Standing my ground

Standing my ground

First of all, apologies again for my blog shenanigans! What I thought was going to be an incredibly simple process turned into a big headache. I hope I haven’t lost too many readers during my switch over, but everything should be fixed now. In case you missed it, make sure you check out my last post – I’m now offering programming services through the blog!

If you remember, I went for two job interviews last week. You can read about the first here, and now I’m going to tell you about the horrendous process that was the second.

When I arrived at the gym, I was really surprised to see only three other trainers there for the interview. There were two positions available so it was basically a 50/50 shot. I immediately felt confident as we were called upstairs, and was very impressed with the interior of the gym. It was in one of the most expensive suburbs in London, so I imagined finding clients would be a piece of cake.

The interview was a two-hour practical session. While I read the emailed instructions and came prepared in my finest Lululemon, two of the others had to get changed. I went to the bathroom, while the one remaining candidate went upstairs with the two interviewers.

I made my way upstairs before the other two, and was surprised to see my fellow candidate walking out of the interview before it had even begun! I had no idea what was going on, but I heard him mention that he was a bodybuilder and 30 minute sessions wouldn’t work for him. Before I had time to ask any questions, the other woman and man joined us and we then began the strangest interview of my life.

First up, we each had two minutes to run the others through a warm-up. Easy enough. They then said the next part of the interview would involve us showing them how we train ourselves. Awesome, I thought, I can rip out some heavy deadlifts and squats and show them what’s up. As my mind was racing about what to do first, they then told us our personal workout had to be completed with a specific piece of equipment.

Any guesses what I was given?

A bosu ball. Wow. I think the look of disgust on my face was pretty obvious, but I tried to pull it together. Never, ever would I use a bosu ball in my own workout but I seemed to impress them, God knows how. Coming up with five Bosu exercises is no easy (or respectable) feat!

Woohoo!

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We then had to rotate, and I had to do three minutes of exercises using TRX and Kettlebells. While these two aren’t so bad as using a damn bosu ball, these are pieces of equipment I do not regularly use in my own workout. I would never take someone through a workout involving only these three pieces of equipment.

As we caught our breath following the mini workouts, we then learnt all about why the previous interviewee had walked out. The gym operates a policy of only allowing 30 minute high-intensity workouts, for maximum benefits in minimal time. The workouts are performed as Tabatas and only “Crossfit-style” weight training is allowed. I groaned just typing that.

At the end of this spiel when asked if we had any questions, the other two just shook their heads and smiled. Me? I had a few questions!! Firstly, what happens if your client wants to work out for a full hour? Tough luck, apparently. This is one place where the customer most certainly isn’t always right. Everyone has to be in and out in 30 minutes, which would mean I would have to find twice as many clients as in a normal gym. The head PT was very quick to insist that it wasn’t just a money-making scam. Right.

Secondly, with only 30 minutes, do you usually recommend that your clients warm up and cool down on their own? No. Right….so you spend two-thirds of the “workout” warming up and cooling down, and only do 10 minutes of actual work? No wonder we have an obesity epidemic.

Obviously, all of this is completely against what I believe in. I want to train my clients to lift weights seriously and not like a jackhammer. High intensity workouts and tabatas certainly have a place, but not in the foundation of my workout philosophy. Unless people are serious pros, they have no business in performing serious lifts as fast as possible. And I sure as hell am not putting someone through a bosu ball workout without very good reason.

Nevertheless, I had travelled quite a way to get to this place and I refused to walk out now. Maybe I could even convince them that my training style was far superior during the follow-up interview?

We then took turns training each other for five minutes. My ‘client’ had an imaginary shoulder injury so naturally I did a lower body focused workout. But they told me to do a bench press – on a stability ball, of course. Oh hell no. We had no access to weights other than one set of dumbbells (but no bench!) and they just kept telling me to make it higher intensity. It took all my strength not to just snap back that we should go do some one rep maxes!!

We then wrote out some practice programs, did some stretching and used this ridiculous new piece of TRX equipment.

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Despite my attitude, I’m confident I did better than the other two. My workouts were exactly what they were looking for, even though I would never actually do something like that with a real client! Apparently they’re holding more interviews this week and will be in touch with everyone, regardless of whether we make it through to the next round or not. Either way I’m not taking the job.

I’m lucky I have an amazing husband who has already found an awesome job coaching the best junior tennis players in England, because he has told me to wait it out and find something I’m truly passionate about.

I didn’t become a personal trainer to work at some monkey gym, and I certainly don’t want to act as someone’s puppet promoting a philosophy I completely disagree with. The next day I visited a studio I just love and I had a good, long chat with the owner. He really liked me and would have been happy to hire me on the spot, had he not just hired another woman. He did, however, tell me to wait it out as they are always looking for serious female trainers. So perhaps I just need to be patient for a couple of months…

Do you think I made the right decision?

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