Small Town Community Center Stymied with Small Town Mentality
“It looks as though you’re helping people and that’s simply not allowed.” Angela Shea wasn’t an intimidating woman. In fact, she seemed rather intent on avoiding an argument. You know those types of people; always seemingly obliged to hear about the good news in your life, and certain to follow all of the posted rules, otherwise everything would surely end up going to hell in a hand basket.
“You were engaging in behavior that looks like you might be a personal trainer and we don’t allow that here.” As Ms. Shea advised me of my “what-someone-else-said-was-‘inappropriate behavior,’” she diligently offered me her business card, an obvious peace offering at making sure “we’re cool” (her words). Ms. Shea’s job title read, “Wellness Coordinator, City of Golden, Parks and Recreation, Golden Community Center.”
In case you do not know, most gyms do not allow clients to bring in outside trainers. Rightly so; these gyms employ personal trainers and if everyone brought in their own trainer, well then… hell in a hand basket. But I was visiting this gym, correction, community center – as a guest of someone who was a paying member for ten years. A paying member who was not only performing an exercise incorrectly (a shoulder press), but was, according to her “never approached by a trainer. Not even once.” Ten years is a long time to patronize a fitness facility. It’s also a long time to never be approached by a personal trainer, especially one that worked at a community center in which you patronized for ten years.
This particular community center was quite nice. They had modern equipment–even a Smith machine, treadmills, Ellipticals and StairMasters, a swimming pool, a sauna… I could go on. My point is, most people who come to a community center need guidance, support and — training. It is the job – no, the duty – of any personal trainer, employed by a facility, representing a community, to not only be of service to the members, but to be proactive. Certainly, not to assume everyone knows what they are doing.
Is the mere act of showing someone, a paying member and friend, how to properly perform a specific exercise “inappropriate” when, without any guidance, her efforts would not only be wasted, but potentially dangerous? “Sounds like the in-house trainers feel threatened,” wrote one person on Twitter. Perhaps, but would it not be more of a community service to offer guidance, maybe even an introduction, instead of presuming someone was breaking the rules?
We learn everyday – hopefully. And the seemingly insurmountable endeavor of changing one’s body, getting in shape – and staying in shape—requires coaching. Who would possibly say no to assistance – especially if it is free, from a friend and from someone who “looks like [they] might be a personal trainer” when no one else has ever offered assistance?
Here’s a suggestion, if you see someone at your gym *showing* someone else how to work out, don’t complain under presumption, that they are breaking rules. You might just end up ruining someone else’s progress.