Here’s a story for you. We don’t have many older men (aged 50 or so) but one came in one day and wanted to join. He was pot-bellied and had no visible muscle — like a lot of men I see. Since we don’t have many like him, I was determined to get this guy solid results. Even though he only paid for group class, I worked with him privately before and after group sessions and I coached his movements all the time. I was bound and determined that this man would succeed.
To my surprise, in about three months we had done the impossible — his gut was gone and he had a little visible muscle showing even when he wore regular clothes. I was so proud of him and happy at what we had accomplished, and he seemed happy too. And right at the height of that happiness — he vanished.
He disappeared from group class, didn’t return my calls or emails. I had no idea what happened to him.
Six months later, I bumped into him on the street and not only had he gained all the weight back, he had put on more. But what shocked me was his attitude.
He told me that what we did “to” him was dangerous. He said that lifting weights was dangerous, that “lifting weights over your head will make you short” even in adults. He really believed that BS. When i asked him where he had heard such nonsense, i was told this was common knowledge. He said that the protein we wanted him to eat was bad for his kidneys. And he was actually a little angry at me.
I was just stunned. I tried to offer some half-hearted rebuttals to his BS but I couldn’t believe what i was hearing. Here was a guy that i had gotten good results with in every way. I had gone out of my way to teach him how to squeeze the core so he wouldn’t hurt his back. I had taught him how to improve his posture through correct exercise technique. We had improved his health by getting him to cut carbs. But all of this went against the common nonsense that normal people believe about weight training and fitness. In the end, their arguments were more persuasive to him and he believed their BS because he was weak and it was easier to just agree with the masses than it was to admit our methods had worked.
When you actually care about the job you do and the results you get because it’s more than a job to you, then stuff like this hurts. It hurts bad. I didn’t know what to do or say back then and I still don’t today. I made an emotional investment in fixing this guy and he threw it back in my face because he wasn’t worthy of the gift he had received.
Since then, my outlook has slowly shifted and I’ve become harder as a person and a trainer. i still put myself out there but i make people work for it more than I did in the past. And I spread my efforts a little wider these days so the people that aren’t worthy of what we provide can be dropped in favor of those that are.
So that’s one story. Stay tuned, I have more.