Something happened at the gym recently that saddened and angered me. Let me paint the picture for you. I was working in the free weight section doing my routine and saw an overweight guy with a personal trainer. I overheard bits and pieces and it was apparently his first session. I smiled at him to be encouraging as he struggled to do a plank.
Later, I was doing my stretches on the mat and the same trainer was talking to his next client but what he was saying stopped me in my tracks. The trainer was making fun of Client #1 to Client #2. He was laughing at how the client couldn’t do a plank.
My workout was done and so I left. But as I was walking to my car, I was kicking myself for not saying something. In my mind I practiced what I SHOULD have said to the trainer, calling him out on talking smack about someone who was DOING HIS BEST.
Why do I bring this up? Because it really bothered me. You may wonder why I care. Well, I was that guy once upon a time. I was morbidly obese and totally terrified of people at the gym or pool making fun of me. I had to get my 250+ pound body in a swimsuit and walk to the pool with my thighs rubbing together, feeling self-conscious about my body, thinking that everyone in the pool was laughing at the “fat girl.”
You know what helped me? Encouragement from people. My friends and family were all supportive. My neighbor and close friend Star was enthusiastic about my progress. I also made a friend at the community center’s gym. Christian, a personal trainer there, was a true cheerleader.
Maybe I was spoiled. Christian was such an awesome trainer that I’ve compared all others to him and they have fallen short. But truly, I think he was great. For example, I worked out a few days a week in that tiny gym and every time I was there, Christian had a kind word to say. “Good job, Lisa” and “I’m seeing progress” and “Keep at it!” They may not be anything special, but that encouragement made me feel good about myself and good about what I was doing. It kept me going. It made me work harder when the scale got stuck. And you know what? I wasn’t even using Christian’s personal training services. It was over a year before I finally paid for 3 sessions with him.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad personal trainers out there. Be picky, ask questions, and if you don’t like the trainer find a new one.
Don’t ever let someone diminish your efforts. There are haters out there everywhere that are just waiting to tear you down. It could be a so-called friend, a jealous coworker, a family member; it could be an internet bully, or a complete stranger. (The event made me think of a post a blogger wrote, When People Say Mean Things.)
Discrimination against overweight people is nothing new. But it still hurts. And I may be 100 pounds lighter, but I still have the wounds of hurtful words and embarrassing memories somewhere in me.
It doesn’t matter if you have 100 pounds to lose or 10, if you are working towards your goal you should be proud of yourself and your efforts and never, ever let some jerk discourage you from trying!
QUESTION: How do you deal with the haters, the bullies, the Negative Nancys?
That is awful. And I’m sorry, but: what an IDIOT. I guess that trainer doesn’t like keeping his clients. What if the guy or someone who knew him had overheard him? Totally unprofessional.
shelby recently posted..Pretty sure that’s not what they mean when they say Free Weights
That’s what I thought! And I REALLY wish I had scolded him right in front of his new client. “Like really, dude? You’re bad mouthing your clients IN the gym to other clients? Professional.”
Beth @ Beth's Journey
That is TERRIBLE and makes me so, so angry. I don’t know if I could have been trusted not to chew the trainer out!
I know! I was really angry. I am regretting not saying something now.
I think I have been pretty spoiled to. The trainers at my small gym know almost everyone who comes in by name. They encourage everyone, even if they are not working with them. I can’t believe anyone who is a personal trainer would be so crass and act as if they are so much better than the very person looking at them for help!
I’m glad that your gym is good and everyone is supportive. That’s how it should be.
OMG, this makes me LIVID. Why a “fitness professional” would make fun of ANYONE trying to improve their health makes me want to just scream hypocrisy.
Emmie recently posted..Holding on for dear life
Agreed! You would think he’d be encouraging of someone trying to make a change in their life and health.
Well, trainers or non trainers – so many people judge. I probably would have taken that trainer aside and said something to him about that. However, I also have come to the point that it really is not *my* business what other people think of me. It only matters what I think of myself. I can’t try to change someone’s mind about me (unless they are outright wrong about something, but even then it may not matter) and honestly I don’t always want to waste my time on someone else.
Encouragement is great, but you also have to look to yourself for the majority of it.
Lori recently posted..Hello Universe, I am listening.. finally
That’s a good point, Lori. No one can motivate you to change unless you want to do it.
That is awful, and really unprofessionnal. But, like Lori said, you have to find the strenght within yourself to go further, and go on, even when people put you don’t. It’s easier said than done, but if you work at it everyday, it becomes easier. I still struggle with what people think or say about me, and most of the time I try not to dwell on it, and move on. But, sometimes, comments can hurt you in a way that you didn’t know it could.
Thanks for the comment, Melanie. I agree that it has to come from within. Sometimes I still struggle with dealing with what other people say or think about me but I’m learning that I can’t change that, so why stress?
*I meant to say down in the second sentence. sorry.
If the trainer was a gym employee, I wouldn’t hesitate to call and speak to his supervisor. Lori makes a good point – that even if the guy heard the trainer’s remarks or someone told him what was said, the new client is going to have to be able to find his own motivation.
I like to find a group of encouraging people to be around who have common goals (healthy eating, regular exercise, etc), and avoid those who are set on sabotaging me and my plan, but I am starting all over again and have a ways to go. Those who are in maintenance or closer to their goal are probably better at handling food pushers and couch sitters.
