Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

It is a cardinal sin for a Certified Personal Trainer to cause harm to his or her client, but what if the individual in question is not your client? Are you still obligated to abide by that creed? 

I do not know how others have dealt with that issue, but for me it is rather simple. I mind my own business, unless one of two things happen. The first is if the individual performing the movement is so egregious in their manner that they will not only injure themselves but others in the gym as well, and the second, which I will now describe. 

There is another story entitled, “Which Shirt Am I Wearing” but given that to tell that story would require much more time and space, and would detract from this account, I will refrain and save it for another time. 

Anyone who have read any of my previously articles would know that when I’m working out, I am totally oblivious to anyone else in the gym, unless they are occupying a piece of equipment I need. As a novice, my workout would be hampered by someone dawdling or engaged in idle chatter, while the rest of us waited for him or her to finish. 

As I became more seasoned, I formulated a workout plan, and implemented a strategy where different pieces of equipment could be used if the aforementioned happened. So, as I warm up on the treadmill, I survey the gym, looking to see which pieces of equipment I need, which stations are being occupied, and if I know the individual using it to be an idler. 

I was doing a full body workout on this occasion. I was at the cable station doing a superset, which consisted of triceps extension and dips (triceps version). My back was turned, when a young man approached me. He was big, but not muscular. I quickly sized him up, and determined that he must be a lineman. 

“Can you spot me?” 

“No problem,” I said. “Do you need a lift off.” 

“Yes,” he nodded, walking over to the bench. 

He had the bar at 225 pounds. I helped him with the lift off, and watched in horror as he bounced the bar off his sternum. As soon as I helped him racked the weight . . . 

“Do you mind if I give you a few pointers?” 

“Yes,” he said, eyeing me suspiciously. 

“First, when you set up, make sure your eyes are in the middle of the bar. Second, don’t bounce the bar off your chest. That is a quick way to break your sternum.” 

He didn’t utter a word. He just gave me sheepish grin. I returned to finish my superset. Much to my chagrin, he did not heed my advice. He added two 25-pound plates to bar, bringing the weight to 275, but instead of asking me to spot him again, I noticed he was looking around the gym . . . 



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