FitnessPatterns makes front page of reddit! Live Q/A

I volunteered 7 hours of my fitness services during a live Q/A session HERE (My username “HeartAtak”) to help thousands of people find the motivation to start their New Years Resolutions with helpful workout knowledge! Read my responses below to see the truth about for-profit gyms & exercise.

Some of my responses should answer your questions and may actually be similar scenarios you experienced! Enjoy! (If you still have a question ask me!)

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Comment: I’m not sure I can really put my faith in you. I respect your credentials and experience but I’m just not sure here.

You said that pretty much all supplements are “unnatural” and useless, when there are completely natural supplements such as creatine, glutamine, fish oil, etc. which have scientifically proven beneficial effects. There is no substitute for hard work, good diet, and rest, and only a fool believes that a tablespoon of creatine and some curls a day will get you jacked, but plenty of supplements are not bullshit. I suggest you do some research, there’s great stuff out there!

Also, most serious weightlifters will recognize Planet Fitness as an intensely for-profit gym that hooks those “New Year’s resolution” folks but provides them no incentives to stay. Their business model is not based around improving their clients’ physical fitness, seeing as how it’s almost nothing but cardio and weight machines, the latter of which often force you into unnatural movements that can get you injured and also are not as effective as free weights. Plus, they kick you out for grunting.

My Answer: Thank you for your comments.

I do not recall stating, “All supplements are “unnatural” and useless”.

I simply do not think highly of supplements and prefer people go the natural route.  People seeking supplement advice SHOULD SEE A REGISTERED DIETICIAN not A PERSONAL TRAINER.

I agree some supplements do wonders for people hitting plateaus and rough patches. However, I do not suggest beginners load up on them based upon the SIZZLE of (most of) the MARKETING B.S.  My PERSONAL take as a trainer, which is MY take not everybody’s, is to NOT push supplements. I respect if you use them, get results, or know people that use them. Again, I defer to the R.D. 🙂

I am not here to push Planet Fitness. I am just a member. I am sharing my experience. Everybody has their take on what works and what doesn’t.

Honestly, people could save the money and workout at home. However, most people at home will turn on the tv and eat. There is no one size fits all solution. It is a tough situation. But I agree that any gym giving away tootsie rolls, pizza, and bagels is NOT helping the situation 🙂

Thank you for your remarks!

Questioner Response: Thanks for replying even though I didn’t have a question. You’re a cool dude.

I totally agree, because I don’t like to see beginners loading up on mass gainer stacks and preworkouts they don’t need, or even experienced people buying stuff just because it has a cool name and a jacked guy on the label. It’s just the use of the word “unnatural” that bothers me, because supplementing with creatine or fish oil is no different than taking a protein shake – it’s just a more efficient way of getting raw materials without eating ungodly amounts of food. It’s not like you’re pinning 800mg of test every day 😛 I’d consider that unnatural

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Question: What percentage of people actually use their gym membership?

My Answer: AWESOME question! I wish I knew the exact answer. That will be different per club. I can tell you from my experience at a large gym we had a small regular AM crowd and decent sized regular PM crowd. I would guess anywhere between 5-25% varies per club. Big range but some clubs are huge and informal, others small, intimate, very caring.

Honestly, I think what happens is 2 part; 1. confusion – people think they will join a gym and be shown exactly what to do…. yeah right, that rarely happens. 2. optimism bias – behavior change does not happen overnight. Think about babies; how many times do they fall before they can finally walk on their own. Parents and family ENCOURAGE them to succeed and they learn to do it! Same goes for gyms… you need to surround yourself with people who support you to be successful.

From my communications studies; people need 2 things to adhere to a new behavior or message: 1. motivation – people lose this over time (New Years resolutions crowd)  2. ability – We all have the ability to exercise but see #1. We lose motivation for many reasons.

Join a gym for free health care…. your workouts are free health care..

Sorry I do not have statistics but I do know the human behavior patterns are very predictable. We are a lazy creature :-O

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/85961891@N08/8662933741/ (not the best quality pic, but look at the behavior pattern) This is why I named my website FitnessPatterns!

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Question: Do personal trainers lie to get clients?

