January 10, 2010

The Energy Vampires

Pssst……Have you ever been around negative people?

You know the ones that suck all the energy from you and everyone around you.

That one person who has a problem with you but rather than confronting you talks to everyone else around you but you.

I would love to know on the comment section below how you deal with “Energy Vampires”?  I would also like to know do you agree with me firing these clients or should I just leave them alone and let them bring down everyone in the gym? Please comment below as I need your help on this.

Below I am going to share with you why I  don’t mind “firing clients” every once in a while (It has happened only 3 times in the past 11years).

Honor & Integrity


First let me explain our  motto here Fitness Concepts:

1) Have fun: This is something my mother taught me. ” Do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life.” I absolutely LOVE what I do. I get to change my clients lives through exercise and better nutrition. My clients live a healthier, happier lives and they are forever grateful. To me that is so empowering. I was talking to my friend Dr. Unger the other day (Dr. Unger is a top metabolic doctor in the area) and he said ” Sam your role in the patient care is just as important as ours”.

2) Deliver excellent results: That’s the bottom line. That’s where the rubber meets the road. At Fitness Concepts we not only assign you to one of our excellent personal trainers but I also will personally teach you nutrition(which accounts for 70-80% of your results). Our clients also have a scheduled appointment with my staff to weigh and get their body composition tested every week to make sure they are on track.

3) Provide excellent service and always over deliver: We at Fitness Concepts provide complimentary bottles of water and towel service, send out weekly educational blogs to help you stay motivated and on track,  provide you with the best equipment that money can buy, maintain our equipment impeccably to assure our clients get the best possible service.

4) Always strive to improve our service and product: All Fitness Concepts clients have my email address and phone number in case they have any questions or concerns about anything that pertains to their program. We always welcome any suggestions to improve our product.

5) Make money: Did I dare say that? Don’t we all have to make a living? The reason we have been SUPER successful is because we deliver RESULTS.  We are not the cheapest  but we are the least expensive(not the same thing).


Now let me explain to you why we have to “fire” clients  or “refuse services”  every once in a while

1) If a client comes in one day and just doesn’t have anything positive to say about anything and anyone it could be just that they are “having a bad day”. We all have bad days and that’s very understandable. But if they are having a “bad everyday” and draining the energy from our staff and other clients then that particular client is not a good match for us because it violates our motto of having fun at work.

2) Can someone get excellent results and service and still not be happy.  ABSOLUTELY!!! I had a client that lost over 60lb and  totally changed his health and physique but still managed to complain about every little thing (music in the gym, someone was busy and forgot to say hi as they walked in, pricing,  etc……)  to everyone else around but me. The funny thing is that he/she once told me that they have tried for years to get in that kind of shape with no luck and that Fitness Concepts was one of the better investment he/she has made. You see even when our 2nd motto is to deliver excellent results that might not be enough.

Never Satisfied


3)  Even if you come in under budget and over deliver, this client just isn’t happy with any of his trainers or results(They would probably complain if it was free).  I understand that not every person is a perfect match, but come on!!   He may have something in  mind that they just can’t communicate, and when you don’t deliver this idea that lives in his head, he’s disappointed.  Even if they have gotten results they still are complaining that something isn’t right.

I am not a mind reader!!

4) As a business owner all I can do is to make myself very accessible to all your clients. After all everyone of my clients gets my biweekly blog posts to educate and motivate them(if they need to talk to me all they have to do is push reply).  I am always in the gym, my personal cell phone number is on the front desk on my business card and I am always available to meet with my clients to answer their questions and/or concerns. It is very frustrating as a business owner to find out that a client is not completely satisfied with your services through other clients. The only way I can make sure my clients are happy is through communication.

But hmmm……….NO, ,NO, NO I remember  that movie w/ Mel Gibson


We strive to have a very upbeat and friendly atmosphere at Fitness Concepts. Click here to see hundreds of written testimonials

A client who constantly berates you or your business is not a client that should  be at the gym.  So why do they come??  That client like a tornado will suck up all the positive energy.


For some reason in today’s society no one wants to confront you and tell you their true feelings. Instead they expect you to read their mind. If you don’t read their mind most people rather not say anything, or talk to others about issues that they have with you.

