Sunday, December 12, 2010

On nicknames and advice.

So I have this client, unfortunately I cannot really tell you much about him. Privacy reasons, obvi. But I will say that he's older, and our primary goal in the gym is to get (and keep) him moving for 30 minutes. We usually get through five machines, all the while working his strongest muscle—the masseter. Otherwise known as the muscle that opens and closes his jaw.

He's a Chatty Cathy, my client. He's also equal parts precious and grumpy, and he picks on me. So I pick on him. We get along great. He calls me Buttercup.

I figure there are worse things I could be called, and thankfully I've never been called them. Hope to keep it that way, really.

There's another gentleman at the gym that consistently calls me Triple T, which stands for Tara the Trainer. Another jokingly calls me Trouble.

I kinda enjoy these nicknames. Along with the individuals who say them. In fact, I quite enjoy all of the people I've met at my job so far. It's really been so very social. Given my somewhat regular schedule, I tend to see the same people day in and day out. And since I've been there about six months at this point, I've been able to see some of them make fairly great advances in their fitness.

I've also been able to spend some time quietly observing the fitness floor during peak (and not so peak) hours. Yes, I have things to do during these fitness floor hours, but sometimes I get to stand back for a few minutes and study the way people interact with each other. It's fascinating, really. One thing in particular I enjoy—the exchange of advice. I tend to keep an eye out for this scenario just in case anyone offers bad advice, but mostly because I enjoy seeing the reaction of he/she who is getting the advice. The giver is not always welcome, let's just say that.

If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of some unwanted advice, you might try the smile/nod method. I've seen this work a million times. Acknowledge Advice Giver (AG), then avert your eyes back to your machine. Don't be rude, just don't engage. AG will usually get the picture. If you're wearing headphones, this can be particularly effective. If they persist, pull the earbud out and say thanks, but no thanks for the advice. Politely, of course. Or just ignore the person altogether and pretend that your earbuds are so loud you can't hear them talking. You can't help it you were jammin'! Of course, if you do that, you better do it well enough. No need to cause tension.

But one thing's for certain, if a trainer comes up to you with advice—probably best to listen up. I try not to act like a know-it-all on the fitness floor, but if someone looks like they're hurting themselves, or if I can adjust form or intensity in any way, I'll step in. But I will always preface my advice with a "is it OK if..." statement. (And you should, too if you feel like approaching someone.)

And maybe that's why I've gotten only the best of nicknames so far. I keep it real, and real nice. And people generally respond with equal parts niceness.

Here I am now, right at the very end of this post, and I'm feeling quite contemplative. Reflections of a personal trainer, if you will. Deeps thoughts. Musings and whathaveyou. I am, in fact, leaning back in my chair. I'm rubbing my chin as my eyes turn up toward the ceiling. If you were sitting beside me, you might hear my wheels turnin'. I think, therefore I am.

I think I'm pretty goofy at times, and therefore I know I probably am. Bad thing? I don't think so.

Happy Sunday. Two weeks 'till Christmas. Buttercup can't wait. (And she can't wait to post another giveaway tomorrow, either. Don't miss it!)

Question: What's the best piece of unsolicited advice you've ever been given at the gym?

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