What Is Your Professional Opinion On "Undercutting?"
I've had my fair share of gym memberships. In various gyms I've seen great trainers, and I've seen some down right horrible trainers just based on how the client responds to the trainer. I don't hide the fact that I'm a personal trainer, but I don't flaunt it either. In the course of conversations with other gym members, I've found that many trainers often leave clients with more questions than they give answers, and when I'm asked as a personal trainer to clarify something that their trainer has told them, I do my best to give an honest after getting more information. Without sounding pompous, the case has been that more often than not I was able to more effectively answer a question for another trainer's client than was the trainer.
Some trainers would consider me giving these answers as "undercutting" them or trying to take their business, but I make it a point not to solicit other trainers' clients as a professional courtesy. What is the most professional way to deal with situations like this, and do you think that it is wrong to simply clarify something for another trainer's client if that client wasn't satisfied with the answer that the trainer gave him/her? Also, do you think that as professionals we should just stand idly by and watch other trainers' clients have less than fulfilling fitness experiences? Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Concerns? I'm open!
1. I was not there to hear the entire conversation.
2. I value leaving my peers edified.
3. Someone always knows more than I and is able to shed more light on a topic than I might be able to shed at the present time.
4. Everyone has their gift and not everyone has the gift of eloquence or being an effective speaker/teacher/orator. It doesn't mean that the fitness professional does not understand. To me it means he/she is unable to express it in words in the manner that he/she would like.
5. At times the fitness professional explains it well and the client repeats what he or she thought he/she understood to you, or for that matter me incorrectly. That could potentially cause prejudice toward the personal trainer.
I am a firm believer of:
If you know better do better. Be the change. Inspire others through your actions.
Portals like this give us access to resources that we can print out and pass on to our colleagues on topics you feel they might need clarification upon.
Edification is the opposite of undercutting. Do your part to help educate those who you see can use the assistance. It will only reinforce what you know.
I hope this is of help to you Marlan.
If I'm asked my opinion, I will give it - no problem. I will not interfere with another trainer's client unsolicited base on ethics, professionalism, and quite frankly also liability.
I hope this helps.
On the flip side, if I someone is training by themselves and they are doing something that is either doing to hurt them in the short-term or will eventually cause where and tear on their body, I will sometimes mention something.
My response was that since I am not her Trainer and don't know her goals or the training program he has her on, I cannot speak to that comment. I suggested she talk to her Trainer to get clafication, tell him of her concerns and perhaps he'll create a plan that incorporates some classes into her program since she's gonna do them anyway. Classes are not just about the workout for most women, and she needs to speak with him about why she "needs" the classes.
But of course, if she's not satisfied with her trainer or the answers he provides to an honest question, its within her rights to look for another one.
*oh, one last point - be careful to whom you offer advice about their current trainer. That same person who is so "sincerely" seeing your advice because he/she doesn't like what his/her trainer said - could be the same person who will run to another trainer when YOU say something he/she doesn't like.
I am in the very happy circumstance of having my own studio with only my husband and myself as trainers. I also work out there myself because I just do not enjoy 'normal' gyms. Thus I have removed myself from situations like the ones you are describing.
But I was at gyms long enough to remember well how often I was biting my tongue and forced myself to look into a different direction. I made it a principle not to initiate a conversation.
What I may have tried was to start a conversation with the other trainer and, as best as I could, lead the conversation towards a subject that I may have overheard.
When people asked me directly, I'd answer as well as I could. When asked to comment on somebody else's answer, I always stated that I may not know the whole story but would give my personal opinion. This I would not consider undercutting. I never solicited somebody else's business.
It's hard because at the same time, there may not be any trainers on the floor and I can't hand the person off to a trainer I trust (my preferred method if it's an in depth question). I don't mind clarifying things, but I don't ever say "your trainer was wrong" or things like that. I say something like, "Maybe what your trainer meant was..." That way I don't feel like I'm undermining what the trainer is doing, just clarifying.
I did get tired of holding my tongue and that was part of the reason I went back to group ex. I cannot wait for when I have my own business up and going!
-don't point fingers
-encourage clients to ask their trainer questions and find a voice for their own needs without being rude
-provide friendly, casual advice that does not conflict with their trainer's program
Anything other ideas?
On the other hand, tread very lightly if the client of another trainer asks you advice on exercise technique or other health related questions specific to that individual. You don't know their history, their abilities or their contraindications enough to give them a reasonable suggestion on altered technique, diet, or similar subject. In this circumstance you can give some ideas but always refer them back to their own trainer for direct advice.
Incidentally, the only true undercutting I've seen never works out well for the offender because they are quickly shunned by staff and members - ruining their business.
If you are truly concerned about undercutting another trainer and taking his/her business, the simply way to avoid that is to not take on that particular client. That way you can answer any questions she/he may have, but you are unavailable to take them on as a client.
As we are learning from Fitness Connect, we all have opinions.
Speak your knowledge
I only answer if I am asked!
Its not undercutting- the entire point of a trainer is to make yourself obsolete.
Education is the key. Doctors refer patients to other doctors who are in different expertise fields, PTs should as well.
Good question. I will only get involved if I see another trainer teaching a client an exercise the wrong way, because I feel that a big part of our job is to make sure no one gets hurt. Beyond that, if a client is unsatisfied with their trainer (for any reason) they are welcome to look elsewhere for a new trainer. If they ask for my help then I will give it to them, but in most cases only the client and their trainer have all the facts of what has been said between them. I don't like to make assumptions.