Complaint / review text:
I have a friend who used to work for Body Of Change. My friend's a very educated and impressive trainer (yes, I'm biased, but I also know good from bad since I've been studying exercise science for around 4 years myself).
My friend started with Body Of Change earlier this year. They told my friend they needed to be a certified trainer (which my friend was with NASM) and that my friend would make $6 per 30 minute session. This is insane, but my friend took the job anyway.
My friend soon regretted it and I will tell you about it... This is a long description, but if you're really interested in if you're making a wise investment, please read. I tend to go off on tangents about proper training, but I'll try to keep it to a minimum here. I'm saying My friend a lot just incase BodyOfChange gets upset and tries any legal action. I hear they do this to old trainers that try to talk bad about them. Lovely, isn't it?
Regardless, it is not my friend posting this, but me. I just learned a lot since I started training at LA Fitness by talking to the other trainers and then hearing the same stuff from my friend.
ABOUT THE TRAINERS:
First of all, after my friend got the job, my friend soon found out that my friend was the ONLY certified trainer there. Other people that were hired *said* they were certified, but could never show proof. A lot of people were certified by fly-by-night internet certifications that aren't nationally recognized. Basically, you sign up, take a test at your own merit and return the test. Basically, anyone that wants to be "certified" by these companies can be depending on how dishonest they are.
Also, these internet type certifications carry no knowledge of exercise science. They're very easy and very weak exams. However, only 2 people were "certified" by a fly-by-night certification and the rest of the trainers were not certified at all. So, you may want to ask your trainer where he/she got their certification. BodyOfChange says that all of their trainers are certified. That's not true, obviously.
At BodyOfChange, trainers are very incompetent and irresponsible. Very few would show up for their scheduled appointments and my friend would end up taking other people's appointments A LOT due to that fact. My friend would get an earful every time. Every client would explain how displeased they were with BodyOfChange. How often they have to switch trainers and how nobody keeps track of their routine, schedule or accomplishments.
My friend did all of these, but people were so fed up with BodyOfChange by the time they got to my friend that they were always rude and just upset at the whole experience. My friend understood and just let them vent. A lot of the time my friend would get a client and the routine that the client remembered they were on was amazingly bad.
First of all, routines should be personalized, not canned. Everyone has different goals and needs. However, my friend got many people that would have the exact same routines no matter how many times a week they were going to train. One lady my friend got from a trainer that just stopped showing up to work was only coming in once a week and just doing one body part each workout. That is the most ridiculous routine in the world and there are many, many reasons why, but that's not the point of this. Just suffice to say that you will NOT get results with that routine.
On top of that, after a very mediocre weight lifting routine, a lot of the trainers would have their clients run up and down stairs. Yes, run up and down stairs. Not on a treadmill. First of all, if you're getting trained by someone, the routine should be intense enough that you can't run up and down stairs after it. You should feel a good pump in your muscles, your legs should be weak and your heart should be racing and you should feel worked out. If you can run up and down stairs just fine after a 20 minute workout, YOU DID NOT GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR!
While there are many a lazy person that doesn't want to work hard in the gym, running up and downstairs is just dangerous for anyone. Especially if you did you best, worked hard and heavy and are tired. Also, if you were worked hard in the routine (as you should have been) and you go and start doing cardio for an hour or so after, you run a very large risk of overtraining. Period. Most trainers at these gyms do NOT understand what a catabolic state is and do not know to what extent the average person with average genetics will overtrain.
To be fair, most people with certifications don't know this either, but that should be mandatory. A good rule of thumb is to ask your trainer what a catabolic state is. If your trainer has never heard of it or doesn't know how it is achieved or says "It's a good thing", RUN AWAY screaming for a new trainer. They should answer with something along the lines of depleted glycogen and glucose, Cortisol hormone kicks in to pull protein from the muscles and turn into glucose for energy.
This is an almost unavoidable occurrence for people that train hard, but you want to limit how long you stay in this state. Doing a good hard 30 minute routine and turning around and doing 1 hour of cardio (like most trainers told their clients to do at this gym) will put you in that state FAR longer than you need to be. This causes you to lose muscle mass, not fat. As a matter of fact, fat is stored in this state. You want to keep muscle, muscle burns calories. Anyway, off topic.
I recommend you bring your OWN log book (just a simple notebook is more than fine) and log your results, reps, sets, exercises, etc. Because you will be given to many, many different trainers over the length of your contract and there is absolutely NO communication or documentation of your routine.
