Thursday, September 03, 2009

Take Your Advice and Shove It

There was an interesting article in the New York Times yesterday about trainers and other health club employees giving unsolicited advice to people working out at they gym. The article doesn't really come to any conclusions, it mostly just interviews a few people, some who would bristle at unsolicited advice, and some who would welcome it.

It got me thinking though, and honestly I think even if a trainer was just trying to be helpful, if someone came over and told me that I should really let go of the stair climber to burn more calories or I should tuck my hips under when I'm doing lunges, I don't think I'd like it. In fact I think I'd hate it. I do welcome it when I'm taking a class, but I think then I've chosen to do a workout where there is an instructor and I'm sort of obligated to listen to their direction. But if I haven't asked you for it, please don't give it to me.

Even though I go to a crazy crowded gym, I think of my workouts as "me" time. I am very private, I don't really like to chat or make small talk, even when others try. I think it's just the way I maintain my focus. And I also think I have a hard time with criticism, even if it is constructive. Couple that with a situation in which I'm already VERY sensitive (my body, my weight, etc.) and you might just have a recipe for disaster. Or else a very stabby Jeni.

On the surface you might say, well if you really want to improve your fitness level, you should welcome this kind of advice shouldn't you? Maybe so, but you have to look at the reality of the situation. I work out at a big (cheap) chain gym where at least half of the trainers probably got their certification online, have about six months of experience and can't remember what they had for breakfast, let alone how best to work out the quadricep muscle. I know there are exceptions to every rule, but for the most part, I think I probably know just as much, if not more, about fitness than quite a few of them. Or maybe that's just my superiority complex talking. Who knows?

The point is, I am hostile to unsolicited advice. If I ask you for it, by all means bring it on. But if I'm running my ass off on the treadmill, jamming to some punk rock music, and you make me stop to tell me I should turn my feet inward a little more, I might have to cut you. Just sayin.'

The same goes for dieting really. I mean how many times have you had someone say, "oh, you're trying to lose weight? You should join weight watchers, go low carb, get lap band, go vegetarian, count calories, go low fat" and on and on and on. ORLY? Ya think? Thanks for the advice. I'll get right on that.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I'm the same way. I would not appreciate it. And also sometimes I modify workouts to accommodate my own personal limitations, etc., and would not like it if someone came over and started interfering.