It might sound odd but there’s usually something that scares me every single day – not the jump out of your skin, shock scary – but the constant worry and doubt of something going wrong.
The biggest dangers are in the gym -it’s home to a number of large pieces of equipment and some extremely heavy weights. The fact that these are then put in the hands of the sometimes mis-informed, general public, can fill me with fear. The weight plates they use might not be placed properly on the bar and fall off onto someone, cables might be loaded with too much weight and snap and people can use the equipment in odd ways, that they really weren’t designed for – it’s an accident landmine!
When you’re watching the TV or video clip and it happens to someone else – since it’s taken out of context and isn’t personal – it can be seen as quite funny! There are loads of clips on YouTube and You’ve Been Framed of people slipping on treadmills, gymnastic rings snapping and so on – some extreme versions even made it into the Final Destination horror film series but the reality is that accidents can happen, they do hurt and can cause serious and long-lasting injuries and even death. Regardless of whether it’s from mis-use, inexperience or faulty equipment – the thought of someone being seriously injured in the gym is a constant worry.
In addition to this (working in this industry) there is also the financial impact of accidents – both in the cost of repairing or replacing equipment, as well as possible litigation or insurance implications.
More often than not though, the things that give me sleepless nights and small panic attacks, can be something most people would see as fairly minor……
For example, the other day I was teaching a class in a new venue where despite getting “assistance” from 3 staff, we couldn’t get the mic to work properly. Every time I spoke, the music would cut out. It might not sound like much, but it meant that I couldn’t say as much as I normally would, so people could still keep in time with the music. I was really embarrassed and knocked my confidence, and because I couldn’t talk/coach as much as I would normally – I felt that I hadn’t delivered a great class. There’s been other times where my mp3 player stopped working, batteries ran out, people slipping on the floor, even one time splitting my shorts at the back! There’s a multitude of things that can break-down or go “wrong” and my fear is that because of these (even though I know some are out of my control) someone might think I’m rubbish or not done my job and complains.
Thankfully, it’s very rare that something does go wrong, but they’re always there at the back of my mind – like walking down a dark street at night always looking over your shoulder.
My answer is to try an prepare for the worst!
When it comes to my classes I always want them to have fun and a great workout, so I’ll ask for feedback especially if something is new like a new exercise, format, venue or playlist, so that I know what worked (or not) to make it even better next time.
I will also try to arrive 20 mins early to set up and I keep spare batteries, cables, mics, clothing etc in my bag in case anything breaks and will go round to make sure I ask if anyone has any injuries or is new etc so that I can keep a closer eye on them and/or give them options.
In the gym we check and clean the equipment fully and regularly during the day and I would always take time to explain proper form and use during inductions. I will also stop anyone using equipment incorrectly or with bad form. Yes I know some of them may find it annoying if I stop them mid way – but at least I know I’ve told them, so they can avoid hurting themselves. Should something happen -being properly insured is a must and it’s surprising the number of instructors that don’t have it.
Even with my slightly OCD prep, you can’t control everything and things will occasionally go wrong and I know you can’t please everyone every time.
At the end of the day though, it’s good to be a little bit scared – it keeps me alert and focused!
As much as I might worry, for some just walking into a gym is scary let alone starting a new exercise programme or class and it’s that thought that overcomes my fears – I want to be that bright light that banishes the darkness.
What’s your fears? How do you deal with them?
Until next time, have a fun Halloween – just watch out for those “treats”, the calories can be “tricky”! LOL.