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  1. #1
    Banned Heavy_Beats's Avatar
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    Apparently the staff at my gym don't like me personal training

    I started a powerlifting club at my university and have been training people using Starting Strength at the uni gym. Today I was made aware that I was personal training, that only gym employees were allowed the privilege and told me to contact the gym's manager to get their "ok" to continue training my friends. I have been eliminating quarter squats for about a year at this gym, most of my powerlifting club members were people I taught to squat, bench and deadlift so maybe this gym sees me as a threat to their business.

    How can I get them off my back?

    I have a bad feeling about this since a few months back I asked them to display one of my powerlifting club posters they pretty much told me where to stick it.
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  2. #2
    Registered User regl8r's Avatar
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    Are you receiving compensation fir helping people? If not let the staff know that next time they approach you and just ignore them after that.
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  3. #3
    Banned Heavy_Beats's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by regl8r View Post
    Are you receiving compensation fir helping people? If not let the staff know that next time they approach you and just ignore them after that.
    I will do this, thank you. One of the guys shouted me a beer the other night at an end of year club dinner but I don't think that counts.
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  4. #4
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    They're probably just worried about liability/insurance. I don't know how the liability falls at your UNI gym. But from what you've posted it's no different from any two buddies going to the gym. As a trainer though I hate seeing people teaching their friends "how to do things", but it's usually way off. I have no issue coming up to a person and saying, "If you continue listening to your friend, you're going to hurt yourself". This MAY or MAY NOT be the situation, and the staff doesn't have the guts to tell you. (I don't know your credentials so don't take offense.)
    Have a chat with the manager and explain you're intentions. They may understand or come to an agreement.


    Other than that I don't see an issue with what you're doing. I'd like to see more groups/clubs being promoted around the gym.
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  5. #5
    Registered User broad.stance's Avatar
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    A signed letter from the faculty member sponsoring the powerlifting club should be sufficient to allow the group's training at the university gym. The sponsor will advise you on whether a student activities board or equivalent also needs to grant approval.

    Good luck.
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  6. #6
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    I work as a manager at a University gym and the reason we are not allowed to let you train other people is based off of liablility. The thing that I would do is apply to work as a fitness floor staff or the front desk person, and become friends with all the people that work there. Then they will never bother you again. It also peves our trainers out because you are techincially becoming their competition.
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  7. #7
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    I work at a university gym and ^^ is exactly it.

    You can get permission at mine, as long as the strength and conditioning manager gives it a green light. The become friends with all the staff is a good method as well.
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  8. #8
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    get hired at the gym. Tell them to create a position for you. That way you can be covered under the insurance. Otherwise if someone gets hurt, you are liable and the university gts dragged into it with you
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  9. #9
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    Besides the liability thing, what qualifies you to teach people how to powerlift? Because you do it yourself? I know how to ride a bicycle, but I'm not qualified to be a triathlon coach. I'm all for helping people out, but if you are just a student doing it for kicks then you might actually be doing more harm than good for these people.
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  10. #10
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    Make it an official club through the university, then have all members sign the official waiver. Problem solved.
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  11. #11
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    ^^Agree with the above.

    Or, until you an actual complaint from the manager himself just keep doing what you're doing. I don't see how this is any different than you and a bunch of buds coming in to lift. There's a powerlifting club at my school and they come in and sometimes take up multiple racks or platforms for over an hour (but who's complaining ) and nobody says jack. I'm thinking this is less of a liability issue and more that the employees are jealous. You probably train your club members better than they train their clients!
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  12. #12
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    I think thats exactly the case. They will not advertise you at their club because you are basically taking money from the club and their personal trainers. This is par for the course with most gyms. Are you a certified personal trainer? if you are not and you are doing personal training, and somebody was hurt, a lawyer might argue that you were "playing the role" of a personal trainer.

    While I am not an attorney the club has responsibility to its members to provide a safe environment. Allowing somebody who was not a certified employee to do personal training might mitigate the coverage /protection of their liability insurance. More than anything else though, I think it comes down to what you already suspect about their motives.

    Good luck

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  13. #13
    Banned Heavy_Beats's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JungleCat View Post
    get hired at the gym. Tell them to create a position for you. That way you can be covered under the insurance. Otherwise if someone gets hurt, you are liable and the university gts dragged into it with you
    That would be common sense and I'll suggest that but I feel they are using insurance liability as an excuse to prevent me undermining their business plan that emphasises selling memberships and preventing clients from being successful. If a guy I am training does 130kg for 3x5 last week and he does 140kg for 3x5 next week, he will keep coming back and using the equipment he paid for. Thanks for the idea though.

