Subterranean lizard people are infiltrating the fitness industry!
What follows is a mildly informative rant on vetting fitness professionals smothered in memes and non-contextual nerd references. All similarities to persons/reptiles living or dead are very intentional and kind of the point.
Prepare yourselves, the bells have tolled! Shelter your weak, your young and your old! Each of you shall pay the final sum! Cry for mercy; the wokening has come!
Pizza gate and false flags aside, there is a dramatic increase of suspected reptilian behaviour in the world of health and fitness. If you think about it, it makes sense, first, they influence our health habits, then they control our voting habits and before you know it the Space Pope is reptilian.
So how can you detect these infiltrates? Here are some key things to look for.
Do they own the gym that they train from?
If your PT also runs the business they train for, it can be a give away to not only their agreeableness, and ability to work with others. They may also have eaten the previous owner and be wearing their skin. Checking for both possibilities is key to not only self-preservation but also a successful training experience. Since there is usually a reason people want to be their own boss.
Do they work by themselves or with other people?
In a similar vein, people who work without any kind of check or balance from peers should also be a bit of a red flag. Any reasonable professional normally seek vindication or at least critique from others in the field, to assure their service and skills are constantly improving. Working alone, however, also lessens the likelihood of anyone finding out you’re a reptile from beneath the Earth’s crust.
Actually, ask them about their qualifications!
This one is particularly true if they hiss on about ‘this study’ and ‘that study’. Pubmed is not a university, this coming from a guy without a degree, albeit I work with someone who does. Someone with no academic background is really not in a place to harp on about correlations that prove this or that about aspartame when they couldn’t tell you what titration is without Google. Having a Personal Training certification, for a start should be obvious, is all well and good. It doesn’t, however, grant anyone the ability to access or interpret scientific studies. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty great Pts without a degree, and there are plenty of bad ones that do. If yours is blurring the lines like Robin Thicke however, it’s probably time to get shot of them.
Don’t just look at the good reviews.
In a world where you can’t ever get a reference anymore, it’s super important to look for people who no longer work with your prospective Pt or coach. Find out why they left, it will save you money and stress in the long run. If they left due to a difference of opinion on a certain topic, find out what, it could be a deal breaker for you. If they just disagreed on the effectiveness of modern periodisation versus daily undulating periodisation, you’re probably fine. If they fell out because the coach is a pro lifer that also support the death penalty, and can’t see why that is fifty shades of stupid, you might want to steer clear. Reptiles, much like the Sith, only work in absolutes.
Do they keep it professional?
Coaching treads a fine line, on one claw you spend (hopefully) quite a lot of time with your client, so there will be a rapport. Enjoying their company is kind of a package deal when it comes to coaching, however, a lot of ‘people’ slither way over that line. Casual off topic conversation between sets is entirely normal, however injecting heavily opinionated point about possibly inflammatory issues is another red flag. You pay them, let me put that in caps for emphasis YOU PAY THEM! Feel free to tell them that you don’t care or want to hear their opinions on topics irrelevant to your fitness goals since your fitness goals are the only reason you’re there in the first place.
If they ever say the word ‘loyalty’, run.
This is where the conversion therapy begins, first your loyal to them, before long it’s the hypnotoad. Loyalty in business goes as far as your money does. You choose to pay for the service they provide, you can choose to go elsewhere. If I change dentists I don’t get spiteful texts about ‘all I did for you’ or ‘your molars are nothing without me!’ Shameless plug, we (ATS) have a Groupon deal at the moment. We are 100% aware that some people will take the deal, and after their sessions, we will never see them again. Oh no! People trying to be frugal with their money and taking a good deal when they see one, how dare they!
Never take a deal not in writing.
If a coach is trying to earn your business and trying to offer you free this, or free that and it’s not a publicly available deal, be sceptical. Verbal offers come without terms and conditions and are super hard to take to small claims court if something does go belly up. Especially at commercial gyms, Pts generally pay rent to work there and are by in large self-employed. It saves the gym money this way and also means they can distance themselves from responsibility. If a Pt in a commercial gym asks for money up front, and bails without rendering service and you have nothing in writing you are up shit creek without a boat, let alone a paddle. The gym will likely apologise, and not take the trainers rent ever again, but since they weren’t technically an employee they forgo any responsibility to compensate you.
4 Things combined because I can’t really believe I have to say them at all.
Do they show up on time? Unless they are a wizard, they should be punctual to your session. This is on you the client as well, don’t be mad if you’re 15minutes late and they try to cram in some spreadsheeting because they think you’re a no show.
Are they present? By that I mean, are they engaging, do they talk to you, ask pertinent questions? Or are they glued to their phone, or worse do they walk off and talk to other people in the middle of your set and claim they were watching. (I wish I was kidding, but reptiles have very poor social skills)
They ask you ‘what do you want to do today?’ Unless your name is Brian and you happen to be a lab mouse. You pay them to build you a plan to get you places if you knew what to do you wouldn’t be there.
Lastly and most importantly, is their favourite Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks? If so, I can’t give you a measurable distance for how far away you should be from that person.
Forget what you think you know, fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the centre of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone in the fitness industry. Remain vigilant my friends, only we can stop the reptilian tide.
#Staywoke, the truth is out there.
About the Author
Will Brown has been working as a personal trainer for 7 years, after co-founding Athlete Training Systems. What started as a rack and some plates in a garage has now grown into a full powerlifting gym. Will has spent the past few years coaching a wide variety of clients ranging from amateur athletes in rugby and American football to successful business leaders in the Edinburgh area.
Will played hockey for The Edinburgh Academy for over a decade culminating in a three-year stint with their first XI squad. A love for American football then led him to several years at various positions on the Edinburgh Wolves American football team. After several more severe injuries, he left football and moved on to powerlifting where he strives to be anything better than average.