A slimming club spokesperson and 75 PTs

“I don’t trust them. I don’t think they want me to lose weight quickly. I realised, Oh, you’re paid by the hour. Of course you don’t want me to shift this quickly.”

This is a quote from James Corden, who is currently a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.

Now many fitness professionals doubtlessly found this slightly ironic. After all Weight Watchers entire business model would flounder if it actually educated people on how to lose weight rather than hiding behind points based systems.

But beyond the irony of him promoting one weight loss method for which the exact same thing could be said let’s look for a moment at the myth that it is not in the interest of a PT to help you reach your goal.

I suspect this may be something many people have though over the years, and on the face of it it makes sense as to why. Client wants to lose 2 stone, client sees PT, client loses 2 stone, client no longer needs PT, PT no longer gets paid. Why would the PT want to get the client results in 2 months if they could keep them as a client for a year or more?

Doctors don’t see healthy people, so when you go to the doctors they don’t try to make you better because if they did they’d be out of work. They give you medicine that might help a bit but won’t actually solve the problem.

Mechanics need cars to fix to earn money, so when you visit a mechanic they will always leave one thing not quite working so you have to go back to them again soon.

Now obviously those things don’t happen. If your doctor was continuously not providing patients with the best advice eventually there would be investigations due to complaints. If a mechanic gained a reputation as never fully fixing cars people would go elsewhere.

So why do people think it would be any different with a PT?

PTs gain clients by word of mouth, reputation, recommendation. If you do not show integrity and true care you may get some clients but you will struggle to maintain a healthy business. It’s quite the opposite of Corden’s statement – a successful PT wants to get people the results they desire. It will increase client demand and provide a satisfied customer, and most fitness professionals really do care about people – it’s a people person business.

Beyond this, there is the assumption that everyone who has a PT wants to lose weight. People see PTs for all manner of things. Some do have specific goals – be their weight loss, weight gain, training for an event. Once that goal is reached they will branch out alone. PTs are ok with that, getting that person to that goal shows they are good at their job and will help attract new customers. But beyond that there may be a time again that that person will again need assistance. Will they return to you if you got them great results last time – damn right, so why wouldn’t you want to get them results. Equally though, if we can provide enough knowledge that you can make it on your own and not need us, great, we’ve done our jobs. In this respect it is Weight Watchers not PTs that are guilty of what Corden is claiming.

More than that, some people start with a PT to reach a specific goal and then get new goals on the way, they realise they like having the accountability or need the accountability and so keep training with us beyond reaching that initial goal. Again, helping someone get what they want is not automatically stopping them from being your client. The mindset that it is is the mindset of someone with a greedy, non customer based business model and it is interesting that a spokesperson for a slimming club might have that cynical view.

Finally, apparently Corden “burned through” 75 PTs before trying Weight Watchers. now I’m not saying there are no bad PTs, of course there are. But I’m guessing that if that is not an exaggeration that the PTs were not the problem here. If 75 people have all acted roughly the same way, said the same sort of things, maybe it’s you not liking what you are hearing, rather than them being in the wrong. Maybe those 75 PTs were encouraging slow and steady weight loss, not because they wanted more of your money, but because that would be more sustainable and better for you in the long run. Maybe instead of a slimming company which tends to trade on hooking people in with big first week losses, they were trying to get you to alter your mindset and take into account improvements to health, strength, fitness, body shape changes and not simply the number on the scale (if you’ve ever been to a slimming club you’ll know it’s standard to try and have a big poo before weigh in).

“I don’t trust them. I don’t think they want me to lose weight quickly. I realised, Oh, you’re paid by the hour. Of course you don’t want me to shift this quickly.” Said the Weight Watchers spokeperson.

Weight Watchers. The company which takes money off people weekly to be weighed in front of people and only makes money until you reach your target weight.

I love irony.

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