    Originally Posted by WoofieNugget View Post
    Besides the liability thing, what qualifies you to teach people how to powerlift? Because you do it yourself? I know how to ride a bicycle, but I'm not qualified to be a triathlon coach. I'm all for helping people out, but if you are just a student doing it for kicks then you might actually be doing more harm than good for these people.
    I understand where you are coming from, I see this sort of thing everyday. I have a powerlifting cert I did earlier this year but qualifications are not worth the paper they are printed on. I remember one personal trainer doing squats 6 inch above parallel with a towel wrapped around the bar. It seems the only way to tell a personal trainer from regular gym folks is their smug indignation when you mistake them for regular clueless gym folk.
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  14. #14
    Registered User dsquared1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Heavy_Beats View Post
    That would be common sense and I'll suggest that but I feel they are using insurance liability as an excuse to prevent me undermining their business plan that emphasises selling memberships and preventing clients from being successful. If a guy I am training does 130kg for 3x5 last week and he does 140kg for 3x5 next week, he will keep coming back and using the equipment he paid for. Thanks for the idea though.



    I understand where you are coming from, I see this sort of thing everyday. I have a powerlifting cert I did earlier this year but qualifications are not worth the paper they are printed on. I remember one personal trainer doing squats 6 inch above parallel with a towel wrapped around the bar. It seems the only way to tell a personal trainer from regular gym folks is their smug indignation when you mistake them for regular clueless gym folk.

    ask yourself this, is it worth all of this headache if there is no money in it?
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  15. #15
    Banned Heavy_Beats's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dsquared1 View Post
    ask yourself this, is it worth all of this headache if there is no money in it?
    Yes. There is more to life than making money.
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  16. #16
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    The employees of that gym aren't concerened about liability, only the higher ups do if there was a potential lawsuit. They are told to say it's a liability issue (which it is) but they don't really care about that.

    The real problem for them is simple, and that is they view you as taking money out of their pockets. Just put yourself in the GM's shoes. If you saw a member training other members how to better themselves on YOUR turf and you're not seeing a dime, wouldn't you be upset too? You would want those members paying for YOUR services, not one of your members who doesn't work for you. Now granted this is a school club and they're not paying you, but as the GM it doesn't matter. It's the unfortunate downfall of public gyms, if you want to better yourself via someone else, you're going to have to pay for that gym's training services.

    It's stupid but when someone starts ****ing with your paycheck while you're in charge, you'll do everything possible to stop it.
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  17. #17
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mikehayman View Post
    Just put yourself in the GM's shoes. If you saw a member training other members how to better themselves on YOUR turf and you're not seeing a dime, wouldn't you be upset too? You would want those members paying for YOUR services, not one of your members who doesn't work for you
    If I were the gym manager, I would certainly be upset. Not with some lifter on the gym floor, though. I'd be upset with my PT staff. Why do people prefer some random unqualified gym member over my staff? Obviously my staff aren't good enough.

    Working at a mainstream gym, I have yet to meet a gym member who knows more than me about basic barbell lifting. Which isn't to say I know everything, simply that those who do know more will tend to go to pure strength gyms - in strength coaching terms, I'm the big fish in the little pond. There's the occasional gym member who knows almost as much as me about basic barbell lifts, but that doesn't worry me, because I know other stuff, too.

    Many beginners cannot begin with basic barbell lifts, their weakness, confidence or previous injuries make it difficult or impossible - for now anyway. Heavy_Beats, let's say you meet one of my clients,
    • 50yo 1.48m 48kg woman with low-grade MS affecting balance, history of being physically active, but deconditioned after 10 years of inactivity
    • 40yo 1.90m 110kg man wanting to improve conditioning for karate, has previously dislocated right shoulder which occasionally sublaxes, and herniated discs L3-L4-L5
    • 21yo 1.75m 65kg woman wanting to "tone up", who has patellar maltracking and recently tore ligaments in her left hand so it's all braced; she cannot put her hands flat or grasp anything heavy
    • 35yo 1.90m 165kg man with frequent lower back and knee pain who wants to lose weight, has strongly pronounced increased thoracic kyphosis, ie hunched over
    Presented with these four, how do you train them? If you answer, "barbell back squat, bench, deadlift," they simply can't do it, injure them, and you fail. Meanwhile I give them other stuff, they work up to barbell stuff over some months, and I succeed.

