Aug 03

Enough is Enough!

The Dr. doing what he does best – teaching…

I’d like to believe that I’m a Professional Fitness Specialist and Competition/Bodybuilding Coach – that’s the title I’m giving myself.  Arrogant?  I think not.  I’ve paid my dues.  I’ve put my time in.  I have a Master’s Degree in Physical Education with concentrations in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Sport Psychology, Sport Nutrition, Athletic Training, and Injury Prevention.  I have over 36 years experience in this field.  I was personal training before the term personal training was coined.  I developed the State of Washington’s guidelines for personal trainer curriculum and licensing that Ashmead College and many other private vocational and technical institutions now use.  I started the state’s first School of Professional Personal Training.  I’ve competed in over 200 local and regional bodybuilding contests, having won over 60% of them in my career.  I’ve personally trained over 25,000 individuals in all areas of health, fitness, nutrition, specificity-of-sport, and competitive bodybuilding.  I’ve done over 200 lectures, seminars, brown-baggers and speaking engagements.  I’m not bragging – I’m stating what I’ve accomplished in my career.  Yet I’m still labeled as a ‘personal trainer’!  Please!!! I train trainers how to be better trainers!  So why do I sound so pissed?  Actually I’m not, but I need to clear the air on a few things.

Babysitter - I like knivesI AM NOT A BABYSITTER.  I am a Fitness Professional.  I get paid to tell you what to do, not to call you and ask, “Hey bud, how come you’re not here”?  Does your job call you?  No.  They expect you, and you know that you’re expected to show up each scheduled day.  They don’t check in on you.  I don’t either.  My instructors DRILLED that into me in school…”This class starts at X time.  It is YOUR responsibility to be in this classroom and in your seat when the class starts”.  I had three teachers that would lock the door every day when class started.  You showed up late, you didn’t get in.  They wouldn’t even look your way when you knocked.  I was 30 seconds late one time.  Never again!  I’ve carried that with me throughout my career.  Now I know that many clients reading this will say, “But I need my trainer to call me to hold me accountable/keep me motivated.  Sweetheart, if I have to continually call you to get you to come in or to ‘motivate’ you, you have already made up your mind that you’re going to fail – it’s just a matter of time.  Again, we’re grown.  Be responsible.

I have a simple saying, “I can only ‘motivate’ you to the degree that you can motivate yourself”.  You have no idea how many times I’ve attempted to push an individual to new heights and the person would simply quit.  I would walk away, turn around, and say, “You had more in you.  You just sold yourself short and let yourself down.”  I also know that many trainers and managers/owners believe that calling a person continues to keep that person coming in.  While true for a minute, when that person no longer wants to come in, no amount of calling will get him or her to show up.  Let your trainer do his or her job – push you beyond your limits, and hopefully educate you in the process.  Your job is to walk through the door.  You must learn to be not motivated, but committed.

I AM NOT YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND.   I am your Fitness Professional and/or Competition Coach.  To paraphrase a quote from former NBA All-Star, Charles Barkley, “I am not your friend.  I get paid to wreck havoc and discontent on your body.”  While I’m friendly to all of my clients, I choose my friends carefully.  Now I’ll agree that with some people we just ‘click’, just like in any friendship/relationship and a great friendship develops quickly.  But I do not go into a client/coach relationship looking for my new best friend.   Let me be your coach/trainer first, and if a friendship develops, cool.  I’m always leary of individuals who, within 5 minutes of meeting you, are sharing intimate details of their lives.  Let’s keep the conversation superficial – on the surface.  I’m also leary of overly friendly individuals as they usually later turn into overly aggressive.  Can you say passive-aggressive?  I just want to do my job.  On a positive note, if a real friendship develops through our client/coach relationship, you’ve got a friend for life.  I’m loyal like that.

