AX Fitness is small studio owned by a female trainer AKA me. We have two part-time trainers and a volunteer membership committee. I wanted to get some ideas out of the heads of my clients about how to increase membership, offer better satisfaction, music list suggestions, and whatever may be helpful (within reason and budgetary restrictions). So, we recently implemented a suggestion box at AX Fitness and we just completed the first month of suggestions. Lucky for me, there was only one drawing of male genitalia and the rest of the suggestions were reasonable.
One suggestion that inspired this blog post is that we implement regular weigh-ins with quarterly body measurements. New clients often want to know why I am not tracking their weight. They wonder why don't I take body fat measurements or other body measurements. I realize that I may lose clients because I choose not to indulge in these so called "measurable" results. However, I strongly believe that fitness and health goals are not tied to the numbers on a scale or a measuring tape. There are healthier, performance based ways to measure success. We could complete our first obstacle race or 5K, make a team that we tried out for, or maybe our damn jeans look really smoking hot on our finely tuned ass! The way we feel, the way we function, and how we go about our day-to-day happenings by living this positive lifestyle are entirely more important than what that scale reads.
AX Fitness is based on functional, sustainable fitness and overall well-being. We want our clients to be long term members not just stop in for the occasional fitness kick. We accomplish this by building a supportive community that can identify and associate with this lifestyle choice. We train athletes and average people who want to discover the athlete within themselves. We nurture an entire healthy lifestyle and we know and celebrate that fitness looks different on everyone. We have recently partnered with Performance Meals USA to provide in-house meal options for all of our clients and neighbors for the different stages of their fitness. By providing all the areas of wellness and fitness, our clients will be successful with their personal goals.
So, why doesn’t weighing and measuring take place at AX Fitness? First of all, real life is not like the The Biggest Loser. We all have jobs, commitments, and lives that distract us. We need to be reasonable and realistic about making lifestyle changes. Our bodies won’t be dramatically different in one month. So, the people that hit the gym hard for two weeks before they go on vacation may be able to squeeze into their swimsuit but it is a temporary fix, not a lifestyle change. They lost water weight. All of us can do that with some success. When a person begins a workout program the body goes through different stages of transformation and many times they will weigh more or not lose pounds according to the scale. The body is shifting from fat to building muscle. We’ve all heard it: muscle weighs more than fat. You will be able to identify the significant changes more quickly with how your clothes fit or even how people react to you. When you feel better, you have more confidence. People notice this. I have watched many clients transform before my eyes. They build lean muscle, get stronger, feel better, and look fantastic. They do all of that without obsessing over the numbers on a scale or by measurements that may hurt their overall mental and emotional health.
A fitness lifestyle is personal. If one day we are up five pounds how will we react? Many people get upset, beat themselves up, start to worry about what they did wrong, starve themselves, binge eat to comfort themselves, start to become obsessed with working out, losing weight or even begin an unhealthy trend leading to eating disorders. AX Fitness will not perpetuate societal or government standards. We will not tell a fit female that she needs to lose weight because of governmental BMI standards even though her health care provider has several times. The doctor measured her height and weight and used it to calculate an overweight BMI which is a total crock of shit. They use the same standard for everyone. It does not matter that we all have different bone structures, body types, or if we are just fit and carry more muscle than fat...if you don't fit in the box you are overweight according to those standards. The closest that we can get to an accurate reading on BMI is with the underwater method and scientists are not even in agreement on its accuracy. And, no, those stupid little body fat calipers are not accurate because there is too much room for user error. Other electronic methods are a crock as well. I have used them many times working at the big box gym. So, the answer is that we are not that kind of gym, we are not those kind of people, and we will never fit into any box and nor will I suggest any member of our community to do so.
BUT CHRISTINE WHAT IF I AM NOT GETTING THE RESULTS THAT I THINK I SHOULD BE?!
Many trainers hear this and many trainers are blamed when clients do not see the results that they expect in the amount of time they expect it. You would not believe how many people walk into my studio and think I can change their entire life in a few short weeks of training. Here are a list of questions and issues that you need to identify before blaming your trainer, your job, your overall lack of time, or whatever your reason is for you not reaching your fitness goals:
- Have you made fitness a priority?
Are you scheduling around your new healthy lifestyle? Have you made it a lifestyle change for your entire family? Are you using your kids, significant other, friends or family as an excuse not to eat right or to miss classes?
- Are you using cost as an excuse?
Why doesn't your health fit into your budget? Can you afford medical bills if you don't take care of yourself? Seems like you can make a car payment, have a smart phone, cable, internet, an expensive hobby, vacations, go out to dinner, spend too much on lunch because you tell yourself you don't have time to pack a healthy one, go to social events, concerts and movies, and you spend money on clothing and alcohol. So, why is it that you can't afford a fitness program? Oh, that’s right, the studio is too far away for you to drive to. You can just go to the 24 hour gym down the street for less money. Go ahead...you do that...self motivate. You couldn't do it before and that's one reason why you came to me in the first place. Most people can't and there is no shame in admitting that...but go ahead tell yourself that you are going to go the gym every day and get an effective workout. Give a corporate gym your money. They count on people like you to NOT to show up.
- Are you really putting in the time?
In the kitchen? With your nutrition? Are you educating yourself? Are you getting enough sleep? Using preventative holistic health aids? This is your life, you only get one go around...are you HAPPY? If not, can you identify why and are you willing to do what it takes to find it? Do you have long and short term goals?
- Do you have a medical condition that could be hindering your progress?
Including any past or present eating disorders that you may need help with? I cannot diagnose you or train you out of it but I can direct you to someone that can help you.
- Have you properly healed from old injuries?
Did you put in the PT time? On the flip side, are you using old injuries as an excuse to not work up to your potential? People do this all the time. “Oh, I have a bad back or a bad knee.” Does anyone really know what that means? It's just bad because you say so? Or has it been previously injured? Well, let's strengthen all the muscle groups around those areas, put in some mobility and flexibility time and see if we can improve that. Does that work for you? BTW your trainer is not a doctor and does not play one on TV. We cannot diagnose you and you need to understand the difference between temporary discomfort and actual pain from injury.
- Are you surrounding yourself with positive people who want to live the same fit lifestyle?
People that can support you, guide you and be there to help drag your butt back to your program when you fall off your wagon? Someone that you can try new recipes with, grab some coffee with, go to the dog park with or sign up for for a local 10K or organized bike ride with?
In conclusion, while I will not mandate weekly or monthly weighs-ins as part of my prescribed fitness program. I do weigh my personal training clients if their number one goal is fat loss. However, we do it once a month and I request them to remove any scales from their home so that they cannot obsess over the numbers, stress themselves out and become counter productive. I feel that it is important for us to know our approximate weight and to note whether there are any significant changes that could implicate a medical issue or that we simply partied a little too hard in Mexico.
THIS Trainer OUT