    Heavy_Beats, what you're doing is very valuable and I commend it. But to a qualified, experienced and competent personal trainer, you're no competition at all. If the staff see you as serious competition, then they are obviously not qualified, experienced or competent enough, and deserve what they get - nothing. A competent PT has more to offer than "squat, bench, deadlift!" I'm sure you recognise that, whether the gym manager does or not is another matter.
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    If I were the gym manager, I would certainly be upset. Not with some lifter on the gym floor, though. I'd be upset with my PT staff. Why do people prefer some random unqualified gym member over my staff? Obviously my staff aren't good enough.

    Working at a mainstream gym, I have yet to meet a gym member who knows more than me about basic barbell lifting. Which isn't to say I know everything, simply that those who do know more will tend to go to pure strength gyms - in strength coaching terms, I'm the big fish in the little pond. There's the occasional gym member who knows almost as much as me about basic barbell lifts, but that doesn't worry me, because I know other stuff, too.
    Reminds me of a certain "strength and conditioning" coach for a local professional football team that was more about machines and cable flies than proper strength training, I introduced myself as being with the powerlifting club and showed him the guy I was training. My mate later told me that the guy was giving us the evil eye throughout the session from across the room. For all the qualifications he has and his prestigious position that he doesn't deserve he probably felt 2 foot tall next to me, an armature strength enthusiast and my mate that was displaying fantastic squat technique with some pretty decent weight.

    Management doesn't care about good technique or progress from their personal trainers they care about selling memberships and keeping people spinning their wheels, if their personal trainers were as good as me they would have everyone reaching their goals and coming back taking up space in the gym that they paid money for. That is why they have bullshi program cards to keep people entertained for a couple weeks before they never come back having paid for 6 months membership. I don't think I need to explain this to you but what we would want in a gym is not necessarily what makes the most money.

    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    Many beginners cannot begin with basic barbell lifts, their weakness, confidence or previous injuries make it difficult or impossible - for now anyway. Heavy_Beats, let's say you meet one of my clients,
    • 50yo 1.48m 48kg woman with low-grade MS affecting balance, history of being physically active, but deconditioned after 10 years of inactivity
    • 40yo 1.90m 110kg man wanting to improve conditioning for karate, has previously dislocated right shoulder which occasionally sublaxes, and herniated discs L3-L4-L5
    • 21yo 1.75m 65kg woman wanting to "tone up", who has patellar maltracking and recently tore ligaments in her left hand so it's all braced; she cannot put her hands flat or grasp anything heavy
    • 35yo 1.90m 165kg man with frequent lower back and knee pain who wants to lose weight, has strongly pronounced increased thoracic kyphosis, ie hunched over
    Presented with these four, how do you train them? If you answer, "barbell back squat, bench, deadlift," they simply can't do it, injure them, and you fail. Meanwhile I give them other stuff, they work up to barbell stuff over some months, and I succeed.

    Heavy_Beats, what you're doing is very valuable and I commend it. But to a qualified, experienced and competent personal trainer, you're no competition at all. If the staff see you as serious competition, then they are obviously not qualified, experienced or competent enough, and deserve what they get - nothing. A competent PT has more to offer than "squat, bench, deadlift!" I'm sure you recognise that, whether the gym manager does or not is another matter.
    1) Get information and recommendations from a physiotherapist, find out what she can do and work from there.

    If all she can do is sit and stand from a chair then she can start there. The chair or box can be high to start and then lowered until she develops the strength and balance to do body weight squats. I may use a dumbbell to keep her using correct posture as well as progressive loading. If all goes well she will be able to develop the strength and balance she needs to do goblet squats and at some point she may be able to use a barbell. That would be the best case scenario. My knowledge of MS is very limited and I would take the time to research it and take into consideration the recommendations of the physiotherapist.

    She will probably do some upper body training as well but I think the main issue you wanted me to address was her balance.

    Her diet would also need to be taken into consideration but I am no dietitian.

    2) Depends how bad his herniated disks, and shoulder issues are. If his herniated disks are recent then he can still do hip squats and sled dragging. He may be able to do bench press and press but if he is like a guy I know he could pop his shoulder out if he does pull ups. Perhaps dumbbell rows would be a more appropriate assistance exercise.

