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To think a fitness trainer/teacher doesn't need to know personal lifestyle/medical history info?

(28 Posts)
TrucksAndDinosaurs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:46:39

Signed up for Pilates/barre conditioning class.
Woman running it is fitness coach/ personal trainer setting up on her own after gym job and mat leave.
Prior to attending class she wants me to attend a 30 min assessment in which we go through details of form she's asked me to complete, take body metrics, check posture, injury history etc.

I've no issue with disclosing injuries or any relevant conditions that would need to be factored in by a sensible instructor such as hyper mobility, surgery, old or recent injuries, anaemia, etc.

I can also see that she's looking to sign up clients for personal coaching in which case it's quite appropriate for client to ask advice on nutrition or to set goals for future fitness.

But ffs I'm aghast at the idea that I will happily fill in 9 pages of highly personal info and hand it over when all I want to do us attend a Pilates class.

Questions like : list your 3 greatest sources of stress
Besides hunger what other reasons might you eat (bored/tired/depression/joy/nervous/social)
Do you eat processed foods?
Were you overweight as a child?
Do you skip meals?
Was/is anyone in your family overweight?
Do you do your own grocery shopping?

Then pages more about how will you feel when you've achieved your goals, what behaviours or activities could stop you blah blah,

I just want to go to a convenient social class to work on my core strength: the end. I don't want advice on good or to discuss stresses in my life or the size of my family members.

I emailed back and said ^
But should I just back out now and find another class?
Or do you think it's a good idea for fitness teacher to be ultra-informed like this?

ICameOnTheJitney Sun 06-Oct-13 22:17:43

I think it's good. She's not asking for your intimate stuff...apart from the mention of depression. I wouldn't mind answering that stuff if I was going to be taught by a fitness coach.

Coupon Sun 06-Oct-13 22:21:54

YANBU. It's none of their business and they don't need to know. They're just being nosy and I would find a different class.

Ragwort Sun 06-Oct-13 22:23:48

I think they need to ask certain questions to cover any insurance aspects; but just put n/a next to most of them if you consider them irrelevant.

Or find another class grin.

TrucksAndDinosaurs Sun 06-Oct-13 22:24:16

See, I thought it was a bit personal: if I'd asked about nutrition or wanted dietary advice then fine.

But asking about eating habits when the person is just coming for a work out I thought was a bit much (felt it was a means to upsell me into booking her as a nutrition adviser or signing up for a diet plan - but I've never even met her and I am happy with my low carb way of eating)

Similarly, asking about sources of stress. What if its marriage problems, or money problems, or family worries? It's not really her business is it?

Hmmmm. Maybe I'm being over sensitive.

Saltysnack Sun 06-Oct-13 22:27:28

YANBU. Sounds way over the top to me. How do you know what her information security is like, for starters. You've said no politely, hopefully she won't push it and you can just go and enjoy the class.

RunsWithScissors Sun 06-Oct-13 22:27:59

Source of stress: filling out forms :-D

Coupon Sun 06-Oct-13 22:29:29

I guess you could just cross most of it out and put "not applicable"

TrucksAndDinosaurs Sun 06-Oct-13 22:32:51

I have done great slashing n/a all over it which was quite therapeutic but I'm still a bit hmm about this 'assessment' tomorrow.

bludgerwitch Sun 06-Oct-13 22:38:22

I went to a Pilates class in a local church hall, I rocked up with my yoga mat, handed over £5 and got on with it, no questions asked. I much prefer that, I'd find those questions really intrusive, but I would guess that she's trying to sell you more 'services'.

RhondaJean Sun 06-Oct-13 22:41:36

This is possibly a catch all questionnaire she uses with all clients including more intensive ones.

DH is a trained personal trainer and I would go every time for the fitness trainer who asks all the questions over the one who takes your fiver and let's you plonk down and get on ŵith it.

Lazysuzanne Sun 06-Oct-13 22:45:26

I think she's taking the pi$$
I might be tempted to just put no comment or mind your own business, but really I'd be annoyed that, on top of paying for the class I was expected to spend time writing a load of stuff.

I've had one to one pilates sessions with a qualified instructor, I may have signed a basic consent form but I didnt have to give any info like that

mojojomo Sun 06-Oct-13 22:49:32


There's no need for all that. Council-run classes just ask first-timers to disclose medical issues or old injuries to the instructor in private at the start of these class. Surely that, and a reminder that those with back issues may prefer an alternative to the next exercise is sufficient.

There's no way I'd fill in that form. I'd ask about her data protection processes, how and where i0s the info stored, who has access etc. I actually wonder if there's a professional body who'd be interested in her asking those questions.

Lazysuzanne Sun 06-Oct-13 22:50:47

surely any good instructor would have a pretty good idea of your level of fitness/health/kinesthetic sense just from spending a bit of time with you.

Sounds like she wants to spill about all your possible problems & weakness so she can sell you a solutionhmm

TrucksAndDinosaurs Sun 06-Oct-13 22:58:37

Yes having trained in sales techniques many years ago its uncannily similar...ask heaps of qs then provide the 'bespoke solution' (yuk)

Lazysuzanne Sun 06-Oct-13 23:03:37

bit of a cheap trick...I mean surely most people would be suspicious of that kind of technique?
Oughtn't she be a bit sophisticated?
First, get to know you pretend to like you so that you confide in her and she can manipulate you without you realising.

