You need to read this! I recently got an email from someone who is a brand new personal trainer. The story she told me was very interesting and disturbing and I'm reposting it here to help give people insights into what goes on in some health clubs. I am omitting the name of the trainer and I do not know the name of the health club. Here is her email to me:
I very recently became certified. Upon learning of my passing, when a client (of another trainer) arrived for her training session, the manager of the gym announced to us BOTH (she and I) simultaneously, that I would be training her instead because her regular trainer wasn't there.
When I tried to explain to him that I wasn't prepared (I didn’t know her health history of the and I have never had a client before), he made a joke about how I'd rather earn minimum wage working the desk. It was a very awkward situation.
Was I wrong to think that I should have known in advance who I would train? I feel like without knowing anything about her physical condition (injuries, med history, etc.) that I could not design an appropriate exercise program for her.
I thought a trainer's reputation was paramount to building up his / her clientele and income. I didn't want to risk going through a “half-assed” workout, in plain sight of those on the floor. I realize that once I step into that gym, I am being judged as a professional in the field.
The manager of the gym said I was overreacting, and that if a client becomes injured by a trainer, the law states that the client has the responsibility of divulging their health conditions to the gym / trainer- NOT the other way around. Am I imagining how ridiculously wrong this seems?
What would YOU have done?
Marjorie Geiser, MBA, RD, NSCA-CPT says
It’s interesting to hear how training in the clubs has evolved. When I first started my education as a personal trainer, trainers were still contracting with clubs. Granted, back then (1995), most ‘trainers’ where old gym rats who were ‘teaching’ what THEY had learned, and not all that info was even correct.
But, what’s happening now is the ‘pimping’ (if you will) of trainers by the clubs. I know it’s an ideal way to get experience and build a name, but until trainers, as a whole, make a stand for what’s right, this type of behavior will continue.
Unfortunately, the best advice I’d give this poor trainer is to take a stand and make it understood that she expects appropriate training for HERSELF, in order to offer her clients the best service possible. This DOES benefit the club as much as her and her clients.
As for me, if I had been put in that situation, I’m afraid that that session may have included a review of the client’s records and a discussion with her about what was working for her and not, long before actually getting to work. If the club manager, or the client, had a problem with that, I’m afraid I’d have to say sorry, but this is how *I* work, because this is how I can be of most value to the client.
This sort of reminds me of when I was on the board of the NSCA PT SIG: Many trainers would come to me about the problem they were having with their managers, because the managers were ‘forcing’ them to provide nutrition information. Where’s the true value to the member????
Joe Cannon says
Tim. I hear what you’re saying (qualified vs certified), but given that this was a brand new trainer (no experience) who didn’t know anything about how personal training was conducted at the facility (she only worked the front desk) I think what she did was right and I commend her for standing up to the director. This trainer didn’t even have the opportunity to shadow other trainers. She was just tossed in the ocean and told to swim.
This likely happens more than most realize also which is sad.
Given her testicular fortitude (no pun meant) I think she has the makings of a stand out personal trainer who will outshine her counterparts.
Respectfully, this is why there is more to personal training than just passing one test to be certified. An experienced trainer would be able to make the seamless transition to not only meet but exceed the clients expectations. The manager was correct in the sense that the client needs to be serviced, wrong in that injury should not be a concern – it should and regardless of waivers or local laws, the client still will have the right to file suit.
I’m curious to hear your response to this situation, what would you have done differently or do you agree with the trainer?
Patrick Johnson says
Tough spot. Obviously the club has no integrity so I’ m not sure that would be a long term relationship worth pursuing. I’d stick to my guns and would have declined the request if this was not an income impacying decision. Now if your feeding your kids off of the income from this job I’ m not sure. How far do you go in compromising your integrity and putting someoene’s health at risk?
I have not run into this, but the sad reality of where I live is that the majority of trainers work at corporate clubs (as the gyms die, one by one) for $6 a session while they charge the clients $30-60.
I think that all of the people cashing out on the certification buisiness should reflect on their companies core values and be both up front about this & charge for their services accordingly.
It was inappropriate for the manager to ask her to ;
1. Train someone else’s client
2. Train someone without knowing their history
3. Putting the new trainer in a very uncomfortable position.
I would have respectfully declined to do the training session.