T Nation

You'll Get a Kick Out of This

I work at a “health and fitness center” in Florida (I know you guys are already cringing, but this place does have tons of Hammer Strength machines, multiple squat racks/deadlift platforms and free weights). Anyway, I am not a trainer, I work in Customer Service. The other day around 40 or so people came into the gym looking to sign up for the new “Body Transformation” 3-month challenge.

While signing up one particular individual, I asked him what type of weight-training program the group would be following. He then told me “Body for Life.” I had to try to keep from laughing. I then asked a second question, and after this I really had to strain from wetting myself. I asked “Who decided to use this program for you guys?” The guy answered “Your head trainer.”
I nearly fainted. Now I know the trainers at my gym are a bunch of M&F readers and know nothing about serious lifting. But for the head trainer not to come up with an honest program and to use the damn Body For Life program is sad and pathetic. If you have no desire to help these people, stop fucking training them!
I’ve tried to preach the benefits of free weights to members at the gym, but they never listen. Oh well, at least the bench presses and squat racks are always open when I’m lifting.
I just can’t believe how retarded personal trainers are these days!

Build yourself an admirable physique. Have advice ready when they start asking questions at the 3 month mark.


Well, it’s incredibly profitable to get a bunch of non-lifters to sign up for a year-long membership and then not show up after the second month.

In the short run, it is. But most club managers are smart enough to know that they must get members to use their facilities regularly to ensure longevity. It is a fallacy that clubs want people to join and never use the place; those folks don’t renew memberships.

Harsh bro. 40 peole that i assume are novices are hardly going to jump into hard core renegade training and stay for more than 1 week. There is way too much EAS/Body for life bashing on this forum/website (IMO). and no i dont take any of their products (not in the last 3 years), or use BFL. Where would this company be without Bill Phillips? As gay as the man is, he dragged the indrustry up (and then down) to where it is now. Sure BFL wont win you any olympic gold meadls or even a bodybuilding show but thats not what it is sposed to do. Bro, have you even read the book? he does promote free weights! BFL IS a mass market program so if you are going to be a lazy bastard (like your gym’s head PT) and give 40 people the same program i think BFL is a good option. I used to be a PT, and there is no fukn way i could train 40 people and give them good service, so if you give all of them one program then at least they have an instant support group. in 3 months when they are bored out of their tree with that program, then give them the cool stuff.

I agree w/ Demo on this I have worked as a personal trainer in both low end health clubs and higher end health clubs. There are two diffrent ways of thinking here. On the higher end health clubs most members stay because of sound trainer or at least better then average ones. And managers wants to make sure your progam design is up to par because the more time they spend in the gym the more money they will fork over. For example: they’ll pay for more personal training sessions, massage appointments, spend money in the pro shop, and if they have juice bar spend money over there too. On the other hand a lower end health club will lock you into a one year contract and forget about you.

What, I mean by sound program design is that the you need to plan a goal for the client and have them achieve it by a certian time limit. Once they achieve that goal they will want a new one because they need a challenge. So the client keeps on coming to the gym, pays his membership and also pays for training sessions.

In the end the higher end health clubs winds up making a killing and the lower end doesn’t.

Most newbies don’t want to do anything complicated. They’ll be overwhelmed if they’re told do something complicated. It’s like telling someone who just started learning French to write a 100,000 word novel about the meaning of life in French!

You should at least be glad that there are some people out there trying to do something to better their health. Most people feel so ashamed of their fitness level (or lack thereof), that they don't even go to the gym. Once they feel more comfortable working out and gain more confidence, they'll venture to other things. JMHO.

Sometimes I think there should be a separate health club that only accepts out of shape people and shepherds them along the path to becoming a lifter. Then you sell them a membership to your sister-company, which is a regular gym.

Maybe I should finish my BPE and BCom before I start spouting off business plans. Haha.

The difficulty here is that these are individuals. They are NOT the same. The needs change from one to another. These 40 members should ALL be evaluated before anything begins and then given a routine that will best suit what will be optimal for them. These people probably have a significant range in age. Is 15 reps going to work for 60 year old Maggie just the way it does for 20 year old Joe? No. Should Mike be doing overhead pressing when he has a torn partially torn labrum? It’s just to general to throw the same routine at that many people w/o taking a closer look.

Personal training was meant to be one-on-one.

I’m a dumbass personal trainer.One of the basic tenants of exercise prescription is that the body will adapt to whatever stimulus IT ISN’T ACCUSTOMED TO… the majority of relatively novice trainees adapt perfectly well to MACHINES whether in a fat burning or strength gaining protocol. This is just one example of MANY I could use that would violate your t-man sensibilities.

Not all are Have muscle mass as a priority in their goals with their trainers. Don’t project your training paradigm on them.

 U just hit the clit with that post (oh yeah.....). MOST personal trainers working at a gym have no idea what they're talking about. There are too many ideologies when it comes to which programs are effective, and how you should intertwine diet with workout regimens and lifestyle. Without a good thorough knowledge of physiology, nutrition, hormones, nervous system, as well as the obvious strength training techniques, bodybuilding training, and powerlifting, the trainers go pretty much in the dark when someone mentions a new idea.<p> 
 Worse yet, they have no idea about slow twitch/fast twitch composition of their trainees, and how itll affect what type of protocol they should follow. They dont bother to check what type of metabolism the individual has, and what his lifestyle is (smoke? alcohol? pizza night 4 times a week? it's all more important than anything happening at the gym!). They end up giving out the same exercise program and the same nutrition regimen for everyone that comes in throught their door. That's what happens when anybody, even the biggest most moronic, dumass can get a fuckin P.T. trainer and consecutively get a job at the local gym.<p>
 That is why I do my own research as to how things work, how my body is made up, and find out for myself why that dumass trainer's ideas have no merit - and in one strike explain how every single one of his trainees is nothing but your average joe.