Let me ask you a serious question? If I had an issue with you or your business wouldn’t you want me to come to you regarding the issue and give you a chance to correct it? Or would you rather me talk about my issues with everyone else but you? (Please leave me your thoughts on the comment section below the blog)

These people know your job better than you
Losing weight is easy. Building muscle is even a simpler concept.   Just pick up the weights and start lifting, once that gets easy move on to heavier weights.
Why should I pay anybody for that?
Any one can do it!!  My cousin Vinny can show me that.   In that case I should hire that client to train me.  Or better yet their cousin Vinny!
Not Being Upfront and honest

Trust and integrity are a vital element to any good business relationship. Finding out a client hasn’t been upfront with you is a huge disappointment. Actually their complete honesty is in fact crucial to their success and health.
My personal satisfaction is getting everyone to their optimal shape and health.  Seeing them blossom, this effect seems to be a domino effect and my clients share positive results in other areas of their life!!  This is what drives me and I love it!!   My own health and sanity are at stake when I go round and round with a client trying to help them and they aren’t being straight and upfront with me.



Firing a client may be an uncommon step for most businesspeople, but if a client is causing me, my staff & clients as well as my business undue hardship or loss, it is probably time to say goodbye.

I would love to know your input in dealing with “The Energy Vampires” on the comment section below.


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Comments on The Energy Vampires »

January 10, 2010

Michael Seril @ 2:34 pm

you want people in your business that will work hard…stay committed…stay honest and make your business…the best business possible! if they don’t….see-ya!


Amber Montenegro @ 3:01 pm

Your staff is a vital part of your business. Part of your job as an employer is to take care of your employees. You have to let them know that you care. If you do that then they will, in return, put forth a good effort. That makes for a thriving company. So, yes firing a client is acceptable as long as it is not a regular practice and you have done everything you could do on your end.

Chris Plante @ 3:27 pm

Energy vampires not only drain the good karma when at your place of business, they tend to say negative things about your business to people they come in contact with. They will typically give more bad reviews than a happy customer will. It doesn’t matter if you provide a service or product. There are times when it is better not to have that “one more customer.” You are right on the mark, Sam!

Lynette Domingo @ 3:30 pm

First of all, I don’t believe you need to go through such a thorough explanation about why you needed to fire clients. It’s your business and your responsibility to live up to your business standards, mottos and philosophy.

That being said, it’s tough enough to maintain a consistently harmonious working environment ~ especially in a gym (cuz I work in one too) where the drama between both employees and members can start from petty, insignificant issues. Cutting out the energy vampires is essential to maintaining that synergy necessary for positive physical, emotional and spiritual transformation. It’s your duty to protect the people in your personal and business life who want to surround themselves the high frequency energy vibrations from those that live at a lower frequency.

Kira Clarke @ 3:37 pm

I understand and agree with what your saying … except the label …

Energy vampires …

Whilst it is accurate, I don’t think the label helps either the trainer or the client.

Here’s an example (I’ve changed a few of the details for privacy, but you should get the gist of my argument) …

I worked with a person who was very difficult. She was the epitome of ‘energy vampire’ … that being said, over the course of a few months I found out that she was also coming out of drug addiction, had a background of ongoing violent physical abuse, sexual assault and a host of other incredibly destructive experiences.

Her issues didn’t excuse her behavior (and it was BAD!), but they did offer me a window into her life that helped me understand her better. I was able to see her as a person, rather than a one-dimensional label.

Anyway, I helped her achieve around 90% of her physical goals but then chose to stop working with her … I was honest to her about why … but I was also constructive … I suggested to her the aspects of her personality she needs to work on and gave her recommendations of people who could help her (in this case, medical and social support).

My point of this rather extreme example is this … Behind every ‘energy vampire’ there’s a person. Finding the person, rather than being satisfied with a one-dimensional label, enables the trainer to act out of empathy rather than hostility and helps promote a positive and constructive approach to dealing with the client … Even if the client responds badly, the trainer still comes away from the experience with many positives.

Incidentally, I don’t claim to be an expert or anything, I’ve just found this approach with people to be useful.


