Tag Archives: try before you buy

The Terror of a New Exercise Class

Signs that maybe that exercise class isn't quite right for you...

Signs that maybe that exercise class isn’t quite right for you…

It’s Halloween time so I thought I would talk about one particularly scary situation.  We’ve all experienced the trepidation of starting a new exercise class.  And many of us have experienced the gut roiling horror of finding ourselves locked into the exercise class from hell for 30 minutes, 60 minutes or an eternity depending on the severity of our crimes in some former lives.  Finding yourself “stuck” in a miserable, embarrassing or even dangerous exercise class can turn you away from exercise for a long, long time so I thought I’d share some tips for helping you to avoid this situation.

 

1.  Trust your instincts.  If your walk into a class feels like a jaunt into Dracula’s castle, listen to your gut.  I give you absolute permission to walk into a class and turn right around and walk back out.  If you walk into the classroom and some harpy screams at you for taking her “spot” and the students are speaking  in hushed tones about last week’s fatalities, and the teacher is sniffing you to decide whether or not to suck your blood, then for heaven’s sake, get OUT OF THERE!

Listen to Brenda. Don’t go in there! Uh uh!

2.  Ask to observe the class first.  This little tip can save you so much heartache.  How many times have we gotten ourselves into the middle of a class that just isn’t right for us, but felt to embarrassed to leave the workout floor and walk out in front of everybody?  So we keep on slogging through the exercise class from hell that seems to last  just fifteen minutes from forever?  Don’t do it!  If you ask to watch first, you’re making it clear to the instructor that you’re not sure that it is right for you.  If it looks super easy and fun, then join in!  If it like a nightmare from hell, just walk out.  It’s that easy!  Honestly!

3.  You don’t have to do everything the teacher says.  You should always free to modify moves or not do them at all.  If something hurts, don’t do it!  You can simply march in place or even sit down until you feel ready to join in again.

YOU decide when you've had enough!

YOU decide when you’ve had enough!

4.  Talk to the teacher first.  If you share your concerns with a teacher ahead of time,they can often steer you in the right direction.  They might advise you about the best way to cope with their class, or they may steer you towards a different class altogether.  In any case, communication is key.

5.  Keep your sense of humor.  Even exercise class disasters can be funny if you keep your sense of humor about the whole thing.  As long as you don’t allow yourself to get injured, you’ll simply have a great story to tell or at least something to blog about!

See a new exercise class doesn’t have to be so scary.  Just try these tips and have a ball!

 

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

 

 

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Buyer Beware: When the Trainers at the Gym are Big Stupid Bullies

dumbellsWhat happens when you sign one of those one-sided, draconian gym contracts and then find yourself verbally and emotionally abused by the trainers in that gym?  Think you’ll get out of the contract?  Maybe, maybe not.  In the ever growing pile of “stuff on my facebook feed that makes me totally aggro” was this story on a site called Consumerist.  This site shares stories of people who feel they have been ripped off.  I am disappointed that the Consumerist felt the need to redact the name of the gym, although they are happy to name other companies (Kohl’s, Michaels) in other stories.  Maybe they felt that the gym was so small it might be a little too easy to figure out who the bad guys are and where they park their cars.

Anywho, the story’s victims, Shayla and Mr. Shayla joined a gym.  They took the first of their two “free personal training” sessions with a trainer who “pressured them” to sign up for personal training services.  (*Note this happens very often in some gyms.) When the couple (both plus-sized) mentioned that they were going to try on their own for a while, the trainer looks at their bellies and says, “Obviously what you’re doing so far, isn’t working.”  So Shayla and Mr. Shayla tell the manager they want a different trainer for their second (and final) free training session.  But now the first trainer is harassing Shayla and Mr. Shayla at every opportunity.  The wronged couple jumps through many hoops to try to talk to a manager.  When they finally get through, they ask to be let out of their contract.  They are denied at every level.  As Shayla says, “I am forced to watch them deduct money from my credit card each month (a portion of which, naturally, goes to my abuser), with no recourse until my contract expires.”

At the end of the article there’s an opinion poll asking:

Should the gym let Shayla out of her contract?

___No. If she doesn’t want people to point and laugh, she should lose more weight.

___No. She should wait and see whether her complaint does any good first.

___It’s her fault for not buying personal training sessions.

___Yes. Everyone should be able to find exercise that suits them in a respectful, jerk-free environment.

First of all, let me tell you that I was able to maintain the tiny thread of hope I hold out for humanity when I saw the responses–over 92 percent voted for the final “yes” response.  But I have to tell you, I thought of a few other options:

__Yes.  And if the company won’t do it, she should contact her local television station and share the story for a potential “expose” story.  Lots of stations love these stories and companies should expect public humiliation when they allow their employees to humiliate customers.