I had to chime in. At the last place I worked our top selling trainer left her clients files in my file drawer. I had decided to look at her programs to see what she was doing. They were friggin photo copies of the BFL training diaries all filled in. Oh man, she lost some credibility. Now for a novice training themselves BFL may be a good start but you shouldn’t pay someone $50/hr to write you up a BFL program. What a joke. I shoulda done it myself but I care about my clients

Tell me about it. I go to 24 Hour Shitfits. Fortunately I got in cheap and this particular one has quite a few hammer machines, racks, and free weights. I was working my trunk the other night and this trainer was trying to get this older lady to do the same. He then started telling her that movements involving hip flexors were not part of his “abs” program when she started mimicking me. I just couldn’t believe this guy was directing her away from an important lower body group that also makes your abs look even better. He must have been following some “fast abs” bs routine. I don’t blame him though. How many people go in there wanting a quick fix and don’t listen to any suggestions on training/diet?

Hey Djwlfpack,

You’re an asshole! Glad I don’t belong to your friggin GYM. Why don’t you volunteer your services instead of jerking off behind the customer service counter…creep!

Whoa Bro!

I know that Bill Phillips is not your favorite person. I know that BFL and their mass market approach does not appeal to you. I know that you grind iron for breakfast and crap steel, instead of the 12 week wonders you despise. BUT, I would not be lifting weights now if it were not for the BFL program. In June of 2000, I picked up a copy of Muscle Media that was laying in our lobby at work. The subscription was compliments of an office worker that placed second in his division that year for the BFL challenge. I read the magazine during a business trip with interest. I picked up the BFL book during the next business trip. After reading the book, The program was simple enough to follow with everything else going on in your life. Since that time, I have completed 3 BFL challenges, one HST cycle, two Max-OT cycles, and currently following the EDT porgram. Our home now contains a Powertec Multi-gym, Powertec Utility Bench, Power tower, Vision fitness bike, and 800 + pounds of free weights and bars. My lifestyle has changed to the point that I lift three days a weeek, take Karate two days a week with my boys(3), and one day of cardio. None of this would have happened without a simple program like BFL to follow and see results. Yes, maybe you have far surpassed the simpletons that want to use the BFL to improve their health. I applaud them for changing their couch potato ways. Cut them some slack, and help them to learn all that you have learned by being around smart people, such as T-Mag. The rewards are great.


I was very sorry to read this posting…because I too am a “graduate” of the BFL program and it was BFL that eventually led to t-mag. I wholeheartedly agree and relate to Vince’s posting. BFL has a place. BFL turns lots of people onto weight training who would never otherwise work out. IT’s an effective, cookbook style training program that is perfect for those who have no background, no knowledge and especially NO CONFIDENCE as newbies in their ability to workout. BFL is simple enough to follow to leave people without any experience, feeling accomplished and successful. I agree for thosewho have been in the weight game for along time, BFL may be a joke… But even hard core lifters once upon a time started out from zero. There is not one veteran lifter who once upon a time, maybe many years ago, didn’t know the difference between a press and and a squat. If BFL provides the knowledge and skills and reinforcement for people to learn these differences, then practice them and become proficient in them, then BFL has a place. I think I can say unequivocally, that if both Vince and I were turned on to weight lifting through BFL, and as a result took our knowledge (and results) to greater heights, then there are a lot of others like us in the same boat. I too have been very very disappointed by where MM has gone…because I was reading MM before it went Hollywood, and got all my first training knowledge, and first inspiration from those pages. Nonetheless, its BFL program remains an excellent entry ramp for newcomers who need guidance, simplicity and support.

There is nothing wrong with BFL, especially for newcomers. It is far superior than any Weider-inspired program.

BFL is a great program and it’s straightforward and clear instructions are what most people need. Especially people who are new to lifting.

Another thing to consider is that some stimulus is better than none. In your case, you are preaching the benefits of free weights and no one is listening. Are you helping these people? You need to find what will help each person improve from where they are. Not everyone wants to be the ultimate physique stud. This trainer has 40 new people under his belt and has a straightforward program for them to get started. Sounds like he is doing pretty good and actually helping these people rather than spewing condescending dogmatic principles at them.

BFL is a starting point; it’s not the be all and end all that some try to make it out to be, but it’s a great place to start. When I read the book just over two years ago, I had absolutely no knowledge about training and/or nutrition; I had been working out for over a year, wasting my time, making no progress. Well, once I digested the book, I started applying some of the basic principles presented and finally I started to make some headway. I quickly moved on, but still, I most likely would not be where I am today (I would not be posting on this forum, writing articles, etc) if I were not introduced to this type of lifestyle (reguarly working out, eating 6 daily meals, etc) through that book. It’s helped a lot of people to get started, which is a good thing, but the problem arises when people refuse to accept it for what it is; a starting point.

Joel Marion

I agree that BFL is a great starting point. I feel like if you are paying a trainer (usually lots of money) for their work they should not use the cookie cutter training method that the could have bought at the local bookstore. If a trainer is going to use BFL they should at least refer the client to the bookstore/library.