Michael Stolle @ 4:45 pm

First let me say that when I go to the gym, it’s me and the gym. Unless it’s a day with a personal trainer and then it’s me, the gym and the trainer. I pay no attention to anyone else.

If you have these “energy vampires” in your gym and they are getting results from their training, chances are good there are underlying circumstances causing these negativities. Chances are also good that they have these negativities about many other things in their lives. If you feel these people are a drain on your business, the trainers and your other clients you should bring this to their attention. Don’t try to be a psychologist, just explain what their attitudes are doing to your place of business and suggest that they have a change of attitude while at the gym or they will be asked to not come back.

Claudia @ 4:56 pm

I avoid negative attitude by being positive myself, and by accepting my mistakes and by having a humble atittuted and hang out with people that have a positive atittute also..

Sharon Rae @ 5:48 pm

Yes, Negative people, please get out of my life.
Being in the bodywork industry I do not like clients that are always down on themselves, they complain about there body hurting, life is horrible. In my 14 years of massaging, I have got rid of 5 clients.
Have positive energy around me (us) feels so much better.
Have a peaceful day everyone………..

Thank you.. I so AGREE with everything that you said here. I am a personal trainer at a small gym with 11 other trainers and we all feel the same way about what you have stated. I don’t want any negative energy in our gym.
blessings to you, marina

Great article topic! This is a conversation that is too often ignored by the fitness industry, and I applaud you for bringing this topic to light. I too agree with your take on “energy vampires,” and would recommend a book by Judith Orloff, M.D. (also an intuitive empath, which makes her quite unique) that addresses this exact topic! Thank you for sharing, and on a somewhat similar note, I would appreciate any feedback on my most recent blog topic, which is “Facing Your Fears.” It can be found at http://www.BonerInSweatpants.com, and yes, there is a slightly humorous twist to it, and has a PG-13 rating to it! Thanks again from Kansas City!

Jim Wray @ 11:20 pm

This is an interesting point. Coming from a gym member’s point of view, negativity is something that I don’t need either. I got enough trouble with it in life and I sure don’t need it at the gym. I know that there are times when I don’t want to do what my trainer tells me to do, but I know that he is there to motivate me and get me jump-started and I have a great “runner’s high” afterward.

Sam I would expect to get fired if I am “Danny Downer” all the time. I wouldn’t make many friends, harm your business, and really regain half the work I am doing there. I am there to get healthy. Getting right in the head is also what I am there for. If there is someone there saying they don’t wanna do what it takes, it will influence others to think the same: bad for business bad and for the spirit.

We very well know, we’re paying for something that we need and because we want to be the better us’s we know we are meant to be. We sure as heck don’t need someone throwing a big honkin’ monkey wrench in it all.

So feel validated. Do what we gotta do. Gardner’s can prune a rose bush so can a boss trim the fathead from the meat.

Jim Wray

January 11, 2010

Kevin @ 8:15 am

Here is an obscure way of looking at people. Everyone is great until you show up. What if we cause the reaction that we get through our contact with others. Our verbal communication and body language is so very Powerful! What do we do and how do we react? Since looking at life through the perspective of what I do will cause the reaction in others, my life has been much more simple. There will be the select few that we just cant quite click with (usually because I don’t spend the time), but if we focus on selflessness and 100% on them, most of the time, the gap can be conquered! Don’t buy into their attitude and be open with them. Little things like, “Hey anything I can do for you today, seems like you are little off your game and I want to help” Contribution, giving everyday is very important. As Kira said above, maybe they are going through a rough patch, communication is key, as you stated, you can not read minds, but it is your job as the salesperson (every owner is a salesperson) to find out, dig deep and help them, it may not be physical, and you focus on physical training … but think about this, 90% of the workout is truly mental … Enjoy!

Ken Salzman @ 10:25 am

Good thoughts, Sam, especially “I’m not a mind reader”. We have to communicate – salesperson to client and visa versa. But sometimes we have to ask our clients difficult questions, work through the smoke until we get to the personal impact. People are taught to not express their true thoughts because we don’t want to hurt feelings, tell the truth or let someone know we don’t understand. It’s the childhood feelings that we carry with us as an adult. if we realize this we can change or at least be aware of it. Your heading in the right direction, Sam. Good luck in your business.

