Saturday, December 10, 2005

Guru?!? You Don't Need No Steeking Guru!

A “guru” can be described as a spiritual leader or teacher, a sage, a counselor, an expert, an authority or a leading light. Common to most definitions of the word is the concept that a “guru” is an expert and a resource for info in their respective field. There’s no definition that mentions people following a guru’s words lockstep.

The fitness biz has always provided fertile grounds for growing and cultivating gurus and guru-ees. Today there are more fitness gurus than you can shake a power bar at.

Some gurus are self-appointed, and others are anointed as gurus by adoring and appreciative followers. We guess you can paraphrase and say that “some people are gurus, and others have guru-ness thrust upon them.”

Personal trainers - god that title has become a negative - have taken the place of the bartenders and hairdressers as confidants for a lot of people. “Tom the Trainer” now gets all the good personal dish in between sets at the gym. We hear everything. Women tell us how old they are, how much they weigh and what they don’t like about their bodies. Men aren’t as secretive about their vital stats, but they have as many frailties and weaknesses regarding their bodies as women.

And for entrusting “us” with so much personal knowledge, too many of “us” repay too many of “you” for this display of honesty and trust by trying to sell you every gimmick and diet book and supplement nonsense imaginable. That’s the thanks you get.

The fortune seekers that dominate the world of health and fitness have violated the spirit of the guru – in the classic sense – and have turned this noble pursuit into a money grab.

I want to go on the record here – I'm not, don’t want to be, and never will be a guru in the modern sense. Be wary of today’s gurus, be afraid of gurus, and stay away from anyone who has the goal of being a guru. If a friend has a guru and wants you to get “guru-ed,” run away at top speed. If you have a guru, de-guru yourself ASAFP. Get it?

You don’t need “us” to be your guru. And I have two words for clients who want me to be their guru, “Get out.”

The late Beatle John Lennon, in response to the massive amount of adulation he received, said something to the effect of, “I’m not your parents.” Personal trainers need to have this kind of attitude. Trainers should stop trying to create mind-numbed minions who eat every morsel and perform every rep and pop every supplement pill in a controlled, scripted manner.

Now maybe this makes me a bad businessman, but I feel that my job is to train you in an effective and efficient way, and to inform you and answer your questions so that you can better understand your body. I don’t want to sell you any gimmick or elixir. To tell someone, “this is the way,” is just plain wrong. And to misrepresent the facts regarding nutrition and exercise, intentionally or unintentionally, is unforgivable.

Your body is your temple. So you should learn to take care of it, because at the end of the day – and your life – you’re the only one that really matters.

Want to incur my wrath? Tell me about your guru.

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