Have you ever encountered someone who literally sucked the life out of you? They look so innocent and speak timidly while asking a question. They reveal their weakness and short comings to you. Then they manipulate you without you even realizing it. And then when you want to leave and run away, they follow you. You don't want to be an ass to them so you try to politely make your escape. But you realize that you are cornered. You have to deal with them. And when it is all over you have lost time, money, health, and mental well being.
I dealt with one of these information vampires today and it left me dead on the treadmill.
This girl,...lady,...whatever you want to call her, came to my Power Flex class today. It is just like Body Pump if you are familiar with that. I had never seen her before. After class a few people approach me to ask questions, like they usually do, and she is in the crowd. When it gets to her turn she timidly and with what I thought was broken English (this person was of Asian decent) asks me how to "make better" her triceps as she pointed to the flab of skin hanging off of her upper arm. She goes on to compliment my arms saying she wants to be toned but not as skinny as me with veins on my arms (thanks for the compliment). I give her some suggestions and she proceeds to ask me if she can strength train every day. This tips me off that she does not know much about fitness. While other people are patiently waiting to ask me a question I politely tell her that she needs to put a day in between strength training sessions.
I get to the questions of others while one of the class members politely puts up my equipment for me. Then I get hit again with a question from Ms. Time Monopolizer. This time she asks if the treadmill or the elliptical trainer is better to loose weight. Vague question. So I try to explain intensity and the effect of impact on an exercise. She proceeds to tell me about how she has lost 10 lbs. in the last two weeks by cutting back her portions (showing me a frighteningly small portion size on the end of her hand), overcoming hunger pangs and cravings, doing some running/walking, and sitting in the sauna. She told me that she was from California visiting and she was driving around town in the car without the air on and the windows rolled up and she REALLY felt like her metabolism was melting the weight off of her. I had to break her bubble and tell her she was sweating the water out of her body and as soon as she had a drink of water, she was back to where she started.
She was sad and heart broken by this news. Again I chalked it up to her not knowing much about fitness. She said thank you and wandered out the door. As I was gathering my gear and answering someone else's question and walking to the door, she reappears with another question. I looked at my watch. It was now 30 minutes after my class had ended! I needed to to a workout on the treadmill and get it done to get home before the kid got off the school bus.
This time her question was about personal training and wanting to be a personal trainer. She thought she was so good at loosing 10 pounds in two weeks that she wanted to help others. She was a school teacher but she wanted to teach people how to loose weight. I told her that she was going to have to get certified by ACE, ACSM, NA...... "STOP! I should write this all down! Do you have a pen?" I told her I did not have a pen. "I will go find one. Are you staying here?" "No, I am going to go run," was my reply. She dashed out of the room and I headed to the bathroom to make a pit stop before getting on the treadmill.
I exit the bathroom door and there she is waiting for me! (Cue psycho music...)
My head was starting to pound as she tried to write down information and kept asking me to repeat things. I grabbed the pen out of her hand and started writing stuff down for her. I wanted to speed this along. "How long is it going to take me to get certified?", she asks. I tell her that she is going to have to pay around $650 for text books, study materials, and to register for the exam. There is a testing date or testing window that is usually 90 days after you get the materials. "OMG! That is so expensive!" Yeah honey, welcome to my world. I then tell her that she needs 20 hours of continuing education every two years to stay certified and that can cost anywhere from $600 to over $1000 to complete the courses. "Well I really want to teach Pilates."
WILL THE QUESTIONS NEVER END???!!!???
I try to quickly explain that to get a Pilates certification is not easy and is a multi year process. She asks me for details and where she can get trained. I angrily jot information down on her paper and tell her that any of the training programs will require that she has taken a college level Anatomy and Physiology course and they recommend a personal training certification. "What is better I take Anatomy at a college or course from Balanced Body University?" I told her that it was up to her how much money she wanted to spend while waving my running shoes in her face. I told her she had to start with the mat work before she would be able to learn the material on the different apparatus. "Oh I want to teach reformer. I don't like mat stuff." I sternly told her that the mat work was the foundation to all Pilates work and that in my honest opinion that the mat work was harder than the reformer work. I was answered with a blank look that required me to explain why.
I wanted to chew my leg off where it was caught in the trap. I wanted to escape without being a total asshole to her. Customer service is priority right??? Well why was I feeling like I was getting worked over? I had discovered that this seemingly ignorant gal knew more than she led on at first and that she knew just enough from fashion magazines and the Internet to be dangerous. Do I feel she could be a competent personal trainer or Pilates instructor? NO!!!
"OH I so glad that I meet you and came to your class. You have given me so many good ideas!" WHAT!!! Ideas??? Don't be going there sister! I look at my watch. It is now 51 minutes after my class has ended!!! I should have been getting paid for this with all the information and the f--king ideas you sponged off of me! It is FRIDAY! My work week is DONE!! I want to run on the treadmill and now I will not be able to get my whole workout in before I have to leave and get my kid off the school bus!!!
Because I was polite and nice to a fault, this was a win--loose situation. She won, I lost. She got what she wanted and I lost time, money, health benefits, and sanity. By the time I got to get on the treadmill I could not relax into my intervals and had to jump off to hit the bathroom again and then my legs would not cooperate and I had to keep from tripping and having the belt spit me off the back end.
TO HELL WITH IT!!!
I packed it in and went home and got to the corner just in time to get my son.
Here's hoping that you do not encounter an information vampire and that my Saturday is better than my Friday.