“Why Do You Train? Seriously, Why?”
The first question that should be asked of any potential gym user upon their entry to any gym or health club is “What are your fitness goals?’ That question was more than likely asked by the trainer in the club or the trainer who was assigned to you to do your initial evaluation, (if you were even given one) after you joined the club. So before you answer that question, let’s back up. When you went to your local gym or health club to possibly join up the first person you were directed to talk to was a membership (counselor, director, adviser or some other fancy title). If you notice the word “sales” has been eliminated from their title. The word sales has a negative vibe to the fitness consumer. This is because the gym and health club industry for years has been so unscrupulous in their practices of selling memberships to the fitness consumer. But I digress.
Back to your membership person, this person was pleasant enough, they brought you into their office and began to ask you a series of questions. These question were designed to see if you qualified to be a member in their establishment. That’s right, to see if “you” qualified. These questions are to see if you have the income to be a paying member of their club. Now, here’s where you begin to lose sight of the real reason or reasons that you came into that gym in the first place. Once the membership person deems you financially worthy to be a member they take you on what I like to call the “museum tour” of their club. First, they will point out to you how new and cutting edge their equipment is. The first bell that should go off in your head when told this should be “who’s going to show me how to use this stuff, and do I really need to be using all of it?” Next, they will point out pieces of equipment that they think everyone wants to use, like ab machines, hip and butt machines for the ladies, arms and chest machines for the guys. You begin to feel like, “Good, this is just what I need.” The membership person at this point, if they are good (and I don’t mean that in a good way either) senses you are feeling a little excited about what you are seeing and then quickly switches their tour to the amenities of the club. Things like, space, TV’s and music listening devices on your cardio equipment, cleanliness (shouldn’t every club be clean), pools and steam rooms and saunas if they have them, how nice the locker rooms are. None of these things I just mentioned are going to get you to your health and fitness goals now is it?
Now your mind drifts to the relaxing luxuries that possibly await you if you join this club. Now don’t get me wrong, these things are nice, but is that really what you thought of when you thought to yourself that you needed to join a gym today? How nice the locker rooms are? Did you say to yourself, ” I hope this gym has flat screen TV’s so I can watch Oprah while I’m on the treadmill.” Mostly likely not. You thought, “Gee, I’m not feeling real good, I’m tired all the time.” You said to yourself, “I sure would like to drop some of this extra weight.” You passed a store window and caught a glimpse of your stomach and said, “I gotta get to a gym and get this off!” Then, after your museum tour you are sat down and asked, “So what did you think?” ” Isn’t it nice?” “Couldn’t you see yourself a member here with us?” Sounds a little car salesman like doesn’t it? And right at that point you should hear a finger snap and a voice say “Wake up!” The next question you should ask that membership person is, ” Can I speak with one of your trainers so I can ask them some questions about what I need to do in this club in order to reach the health and fitness goals that I came in today to reach?” You will see with that request how much that facility truly cares about your health and fitness goals. That membership person should get up from his or her desk and find the best trainer out there who’s not with a client at the time and bring them in to answer your health and fitness questions. The trainer is the only one qualified to talk to you about what it will take for you to get to your health and fitness goals, not a membership person. Remember, the membership person may have causally asked you if you had any fitness goals but is usually (in most gyms and health clubs) not qualified to answer your health and fitness questions. Once you feel that you have satisfactory answers to your questions from a qualified trainer you then talk to the membership person about the programs they may have available that include training with your membership. You must take back control of this process or you will be wrangled into something that either is not for you or something that you will wind up dropping out from before your goals are reached. You also would have spent your hard earned money on something that did not get you to the goals you came in for in the first place.
If for you it’s really about reaching your goals and not the amenities a place has then working with a personal trainer is your best bet to reach those goals. Be it with a trainer in a private studio, having a trainer come to your home or at a fitness boot camp in your neighborhood. You have to ask yourself honestly why are you going to the gym? Is it for the amenities? Is it because they have flat screen TV’s? Is it to look at girls? Is it to look at boys? And if those are your reasons fine, but if your reasons were to be healthier, to live longer so you can enjoy your family, to get off medications, to look great for your wedding then get with a fitness professional in one of the settings mentioned and make a serious run at those goals with their help. I say help because it’s going to take true effort on your part to get to those goals. Your trainer is there to guide you and show you the correct path to those goals, but its the effort you put in that’s going to yield the results you seek.
Now, ask yourself “Why do I train?”