Existing Member?

Check It Off The List


CHINA | Wednesday, 21 November 2007 | Views [778] | Comments [1]

This is a quick account of something that happened a few weeks ago. This was the email I sent to my family and I thought some of you might get a kick out of it.  I was thinking that with a little more free time on this side of the world it would be a good time for me to get some things out of the way that would be difficult if I was at home coaching football right now.  Here is the story. 

I had an interview today at one of Shanghai's well known fitness clubs for a personal trainer position. It might have been the funniest interview in the history of job searching. If you were a fly on the wall, you would have been dumbfounded. If you were in my position now looking back, you are dumbfounded also. I can only give you a quick rendition now but will blog on it someday. (yeah right, I'm soooo good at updating blogs)

They kept asking me why I thought I could be a personal trainer. I guess they couldn't understand that 90% of my resume is teaching and 45% of that is through coaching and athletics. I tried to explain that I met with over 200 athletes to work out on a daily basis but my English may not translate to Chinese very well. After about an hour and a half of conversation with the manager and one of the female trainers turned translator, I think I had her convinced that I could handle the job but we will find out for sure on Tuesday when she calls me back. Remember that all of this came through an interpreter. So that adds a level of humor right there.

A few quotes from the Gym Manager that manages all of the gyms in Shanghai. Keep in mind that this lady is 5 foot nothing(which means she's got the primary qualification to marry a Sanders, Ben?) and weighs less than my shoes.

Direct quotes.

"Do you even lift weights?"

"You are kind of slight."

Then after I reassured her that I had lost some weight because her culture doesn't eat large quantities of meat and my full time job wasn't in a gym she asked if I would be comfortable "Lifting weights, so we can see your technique." Sure, can I empty my jean pockets of keys, money, sunglasses, cell phone, passport, and wallet first?

She sent me and my new best friend/female trainer/interpreter down to the 2nd floor where only one client was working and 5 personal trainers were looking at themselves in the mirror to meet with "Bruce." Now Bruce definitely looked like he worked at a gym full time. He asked me through the interpreter to show them how to do a bench press. I asked if they wanted me to put weight on the bar.

"No, you do it by yourself. Not too much weight."

Ok, so I put on 135 pounds (I'm working on the kilo thing). Interpreter says, "Are you sure you can do that? That is a lot of weight." I rattled off 12. Talking about form and all the technique while these two just stared down at me like I was crazy. I got up with my chest puffed out trying to look bigger.

They ran me through a couple scenarios. What would you do if a client wanted to work on their upper chest kind of stuff. After I explained every exercise that I could think of, they pointed at the bar and said, "What do call them...chinups? Do them." So I did pullups, explained that not everyone can do pullups and I would be make sure that a client was capable by starting with lat pulls. Showed them some grips that they thought were foreign and then followed by doing the same thing with butterflys and lunges.

Then came my favorite questions. "What would you do if a person passed out while working out with you?" I turned and acted like I would run away. I got a giggle. Even from the big guy. "I would make sure that the client was safely out of the way of danger and call for help. Then make sure they are breathing and that there pulse is still strong. If not, I would ..." "No, what would you do if a person turned white from low blood sugar and passed out." I didn't have the heart to tell them that the "client" was passed out and didn't tell me before hand that they were going to pass out from low blood sugar so I couldn't properly diagnose the cause of the fainting or the solution to the problem. Wait a minute...are we at a hospital or a gym? I tried, "Make sure they are comfortable. Give them some water and a snack." "A snack?" was the response that I got. My mind slowed from low blood sugar and I caved. "What would Bruce do?" "I would move them to the side and get them some sugar water." "Oops. Well that sounds good too. That is what I will do also. Where do ya'll keep the sugar water?"

Next question.

"What would you do if a really fat woman wanted to run?"

"Huh?" I was caught a little off guard.

"Fat woman, wants to run."

I wanted to say "Get out of her way" but I contained myself enough to fumble through some nonsense about using the elliptical or stationary bike. I was told that it was "Safety First, Strength Second" at this gym and that fat people had bad knees because they could not support all of the weight. They should never run... I wanted to say, "Call a foreign woman fat one time and I bet she will show how she can run..."

I'm sure that they are all chilling in the gym right now giggling about the slight, moppy haired foreigner that works out in jeans and thinks that any coach can be a personal trainer. Oh well. I can't wait to find out whether or not I've got them all fooled.

Hopefully the guy at the Ritz-Carlton was as interested as he sounded about me working "Free lance" for him instead of the Chinese run fitness center. I always wanted to be a free lance something, writer, reporter, contract killer...personal trainer will work.

Tags: Adventures



i am just wondering which gym it is??

  russell lee May 3, 2008 12:39 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About thesanders

Follow Me

Where I've been

Photo Galleries

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about China

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.