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I've been working out at the local gym where I live for about half a year now. Since my town (if one can even call it that) is pretty small, the gym is too. There aren't a lot of people and therefore not a lot of machines/weights, but that's no problem, I never had to wait for anything. But since the gym is relatively small, aside from the owner there are no other trainers.

For the last 6 months I used the training plan the owner provided me (which was free). But after a lot of research myself, including books, websites and forums, I think the plan is highly unbalanced. I came up with a better, more balanced and less intense plan (since I'm only working out for half a year) and tried to talk to him about the topic. He immediately rejected my statement of his plan being unbalanced, and told me I should follow his plan. I'll see I'll make gains, he said. Sure, I might make some gains, but for what cost?

I don't want to just follow my own plan behind his back, because that might upset him. Because of his age he's pretty old fashioned, he also seems relatively stubborn. I don't want to upset him in any way, because, except for the provided plan, his advice always helped me. He also told me, if I'd change my plan it's on my own risk - I shouldn't come crying if I hurt myself with my own plan.

How can I use my own training plan without upsetting him and being able to receive future advice if needed?

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    Hello, while I would vote to close the question as off topic as we cant tell you what to do, you might benefit from this stack where you can upload your plan and get some feedback for it. – Ontamu Jul 31 '18 at 10:32
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    @Ontamu: As I read it, OP isn't really asking us to tell us what they should do, they are asking for possible solutions, which seems on-topic to me. I'll try to answer. – sleske Jul 31 '18 at 10:35
  • @Ontamu Thanks, I'll post both plans there and see what they say. – Suimon Jul 31 '18 at 10:51
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    What exactly are you asking for here? It seems the trainer is okay with you following your own plan, he just warned you it's on your own risk. So, what's the problem exactly? – Tinkeringbell Jul 31 '18 at 10:59
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    It is usual around here to wait ca. 1 day with accepting an answer, so you don't discourage potential answerers. Who knows, maybe you wouldve gotten other solutions, maybe even better ones ;) You don't have to if you don't want. – Kaspar Scherrer Jul 31 '18 at 12:02
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You will not be able to completely avoid confrontation, but you can soften the blow, so to speak.

First off, don't try to change your trainer's mind.

[...] tried to talk to him about the topic. He immediately regected my statement of his plan being unbalanced, and told me I should follow his plan.

Obviously, the trainer thinks his plan is good for you, and changing other people's mind is usually fruitless.

Also, it's not really necessary. Just train according to your plan - don't hide this, but don't push it in his face either.

I can see roughly two possible outcomes:

  • Either he does not really care that much, or does not even notice. In that case you have what you want: You train according to your plan, you avoid conflict with your trainer, and you can still ask for specific advice if you want to.
  • Or he notices, and confronts you ("Why do you no longer do X which is in your plan?" or similar). Then you'll need to explain that you changed your plan because you feel it suits you better.

In the second case, the key points should be:

  • Don't try to convince him your plan is somehow "better".
  • Do emphasize that you feel it better suits you, your body and your goals.
  • Do listen to his side. You don't have to agree, but as an experienced trainer, he may have things to tell you you did not know.

If after that the trainer still insists on you using his plan, you'll have to establish clear boundaries. Something like:

I appreciate your concern for me, but I have thought this through, and this is how I want to train. Please stop discussing this with me.

If at this point the trainer still insists, your options will be limited to either enduring him, or changing gymns. He could even (being the owner) decide to evict you (don't know if that is possible in this case). At that point, you will have exhausted your options - but I hope it does not come to this. At least you have done everything you could to get along with him.

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I understand that the town is small and that you don't want to create unnecessary tension - but there already is.

Right now, the tension is on you. You want to correct things by following your own plan and this might move the tension to him.

This is straight-forward. You own him nothing. You've done your own homework and think you've got a better plan.

His statements of "don't come crying to me if you hurt yourself" are manipulative and ill-mannered for a business owner. His goal should be your continued use of his facility which requires you to be happy and not stressed. Besides, did he agree to be responsible for you if you did hurt yourself and come "crying to him"? I doubt it.

Don't let this guy boss you around. Do your own thing. Also if this is the only gym in town, check out TRX and home workout options.

  • I don't think he is responsable, if I hurt me. But I'm like 99% sure my health insurance covers things like hurting myself in a gym, so from this point of view im "safe" and covered if something happens. I guess legally he'd only be responsable if I'd hurt myself because of one of his bad exercises, which I probably first have to prove... To be honest, I only still go there because contract terms are still going until February 2018 (theres no way to get out earlier). After that I'll terminate the contract and move to another gym 2 towns down the road, which has way better equippment anyways. – Suimon Aug 1 '18 at 6:28
  • Good idea. I’m glad you have other options – Rob Watts Aug 2 '18 at 12:01
  • Should've just went to the other gym in the first place but it didn't got a car back when I registered. Bus would take like 45min :/ – Suimon Aug 2 '18 at 13:52

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