Isnt that how a good con artist salesperson would operate?

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 06-Oct-13 23:46:06

I think it's good idea to get to know you as a person. Perhaps an informal chat would be better. I think there should be an option either a form or chat.

jenniferalisonphillipasue Sun 06-Oct-13 23:51:55

I used to work in that industry. If you are just going to a fitness class then she does not need all that info. If you were going to her for personal training then it would be different.

SugarHut Sun 06-Oct-13 23:59:36

That's massive overkill for a pilates class. She's not giving you tailored one to one personal training, you're one of x in a class. All she needs to know is if you have any injuries, and whether you and the others have done many classes before so she knows whether to make it a beginners/advanced class.

Sounds like she's trying to sign people up. You've done the right thing with the n/a over most of it.

LessMissAbs Mon 07-Oct-13 00:13:36

Totally OTT. She will have been on some course where someone with nothing better to do with their time will have instructed her to draw up a questionnaire and then given some misguided advice about insurance/health and safety. Or further down the line she will identify some issueyou have that you need to work on that either she or a friend can "help" you with.

In actual fact, you could argue it could make her more likely to be sued if a client suffered an injury due to her negligence. Because if she has asked those sort of detailed questions and misses something vital out, it creates a greater presumption of negligence as she has raised the standard of care expected from her...

Presumably you don't have to pay for this 30 minutes assessment?

TrucksAndDinosaurs Mon 07-Oct-13 01:14:11

No assessment is free but a pain in the bum because I just want to do class course not extra forms and 1:1 session thinly disguised as 'care' when it is in fact selling.

I will update with whether it turns into some kind of selling attempt or faux-counselling session when I get back.

Fwiw I don't have eating issues, don't snack, eat healthy fresh food and am 22.5 BMI and reasonably fit but I can imagine if I did have any over/under eating food issues or family health scares this could be quite upsetting and stressful.

As it is I just don't like handing sensitive info over when there's no need and I haven't met the person.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not being overly hmm

CharityFunDay Mon 07-Oct-13 01:20:03

I think YABabitU. An exercise/fitness instructor has to know about pre-existing health issues. On purely sensible grounds, never mind those of Health and Safety or insurance.

Also, it might help the instructor tailor your instruction on a more person-specific basis.

OTOH if I handed over all that information and got a generic class in return, I might feel aggrieved.

Disclaimer: My experience of filling in health questionnaires in relation to exercise was a gym prescription from my GP. I was still astonished by how much they wanted to know.

TrucksAndDinosaurs Mon 07-Oct-13 01:42:52

Oh yeah no probs at all saying
I'm hypermobile, am recovering from rib strain so dodgy upper back status, have weak ankles, slightly rounded shoulders, tendency to flare ribs and overextend [ex dancer{ and tilt to the left a bit grin - that is all v relevant to a good Pilates teacher.

Whether I'm depressed, comfort- snack, drink wine, have parents or siblings with medical issues and am stressed by particular personal problems is not relevant at all if I haven't asked for advice on it.

And if I wanted advice on the above I'd see a medically or certified qualified person I trusted.

If I wanted to talk about fitness goals I'd do so after meeting a trainer and building a rapport

But 9 pages before I even meet them or unroll a mat??

flowersinavase Mon 07-Oct-13 02:38:09

I'm a qualified PT and those latter questions aren't necessary.

I'd always run a check for potential cardiovascular issues (and refer you for medical clearance if there were likely issues) and ask about injuries (so I could show you modifications/tailored exercises), but those questions go way beyond scope of practice. In fact, my training specifically stated that PTs are not allowed to offer nutritional advice/counselling etc (other than "Healthy eating is low fat with lots of fruit and veg" general style of guidance), and finding out whether or not you need such help seems to be the aim of those questions.

Being a cynic, her latter questions seem to be looking for people whom she could refer on to other professionals (counsellors, dieticians etc) with whom she has 'agreements' (she sends them x clients, they send her y clients). Might be totally unfair, but that's how it reads to me. She definitely shouldn't be tackling any of those issues herself.

The questions about your motivation seem to be pointing towards strategies my course taught in respect of personal training (so one-to-one training) with individuals, as ways of encouraging their continued participation. So I can see where she's coming from, but it seems majorly OTT for a group class.

I'd just ignore the questions: they're not necessary from an insurance standpoint so not answering shouldn't preclude you from attending.

Thumbwitch Mon 07-Oct-13 02:58:12

Since you said she's looking to sign up people for life coaching as well, then I'd agree that the form you've been given is one she uses for all clients and is inappropriate for your needs.

Yes, the info on medical history, even of your family, is useful for risk assessment; injury history for you the same - but the rest of it is only appropriate if you've asked for further info on diet and lifestyle management. If not, she shouldn't be seeking answers to those questions.

Suggest to her that she provides a shortened form that only addresses questions relevant to the Pilates class as that is ALL you are interested in.

I think she may have learnt some aspect of "hard sell" in her life coaching and that's what she's trying out here.

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