Monday, April 2, 2012

Radio Interview and Gym Drama

Today my interview on The Robert Scott Bell Show aired.  I say the word "um" way too many times (sad thing is I didn't even notice it at the time), but I don't think it is as all over the place as I feared it would be, so yay. And it was a fun thing to do. Many thanks to RSB for inviting me!

Click here for the link to the show (I start around minute 12, though I think the whole show is interesting).

On Friday, as I was packing for my trip to Philly, the manager from the gym I joined last month called. 

"Hi, Heather, how are you today?"

"Doing well. Thank you."

"Great. Well, Angie [my trainer] says you're on your way to Philadelphia today, but I thought I'd call and talk to you about buying more training sessions."

  Really?  So a manager thinks it's a good idea to call a busy mom, who is frantically packing, and then ask about money? Is sales/customer service really a lost art? 

 I say "Thanks so much for calling, but I would have to come in and talk with you in person, but I cannot do that until next week."  

So here I'm expecting him to say "Oh sure, we'll let's meet on Monday." or something to that effect. Instead he says "Well, I don't know what you would want to talk about."  


At this point I'm more than annoyed he's talking to me at all when he knew before he called I was busy, and then to say "what would you want to talk about?", so I reply "Well, pricing, and routine, and how I could make it work. But let's talk about this next week, please."  

He says "well, I don't know what you mean by pricing. I can give you the same deal as when you first signed up. And you have to do it now, because my pricing changes on Sunday."

Okay. He's completely lost me at this point. Don't ever tell somebody, whom you are asking for $600, "you have to tell me right now, even though I know you're very busy, and really have some concerns about it." 

I said "well, I'm very sorry then, that's too much for me to pay at this point."  At this point he says "Okay, have a good trip." and hangs up. 

What the heck?  How about "Well, I know you purchased 18, 1-hour sessions before, but we do offer 12, half-hour sessions, which could be a better option for you." ?  

I suppose this means I'm on my own after Wednesday. I am wondering if I should continue using the gym, or if I should just use the free weights I have at home. 

At some point I really have to get a handle on what types of exercises Mark Sisson recommends.  Does anybody have quick bullet points to offer on this issue?


  1. Hey Heather,
    I just listened to you on RSB's show, and I didn't even notice that you said "Umm" a lot, until you actually pointed it out here. :) Hope that makes you feel better!

  2. I have been going to Curves since 2003, but it just doesn't do it for me anymore. (BORING) I began Paleo seriously in January and now it's time to get the fitness up. I have been loosely following Sisson's fitness blueprint because it makes such sense and I already like to walk. Our winter was very mild here so I was able to keep up Nordic Walking (with 2 ski pole like sticks) and this tones 85% of your body compared to straight walking. I have added sprints 1 day a week--and now for the "lift heavy things", which will be lifting ME. I began with push ups on the wall and wall squats. One day with a few reps and I was sore the next day. Shows me the Curves route isn't working for me anymore. I also need a pull up bar or something. Anyway, I downloaded from Mark's site the Primal Blueprint Fitness download (you can search that on his site) and printed it out.If you are new, you can sign up to get the plan and intro to the Primal Blueprint program and will get a series of emails and in those emails are videos showing how to do them--clear and concise. The download book part is easy too--with 5 basic exercises with clear progressions in how you execute them. I just pulled those pages out and keep them handy. I can post the link of the videos if you like. Just let me know. I have to get going now. The money I spent on Curves I can spend on MEAT.

  3. Hey Heather,
    Wow... that is all I have to say about the gym situation. I'm a personal trainer and have worked in a commercial gym before and that is absolutely ridiculous! I honestly believe you should quit that gym and join a different one. That is completely rude and unprofessional, plus that is no way to sell training!
    You handled it well, I'm glad you didn't just give in and say yes.

  4. You sounded great on the show! I didn't notice the "ums" at all. Also, you didn't sound nearly as nervous as I would have expected. You sounded pretty relaxed, like you had been there and done that before. Good job.

