I used to think of trainers as an athletic type of samurai; Rogue souls, thoroughly trained and well-educated in their trade, who wandered the fitness landscape, helping those less fortunate than themselves for modest profit, but ultimately serving no master with authority greater than their own.
But over the years, as I’ve become better acquainted with the craft and achieved my own level of mastery, this illusion has all but vanished. Too often, my command of the Fitness Arts exceeds much of the litany of those masquerading as trainers.
I fear the art of Fitness & Strength Training is suffering. The true Masters are fewer and further between. As the onus on personal health and the role exercise plays in aiding it continues to grow, the numbers of people flocking to tender their services will also continue to swell. Just like any other profession, some will operate with honor and genuinely assist those who seek their guidance, while others harbor shady or nescient intentions, simply hoping to turn a quick buck.
Something needs to change. If the profession is allowed to progress at its present course, we’ll have more Sith Lords than we will Jedi Knights. Not only do potential trainers need to better educate themselves, but they also need to learn to act the part. It’s a package deal and one that could go miles in restoring a bit of luster to a dulling vocation.
This is why I’m setting forth a simple code for budding trainers, one that could help a new generation uphold the traditions of the profession and build a stronger clientele.
I call this code The Way of the Barbell.
While the real estate market cools down from ‘red hot’ to ‘still over-priced’ in various parts of the country, there exists one area in which real estate remains as precious a commodity as ever. It’s one where people battle for every square inch, certain neighborhoods never lose their value and ownership in some areas gets flipped countless times a day.
I’m speaking, of course, about the gym.
By its very nature, real estate (i.e. space) within in a gym is highly valuable. The bigger a gym, the more machines an owner can install and the more members they can service. With hundreds of thousands of pounds in bulky machines, equipment and weights needing a home, you rarely see a gym with unutilized space. No matter what the square footage, open areas, like those often used for stretching, core work or free weights, are like the rain forest — rare and rapidly shrinking in size. Why leave a space needlessly unoccupied when you can fit another treadmill or a roman chair there?
Every gym has those ‘neighborhoods’ (like the Hip Abductor machine) that aren’t as popular as other hot spots (like the Olympic Flat Bench). Luckily for gym patrons, we pay a set monthly fee and are not charged by the areas we choose to inhabit. Otherwise, gentrification could make the Leg Curl or the Hack Squat machines much more fashionable and affordable choices for those priced out of the ever-popular Adjustable Benches or Smith Machines.
While we make not pay in dollars, for many of us, time is indeed money and not a resource with which we can afford to be reckless. In your youth, you may have been able to afford waiting around for an open bench for ten minutes, but nowadays, time is tight and you need to get your “money’s worth”.
If the gym were your city, the fitness real estate market might look something like this…
“Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” — Harry Truman
Harry would know, wouldn’t he? After all, he dropped the big one.
(Yes, ‘Fletch’ was on TV today)
In a bid to do my part for this world, to try and emulate the deeds of exceptional heroes from days long past, in order to build society back up after years of tearing it down (i.e. talking shit about it), I’ve embarked on a quest to redeem myself by undertaking a task of herculean proportions.
I’m going to solve the world’s problems.
Dear Dr. Ademoa Waziri:
Re: Nigerian Bank Help
Good doctor, let me open this correspondence by expressing my deepest regret and concern for what is happening in your country. No doubt, you are currently experiencing hardships of the which the like I have never had to endure. I can’t say I’m totally familiar with your plight, but I do watch ‘Lost’ and one episode (with the mysterious Mr. Eko) dealt almost entirely with your great homeland. It looks quite dangerous at times, with all the warlords and drugs and what not. It’s quite obvious why you can’t trust your own banks and need the help of an American.
You’ve finally done it. Instead of paying lip service every time you stuff your face with pizza, you’ve actually chosen to get off your derrière, expend the energy and make the necessary sacrifices. Changes are on the way. You’re devoted to the cause. And, this time you’re actually going to stick with it longer than three weeks.
Congratulations, you’re joining a gym.