Thursday, August 2, 2012

Act Like an Adult

The last several weeks at the gym have been super busy for me. Several of the trainers left and as a result I ended up with schedule that was Nuts-to-Butts, to the tune of about forty sessions per week. This is more than double what I usually do during the school year.

My sessions start at 6 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. Two nights a week I then go to volleyball practice which gets over at 11. In bed by midnight and then back up at 4:45 the next morning for work. This doesn't leave a lot of time for what we call "sleep". Imagine my dismay this morning when each of my clients at 6, 7 and 8 all strolled in 20 minutes late as if it was no big deal.

Are you shitting me?

These are adults, we are talking about. Not 17 year old high schoolers. Adults. With jobs and families and responsibilities. People who are paying approximately $90 to spend an hour with me, just sauntering in like it's no big deal. I get it, it's tough getting out of bed so early in the morning. You know how I know? Because I have to wake up early for your session too.

My client at 6 this morning actually told me that he was late because he was so tired from his day on Tuesday. His day off from work. No big deal, bro. I was pretty tired too, but I managed to get to the gym at 5:30, so that I could be prepared for your session that you apparently don't give a shit about.

Showing up late for a session with me expresses the feeling that you don't give a damn about the importance of my time. That you don't place a high priority on my work or our results. And that's what it comes down to, right? Results? As my client, you expect certain results out of me. As the trainer, I expect a certain level of hard-work from you. Given the constraints of our schedule (1 hour each time, 2-3 times per week) I am able to figure out what results are realistic and in what time frame.

When you start showing up late on a consistent basis, I can no longer consider those results viable. In fact, it makes it really tough to even plan workouts for you. You already move like a turd, so I'm not going to compromise on your mobility and movement drills, so we are going to get in less exercise. Less exercise means fewer results, which then makes me look like a shitbum. And you know what? I'm not a shitbum.

Clients, please just show up on time, act like an adult. No one is forcing you to be there. You're with me because you want results; now give me the opportunity to get them.

Have a good day and go lift something heavy!


  1. When trainers at my gym complain about late and/or absent clients (or clients who cancel late or last-minute), I tell them they need to address it with the client the first time, keeping in mind that most clients aren't aware that the pay structure -- and the work you put in "off the clock" writing their programming -- is based entirely on their attendance. Here are some of the suggestions I give those trainers.

    - Late clients: Let them know as you start the session that you have an appointment immediately following their scheduled time, so you'll be ending promptly at 7; they bought your time from 6am to 7am, not for an hour from whenever they decide to show up.

    - Clients who cancel late/last minute: Let them know the first time that the reason we have a 24-hour cancellation policy (if you don't like it, you shouldn't have signed your training contract) is that you get paid when you train someone; if they cancel early enough, you can fill that time. If they don't, they just cost you gas/a meal/the last bit you needed to buy an engagement ring, and if they do it again, you're going to have to charge them for the session anyway.

    - Clients who no-call/no-show: Tell them to respect your time; roll your eyes if they give you a plausible but dumb excuse, and remind them you don't get paid if they don't show. They can only do this once; if they do it again, not only are you going to charge them for the session, you're going to drop them as a client, as well.

    By the way, Mike, I think you do an awesome job in this space and you come off as both hard-working and intelligent, and the next time I get out to Boston (I still have family in the area), I'm going to see if I can work out a session with you.

    1. Josh I appreciate the kind words! If you ever make it to Boston let me know!

      In regards to your bullet points, my gym (thankfully) has all of those things set up already. We even get paid if a client late cancels (within 24 hours, or at our discretion) or no-shows the session. People who show up late still finish within their allotted time, and we've even been known to give someone a 10 minute workout: 5 minute warm-up, 5 minute stretch session. Done; see you next time.

      In a perfect world, clients would all value our time and their money!