I had a Jerry Maguire moment today

I want to preface this by saying that I love my job. My manager is wonderful, and the really is a sense of community between my coworkers. It’s difficult and often frustrating, but I feel that I rise to the challenge and I am doing my part to positively influence people’s lives. I wasn’t this content when I worked at Gymboree, and that’s saying a hell of a lot. Awesome job.

I had a woman come in today, but not to buy a membership. She wanted to see if she could have a trainer show her how to work out at home. I ignored that statement for two reasons: one, because we don’t allow guests to use our resources without paying for them; two, because why in the hell would you come to a gym to look for a home workout? Crazy talk. So I press her for information, politely, of course, and she tells me her story. She is clearly obese, has sciatica and diabetes, and and she informs me that her husband and son are obese as well. She and her husband were members years ago, but they stopped coming after a couple months because they weren’t seeing results and got discouraged.

That was my first red flag. You can’t be 100 pounds overweight and expect to see results in a few months. You didn’t gain the weight in a few months; why would it come off that quickly? This tidbit tells me that she has no idea how to work out or what reasonable expectations look like.

So we’re on the tour, and this woman is excited about everything I show her. I’m pushing personal training harder that I usually do, not because I get commission, but because she clearly needs it. She has admitted to me that she needs help, she acknowledges her ignorance and her need for consistency. The personal trainer is going to be the only thing that will keep her going and that will give her the help she needs. I tell her this a few times, and she agrees. I ask her more about the “doing it at home” plan. She and her husband walk, sometimes, and they have a bunch of exercise machines and dvds that just collect dust. She also loves to swim, and they don’t have the pool. She’s a perfect person for our gym and we both know it.

By the time we get back to my desk, she’s told me about all her health problems, her medications, and how she still has so much life to live. I show her the prices, and everything goes to hell. She tells me that her husband would never agree to $45 a month, and he’d say they can do it at home. I tell her that I appreciate how expensive it looks on paper, but clearly, the at-home approach is not working. Her response: “I know”. It’s in that embarrassed, apologetic voice. I tell her I understand what a huge step it is, coming in here and making this choice, and that we can offer her all the support she wants. “I know”. Your diabetes is reversible. You back problems are reversible. You won’t have worry about those medications if you make a commitment to helping yourself. “I know.” At the end of the day, she decided, it was too much money. She left. After an hour of discussing her wants and needs and fears, she walked out.

This has happened a few times, and I want to shake the guest every time. When they tell me that they want to live a long life, but they don’t have the money, what I want to say is “Obviously, you don’t want to live that badly. By doing nothing, you are killing yourself.” How much money do these people spend on machines they never use, on diet pills, on quick fixes? But when it comes to doing the hard work, it’s too much money. It’s $1.50 a day. $1.50 a day for a new life. Are you kidding me? I can help you. Help me help you. Help ME help YOU. The way these people get in their own way just astounds me, and it makes me want to scream. YOU ARE DYING FASTER BECAUSE YOU ARE FAT. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO FIX IT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.

I am not for a second saying that making a life change isn’t hard. I cannot begin to comprehend the amount of dedication that takes, because I’ve never had to lose a large amount of weight. That’s why we have trainers. That’s why we provide a support system, a record of member’s successes, nutritional plans, everything. They know how hard it is, and they don’t want anyone to go on that journey alone. So there’s no excuse. There’s laziness, there’s weakness, but there are absolutely no excuses.

I’m so jealous of Jillian Michaels. She gets to say all this stuff to people’s faces. Where can I sign up for that job?

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