By the time most people find me, they have an idea of what they want in a trainer. And they know what they don’t want. They have had it with weak, ineffective, and disorganized programs. Bands and balls and cables and gadgets have lost their appeal. They are tired, as I am, of hearing about core, stability training, and the many drawbacks of gluten.
They want the real thing. The stuff that works because guys in warehouse gyms with big calluses prove it works. They crave the edgy not-always-in-the-spotlight kind of exercise and programming that actually yields results. These people find me, we meet, I train them, they succeed. I’m a hero. Easy enough.
But there is another group of folks that find me that will never realize their potential. This is because they are not buying what I am selling. A few months ago I was in a discussion with one of the top strength coaches in the USA. He lamented with, “You know what really sucks Danny, is that the people that could benefit the most from what we do will never hire us.” And this, my friends is the downside of being a trainer.
This is the sad reality of the best trainers- the people that need us most aren’t getting our message. Case in point. Last week I met with a prospective client. We’ll call her Colleen. Energetic and pretty at 51, she struck me as someone I could genuinely help. I could “see” her in 3-6 months stronger and leaner. She was smart and well educated, but had been so severely inculcated with falsehoods and misconceptions about fitness, I found my words falling on deaf ears. My shortcoming perhaps.
When I meet with a new client, I interview them even more than they interview me. It has to be the right fit, we have to click, and I want to make sure I can help them. After all, I am not cheap and I charge a good bit more than most trainers. I politely turn away 30% of the folks that contact me for my services.
But Colleen was different. This was someone that was a prime candidate to make profound, sweeping changes to their body and overall health. I wanted her on my books, bad. This had nothing to do with money, I am busy with a full client load and often a waiting list. But it wasn’t to be. As Colleen thanked me for my time, she described her upcoming plans to keep doing Zumba classes and spinning. Barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells were not in her purview anytime soon.
Everything I told her about strength and its correlation with superior health went unheeded. I might as well have told her stories about dragons and fairies. And it’s too bad. She could have made staggering changes- guaranteed.
A strength coach (and M.D.) I admire wrote an article about how building strength and muscle mass would be so incredibly beneficial for the patients he treats. But so often it’s too late for them, or about to be. One particular sentence he wrote still stays with me. As he gazes upon a sickly patient with numerous ailments like hypertension, obesity, immobility and all the rest, he thought, “If I could have just gotten you under the bar, I could have saved your life.”
The above sentence sums up my position exactly. Let me get you under the barbell. Let me teach you to swing a KB the right way. Let’s get exercises programmed properly that use lots of that life giving muscle mass. You’ll have this powerful information serve you for the rest of your life.
Who knows, maybe someday soon because of the backing of the medical community, strength and muscle building will become more accepted. At this point the evidence is irrefutable- more muscle equals more health. The science is as sure as smoking is bad for you. So I can’t help everyone, and that’s just a fact of life I’ll accept. The question is, would you let me help you?