Will work for free signI DO NOT WORK FOR FREE.  I bought and paid for my education with years of mental and physical sweat and hard work, not to mention having over $50,000 in student loans that I had to pay back when I graduated.  I learned in school years ago about the term “Intellectual Property”.  Intellectual property is knowledge that someone possesses that someone else wants or needs.   My professors and Pacific Lutheran University possessed knowledge that I wanted so I could make a living.  I paid them for that.  If you desire my services, you will have to pay me for it.  I will answer a few simple general questions, but if you desire specific information related to how you can improve or what you should do, that’s where I cut you off and tell you we need to set an appointment.  Please don’t be mad.  I’m simply doing my job.  I make money only one way – talking.  If I talk to you and give you all the information and answers you need and don’t charge you anything…well…that’s just plain stupid on my part, and I’m not stupid!  This is my work.  I don’t expect you, and you certainly don’t expect, to go to work, put in an 8-hour day and not be paid for it.  Please don’t insult me by expecting me to do that.

Negotiate ratesI DO NOT NEGOTIATE MY RATES.  I charge what I charge, plain and simple.  You can’t buy a BMW or Mercedes for a Volkswagen price.  I learned that when I bought a big 7-series BMW years ago (and subsequently got rid of it because it was a gas hog…).  The price was $45,000.  When I asked the salesperson what’s the lowest he would go, he simply looked at me with a blank stare and said, “$45,000”.  Didn’t blink an eye.  That was the price.  I either took it or walked.  I should’a walked, but that’s another story.  My point is this; my rates are set for my educational level and experience.  To be honest with you, I’m actually UNDERCHARGING what I’m worth but the market in this area will not allow for much more.  I can live with that.  But I won’t go lower than that.  If you cannot afford my services, I ain’t mad at’cha, but I can’t help you.  We pay for what we want.  If you desire the best, then you must pay for the best.  With that said, again, am I arrogant?  No.  But I know what I know, and I’ll put my knowledge base up against any other trainer in the state.  We ALL are good trainers…but I’m also a professional teacher with the credentials to back it up.  One of my favorite sayings I use when I’m asked what separates me from other trainers is, “I know what I know and that’s all that I know.  The question is how much do I know vs. what the other person knows?”  Am I smarter?  Not necessarily.  I just know more.  Remember, I teach trainers how to be better trainers, and I’ve trained so many personal trainers for competition that I’ve lost count. In fact, I recently picked up 3 new figure competitors on my team because they all said their old trainers couldn’t answer their questions and wasn’t doing a good job.  I could.  They hired me.  At my rate.  One of the young ladies lives in Alabama!

I DO NOT DO FREE CONSULTATIONS.  There is a huge difference between a ‘consult’ and a ‘consultation’.  A consult denotes a quick in-and-out meeting to provide an insight into services, rates, hours, etc.  A consultation is professional services offered.  You are now buying time.  Time is money.  As I said earlier, I don’t mind answering a few simple basic questions, but I will not give you an hour of my time for free unless I choose to do so.  Which I don’t.

BabyLiftingWeight1I DO NOT LET PEOPLE TRAIN IN MY FACILITY TO ‘SEE IF THEY LIKE THE WEIGHTS’. C’mon…this is one of the oldest lines a bodybuilder or experienced lifter uses.  “Hey dude, can I work out in your gym to see how your weights feel”?  You’ve been lifting for 6 years and you STILL don’t know how weights feel?  And you think that my free weights will feel different than another gym’s free weights?  Please!!!  While I’m in agreement that machined equipment is radically different biomechanically, all it takes is one set of a few reps to figure it out, not an entire workout.  You pay to use your own gym/club.  You will pay to use mine.

I know these are harsh words, but this is a harsh world.  40+ years is a long time for one career.  I still have tremendous passion and love for what I do.  I just don’t tolerate things like I used to back in the day when I tried to accommodate every single person and make everyone happy!  When you try to please the world, the one person you’re guaranteed to anger is yourself.  I don’t ever see myself doing anything else that would remove me totally from this field.    As I’ve said so many times, I will leave this field when I hate it, can no longer do it or I die.  Right now, for me, option 3 is the only thing I see stopping me…peace…

The Dr.  “Tell me you will…tell me you won’t…don’t tell me you can’t!”





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