Watching these people go through their routines is a study in how to waste time. Many think that a warm up is coming off a treadmill after 20 mins being totally fucked and unable to do anything else! Whatever happened to preparing yourself for the activities to come? Most of these hapless folk then do a few half hearted sets on a couple of upper body machines before hitting the showers. This would be fine if their main goal was C.V conditioning but these are people who want to look good for the summer (bodybuilders, of a sort)!
Occasionally you’ll get someone mention something about lifting and I’ll get hopeful of seeing a decent workout. They’ll pull on their gloves!!(probably too cold in my gym) and perform a giant set of lateral raises, epileptic penguin curls, DB kickbacks, and any other shit exercise that they’ve seen some plonker in a magazine perform at one time or another! When asked if they’ve tried squats, deads, chins, benching, etc, they reply that they only want to “tone” not build muscle! Yes I do tell them about the tone myth but 5 mins with me usually doesn’t undo all the crap they’ve been fed for the previous 5 years.
Who’s to blame for this proliferation of crap that’s become gym lore? We are! And by we I refer to gym instructors and personal trainers that actually know something about training.
We are because we have allowed teachers of various classes to perpetuate the tone myth.
We are because we have done or sent people on training courses that refer to deadlifts as a dangerous exercise.
We are because instead of talking to the person who’s just done 100 crunches about sensible ab training we ignore them because we’re fed up with saying the same thing over and over again.
We are because some fitness professionals still buy muscle and fiction! I remember Paul Chek (bless him) saying that the majority of fitness professionals get their information from bodybuilding magazines.
We are because we’re lazy. It’s a lot easier to put someone on a leg press than to teach them how to do squats.
What’s the answer? We need to be more vocal. Tell the aerobics instructor if she’s teaching shitty squats, correct her and if you’re nice about it she might refer people to you for PT.
Discuss articles from bodybuilding magazines with people you see reading them.
If your on a training course challenge the lecturer if you don’t agree with their point of view, you never know they might listen to you and change the course syllibus (maybe I’m dreaming here)!
And finally take time with people, explain to them mimicking a pec deck machine with a couple of DB’s doesn’t work because gravity doesn’t work like that.
We, who work in the health and fitness industry have an opportunity to change peoples lives, lets change them for the better.

Do you think that many of the people you’d ‘educate’ would listen? care? change?
If you can get to a few, you’re doing well, otherwise, I think you’re just going to have to continue to be depressed.
Let’s face it, doing it right is really hard work. If it was easy everyone would do it. Its the hard that makes it great. - and weeds out the many who don’t know what it means to try…

Unfortunately, there appear to be very few people in your profession who are, er, professional. At the gyms I’ve been at, most are young and inexperienced. They are newly “certified” and in this profession, at least in the U.S., the knowledge required to become certified varies widely.

I’d be fairly upset (and damn scared) if I knew more than the majority of professionals who took care of me (doctors, attorneys, accountants, etc.) There seem to be very few seasoned professionals at the average gym. And the longevity and average tenure seems to be extremely short.

I’ve been going to my current gym for ~2 years. Out of a training staff of 15 or so, only two have remained the entire time; one a former bodybuilding competitor and the other who’s pursued fitness for over twenty years. They, like you, are professionals in every sense of the word, as well as being highly knowledgeable.

I think the problem, at least in the U.S., is that the designation is relatively easy to obtain. With such a low barrier to entry, virtually anyone can become a “trainer,” try it for a few months and do something else if they end up not liking it. From my experience, these are the individuals that are training the average gym customer.

Blonde Jerk, Thats cool that you still give a rats ass about people, while others… Sometimes its hard to give someone advice when they’ve been doing it “the right way” for so long. Granted, alot of people are not going to listen, but a few are. Especially the ones your training from the get go. Im not a trainer but I do my best with my mates by helping them out at the gym, showing them new lifts, showing them how to deadlift or squat, and turning them onto this site. :slight_smile:

I think that the people I come across do care, that’s the shame of it. If they didn’t they’d be relaxing by the pools or having a hidiously expensive treatment instead of being in the gym. I figure that most of the people I come across start thinking about what they’re doing instead of blindly following a mens health programme, I just hope that they continue to be questioning of ideas that are put to them.
I also think that many of the fitness class teachers care as well, they’ve just been indoctrinated by the courses they’ve been on. I was talking to a pilates teacher recently and I showed her an essay written by Mel Siff (Facts and Falicies of Fitness) on the pilates cult and she read it in it’s entirity straight away, we now have regular chats about various fitness related issues. I admit that most of the other teachers think that I’m a bit strange but I’m working on them. If I give up trying I really will become depressed.

Hey Blonde Jerk - I feel for you…I was a gym manager in the UK for David Lloyd & Fitness First for a number of years and it totaly wound me up to see people doing stupid exercises and stupid routines (even if I wrote them a good T-man stylee one "It’s too hard, my muscles ache, I’m all sweaty etc etc etc). It got to me so much that I actually left gym management and started lecturing for Premier Training who run courses for personal trainers. I now work from a gym in Cyprus which I selected the kit for - 2 squat racks, lots of oly plates, plenty of big dumbbells and only the very basic machines (Seated row, lat pull down etc).

I have a captive audience of newbie instructors who get taught proper methods of training i.e strength training using real equipment (I spend nearly four weeks on squats, deadlifts and bentover rows!!!)

Hopefully I am changing the UK leisure industry - albeit in a very small way - by producing instructors who can teach free weight exercises to a high standard and don’t put people on the hip abd/add machine to “tone their thighs”!

If you are passionate about making a change why not contact www.premierglobal.co.uk and talk to them about a job lecturing? Seriously mate, don’t just moan about these slackers - do something proactive!

PM me if you want more infor (salary, job description etc)

I couldn’t handle the idiots in the gym anymore. I train at home now. I don’t miss the gym.


Is tying your personal happiness to other people’s fitness results an adaptive strategy? Trying to change things you can’t control just leads to frustration.