    3) A guy I know had a patella mal-tracking problem, he went to see a physiotherapist and got it sorted out but he was not able to squat for some time. She may be able to hold a barbell for squats but if not she can try safety squat bar or hip squats once her knee issue is sorted out. She would be best letting her hand heal before she is eventually able to do upper body pushing and pulling.

    4) One of my friends and the first person I trained had a significant thoracic kyphosis, it is funny how I had known him for about 8 years and never noticed it until I tried to get him to hold a barbell on his back... He was unable to pull a barbell to his chest on bench press and press was out of the question. However he was able to deadlift and perform dips and pull ups so his training revolved around what he could do. After a short time he was doing 105kg deadlift at about ~60kg body weight (height was 5'11). He probably could have eaten a bit more and he won't become a powerlifter but he was quite proud about how far he had come telling me about his friend that couldn't perform a dip while he could do quite a few.

    As for the weight issue, that is probably causing the knee and lower back problems and dietary change will help greatly in the beginning but I would want to get a physio to give me the full picture. He may be suffering serious psychological issues that are resulting in his weight problems or perhaps it is just a result of inactivity. I would scale down the squat movement just like with the first example and take it easy the first few weeks until his condition improves, I may also implement rack pulls as his flexibility allows. Obviously I would not get him doing dips and pull ups but he would probably benefit from a board press at a height that does not aggravate his shoulders too much. If I had dumbbells they may also be used bench pressing and later to do dumbbell rows when he is able. He could also benefit from some low impact cardio like walking but that is a given.

    ---

    Thanks for those examples KyleAaron I really enjoyed figuring them out for the past hour or so, I hope I am not too far off. You are right that some people have some challenging issues and cannot start with the barbell lifts and may never be able to perform them but with some ingenuity their quality of life can be greatly improved. Helping people get their life back is worth more to me than money.

    The most common issues I have faced (besides quarter squats) is lacking shoulder mobility and lacking kinesthetic awareness in "healthy" college age men when performing the squat. The other day I was trying to teach three guys to squat, two were able to perform a body weight squat with a bit of coaching and practice but the other had terrible balance.

    All three had restricted shoulder mobility that prevented them from holding a barbell for high bar or low bar squats. I showed them how to perform shoulder dislocations while amazing them with the range of motion of my shoulders (they were not always this good). I recommended they perform 20 body weight squats every day at home and shoulder dislocations for a couple weeks or until their issues where resolved. I often recommend this to new lifters since that is the most common issues and it works a treat.
    Last edited by Heavy_Beats; 12-08-2011 at 04:10 AM.
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    Not perfect answers, but reasonable, and on the right track, Heavy_Beats. Go get Cert III/IV and train people for money. You've got the right instincts and are willing to admit ignorance and go learn, these are unusual traits even in professional trainers and coaches.
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    You sound like you would do well doing this professionally, so why not?
    Not even about money, but this sounds like more than a hobby for you.
    Also to echo, I usually dont like seeing members train members, but its usually because they are doing things wickedly wrong.
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    Update: I have not received a reply from the gym manager so I'll assume they don't care.

    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    Not perfect answers, but reasonable, and on the right track, Heavy_Beats. Go get Cert III/IV and train people for money. You've got the right instincts and are willing to admit ignorance and go learn, these are unusual traits even in professional trainers and coaches.
    Thanks. I have been thinking it over and now plan to get my certificate III/IV in fitness next year. I am quite interested in doing something more enjoyable than sociology/psychology essays and dance solos *shivers*. Although I will continue my uni studies part time.

    Originally Posted by Chachibenji View Post
    You sound like you would do well doing this professionally, so why not?
    Not even about money, but this sounds like more than a hobby for you.
    Also to echo, I usually dont like seeing members train members, but its usually because they are doing things wickedly wrong.
    It has been a profound privilege to have positively affected so many people in a sort time, in the small way that I can. I do not value my abilities very highly and receiving the gratitude of people I have helped has been very self affirming. My only regret is that I cannot help those that do not seek my help. It is a hard pill to swallow that some of my club members technique and programming suffer when I am not around.

