Thursday, February 13, 2014

Frustrations abound at the gym

I recently joined a Gym. LA Fitness to be exact.

Not necessarily to lose weight (although I should probably lose about 60 lbs), but that would just be a happy byproduct.

I joined to give myself more training possibilities for my running. Right now, the weather is hit or miss, but we are going into the rainy season in South Florida soon, and the temps will also be heating up. And in the past I have learned that as the days get longer, I have less opportunity to run. Because I am totally NOT a morning person, this meant a lot of training runs at night after dark, which cuts into my precious together time with husbeast.

So I joined a gym to have access to things like the dreadmill, and the elliptical, and possibly the stationary bike. I chose LA Fitness because it also has a sauna and a steam room, a pool and a Jacuzzi. All super welcome bonuses for me as we don't have any of that available now that we are homeowners.

But I was also very turned on by the idea that there would be fitness classes. Like spin, and Zumba, aerobics, Latin Heat class, and yoga.

All with one startup fee and a marginal monthly membership, I would have access to a lot of really great opportunities to lead a more active lifestyle.

And of course, they have the dreaded weight machines. While I don't begrudge anyone the use of machines, that just isn't what my goal is. My goal is to make having a more active lifestyle part of my day-to-day. My goal is to supplement my running. My goal is to enjoy exercising. And being on those machines screams BORING. Oh man, I would rather jab myself repeatedly with sharpened and rusty darning needles than spend time on those dang machines!

But of course the startup fees at the gym include a single session with the trainer, in the hopes that they can rope you into a contract for a quite pricy personal training plan... which would be geared toward spending most of my time on those dang weight machines and less time doing the things that I joined this gym specifically for.

I didn't want this intro session with the personal training, but I suppose I wasn't forceful enough to say no. While, professionally, I always counsel people to cut back on their conflict avoidance style, it is easier to coach someone into doing this than it is to follow my own guidance.

So this week, I had my intro training session, which I didn't really want in the first place. I saw down and we talked about goals and why I joined the gym. And I was candid and clear. The gym will be used to supplement my training and encourage cross training, particularly as I come out of this long drawn out foot injury. And he took my measurements, told me that I was a good 60 lbs overweight (which I am aware of because I am not blind and can see the numbers on the scale), and wanted to talk about diet.

And then he dropped his first insult. That I could never lose weight eating a bagel and banana in the morning because that's runners food, and runners food doesn't work.

And then he started talking about how I need to eat chicken and more protein, disregarding the fact that I clearly told him I am a vegetarian.

And then we got to the point of the actual training session which overall went fairly well, although he seemed to ignore the fact that I told him that one of the exercises was causing tremendous heel pain, and I was concerned about the possibility of injury because I have a race coming up this weekend.

To which his response was basically, If you have a goal to lose weight, you shouldn't be running anymore, particularly not running half and full marathons. They aren't healthy, and will cause you to get hurt and destroy your knees, hips, and ankles. Then there was the accusation that my foot injury was caused by running...

Pardon me for a second here as I flip to my big girl language, but NO ASSHOLE, my foot injury is not related to running. My injury happened because I am a KLUTZ and I fell in a freaking hole and tore a tendon and didn't know it, then got bad medical advice. Yes, running was part of the reason that it didn't heal as fast as it should have, but  that doesn't mean it came from running.

AND by the way, just because your charts say I am overweight by 60lbs and at a heightened risk for things like diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity related death...  my doctor has indicated (on multiple occasions) that I am in tip top physical health and that the only reason I should be working to lose the weight right now is for vanity.

But of course, I didn't say any of this, though I definitely wanted to as I envisioned punching him in his muscle bound EYEBALL.

And instead, when he tried to sell me the personal trainer for the affordable cost of $40 per week with a 12 month contract (and a one time initiation fee), I meekly told him that this was not going to be fiscally prudent based on our family budget, but maybe some other time down the line.

To which he told me that he'd still like to get me to sign an agreement with him (personally) to give up a year of running altogether to see how the weight falls off.

Next time, I will shank a bitch. And after he recovers from the initial shock, I'll just run away.

13.1 miles away.

Even at my molasses pace, I'd probably lose him after that first point one of a mile. Afterall, that point one will getcha.



  1. Just because someone is a licensed trainer does not mean they know everything. Sounded like an asshole.

    1. I think i am learning this. i think he is better suited as certified asshole rather than certified trainer.

  2. Ugh. What a jerk.

    I do think trainers are like therapists - you have to do some looking around to find the right fit. Unfortunately, you got paired with someone who had his own agenda and was more interested in talking than listening, and of course, that would leave a bad taste in your mouth.

    I'm not really a fan of confrontation, but I would probably right an email to the manager of the gym to share your experience. Maybe they could implement a better screening process for matching trainers to prospective new clients. After all, if all things had clicked and you had met with someone who paid attention and focused on how to help you reach your goals rather on what goals they felt you should have, that trainer fee might feel more like an investment rather than a joke.

    I don't go to gyms because a) there are aren't any close enough to me to make it worthwhile and b) I am incredibly intimidated by them, so can only imagine my reaction to your scenario would be to curl up in a ball and hope the earth swallowed me. I hope that you are able to get what you want out of the rest of your experience. Good luck.

    1. I am thinking about emailing the manager of the gym. I know that this guy works there during the day, and that scares me now because I know i will have to see him every time that i go in there. so what if i want to do my half training on the dreadmill and run for 3 hours. i feel that he did more to discourage me than to inspire a new level of fitness. know what i mean?

  3. Oh my gosh, haahaha, my husband and I had almost the same experience when we joined LA fitness!!! I love the gym, but they sure were pushy! Here's our story:

    1. Hannah- sounds almost to a T of exactly what I dealt with. thankfully you had your husband there with you to endure this with him.

  4. Oh...that would piss me off! A good trainer should work with your passion and show you how to augment it with cross-training. While he has a point about bagels not being the best thing ever on a daily basis, they can serve a purpose. It's not like vegetarianism is that uncommon. It's another thing a decent trainer should understand how to work into his recommendations for his clients. It sounds more like he was reciting from a book than actually selling "personal" training.

    1. i think you might be onto something here jennifer. thanks for commenting!