A river can be dammed by a pebble


These are strange times we’re living in.

I recently read a great blog about eliminating anything that doesn’t work from a workout program and even philosophized about carrying that over to other aspects of one’s life. Currently, I have planted a bunch of little seeds, but none of them can sprout until the pebble placed atop is removed. The same pebble seems to be holding a flood at bay (a metaphoric flood of energy and activity).

I am busy from dusk till dawn, almost like an undercover reporter, ensconced in corporate mediocrity. I read in a friend of mine’s blog, Josh Hanagarne, about attending the recent GripNRip seminar in Minnesota. While he discusses his struggles, he mentions something that I agree with, even at times placing myself in the same category, that the knowledge of the average trainer is abysmal. Now, I spent tons of money and time making myself a better trainer and still feel there is more to learn and that I will never know enough. But I do spent time applying what I learned and know my limitations. Other trainers rest on their “national certification” laurels and buy iPads, chrome wheels and expensive sneakers.

How does this relate to today’s post?
I have to be creative, cooking up a storm of activity while trying to maintain focus of the essence of what I want to do. The recession has force my clientèle to “recede” a bit. Not that I didn’t see it coming and didn’t prepare, but amidst what I want to do comes what needs to be done. My wife and I have a baby on the way, personal training has taken a secondary place in people’s priorities, though group classes seem to get more focus because of the cost effectiveness.

My friend James Neidlinger, from 5 Rings Fitness claims that in St-Paul, Minnesota, you can throw a rock and hit an RKC instructor. Here in LA, a new boutique opens up every day almost. There is one at every corner like there are bistros in Paris. So I go in and investigate.

What did I witness?
At one chain, your knowledge, years of experience and abilities mean nothing. You cannot train by offering your knowledge. There is no transfer of knowledge and skills, you start at the bottom, like their little bitch and follow a cookie cutter approach, the same for EVERYBODY!
At another, their dismal sales and low membership has them try to recruit top performers at barely above minimum wage for managerial positions, with what they call part time and encourage you to train as well as manage, with a schedule that makes it impossible for any consistent client-trainer work.
One boutique gym is trying to recoup its cost almost right away by charging an astronomical rent from prospective trainers, but is located in a non-visible, hard to access area with a ratio of client to trainer of 1:2!
And, another chain hired such a plethora of trainers that they cannot build their business (but the company cleverly does pay cuts if one doesn’t hit a certain amount of redemption, i.e. sessions trained, per pay period, thus having 20 hours/sessions serviced by 5 trainers instead of having one or two trainers service those hours. How is one supposed to build a business that way? I guess it weeds out the weak.

What’s even worse?
Gyms are now educating their clients in the art of being cheap. Mediocre, inexperienced trainers working for peanuts have become standard fare. 2 corporations I have visited, offering a health club for the employees, have trainers on staff who work for less than double minimum wage AT BEST. It becomes that when one offers a higher level of training at a fair market price, members balk and prefer to pay less and “feel” a burn rather than execute skillful and purposeful movements geared at developing a true sense of fitness. It’s like telling off your accountant because TurboTax is cheaper, or performing your own appendectomy after reading about it on Wikipedia!

Little things count. Details. A knot in your shoulder can mask a big problem. A kink in your chain can stop you from moving forward. Cheap is expensive. In my journey to grow, I find that it is hard to let go of who I am and have my compromises turn to sacrifices. I am not about to lose myself for something I don’t believe in. Do what is relevant. Prevail. Let it flow.

2 comments on “A river can be dammed by a pebble”

  1. James Neidlinger

    just got hit by a rock

    keep knocking heads mate

    if you shake the trees, the coconuts will fall out
    and the monkeys will make all the noise the jungle needs to get the message

  2. Josh Hanagarne

    Good Philippe. Good good good. That’s three goods! Truly unprecedented.

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