    It is also a lot of fun. Just today after my training session I taught someone to deadlift, as I thought I would spare his pants from inevitable busting at the seams from squatting (others have not been so fortunate).
    Last edited by Heavy_Beats; 12-23-2011 at 07:02 AM.
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    If I could train members in box gyms, that would make my life so much easier. I really don't see the issue if we are both paying members to the club. Especially if you recruit out of the gym.....say I get 3 people to signup for training from my website and I get them a membership at a local health club and start training them. The gym got membership fee's out of it.

    I think the only issue should be if you are walking up to their gym members and selling your services in their establishment.
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    Originally Posted by CharlottePT View Post
    If I could train members in box gyms, that would make my life so much easier. I really don't see the issue if we are both paying members to the club. Especially if you recruit out of the gym.....say I get 3 people to signup for training from my website and I get them a membership at a local health club and start training them. The gym got membership fee's out of it.

    I think the only issue should be if you are walking up to their gym members and selling your services in their establishment.
    You're using the gyms equipment/facilities for much cheaper than the other trainers at the gym, and without permission. It's quite obvious why this is an issue. While a gym membership may be say $600-$1000/year, renting space in a gym is more like $600-$1000/MONTH, so you're using the facilities for 1/12 of what the other trainers pay. They also don't know if you will start training other members, and it would put you in an awkward position if someone saw you training your client, liked you and wanted you to train them, then you had to explain to them how you're not employed there, you just secretly train your own clients there.

    Having said that, if you really want to do that, I bet you could find some very small gyms, or even martial arts dojos with some gym equip and spare space, that would let you train your clients at their facilities as long as you have your own insurance and kick them say 10-30% of your session fees. Especially a martial arts dojo, which tend to do most of their business from 5pm-10pm, if you could help them earn money in the 1st half of the day, they would be very grateful and willing.
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    At my gyms, there's a bodybuilder guy - large, lean, shaven all over including his head, fake tan - who's coming in training his clients, particularly one. He works in with her for the occasional set to make it look like he's working out. But somehow I don't think a 95kg 10% bodyfat guy is squatting 25kg and deadlifting 40kg.

    We've let management know, whether they'll do anything I don't know. To my mind the issue isn't competition, because the guy has no idea how to coach the lifts - his client is doing half-squats and round-backed deadlifts. And that's the issue, his coaching - or lack of it - is likely to injure her. So there may be a degree of liability for the gym. That's also why competition isn't the issue, though his size will put off the vast majority of clients, but it's also obvious he has no clue how to coach.

    If he were any good he could afford the $3,000 it'd take to set up a gym in his garage, or could get a job at his own gym - where does he work out to get his size, and why doesn't he train people there? I wonder about dignity and self-respect, though. Just imagine saying to your client, "We'll work out at this gym, I'll work in with you for a few sets to make it look like we're working out together." How pathetic.
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    Obviously they see you as a threat. Do you know how much gyms make off of PTing? A shtload bro.

    But it is a Uni gym so I do not understand how this would matter.
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    Any gym I have ever worked at including city run gyms only permit their own training staff to give training advice. That being said you could be the best trainer in the world, and it wouldn't matter. Also, we are only hearing your side of the story. Maybe they watched you train someone, or overheard advice you gave that was bad?!
    Maybe.
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    i would inquire how they define personal training...

    if you arent making a dime off of it how is it different than helping out a friend with their form
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    Originally Posted by stateprop View Post
    i would inquire how they define personal training...

    if you arent making a dime off of it how is it different than helping out a friend with their form
    I asked the gym guy what personal training is and he said that what I was doing (watching each set, giving cues, timing rest periods, programming, motivating etc) was personal training. I can see how I could have given that impression. One large fellow I have been training has taken his squat from 60kg 3x5 to 142kg 3x5 by the 14th week of training, that sort of thing does not go unnoticed.
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    If I were the manager, I would simply say, "Here is a contract where we agree to put you through Cert III & IV, you have to get your own First Aid Level 2 and registration, if you work for us for at least 24 months after that there is no charge for the course, otherwise you pay full fee. If you refuse this offer, we'll have to ask you to leave the gym."

    In this way the liability becomes an asset.
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    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    If I were the manager, I would simply say, "Here is a contract where we agree to put you through Cert III & IV, you have to get your own First Aid Level 2 and registration, if you work for us for at least 24 months after that there is no charge for the course, otherwise you pay full fee. If you refuse this offer, we'll have to ask you to leave the gym."

    In this way the liability becomes an asset.
    That would be good. It is too bad the TAFE closed enrollment for it's fitness certificate back in October, apparently it is a popular course.
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