The Gym Bunny:
She may be cute, but she comes in wearing too much (any) makeup and enough perfume to choke a horse. She “doesn’t want to build huge muscles, ‘cause that’s gross” but is more than willing to hang all over yours. She’ll do Zumba, and cardio, and spinning, and even use some of the less threatening machines, and maybe the five or eight-pound dumbbells. Yet, when asked if she wants some help, she’ll respond “That’s okay, I think I have it figured out”, when obviously she doesn’t. Unless she trips over something, she’s not likely to hurt herself, but when she doesn’t see any dramatic change in a couple of weeks, she’ll leave.
Or, you can try to lend a hand. Now, I’m not saying this will actually work, mind you, because some of these bunnies are so far off in La-La Land as to defy description, but an offer to show her the right form on a single exercise at a time (she won’t listen to more than that) might get through. If you tell her that this is how (pick a female celebrity) does it, she might listen.
Otherwise, there’ll just be more room next month.
Da Skinny Kid:
He walks in undernourished, with pipe-cleaner arms and legs, and no visible musculature at all . . . but he’s read all the magazines and immediately attempts to do a routine that would make Dorian Yates puke. He’ll be so sore that he’ll not come back in for a few days, if at all. If he does come back, he’ll be certain that he must’ve done something wrong, and just maybe start asking for advice. If he does, and you have the time, and you’re not going to tick off the gym staff for keeping him out of their overpriced and ineffectual clutches (if you’re at a large commercial chain gym, anyway), then see if he’ll take the time to let you know what he’s eating and what he’s done for any kind of athletic training in the past. Sometimes you’ll hear Little League baseball, or running, or maybe swimming. For diet, he’ll tell you he eats whatever his parents put down, plus all the fast food he can gulp down.
Take it easy on him. I was there once – and was lucky to find a sympathetic gym owner who was willing to help, even though I slipped a couple of times and called him “Mr. Weider” because of the guy in all the magazines. Ask if he’d like some help with a routine, and give him a nice, simple 3-day-a-week whole body routine, or at most a 4-day a week split that he can handle. If he says “oh, this is too easy” tell him to start slow, and work up to the bigger stuff. Let him know you did, too.
Clue him in on the difference between protein, carbs and fat, and how much is good for you.
Who knows, he might remember you when he’s Mr. Olympia.
The Aging Businessman
He comes in warily, likely as not because either his wife or his doctor told him he had to get into shape. It may be overweight, cholesterol, stress or just fatigue, but he doesn’t really want to be there. He’s determined to try, though, so you have to give him some credit. He may have a program given to him by his doctor.
It was kind of a shock to me, getting back in the gym after my back surgery – there I was, wishing I was in a gym with more real weightlifters and bodybuilders, rather than a bunch of aging businessmen . . . when I realized that, at 55, I WAS one of those aging businessmen. Luckily, I had help, in the form of a local trainer, who was very experienced, and agreed to plan my program and diet because I was part of the local branch of a national club.
Not everyone has those resources, so you may want to step in, again, if you have the time. Offer some gentle suggestions about form, first, and learning to move again. Encourage him to take some time to get to know how his body works. Habits take 3-4 weeks to set themselves in your mind; training needs to become a habit for him before he really starts pushing himself. His body will let him know when he’s ready, if he just listens to it rather than letting his ego do the talking.
If not, let him wear himself out, get discouraged, and make more room for yourself.
It’s your choice.