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A funny thing happened to me on the way to nowhere (treadmill)

So I do this thing on the treadmill at the gym... I do 25-45 minutes walking fast, depending on how long I have (my workouts are sometimes at lunch)

But as I lose weight, I would like to run a bit. My fitness level isn't there, so I am working toward it by doing 4-walk 1-run cycles.... I basically run every minute that ends in 4 or 9, using the time meter on the tradmill as an easy indicator of when to break into a trot. As time goes on, I will increase my times, or change to a 3-walk 2-run ratio. It's a common way for non runners to approach running. Sometimes I feel like throwing an extra minute in there, but basically I follow this routine and each week consider upping it. I've been doing this for two weeks, and it's worked quite well.

A woman who works in the gym walked up as I was running and started pushing my incline up, my speed down, and told me to stop running and use the incline instead to increase my heart rate. She came out of nowhere, reached accross me and started pressing buttons, and basically took over my activity without my asking her to get involved.

She was not someone I had worked with or talked to, and she had no idea what my program was, what my level of health was, and yet she punched my buttons and stopped my run.

She then got a calculator and started lecturing me about heart rate and it's relation to muscle or fat burn. Information I was aware of and had my own agenda on. First, she didn't know my heart rate, but once she did she calculated it as perhaps 5-10 beats higher than she liked and suggeted I slow down. It is true when you get a touch higher than your fat burning zone, you burn more muscle and less fat, but when you intensify your workout you also burn more... period. We all have different goals. For some of us intensity is what we need, want and like. Some days I do intensity, other days I do endurance. That day I was doing what I planned on doing, and was - I think - interfered with.

I was polite (and sweaty and windy) and didn't want to debate with her. I appreciate she probably meant well. I know they probably train gym personel to intervene when they see someone who might need help, but I thinking clicking my buttons and forcing me to alter my routine, unsolicited, was a bit too much of a good thing.

How would you react to uninvited intervention by the employees in a gym, especially if they came to you in the middle of a run, or while raising a barbell, putting up a jump shot and interfered with that you are doing?

Would you welcome that, or react as I did... with just a bit of ire.


Thu. Jul 27, 6:36pm

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Wow. I think that what she did was dangerous. I am nervous about tripping or falling when I change my own settings on my own treadmill. I would seriously consider having a talk with management to make sure that no one in that gym ever does that again. Seriously. I admire your self-control.

Thursday, July 27, 2006, 6:50 PM

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Wow - that is dangerous, not to mention rude. Most trainers I have seen go over to people afterwards (unless they are hurt or endangering others) and just chat and offer some advice/other options. I haven't ever seen this. I probably would have just said - who are you and why are you touching my treadmill? I mean like you said, she probably has some good ideas, but what a turn off.

Thursday, July 27, 2006, 7:35 PM

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Yeah I think I would have been a bit startled and rude before I slowed down and possibly attempted to be thoughtful about what the person was doing and why. I don't like others invading my personal space especially when I am fully engaged in some activity. I wouild complain to the management at my gym - that could have been dangerous had you been startled enough to fly off the back of the treadmill.

Suggestions i have no problem with, but the approach was very questionable to say the least!

Thursday, July 27, 2006, 8:35 PM

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That behavior would get her fired at many gyms. It's a HUGE liability. And never ever ever should someone interrupt your workout!

You really should talk to the management and just let them know (I have a lot of friends who are instructors at gyms all over the country and this would be their advice, too). Tell them that you're in good shape, but what if she did that to someone who wasn't. Never mind, what if you weren't trying to lose weight? Her behavior is also a bit offensive.

My personal trainer had me working to get strong, then when I TOLD her I was ready to start losing weight, she changed up my program. But she didn't just assume that's what I should be doing.

I probably would have been a little bit rude, myself.

Thursday, July 27, 2006, 8:42 PM

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wow-what a self-important b*tch. completely inappropriate. she should have waited till you were done to have a talk with you, or come up to you and say she has a suggestion for you. what she did would have royally p. me off!!!

i would ask to speak to management at you gym (like other posters suggested) and let them know what happened and that you don't think it is an acceptable way to correct someone. the woman needs to be reprimanded! You could have fallen!

Friday, July 28, 2006, 1:05 AM

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I would have gone ape-shit on her, who does she think she is?? I worked as a personal trainer for 7 years, and I would NEVER have stopped anyone unless an anvil or something was going to fall on their head. NEVER. She should be fired.
BTW, most trainers that act like that think they'll embarass and intimidate you into becoming one of their clients. You feel vulnerable, taken by surprise, etc, and they want you to think "I obviously don't know what I'm doing. I should get help."
I wouldn't be surprised if she had a myriad of certifications. But what a JERK. A bit of ire? I would have MADE A SCENE!

Friday, July 28, 2006, 9:11 AM

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well, I'll play the devil's advocate here and say - we are only hearing your side of the story. I agree, it is really odd for her to physically change your settings but something motivated her. This woman might have some valid concerns about the way you are approaching your routine and I think you should step back and opne your mind to her suggestions.

Friday, July 28, 2006, 9:12 AM

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Sorry devil's advocate...

...but anyone with even ONE gym-related certification knows that it is absolutely WRONG to adjust anyone's settings EVER. Especially mid-workout. I've heard about this happening in spinning - teachers turning up the resistance - great way to hurt someone and get sued. She really should be reprimanded.

Friday, July 28, 2006, 9:30 AM

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you are missing the point ...whether or not the trainer is reprimanded, the OP might still consider if there is any validity to the general thrust of her remarks. PT seems to often satisfy people's need to find support for decisions they have already made, for better or worse, and all this support can sometimes obscure the real issues and prevent learning.

Friday, July 28, 2006, 10:10 AM

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i beg to differ about the point that trainers ought to NEVER adjust a setting for someone working out. i had many trainers assist me in finding the proper weight/resistance/incline for me to obtain a real workout that produced real results. i agree with the poster who said to try to gain something from what this woman suggested-even if her approach upset the OP, she may have valid points.

Friday, July 28, 2006, 10:21 AM

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Thanks for the perspective all... I am the original poster.

I might add that I actually did try to gain some perspective from what she said. Her argument about heart rate concerned me, and I took it up with MY trainer.

The point was never that she didn't have a point. The issue was she just came up and flipped my machine's controls having no idea what my experience level was or what my goal was. I have my own trainer (sort of) and she offered her advice, and her fingers on my buttons, without asking.

But I'll take a Devil's advocacy postion against myself actually.... I imagine in a gym there are a lot of people who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. No doubt, in some ways, I am one of them. I'm sure there are people who have hurt themselves in the gym. I even imagine I could be one of them some day and I don't have ill will for the gym people trying to keep an eye on things.

But I consult a trainer, do that workout every time I'm there, and ultimately the question was about her making the assumption I needed help. Had she asked me if I wanted to talk about heart rate and strategy after my workout, I would have been eager for the free advice. But stopping me when she had no idea what my goals and abilities were was not the right move.

I don't go so far as to say she should be fired, or yelled at, but I think we reached a near consensus here that they were better ways to offer help.

Thanks all


Friday, July 28, 2006, 10:56 AM

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