___Yes.  And Mr. and Mrs. Shayla should get x-large t-shirts printed that say, “I don’t train with [Name of personal trainer] cuz’ he’s a bully.” and hand them out in the gym parking lot.

___Yes.  And somebody should remind that gym about what happened when 24 Hour Fitness thought it was cool to put up billboards that were insulting to fat folks.

___Yes.  And redacted, my @ss.  I need the address, phone number and license plate number of that bozo that was doing the bullying!

But seriously folks, there are a few important lessons to be learned here.  One lesson is to be very, very careful when you join a gym–especially for a period of time of one year or longer.  There are many super-awesome completely reputable gyms that will give you a wonderful, safe, comfortable place to work out.  There are, unfortunately, also a number of gyms out there who just want to get you to sign a contract and  will never, ever, like for any reason, let you out of it.  They don’t care if you have a good experience.  In fact their idea of the perfect customer is the one who is a perpetual member who never, ever shows up at the gym.  Don’t believe me?  Go take a look at some of the complaints with your local Better Business Bureau.  I’ll bet at least one group is about a lousy gym with bad business practices.  Buyer beware, people.  Check out Yelp.  Google the name of the gym you are considering and the word “complaint”.  Ask around.  If you do get a contract, there should be a reasonable clause in it for both parties to opt out.  Don’t listen to any glib verbal assurances given by the salespeople.  Go with what’s written on the paper.  Consider trying the gym for a month or even three before signing up with a contract.  If there are no month to month or even 3-month options, consider this a red flag and check even closer into the gym’s practices.  Again many gyms are awesome, but some clearly are not.  Be careful.

And finally, yay for Shayla and Mr. Shayla for standing up for themselves.  There is no excuse for any fitness professional to treat you with anything other than courtesy and respect. EVER. None.  Zero.  Nada.  If this happens to you, call it out, complain about it, but don’t put up with it.  Because people of all sizes deserve courtesy and respect.

Love,
The Fat Chick

P.S.  Looking for a safe place to work out?  How about your living room?  You could always try my live streaming classes.  They are totally cost and contract FREE!

You Can’t Buy Fitness: Why Buying Lots of Stuff Won’t Get you Fit

How much did you spend on that device for hanging laundry?

How many of you out there started a fitness program by buying something expensive like a big piece of exercise equipment or a long-term plan at the gym?  And how often did you think, “If I paid all this money for it, I’ll surely stick with it!”?  Did ya think feeling guilty about your purchase would make you work out?  Did it work?  Or do you have an extremely fancy place to hang fine washables otherwise known as a treadmill?

Look, I myself have gone down this path many times.  And it has failed me many times.  Because there is a very annoyed little kid inside me that resents being coerced into exercise based on guilt.  And she rebels.  That kids says, “No way!  I ain’t gonna play!”

This cycle of spending money, feeling guilty about spending money, trying to use that guilt to fuel an exercise routine, not exercising and feeling extremely mad at myself went on for a long time in my life.  In fact, I had to declare a moratorium in order to stop the cycle.   I can remember for a period of two years here in Los Angeles, I took a moderately-priced and absolutely fantastic dance class.  You could for the classes one at a time, or pay in groups of 10 or 30 classes.  Of course the more classes you bought at one time, the cheaper the class was.  One day, the teacher finally asked me, “Why do you not buy a group pass, when you come week after week?”  I finally admitted, “You know, I think I come week after week because I never bought a group pass.”  Yup, this was a cheap Jedi mind trick, but it worked for me.  I went to that class two or three times every week for nearly two years.

I think this is because handing the money over for each class allowed it to feel like a treat.  I had saved up for that class and was lucky to get to dance rather than fulfilling an obligation.  It may seem crazy that I went through all of that and paid extra money because I couldn’t get my inner kid to stop pouting over my previous and devious attempts to fuel exercise with money.  But that kid pouts to this day.  And I still pay for exercise options a little at a time.

Now that I teach exercise and sell books and DVDs and sell training, of course I’d love for people to make big investments in exercise.  But I really just want people to work out and learn to love their bodies and love exercise again.  And I’d rather that folks just buy a book and then read it or buy a DVD and then watch it, than have them buy a gabillion dollars worth of my stuff and never use it.

So my little chicklettes, I’m encouraging you to dip your toe in the water.  Try before you buy.  Just buy one book or one DVD.  Buy one week of training or consulting.  Find a gym that doesn’t penalize you too heavily for paying weekly or monthly.  Because working out is not an obligation to be dreaded, but a very special treat.

Love,

The Fat Chick