My Answer:  I do not believe personal trainers lie to get clients. At least not the good ones anyhow. 

Buy sessions NOW! This is the environment at commercial gyms....
Buy sessions NOW! This is the environment at commercial gyms….

Personal trainers in big corporate gyms typically work on 100% commission and have to sell X amount of sessions per month to make sales goals etc. Sometimes these trainer will “TTWTWTH – Tell Them What They Want To Hear” to sell a few extra sessions.

Example: “Without a trainer you might hurt yourself. It could take you 6 months to reach your 30 pound weight loss goal. BUT! If you work with a trainer you will not get hurt and might reach your goal in 3 months!

Again, trainers are VERY GOOD but sometimes the corporate structure causes them to be very pushy, much like “the stereotypical car salesman”. (no offense to car salesmen)

Audience Response: I don’t even talk to the trainers in my gym any more. It’s a bit of a shame ‘cos I’m a friendly guy but I just get the impression that I’m wasting their time. The only reason they seem to talk to me is to sell me personal training that I will never buy (one session cost more than a months membership) and a few have got pretty butt hurt when I’ve turned them down after them chatting me up and all.

My Response: Excellent points. One commercial gym I worked for set the same “atmosphere”. Maybe how people feel when they walk onto a car lot. I keep using this analogy bc I feel people can relate.

You do not want to be SOLD. I understand you on this one. This is why I LEFT the corporate fitness industry to do my own thing! The sales ruin the environment for good regular members such as yourself 🙂

Just remember you can be friendly but let them know you are HAPPY with your body and routine!

Audience Response: This is the exact reason I quit my job as a personal trainer.

Audience Response: Same here.  I switched to the group exercise scene.  Spin Instructor.  I was able to help people change their lives and not be pressured to rack up numbers.

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Question: How effective are personal trainers?  

Do you think people use trainers for motivation,  maximum results,  or a combination?   If I were to get a personal trainer how can I best go about reaching my goals and what can I do to ensure we’re a good fit for each other? Thank you for the Ask me anything Q/A session!

My Answer: Thank you for the wonderful questions.  I believe personal trainers are VERY effective (when affordable). At a previous gym where I worked, less than 3% of the membership base could afford hiring a trainer. Translation: Personal training is effective only for those who can afford the service (not many people)  🙁

I think people use trainers for hundreds of reasons. Everybody has their own reason for hiring a trainer. Motivation, accountability, attractiveness, workout partner, gossip partner, need the extra PUSH, boredom, etc.  Many people it because the results are pretty much 100% as long as your honestly follow the tips.

If you were to hire a trainer; tell the trainer what you want SPECIFICALLY. Example: I want to lose 20 pounds, fit into my size 6 jeans, and run a 5k in 18 minutes…. be specific. (Not your goals, just using examples). Be sure the trainer UNDERSTANDS and repeats your goals. Also, the NUMBER 1 rule is you have to like him/her. If you do not like the personality do not hire them. Kinda like a date…. do not force a second, third, and…. 20th date if you buy a package….

Basically, you like the trainer, you are good to go. IF there is awkwardness, then…. maybe look for another person. You are NOT stuck with whoever performs your fitness evaluation. You are the customer, you are always right! Good luck with your workout goals!

Question: I’m a 30 year old woman, 5′ tall, and 400lbs. Where the hell do I start?

My Answer: Thank you for the question 🙂 Also, going to the gym is awesome! Do not let anybody tell you otherwise!

Start with a plan. You need to have goals. Write down your biggest grandest goals. Then divide them by 10.

Hypothetically, your goal is to lose 50 pounds! That sounds like a crazy never going to happen goal for most people. Well, divide it by 10 and now you have 10 – 5 pounds steps! Lose 5 pounds, not too hard, repeat! 🙂

At 5′ tall and 400 pounds you want a medical clearance from your doctor before starting a workout (as does any person really). Be sure your doctor tells you what you can/can’t do and take this to a trainer. For that kind of person, I would suggest hiring a trainer and dietician for maximum support and motivation 🙂

The most important thing for you will be BEHAVIOR CHANGE. All the little changes will add up to weight loss and healthier happier lifestyle in the long run! You can do it!

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