It's About Helping People
I've held off on writing about this for almost a month now. This concept, or conviction really, has been in the forefront of my mind for weeks now, and I can't shake it. This concept has to do with moral conviction in the field of personal training. Here's how this started:
I did a free consultation with member of our gym after he had left a negative review of the consultation he'd already had with one of the other personal trainers at our facility. I was told by my supervisor that I just needed to satisfy this member by any means necessary.
In talking with the member, we'll call him Johnny, I found out that when he met with a personal trainer the first time, they really pushed buying personal training to get him to his goal, and at the end of the consultation they didn't give him a 30-day outline (something we do in that consultation) or a copy of his measurements (body fat and circumference values). They had told Johnny that he only got a 30 day outline if he bought training, because the outline was how you schedule they're first sessions (which is false).
Now, I started asking Johnny questions, and the more I learned the more frustrated, and even angry, I became with my fellow coworker. Like most people, Johnny wanted to lose weight and get stronger. He was just shy of being a full 5'10", weighed more than 300lbs, and with a body fat percentage in the high 30's, he was at high risk for a slew of obesity related diseases. But it got worse. Johnny told me that 10 of the 12 relatives that had passed away in his family had all died of heart attacks. Johnny was ticking time bomb. He needed help.
This is where it really got to me. I gave Johnny as much help and planning as I could offer. I loaded him up with resources and homework. Anything I could do to get him on the right track, I made sure he had available. But somehow, by either not seeing all of the pieces, or really just having a severe lack of moral conviction, someone whose job is to help people didn't because the person on the receiving end didn't have the money to pay for it.
Since when, in any good conscience, is the worth of a human life valued so little that you wouldn't help someone because they couldn't pay you? As a personal trainer, I understand that what I can do for clients has a ton of value and that it is a service worth the money (I also understand how expensive it can be), but the thing that is of the utmost importance is that my job is to help people. Many personal trainers don't get into it for the money, as personal training is a tough job to make a solid living off of. Most of us get into it because we love to help people.
To me, that's what it all boils down to. Valuing someone else's life enough to help them free of charge doesn't devalue the service you offer to people, it reinforces it. Because it shows people you care enough about their life and their goals that you're willing to do what you can in the limited time they can afford. I don't make good money as a personal trainer, but if I have to continuing living in my parent's basement so that Johnny (or whoever else) can continue to live in general, then that is something I am willing to do. Ultimately their life is worth more than a month's rent on an apartment or the newest gadget money can buy. Their life holds more value than money can afford, and if you are a personal trainer or fitness professional, I hope you see that too.