Roger Bangerter @ 10:38 am

You hit the nail on the head with this one. I agree with you 100%. We are all so much better off without the energy vampires sucking the life out of us. Constructive criticism is great and productive, but there are some people that just don’t seem happy unless they have something to complain about (and they are obviously not happy). I prefer to look for the positive in every situation and there is something positive if that is what we are looking for. We see exactly what we are looking for–good or bad. Those that are always looking for the good things in life also enjoy better health. Thanks for writing about this. As always, it was uplifting.

Cinthia Gambino @ 6:29 pm

Energy Vampires exist everywhere and in every area of our lives. It is far better to keep our distance from suckers and choose to surround ourselves only with those who will support and uplift our commitments. Besides, the more positive and energetic we are, the more positive and energetic people we will attract into our lives. The suckers will eventually leave because they can’t stand happiness anyway.

Great Blog Sam!


Erick Ruiz Salgado @ 8:30 pm

I completely agree. When I was younger, my parents would always tell me to be careful with the company I keep. What was true then, is still true today. If you want to be wealthy, hang out with people who have accumulated wealth. If you want to be fit, hang out with fit people. If you want to happy, hang out with happy people. As a leader of any organization, you have the added responsibility to ensure that everyone is working in a positive environment. This means being selective of who you let into your organization, and quickly removing anyone who creates added stress. The better the environment, the better the results and, Sam, I know you are all about getting you clients results. I can also tell you that when I was working for my Family’s Business, they make El Monterey frozen Mexican food, I saw them quickly drop anyone who didn’t make the company a more pleasant and efficient place to work. You are doing a great job Sam!!!

January 12, 2010

Clint Phillips @ 2:32 pm

A couple of years ago I made the mistake of accepting a check for $16,000 for a year’s worth of training, in advance. At the time, I thought it was a good deal. A few weeks into it, the client started whining and complaining about everything. Usually I’ll say something like “Whine all you want, as long as you’re still moving – If you stop exercising, I don’t want to hear it.” But this woman bordered on disrespect. So I told her to go meet me in the hallway outside the gym. There I told her I don’t tolerate that type of behavior, and told her I was going to give her all her money back – not even pro-rate it. She was stunned. She asked if I’d think about it.

I told her I’d get back to her, but the session was over. After a few days, I agreed to take her back provided she was a model client, and did whatever I said. She did become a model client; has gone from barely 5 foot tall and 265 to 150; is continuing to lose weight; and if any whine ever creeps into her voice these days, all it takes is a raised eyebrow to squash it.

So, yeah, firing a client might be just the thing needed to light a fire under them. If not, I can do more good elsewhere.

January 13, 2010

Jeff Carpenter @ 2:50 pm

Sam, a good business relationship is critical to the success of the business, just like a relationship between husband and wife is critical to there life style. If one of the parties involved in the relationship is out of controll than the relationship breaks down. Most issues you are discribing are related to being selfish. Slefishness is the number one reason for relationships of any kind to break down, one of the person involved always needs and requires it there way. You have to seperate your business from such selfish personalities once they become uncontrollable, of course the first thing to do is to discuss the issue and see if there is a resolution that can be made. Considering you are working with the most dificult thing in business (People) I am suprised you have not fired more. Keep up the great work.

January 20, 2010

houyda mertaban @ 6:53 pm

I agree with you 100%sam its your business. and your clients should be happy and they need somone like you to motivat them, not somone will put theme down.I my self work harder when i hear a supportive common from a staff or a client. sooo do what ever it takes to keep your business runing good sam and if you need help let me know.

January 22, 2010

Richard Tillema @ 1:21 pm

I agree with you……coming into your business and feeling the positive energy from your staff is what keeps me coming in to work out when I’ve had a tough day myself. Some years ago I worked in an automotive repair facility where the owner was quick to refund money and basically say goodby to whiners. I did not understand his policy at the time, but after 35 years in the airline industry I do now. There are some folks who just have to spread misery and poison the atmosphere. I say good riddance to those folks.

Dr. Saman @ 5:35 pm

That’s my point exactly. You can’t try to be everything for everyone. If you do that then you are nothing to no one. Thanks Richard