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Stop asking me to peddle your shit

In a little over a year since I became a full-time trainer for the YMCA, I've been approached by seven individuals who have a business proposal (creating a side business) that will supposedly grant me financial freedom.  I've often found these individuals to be a bit ignorant in what is permissible for a personal trainer.  Most of them are unaware of the fact that I do have a scope of practice to follow.  Most of them just assume that because I am a personal trainer, that whatever they have to sell (health products, supplements, drinks, etc.), will be an easy sell to my clients.

 

Should a client develop complications from the use of a product that I recommended to them, I would not have my professional insurance, from the organization that grants my certification, cover me against any legal action.  I would have to cover my legal cost, plus I lose my professional insurance and certification.  Although I can inform my client about a specific product, I have to leave the choice to my client if they want to use a specific product.  I can't steer my client to a specific product, and especially not to products which I am selling.  That would cross the line of professionalism.

 

Although I've been told that the side business will only take a few hours a week of commitment (like around 10 hours or so), the intention is to eventually have this business replace my current means of income and replace my job; as if my current job as a personal trainer isn't something worth doing, as if it's not a career goal.  I don't mind if people want something better for themselves and if they truly believe they are helping others have what they have; but, I can say that if you want to become a distributor and create your own wealth via these means, then quit your job as a trainer now.  You can't expect to maintain professional integrity as a trainer and develop your side business at the same time. Even if you try to keep your personal training clients separate from your side business, you will eventually realize that the easiest sells are to the people who have a strong connection to you (i.e. friends, family, clients).  Quit your job as a trainer first if you want to go down this path, because it will be a conflict of interest if you try to work these two jobs.

How not to drive away new members

New Year, new members.  We've seen the trends where a new member shows up right around new year with the intention of becoming fit/healthy, only to quit a few days or weeks later.  We've seen how busy the gym gets when there is an influx of new members. Most of the regulars at the gym are happy when these people leave so that things can return to normal for them.  For most people who works out regularly, the frustration is in the lack of available equipments as well as seeing the uneducated masses trying to figure out what to do.

 

As much as we'd like to see these people go away so that we can return to our normal routine, this way of thinking is shortsighted. For most of these new members, this is their one shot before giving up for the year (or forever).  Another year or opportunity wasted on getting fit/healthy. While we can easily say that they gave up due to their lack of commitment, priority, willpower, or motivation; we do a disservice to society when we allow for this to happen and simply standby while these new members gives up on their own.

 

Most people don't seek advice out of fear.  A lot of people have egos and are quite self-conscious about their appearance in an environment filled with people they perceive as fit. In a society where obesity is a problem, it makes no sense to be driving away people who may genuinely want to see a change in their lifestyle.  We should make the gyms more accessible to people, rather than making it an exclusive hangout spot for those who are already fit.

 

Granted, we don't want people doing things that will hurt themselves or equipments, just because they saw something from a magazine or YouTube.  We should be encouraging new members to keep on their goals and praising them for even stepping into the gym.  We can do our part to help these new members if we see them struggling or seem lost.  We can always refer to someone of authority if we don't have the answers ourselves (or even look it up for them -- get yourself educated in the process).

 

This is especially a good time for trainers to get themselves out there and sell the clients on what is possible for them.  This isn't the time to brag or showoff yourself though.  Focus is on the potential client and to get them to commit and invest in their own health and fitness.  The more new members that we can retain in the gym, the more potential clients we seed.  There shouldn't be any need to look for new clients outside of the gym if the retention of new members is high.