    On the trainer thing. In my opinion there are only two cases in which it is a good idea to have a trainer. The first is that you're just starting out with working out and have absolutely no idea how to perform the movements, how to use proper form, what exercises work well together, how often to work out, etc. The other reason to have a trainer is if you are working out competitively (i.e. you're doing it for a living or for some competition). Other than that, as long as you know the basic exercises and how to do them properly, and how to mix them together into a decent routine, you can ditch the trainer. Further, I have seen far more instances of trainers causing more harm than good.

    After years of being a "gym rat" I have learned that less is actually more when it comes to working out. Even better, when you eat a primal diet, you can spend even less time in the gym, because you don't need to burn off a ton of calories to put yourself into a calorie deficit in order to lose weight (i.e. the 'ol hamster wheel scenario). Also, because of the amount of proteins ingested when you eat primally, muscle waste is less of an issue.

    For most people (including women), one or two intense 30-45 minute lifting sessions per week at the gym is plenty to keep the muscles toned (either full-body sessions, or an upper body/lower body split), and the rest of your exercise should come from play. With 4 kids, I am sure that there is plenty of opportunity to get some play into the mix.

    Obviously, I could talk about this particular subject all day long, but I noticed that my comments tend to be lengthy, so I am trying to put the kibosh on that. LOL Anyway, here is a Robb Wolf podcast where Mark Sisson talks about his routine (it's a little later in the interview).

    1. PS, if you want to know a pretty effective upper/lower body split that I used to use, let me know. It only takes 2 days a week and about 45 minutes per session. It's a pretty simple routine, it just takes a little explanation, is all. It's a variation of Bill Phillips' standard weight training routine. However, I'd also need to know what exercises you are familiar with, because this one includes all of the standard movements (presses, kickbacks, squats, rows, deadlifts, etc). And, no. It won't make you look like a man. Haha.

  5. Heather,

    Mark's free PB fitness eBook is great. Combine that with walking, and you'll be spending less time and a LOT less money than the gym. The only thing that I've invested in is a door-frame pullup bar, which was around 40 bucks.

  6. I go to the gym because I like weights, and started on the machines. Now that I have more muscle, I use light free is easier, when you are starting, to use targeted weight stations---it really is good at maintaining form and preventing injury---but you don't need a personal trainer to do it. Go and get a routine and then just add more weight when it gets easy. When it gets too easy, get a personal trainer for a couple sessions and make them show you more free weight moves.

  7. You do NOT need a trainer. Does your gym have a machine system like Cybex? These machines keep your form correct and make targeting all your muscles a no brainer. Start with the lowest weight and do 3 sets of 8-12 reps. Do upper body one day and lower the next visit, or split it half/half (you have to remember what you did last time). As you feel comfortable, add more weight. If you like to dance, add a Zumba class once a week and have fun while burning calories. I'd recommend switching gyms to find this type of program if yours doesn't have it. DON"T expect to work out at home. There's always a distraction or a reason to put it off. Just keep searching for a routine that you enjoy. Exercising should be something you look forward to, not dread. It took me over a year to find the right mix for me. Good luck!

    1. Actually, the biggest problem with machines is that they often do not keep your form correct, and that they can often cause improper form to be ingrained into your movements through repetition. Not everybody has the same range of motion, thus machines cannot account for all variables of movement (they keep you locked into a certain range of motion).

      This is not to say that machines are worthless. For certain isolation movements they are very good at keeping form correct, but this certainly isn't a general truth. For instance, if I am doing preacher curls the machine is going to disallow improper movements such as swaying, leaning, swinging, etc. However, using a preacher bench with dumbells is just as effective in this regard. Some exercises cannot be done any other way but with a machine-- such as leg curls/extensions. Regarding more compound movements such as bench press, squat, shoulder press, etc, machines tend to keep you locked into a movement that is incorrect, thus putting undo stress on certain joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

      The general rule of thumb that I have always used regarding machines is that if you're doing isolation movements, machines can often be more helpful than harmful; when doing more compound movements, machines can often be more harmful than helpful. I'd say that the only area where machines excel is that they preclude the need for a spotter. However, switching to dumbells or using a rack is often just as effective in this regard.

      I don't do isolation movements anymore, so it is pretty obvious where I stand.