So I’ve joined a gym. That’s not particularly earth shattering. I’m sure there are millions of people doing it every day. If you’re on Instagram there are hordes of pictures being posted every minute of people in a gym. Many of them just standing around looking hot in their gym gear… ahh… that’s got to be the life, right?
I’ve never really been a gym person before. I have always played loads of sport – netball, cricket, swimming, gymnastics, competitive aerobics, touch football, martial arts, all through school and into my thirties. I even studied PDHPE (Physical Development, Health and Physical Education) for my HSC. I
like love the competitive aspect of sport. Yes, I’m one of those competitive types. It’s always been about winning. So I never quite got the whole gym thing. Which is kind of weird considering, now that I’ve stopped and thought about it, so many of my friends are total gym junkies. This makes sense since, like me, they were totally into sport. In fact I met many of them playing sport. But now we all have children and sport matches don’t really fit into toddler friendly times. At any rate, gyms always seemed more of a place where people kind of paraded around looking all attractive in their minimal clothing, flexing their arm muscles and trying to lift ridiculously heavy things on bars – I now know this to be called a ‘bench press’ (but don’t quote me on the lingo because I’m still finding my way through this gym business). Not to mention that I’m a socially awkward introvert so walking into a place where I don’t know anyone and not understanding what on earth you do exactly in these places… Well to say it freaks me out a little would be putting it mildly. But moving has meant that I’ve left my awesome touch football team. Actually, who am I kidding? I’m so unfit now I’d never keep up with them! So I needed an alternative if I’m going to get back to being the fit and strong person I miss.
So last week I put on my ‘big girl pants’ and joined a gym. But because I have no clue, I also booked a personal trainer. I mean seriously, have you seen the contraptions they have in these gyms? I knew I’d need someone to tell me repeatedly what on earth you were supposed to do with them or I’d end up hurting myself and quite likely, anyone else near me. However, there must have been some divine intervention because for my first few forays into the gym (I started with some group classes because I wasn’t game to try all the machines yet) I happened to start some really awkward conversations with some very lovely people. They helped me navigate the maze of mats and rubber bands you have to use in these classes. They very politely didn’t laugh as I looked like an octopus trying to get into a string bag when I then went on to use these rubber band things. I’d like to say it wasn’t half as scary as I thought it would be… but, as I said, I’ve added to this whole mess by getting a personal trainer… because I figure, if I’m going to do this gym thing, I may as well jump in both feet and all.
Let me say, when I made the decision to get a personal trainer, I was quite sure I’d get a female trainer. For many reasons – I have a tendency to be neurotic and women tend to get that better, I feel more comfortable being a total idiot in front of another woman, I feel more comfortable speaking more freely about body image issues with a woman… But my plans were foiled. In this gym you can get a free program made, but you don’t get to choose who makes it for you. It’s sort of pot luck. So as much as I felt like chickening out, I trusted in those ‘big girl pants’ and met the person who’d do my program… and he was a bloke. Now, either he is really good at faking nice, or he really is that nice. My only experience of male gym type people in the past has been of pumped up (in more ways than one), extremely self-confident, loud peacocks…. It’s not that I have to be best buddies with my personal trainer, but I do have to spend an hour a week with this person. That’s a lot of time. I figure they have to at least be tolerable and interesting. By the end of our time, this trainer hadn’t collapsed into hysterics at my inability to sync with machines, nor had he given me mortified looks at how little I could run or lift… so I thought, I’ll ask if he’d be my trainer.
We’ve had two PT sessions since then, which has been more than enough time for me to have all these questions. I mean, when you think about it, personal trainers are an interesting phenomena. They must meet such a broad section of the population. They meet up with a person, once a week, for an entire hour. I struggle to catch up with my friends once a week on the phone for ten minutes, let alone once a week for an entire hour, in person. So you think they’d have a rather unique insight into people… So while I’m supposed to be concentrating on whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing, these questions keep popping up in my mind, and until I know him better and can rest assured he doesn’t think I’m a total lunatic, I’ve jotted them down here…
Q. What do you do if somebody wants you to be their trainer but you don’t want to be their trainer?
Q. What do you do if you start training someone then they turn out to be different from what you thought and you don’t want to train them anymore?
Q. How can you tell when someone is being lazy, versus when they really can’t do it?
Q. Have you every pushed someone so hard they cried/vomited/passed out? Do you feel bad after?
Q. What do you do if you get half way through a session and a client starts to smell? Do you tell them?
Q. Have you ever had one of your clients develop an attraction for you? (Because in teaching, it isn’t uncommon to have a student or a parent want something more…) What happens if you reject them but yet you’re still supposed to train them?
Q. Have you ever just lost your cool with a client?
Q. Do you get clients coming up to you when you’re out and about and you just can’t get rid of them? (Again, with teachers this happens A LOT)
Q. What happens when you leave a job/gym but you rather like your clients? Do they migrate with you?
Q. Has being a personal trainer now ruined having a personal trainer for yourself? Do you critique other personal trainers, especially those that train you?
Q. Do you sometimes add weights just to make a person exhausted so they shut up and give you a break?
Q. When you’re having a particularly bad day, do you sometimes find yourself (even unintentionally) pushing your clients harder or giving them more grueling exercises?
Q. Have you ever thought things were going well with a client and then they just stopped having sessions and you didn’t know why?
Q. What keeps this job (of being a personal trainer) interesting?
And I write this knowing he doesn’t know about this blog…
So while I awkwardly figure out this whole gym business, I’m glad I have a besty who can translate all this gym stuff. She also tells me when I’m being weak in my training sessions because at the moment, my trainer is just too nice! One day he’ll learn he can be a whole lot more blunt, and that I won’t give up and run the other way.
I’m leaving you with a video of my besty – because she can lift heavier weights than most guys I know. I think she’s awesome.