You will have to re-explain every problem or goal to your new trainer and if you don't, they will put you on a canned routine that is not designed for you. Most of them won't even ask you if you have and medical problems or what goals you have in mind. They don't know to ask that; most of them aren't even certified. They have no idea how to evaluate you.
To summarize what I have to say, the trainers at my friends location are NOT certified, NOT qualified, NOT competent and NOT dependable.
THE MANAGEMENT AND CORPORATE:
Since my friend has been labeled their "Best trainer" (and that's because my friend always shows up, not due to the intelligence and routine creation abilities), my friend tries to take on as many people as my friend can. My friend works very long hours and could fit more people in if Corporate wouldn't limit my friend. The other day my friend was close to going over 80 hours.
There were MANY, MANY Clients that needed a trainer and while my friend was willing, corporate was NOT. Corporate told my friend to stop taking clients, even though they needed a trainer, because my friend was about to go over 80 hours and didn't want to pay my friend overtime! This is not a lie, people. You're being denied a trainer because Corporate didn't want to dish out an extra $3/hr for my friend to train you.
You have 7 days to cancel your contract with BodyOfChange before you are locked into the contract. What happens in that 7 days is hilarious. Basically, if you DO show up in that first 7 days, one of the "Managers" will train you at first. NONE of the Managers are certified.
They are sales men. That is ALL they are. So, you're getting trained by a sales man. The routines that these sales men would put my friend's clients on was laughable to say the least. However, that's not their goal. Their goal is to give you as easy as a routine as possible and talk you up the entire time so that you feel good about your purchase and don't cancel within the first 7 days. This works VERY well. Don't fall for it. They will tell you just about anything to keep you locked in because they don't get paid until that 7 days is up.
I heard managers telling the clients they were certified, that the client would get a dedicated trainer, that they will get a meal plan, etc. All of these are lies. Maybe not at EVERY BodyOfChange, but at this one and many others in GA, these are lies. It says in your contract that you are signing up for SERVICES, not a dedicated trainer. This means they can give you any trainer that they want and they have the right to change your trainer every day if they decide.
READ YOUR CONTRACTS! This is your responsibility. If they tell you something but the contract says something else, that's your fault for not reading it. While it's evil and wrong, it's still ultimately up to you to read through your contract before signing. Don't be lazy.
Nevertheless, treat the "managers" as you would treat any salesman that works on commission: With great attention to detail and a lot of caution. Ask questions and then check the contract to see if they lied. They more than likely did somewhere. When you sign up, ask if a real trainer can train you and not the manager. The manager will NEVER train you again after your initial 7 days. You will be given to a real trainer and then probably to several more over the length of your contract but you will never see that manager again when it comes to training you.
What should be done is that once you sign up, you should be shown to a trainer. That trainer should start you out. Since they will be working with you, they should take your measurements, talk to you about your goals, problems, etc... This is done by the "manager" and then it is NEVER relayed to the trainer after the 7 days are up. So, if you have bad knee's or a bad hip, don't expect the trainer to know this when you are assigned to one. There is absolutely NO communication in this Corporation as I mentioned in the "ABOUT THE TRAINERS" section above.
While not every BodyOfChange is like the one my friend works at, looking at all of the reports on this site, it surely looks like it. I've been to other LA Fitness locations where all of their trainers are in fact certified. However, most of them certified by fly-by-night internet certifications. Ask your trainer who they are certified by. The top two nationally recognized certifications are NASM and ACE. As a matter of fact, there is a forum online (which will remain nameless) where a member got his Cat certified in personal training with one of the internet certifications, just to prove a point. Point proven.
There are competent trainers at BodyOfChange. They are very few and far between. I love debating with these trainers when I go to work out because the vast majority of them do not know anything scientific about fitness. They just read what's in magazines (another bad source of exercise information) and use it on their clients.
My advice, stay clear of BodyOfChange all together. I would recommend you simply find a personal trainer. All you need to do is ask around at your gym. Walk up to people that look like they know what they're doing, ask them if they know someone that can train you.
Ask what their credentials are. Are they certified? Are they reliable? Are they going to tell you to do 1 hour of cardio 5 times a week or are they going to kick your butt in the gym with weights (which has been scientifically proven time and time again to be more beneficial for weight loss than cardio since muscle growth raises your resting metabolic rate. 1 lb of added muscle burns 70 - 100 calories a day when you're just simply sitting still. Cardio does not.) If you can find someone that is a knowledgeable trainer, offer them $30 a session. You'll get a dedicated certified trainer at a better price with no hassle or lies.