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!
Well, I can certainly identify with your situation. Although my initial certification was a personal trainer, I was hired as a group fitness instructor. When I decided to do both group ex and PT I found myself in the situation you described. Sure, I talk to people out on the floor when I’m at the gym because the regulars know I work there.
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!
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.
I always try my best to find what is accurate in a fellow fitness professional’s response to queries posed to them by their clients. I do this because:
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.