Personal Trainer CryptKeeperWhen we talk about training here on Super-Trainer, we’re talking about Independent Personal Training, which is one of the most amazing and rewarding situations you can ever get into. A real dream job if there ever was one ..

What we’re absolutely, positively, not talking about is HEALTH-CLUB TRAINING!!!This is one of the worst situations you could be in, but unfortunately one that typifies the life of most Personal Trainers. It’ll sap your strength, eat away at your soul, eliminate your drive, and make you hate a profession that you thought would be fun and easy! No, I’m not kidding – it’s really that bad! So if you’re a trainer languishing in one of these situations this post is for you, ’cause your not alone!!!

And it’s not just bad for trainers – clients too know that the trainers they’ll find in these situations aren’t always really fit to be practicing this profession at all. Savvy clients these days are staying out of the health-clubs and looking elsewhere. When looking for a trainer they now more often turn to the web or suggestions from friends to find them.

This creates an interesting situation where not only is the work much higher paying and more fulfilling when independent, but the quality and seriousness of client is much better as well! Ask any independent trainer and they’ll tell you how this works.

Personal Trainer Horror StoriesSo to get good input for this post I solicited for some real HORROR STORIES. Here are just a few I got from Whistleblower readers and people from some of the training forums (Super-Trainer members are denoted by name, forum members by their forum tags) – let the loathing begin!

Our first few ghastly tales come from LA Fitness – a supposed high-end gym, but one that has yielded some of the worst training stories to date (improper grammar and misspellings have been left as-is):

Mike Lopez: I sure do wish you would include the pay La Fitness trainers make! Well I am one and this is the pay scale for us! We get paid $7.50 per 30 minute client! Peanuts! Most of the time the Trainer Manager puts two clients in the same 30 minute session and we still get paid $7.50 a half hour! Thats ONLY $15 an hour! Sometimes for 4 clients! Also we have to train more clients then have empty hours in order to get paid the $7.50 a client per half hour OR you will get ONLY $7.50 an hour even if you are training people! Which basically means you need to train more than half your hours in order to get paid by client not by hour. hope that made sense!

LA FitnessBrad – Mesa, Arizona: The mnggmnt steels your commissions. If the computers are down(WHICH IS A LOT) and you have to use what they call the “exception logs” for your sessions you can pretty much count on not getting paid for them!

Atl2La – Suwanee Georgia: LA-Fitness Body of change is the PT department and they had to change there name because mgnt was hiring trainers without certs and got the shit sued out of them the lost there ass over one stupid **** in Georgia who destroyed the name of a good company.

Wow, I don’t know what’s worse – the actual gym situations or the language they used to describe them! Our next ghastly tale comes from 24 hour fitness, a major health-club chain with over 300 locations throughout the country :

Gischer – California: I currently work for 24 hour fitness as a trainer. I will say they are ridiculous in that they will hire trainers with no prior certification and stick them through a 3 day workshop which teaches how to sell their products and a couple of silly balance exercises, and then call us certified. This results in plenty of very un-knowledgeable trainers, but they don’t really “tell” us how to train other than that. At least in my club everything is pretty hands off, and they just let us do our own thing.

I guess on one hand maybe they are too “hands-off”… we definetly do have trainers who never fail to mention “the core” in every single exercise, and will do anything and everything on a bosu ball short of jumping jacks.

24 Hour FitnessEmisgod – Norway (not real location): I personally feel they indulge in a lot of silliness with their insistence that everyone stand on globular objects before performing nearly any exercise .

I really like their foolish training habit of training everyone who is doing Calves by having them do raises up and down the stairs to the Cardio section, one Leg at a time, unweighted of course. One day, there were about 4 trainers trying to take people to the stairs, which clotted up the staircase nicely. It was kind of funny watching them have to interrupt their workouts to wait for other people to get out of the way and every time someone wanted to go up to use the Cardio machines or come down from a workout…

That was for some of the gym chains – here’s some of the even more garish methods being used at a few private gyms –

DB2012 – Cali: About 7 years ago I worked in a gym called “Fitness USA”. Trainers there were a joke I soon found out. The training they put us though was so ridiculous. They told stories of “success” saying they would not allow the person to leave the room until they signed up or physically got up and left. It was the worst High pressure environment I have ever seen. They would call potential members fat and out of shape, One guy I worked with signed up a guy who was retarded who didn’t have a job just go get a sign up. I quit very soon after I realized how unethical the place was.

Our neighbors in Canada are suffering from the same plague – Dark Phoenix from Ottawa reports:

I worked at Goodlife (A Canadian Gym)

I was to use the goodlife hand shake, which was a normal handshake, only with the other arm I was to grab you by the elbow.

I was told that if a client starts crying, great, now they trust you and you can sign them up.

If a person was to say “I need to think about this” – this being a contract worth 3000 dollars or more, I was to say “You said this was important to you, why wait, lets get started now.”

I quit soon after this.

Now to Bally’s – this happens to be where I got my start, and you can read all about my story in The Whistleblower Report. After a few months I was smart enough to get out and have never looked back. Here’s how one guy from the forums described it:

Bally's Total Fitness Fitnessmaster68: Ballys is the WORST company ever. I briefly worked there and it was the biggest joke. They had a new “manager” every week,trainers would charge clients higher rates than what ballys charged,they try to not pay you and make you fill out forms to get your check. I heard members complain about being charged twice a month. I heard the manager tell a salesman “dont let them leave unless they sign up”. They pressure people to join and then when they come back and try to cancel they fight it all the way. Its a very corrupt atmosphere. They also used illegal aliens to clean the place.

Yeah, sure these stories are all subjective – then where are all the positive stories from health clubs? If they do exist (which I doubt), I don’t think any of us wants to hear from the people that have been brainwashed into thinking what they’re doing in the health-clubs is a real career.

What do most people want out of a career?

  • Fulfillment
  • Personal Growth
  • Respect
  • Money
  • Control

And in some way achieve a consistently high income that’ll allow them to do things like purchase a home or start a family; you know, things a real professional should be able to do.

It’s obvious this can’t happen in any shape or form when working for a health-club. I really feel for all my fellow trainers that are getting up every day and heading to one of these prisons. That’s not for me and it’s certainly not for you!