About a week ago our trainer in training, Katie Deluca, was invited to participate in a Kettlebell class offered by the local Kettlebell only training establishment (Local readers will know Exactly who I am talking about) here in Chico, CA. She asked what I thought and I said "Go check it out, learn something, have fun". Well...we all learned something from the experience for sure.
About 5 minutes after entering the facility Katie was pulled to the side of the class by the I believe owner/operator and given a body fat assessment using calipers...through Katie's pants! She was told that she was 28% body fat, had thick thighs and did not look very good. She was further informed that buying some supplements and training at this facility would get her down near 12% body fat, which is what the owner claims to be.
I've sat on this for about 10 days and am just now not so angry that anything I said or wrote about this topic would not be highly inflammatory. It's not going to be warm and chummy as it is. The first thing I have to say is the use of calipers through clothing...I'm actually a little stunned. This is such a completely bogus thing to do I'm stunned.
Calipers, IF they are to be accurate, require at least 7 sites, often times more and they are so sensitive to changes in thickness that the skin fold can only be held 2-4 seconds before tissue compression occurs and the test is inaccurate! Here is a nice resource on legit skin fold testing . Most folks who are good at skin fold testing work on people who have been hydostatically weighed and then run the calipers to match the gold standard, the hydrostatic weighing. It is generally accepted that this is a tough skill to master...and get this...the technician doing the caliper measurements needs to actually work with the client's SKIN!!
Even skin measurements can be highly inaccurate if care is not taken. So where does that place this guy's technique when we consider he took the measurement through Katie's PANTS? In the immortal words of Power Lifting Coach Dave Tate, somewhere between Shit and Suck.
I can draw one of two conclusions from this. The Kettlebell Kid is an idiot or he has highly questionable business practices. Katie's experience at this place seems to confirm both, but I'm perhaps more concerned about the questionable business practices and basic morality that occurs at places like this as well as at the Globo Gyms.
A common sales technique, whether it's a car or personal training package is the negative sell. The buyer, is placed on the defensive as they come to learn from the informative seller that they are fat, old, poor...generally unworthy of the services being offered. The seller then offers a route to redemption (buy the product) and a relationship is established. The seller offers scant motivation, frequent and often public ridicule...and the whole thing preys on insecurities everyone has, but for some these insecurities are incapacitating. Many folks, especially young women deal with food and body image issues constantly. Meal skipping and binging often become coping mechanisms for societal and self-imposed pressures.
Over the past year of working with us Katie has come to value performance and feeling good above all else. She eats protein, veggies and good fats at every meal and her performance and physique reflect her healthy lifestyle. She kicks ass. The negative sell at that place really shook her up and I think if you have an ounce of empathy it is just sickening.
When we talked to our clients about this we were told this is a common sales technique in the Globo gyms. Even the calipers through the clothes gig! (Another client had her bodyfat measured with calipers through her JEANS!!!) Another goodie is the "good cop, bad cop" game of offering people today only deals and "let me go ask my manager if I can ok this special deal..."
Are these people selling cars? How valuable is the product if you need sales tactics like this?
We have one magazine we advertise in. Our ad used to say we offer CrossFit, sport specific training and kettlebells. Our new ad does not include the kettlebells. I'll be damned if I have anything that could make us look like or be associated with people who do business like this.
Oh yea, here are some photos of Katie. I don't think she is 28% bodyfat. We are getting hydrostatic weighing at CSU Chico and I will update you on the real value.