Finding Help: Buyer Beware

When it comes to fitness, if it hurts, DON’T DO IT!

So far this week we’ve been talking about helping others. And I’m a BIG fan of that. Today we’re going to talk about finding help for yourself.  And I’m a BIG fan of that too.  But in finding help, you DO need to be careful.

Settle in my little chickies, and I’ll tell you a little story–an instructive parable as it were.  At one point in my life, when I was deeply worried about being thin, I panicked and I hired a personal trainer. Now believe me, I think having a personal trainer can be an awesome investment. But in this case, I was ruled by panic. Did I check to see if this guy was certified? Nope. Did I ask to talk to other students of his? Uh uh. Did I even do an online search to see if this guy was a maniac? That would be negative. I saw the guys phone number on the gym bulletin board, I called him and I started working with him.

I should also mention that at the time I could barely afford to buy food or medicine. But that didn’t matter because this guy was gonna do it. He was gonna make me skinny and from there on out my life would be PERFECT.

I should have known from the very first workout that this guy was not for me. The FIRST thing he did, before he did an intake questionnaire or asked me about my fitness level or fitness goals or potential health problems was to plunk me on a treadmill, crank up the speed, crank up the incline and to tell me to stay on there for 20 minutes. And by goodness I DID stay on there for 20 minutes.  Sweating, wheezing, heart pounding, and feeling sick, I staggered over to where he was reading a muscle magazine.  “Wow,” he said.  “I wasn’t really expecting you to do the whole 20 minutes.  Now we can get down to some real work.”

Now my little chicklettes, that scenario is what we in the business call a “clue”.  The guy basically threw me into a “maximal” testing situation where he intended to test me to failure, but he didn’t check my history first, he didn’t monitor me and, here’s something important, he DIDN’T BOTHER TO TELL ME that’s what we were doing.  Dangerous? Yup. Epic stupidity?  Yah, you betcha!  But he later confessed he didn’t tell me because he could tell by looking at me that I was “soft” and he didn’t want me to “wimp out”.

But did I yell at him? Did I quit giving him money? No I did not.  I kept training with him because he was thin and muscular and I was fat.  I trained with him for months.  Unable to walk after our exercise sessions, frequently vomiting in the locker room after workouts and feeling sick and miserable, I worked with him until I got injured and couldn’t work out any more.  And I guess you can tell at this point, I’m still pretty darn angry about it.

Look, if I had tuned in with my instincts, which were SCREAMING by the way, that I should RUN (well at least stagger) away from this guy, I could have avoided a whole lot of heartache and saved money to buy something awesome, like shoes.  But I allowed my feelings of insecurity and false hopes to lure me into getting myself hurt.

So my little chicklettes, the lesson is this.  Please do seek help.  We all need help from time to time.  No woman is an island.  But please seek help that is competent, qualified, and compassionate.  Do your research first.  Shop around.  Ask questions.  Ask for references.  Ask for qualifications.  Any trainer, doctor, therapist or coach who doesn’t want to give this sort of information to you is not worth considering.  And if your instincts tell you that this isn’t the right person for  you or that you don’t feel safe, leave.  Take your toys and GO HOME.

Because my sweet little chickadees, when it comes to helpers as with everything in life, you deserve only the best.

Love,

The Fat Chick

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2 thoughts on “Finding Help: Buyer Beware

  1. Julianne

    Thanks for sharing your tale of learning the hard way so that we all might be spared a bit of the crappitycrap you went through with that trainer!

    Reply
  2. Jennifer

    This is such a great post! So often we do think of someone who has the “right” look, lifestyle, etc. as an expert. Of course, sometimes even those with appropriate qualifications are still not educated enough to earn my business: personal trainers that encourage body hate, psychologists spouting crazy ideas, licensed/insured contractors who don’t have a clue what the customer is talking about. Understanding that we are an expert in our own life and learning to trust our instincts can be so hard when someone else seems so appropriately authoritative.

    I’m sad to hear this story, but so glad you are sharing it with your readers.

    Reply

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