When you own the gym, you can train alone, but there’s no such thing as training by yourself. I sold the last of my shares of my gym in Mexico in 2018. However, I still get requests for stories about owning a gym in Mexico. This offering is not so much a story per se, but more of a brief rant about something many people might not ever consider - training in the gym you own. While my preference is to train alone, my members made sure didn’t train by myself. Their advances/ interruptions were innocent enough, sometimes the intent was merely getting a moment of my time to discuss important issues, such as how much nicer the steam room would look if there were a row of colored tiles around the door. While such a thought never even crossed my mind, it was a powerful enough of a thought for this gentleman to interrupt my set. Did you get that? Interrupt my set to tell me about bathroom tile. I tried to combat such interruptions by wearing a stern game face, ear buds and trying to get my workouts in during off hours. That proved somewhat effective in avoiding pesky members, but it then subjects me to my personal trainers, who also train during off hours – only because I forbid them to train during peak hours, or else they would!
Now, something you may not know, is that a personal trainer in non-resort cities in Mexico is not the same as a personal trainer in the US and Canada. Not by a long shot. A trainer in Mexico resides on the same socio-economic level as a waiter, gardener, janitor, maid.... you get the picture; low on the totem pole. Mainly because they have no idea what they're doing. Just to give you an idea, the going rate private personal trainers charged in my gym was 2,500 pesos a month. This gives the client five, one hour long, sessions a week, for four weeks, at cost of about $150.00 – for the month! My full time staff trainers were paid about $700.00 a month! So because it's so cheap, the competition is fierce, trainers are working four or five people at the same time and none of them get results. But the prices are low! And having a personal trainer is prestigious. People here are perfectly happy paying for less and getting it so long as they can say they have it. I've never seen anything like it. This doesn't deter the trainer though, they want to get one up on the next guy and try to attract a client, so other than You Tube, guess where they get heir new material?
Because I walked around covered in veins and striations every day, the trainers followed me around convinced I was privy to some kind of top secret regiment that flies in the face of their five tortillas with every meal bodies. They constantly asked me what I take, what I eat, what Ronnie Coleman takes, how do I train, do I take diuretics…..? the questions were endless. And I could only answer them so many times. I had one kid tell me every day the same thing: “I love watching you train, you are so motivating to me, I can't believe your calves, how do I get calves like yours?” The first time I heard it I thought it was nice, the second day he said it again and I was like, okay, you said the same thing yesterday. The third day in a row it started getting uncomfortable, after six months of him saying it, I was like, okay, this is creepy, don't come near me anymore. So, at the next trainer meeting I instituted a new rule: no talking to John Romano when he's training. So then, instead of talking to me, they copied me.
One of my young followers trained like the guy you want to kill. His “work sets” were four minutes longer than they need to be and were peppered with the most plaintive wailing and botched cussing in English that made me just want to walk over there and shoot him. This is Mexico and it very well could happen one day. But, alas, he saw me one day pushing myself through a four station circuit done at an excruciating pace, with intense deliberate contractions, to failure, that made me wish I was naturally birthing twins instead. But not with so much as a peep out of me. I could have passed for a monk. The next day, while he'd normally be sitting in the preacher machine wailing like a Banshee, he was quietly straining away just like the guy who signs his pay check. And the circuit I was doing the day before? By the end of the day two trainers were having their clients doing it.
This is how trainers hurt people. And they do – often. Just because I'm do something doesn't mean they understand what I'm doing. Then, blindly having their soccer mom clients doing it is a recipe for disaster. So, before the next trainers meeting where I institute the “no copying John Romano” rule, I decided to have some fun. During a late morning workout, I wedged a Bosu ball between my back and the post next to the jungle gym. I slid down into a sitting position with one leg sticking straight out in front of me. The opposite arm was also sticking out, static holding a kettle bell, and I was doing a kind of reverse cable curl with the other hand on the low pulley of the jungle gym. I pushed myself through a killer set of this ludicrous nonsense exercise, grimacing and straining like it was an Olympic event. When I was done, I laid spent on the floor writhing theatrically, like a soccer player who stubbed his toe, grasping approvingly at my super pumped bicep.
Sure enough, before I left that evening one of the trainers was trying to get his client to do it. He even consulted an iPhone vid I didn't know he'd taken!
I guess I could have gone and trained at a gym other than my own, like some of my gym owner buddies do, but then I'd miss all the fun!