Yes! Avoiding those who sabotage is super important. I did that when I was losing my weight. Some friends didn’t really stick around as I lost the weight. And that’s ok. I surrounded myself with the awesome people who encouraged me.
I wish I could remember the trainer’s name so I could call the supervisor but I don’t. 🙁
Perhaps he will be at the gym next time, and his name will become etched in your mind to tell people to use anyone but him.
I think I’ll recognize him if I see him again. I’ll have to check out his badge for the name.
That is awful! I would have said something about it to one of his supervisors; its completely unprofessional and just plain cruel. When you first start, its hard to make yourself get out there and do whatever it is. Having someone make fun of you (behind your back or not) is not going to help in any way.
Deb recently posted..Day 212
I’m really glad the client wasn’t there to hear it. Yeah, it’s awful. 🙁
Finding a skinnier me
So unprofessional. As a bigger person, I am mortified every time I have to get into my bathing suit to swim laps. But my husband always tells me, “at least you are doing something about it!”
It is hard enough getting the guts up to get a gym membership, even harder to work out in front of people and even harder to pay for a personal trainer, positive encouragement is what is needed.
I would speak to a manager about him! He isn’t there to truly help people.
I’m glad your husband is supportive! As someone who was there and terrified of getting in my swimsuit, I can relate. But at least we are trying, right?
Tiffany @ Dance.Lift.Run
OhMyGawd… what an @ss!! This is seriously one of my biggest fears about going back to the gym (fyi, I think we go to the same one now). I know most people are thinking “good job” or don’t even care because we’re all there working out for the same reasons, but it’s that few that think “what a fatty” or give you ‘the look’ and it’s espeically worse when it comes from a trainer — the ones who are supposedly there to help you! You should check out the Wall-o-Trainers to get his name and report him. And tell me who he is so I don’t use him if I decide to get some training sessions. 🙂
Tiffany @ Dance.Lift.Run recently posted..VLOG: Weeks 4 & 5 Weigh-In
Oh no! My hope in sharing this story was NOT to discourage anyone who has a fear of going to the gym or getting a personal trainer. I hope I haven’t scared anyone off. 🙁 The truth is, there are a-holes everywhere, even at the gym and I’ve had my fair share of bad trainer/gym experiences. I never let it keep me from going. I was determined to lose the weight and get healthy. Who cares what some jerk says or think?
You’ll have to message me privately about which gym you are going to. 🙂
OH, no no, I know there are jerks everywhere, and it won’t scare me off from going to the gym. 🙂 It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned it’s about ME, and no one else, even if I have to work through some fear.
Also, I was in such a rush to post my previous comment that I didn’t notice that you’d linked to my blog… THANK YOU! 🙂
Good! Don’t get scared off!
It was my pleasure to post the link. I could really relate to your post.
I have a friend who is overweight who has been laughed at by other gym goers. She has also repeatedly had rude comments yelled at her or rude comments made while she is outside exercising. It makes me sick, especially because she is clearly trying to do something about it by exercising! Ugh.
Erin recently posted..Madison’s Grill
Oh, that makes me so sad. 🙁 I am really sorry to hear that about your friend. I hope she isn’t letting it get her depressed. She’s TRYING and that’s all that matters.
I remember when I used to have people yell rude things out the car window at me when I was walking on the street. It always made me angry, and then sad, and then I’d eat my feelings later. I have to say, it was quite the shocking experience when it started happening in the opposite way–people yelling NICE things out their windows at me! “Who, me?!”
Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not
I thankfully have never had this experience at the gym..but it’s always been a fear of mine. I have a wonderful trainer and a great relationship with all the other trainers, too. Exercise HAS to be fun for it to stick, and I would hate to have someone discouraged because of others being cruel. I would have also been livid the rest of the day!
Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not recently posted..Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Casserole with Cauliflower Crumb Topping
I am SO glad you haven’t had this experience and have nothing but good, positive relationships with trainers and gyms. That’s how it should be!
How rude and unprofessional! I would have said something to someone at the front desk… The ladies at the front desk are usually nice and helpful. Well at my gym they are!
I am so glad that my trainer is lovely! He always listens to me and gives me advice and support.
It sounds like you have a fantastic trainer! That’s a rare find–keep him!
Wow… that is so sad, but to me, not surprising.
I’ve worked with a couple of great trainers, but they seem to be far and few in between. It is very difficult to find a gym and a trainer where you are comfortable and it is really really unfortunate that even if this idiot gets punished, he’ll just take his trash talking outside. I really hope the trainer treats the first guy right and doesn’t use negativity to motivate him!
People always talk. The gym I go to is at work and even though people will say great encouraging things to your face while you’re there, so many of them go back to their friends and make snide rude comments. Especially those who go to the gym, not to work out, but to say they worked out.
I use those people as motivation. When things are tough at the gym and I see the judgement, I remind myself that I am there to be healthy and fit no matter what my size and that I could probably kick their butt on many of the exercises!
That’s really disappointing that your coworkers are so snotty! I never will understand why people keep tearing each other down when you’re just trying to be healthy. I’m glad you aren’t letting it discourage you.