I cannot take credit for a single word written below (although, I wish I could). This was an amazing blog post written by Thomas Plummer last week. I just have one question for you after reading it, are you letting them get away with it?
Don showed up to the club everyday, six days a week and had been doing that for 11 years. He became a member the third month the club opened and he considered himself one of the original members in the club. The only day he missed was Sunday, and that was only because his wife said she would divorce him if he didn’t at least go to church with her once a week.
The group always met in the big chairs in front of the shake bar every morning. The average age of all the guys, which sometimes numbered as many as six, was about 60. Everyone in the gang ambled in for morning coffee around 6:30 a.m. carrying gym bags, or if they were retired, they sported every old, tired tee shirt and short combination imaginable. No one wore new stuff, unless it was after Christmas and you had to wear what your wife gave your for at least a week, because new stuff wasn’t as cool as wearing the same beat up workout shirt for 10 years in a row. There was status in a tee shirt that was old and most of the shirts were either acquired free or were from some long forgotten vacation.
These guys were gentlemen loved by the staff and the other members. If one missed, the group was concerned and if anyone needed help the gang was usually there moving furniture, helping with a home project or doing whatever was needed.
Sometimes these guys even worked out. Most of them did the same circuit, using the same reps and same weights, year after year. On off days, they all walked on the treads slowly talking to each other up and down the row, but never fast enough where you couldn’t hold a good conversation.
Don died of a heart attack at age 60 and he died because we failed him. He died because we all knew that what he had been calling fitness for the last 11 years was in reality nothing more than a gentle stroll on the tread followed by a circuit that hadn’t challenged his body since the first month he started as a member.
We failed Don, and all the other guys, and all the other members like Don, because we knew that what he was doing wasn’t good for him or enough of a challenge and we let him get away with it.
Of course there might be other reasons associated with Don’s death, but for 11 years, six days a week, we knew that what he was doing in this gym was working against him and we definitely did not do our job and intervene.
The real issue is how hard do you want to push the Dons in your business? Even trainer gyms have clients that do as little as possible and after a few years we just let them get away with it. We love them, take their money, and make a few suggestions that they should work harder, but mostly we accept that fact that this client just isn’t motivated and he just keeps moving at his own speed.
We do not do the clients, members or ourselves any good by ignoring what we know to be harmful behavior. If you have these members, you have to do whatever possible to change the behavior and at some point you might be better off pushing enough that the client either changes or leaves. We can justify ourselves and say that at least Don was moving a little every day, but in reality we could also show how much we care, and how much we believe in what we are doing, by pushing hard to get more out of the people who give us money, but don’t get what they pay for in exchange.
We owe guys like Don our best attempt to give them more then they sometimes get from us. We have to remember that we are in the fitness business, not the clubhouse business and if we know that what the member is doing is detrimental to his own well being then we need to sit the member down and have the talk.
If you accept the money; then failing the member is not an option, and the responsibility becomes ours to do what we can, and beyond, to help every member live a long and healthy life.
~ Courtesy of Thomas Plummer