The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why I left my commercial gym job

This is something I haven't really spoken too openly about these past few months, but a friend of mine was just recently talking to me about some of their woes with their gym and personal trainer that has left her with a $400.00 loss and I feel the time to share is upon me.

The fitness industry is a business. And, a business that is BOOMING at this particular time in history. I don't know what the hell it is, perhaps the insane amounts of sharing we do on social media platforms and the kind of commercialization that comes with this era that makes us all chase after that great physique, but people by the droves are seeking ways to get into great shape.

This isn't a bad thing. If you want to lift big, sing big, and look great doing it, then you've got to utilize a gym type environment to do that. However, the big problem for me is when people no longer look at clients as people but as walking talking check books.

My experience

I knew even before I was certified that I wanted to be an online coach. I had been writing my blog for nearly a year, gotten a lot of great feed back and learned a great deal about training and nutrition from my own personal pursuit of having a great physique. I had learned that it was fairly common occupation and one that would allow me the freedom to work from wherever I happened to be. This was the big selling point for me because I know that I ultimately want to be a performer (singer/actor) but I still want to continue helping people obtain their strength and physique goals way past the point of my physical ability to perform.

However, for some reason I felt an obligation to have some in gym experience. I guess I wanted to know what it was like to work in a gym and thought that perhaps it would be fun! I've been working my delivery job for a very long time and thought that maybe it would be a better use of my time to pursue personal training in a gym setting. Perhaps earn much more of a living.

I wrote up a resume and applied for numerous jobs. To be honest I was very insecure, I had little to no one on one training experience, I was freshly certified, and my degree is in music. I was lucky to have my own success story as well as a couple of other success stories to "show off" but it was clear that none of that was considered whenever I was asked to come in for interviews.

Pretty much every place I applied granted me an interview, and the majority of those offered me a job fairly quickly. I don't know if it was because I was qualified, that I was passionate, or they just needed a body, but getting a position as a personal trainer was not an issue.

From the get go, I didn't like it. I didn't like any of the places where I was offered a job. For one, a lot of the personal trainers did not (to use a common phrase) "look like they lift." Many were clearly out of shape. And when I started a dialogue with them they seemed to not only not really understand nutrition, but actually were full boar stuck in a very very out dated way of thinking of foods and how it's utilized in the body. I would cringe when they brought up things like "muscle confusion" and "eating clean" and could tell that these people just didn't think the way I do.

But even then, I could have easily looked past that. These are very common myths that are easily perpetuated and nobody should have to live up to the physical standards I have for myself, and I know there are plenty of fantastic trainers who don't have visible veins in their arms, let alone six packs. However, the talk of money was always present. Money money money. Selling. Landing the deal, nailing the quota, scoring the bonus.

Side Note: This is a great movie/book.

This. This is what bothered me most.

In a typical gym scenario, a person is given an assessment with a personal trainer when they sign up (if they'd like it.) It's during this assessment where a trainer will tell you all the things that are wrong with you and then sells you their services and tells you how they can get you your goals. They tell you why you need them. 

I don't like telling people that they aren't good enough. I hate when people compare me with others or try to make me live up to their standards and I don't like being sold things. I don't like people trying to take my money. If I want to buy something I'll go out and buy it. If you come to my door step and try to sell me shit, prepare to get the door slammed in your face. So, why should I be surprised when others feel the same when I tell them they NEED me and my services and that they should pay a lot of money for it.

And frankly, I was terrible at it. People can smell desperation, and when a salesman approaches you with shaking hands, a sweaty brow and an obvious agenda on their lips, the whole situation is a turn off. I went about it with the wrong attitude, got a bad taste in my mouth and ended up quitting because it was just silly for me to waste everyone's time when I could do good elsewhere. I hate the fact that I left after less than a month of working, mostly because it's forced me to come to terms with my own failures and short comings. But, it was the right thing to do for both parties. I wasn't earning them any money and I wasn't doing myself any good chasing after that clientele.

In Person Training Woes

In gym personal training is very expensive. It's something that an average person could only really afford once per week (if that.) And, the majority of that money does not go to the personal trainer, it goes to the gym (50% or more.) There's a lot to the equation that can rationalize such a percentage, but the real issue is that you can get the expertise of a trainer for less money, all of which goes to the actual trainer. And, a well payed trainer is a happy trainer, one that is eager to train and teach you, but a trainer that isn't paid well has to hustle a lot more. Every day is a perpetual grind. They're taught to sell things in bundles, do quick sells, and maybe even do some selective language when you're signing papers. Like I discussed earlier, I had a friend who lost 400.00 worth of services because of such selective language.

There are a lot of fantastic trainers in the world, many of them are passionate, educated and always looking to get you results. However, there are many that are only interested in getting the paycheck and doing as little work as possible. They make up half ass programs and count your reps while playing on their cell phones. Sometimes it's hard to determine if you've been sold a good or bad trainer. Often times you've already invested a lot of money before you realize what kind of product you purchased.

It's very obvious that anything and everything that you can purchase in person can be purchased for a better deal (and better quality) online. Why is this? Because with a market as vast and as free as the internet, the quality MUST be better than the sales pitch. Why is this? Because people will immediately report if you've sold them shit and if your brand is complete garbage, you won't get past the bull shit marketing you employ.

The Internet Solution

Right now I've created a situation where I can help people, earn a living, but not feel like I'm robbing people and continue to produce lots of free content and educate people who don't have the means for a personal trainer via My Blog and YouTube Channel. I'm also not an aggressive marketer. I only advertise when I feel like I have the means to take on more clientele without taking away from my current clients. A person looks over my credentials, my experience and training philosophy, reads my story and gets to know me as a person before they even consider paying for my advice. Many will read numerous selections from my blog and have dialogue with me via email before they give me a dime. 

I've turned away a few clients and talked a person out of signing up for my services because I knew that they'd get better results more in line with their goals elsewhere. Even now I have to keep myself from giving people free training (even though I still do it) because it's not only unfair to my paying clients but it also makes sure I'm not overloading myself with potential clients that don't have a financial interest in keeping their training going.

If you compare my rates with any commercial gym trainer, you'll notice that I'm immensely cheaper and you work with me for much much longer. I work in lengths of time rather than session by session, and because my training doesn't require my physical being but just my expertise, I can easily justify charging less.

All of this is basically to say I've found a job that I love, that I can easily justify lots of invested time and energy into, and that gives back just as much as I give into it. It's a rare situation, but one that I've slowly been developing for the better part of a year. Look out for more things to come from this site as well as my training site (

Until next time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

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