Friday, March 25, 2011

Personal Demotivator?

As my Facebook friends know (whether they wanted to or not), I had a rather demotivational consultation with a personal trainer yesterday.  Gold's Gym only gives you one free consultation, and I had envisioned that they would give me tips on my workout routine, explain the machines to me, and provide encouragement.  Unfortunately, that isn't exactly how it worked.

The trainer started out by determining my motivations and then explaining the fundamentals of weight loss and exercise.  He talked about the type of routine required for a good twenty minutes, yet somehow managed not to provide any really useful information.  He told me that eventually I would want to have a strong basis in resistance training, cardio, and nutrition.  That I would start out on mostly cardio, but they would eventually get me to the right form.  My questions on any of this tended to be brushed aside with a "that's complicated" or "we'll get to that later."  Later, it appears, is after I've started paying them $45 a session. 

Some of what happened was contradictory and confounding.  He had me use the treadmill, and when I got on, I asked if he could explain the machine.  He breezed right past my question with some mumbled phrase about how he didn't really know all about the machine or need to know.  It was clear that he just wanted me to shut up, hit the Quick Start button, and start walking.  After that, we did some floor workouts.  Earlier, he had asked me if I was sore anywhere from previous workouts because pain after workouts meant that you should rest that area for a couple of days.  I told him my legs were sore from Yoga.  What floor exercises did he give me?  Leg exercises.  WTF?  I hurt so much today that it's hard to walk.

At the end, he told me that 7 out of 10 people at the gym wouldn't make their goals or get full use out of the gym--except for the people who paid for a personal trainer.  Apparently, those people never fail.  Instead of learning what my (safe) target heart rate should be during exercise (I was told it was complicated and would be calculated later), I learned that Gold's Gym's trainers are pretty much there to try to get you to spend lots of money.  That being said, my friend BJ told me that there are some truly good trainers out there. 

How does one go about finding the good kind?  Anyone have a good experience?


  1. That sucks. I'd say that's completely unhelpful, likely harmful, and totally unprofessional behavior. Personally, I would complain to the gym for providing your "free consult" with such an unhelpful jerk.

    As for other trainers, I haven't actually met with one officially, but the people at the Y who set up the "here's what you should do to start out and how to use these machines" sessions are very patient and helpful. I figure someday I'd like to do one of their specials (like the 3 sessions for $99) which is designed specifically to get people started on a program they can continue alone.

  2. What a jerk. What's unfortunate is that these gyms not only make you pay some ridiculous monthly fee, but they also employ people like that guy to try to make you spend more money.
    He's probably right about the 7 of 10 people who fail -- but the thing is, it's all about self-motivation. I spent 2 years paying for a gym membership, and only went probably 20 times. But I didn't fail because I didn't have a personal trainer. I failed because I didn't own up and make myself go.
    My recommendation? Check out some gym workout routines online. Find a few that you think you can do and give it a try. If you're truly motivated to get in shape, it'll happen. Don't let that guy get you uninspired. You rock! And you can totally do this. :)