Friday, March 19, 2010

People I Strongly Dislike: Personal Trainers.

For a largely passive activity[1], my daily trip to the gym still serves as a huge, and constant source of agitation. The reasons are simple: because most gyms contain a host of unsavory and mostly annoying people whose sole purpose in life is to get in your way.

There's "do curls with 95 pound dumbbells and grunt like you're having sex with each rep" guy. There's "show everyone how strong I am, squat 450 and look at myself in the mirror" guy. There's "dress in workout gear totally inappropriate for my body type and walk around an hour trying to get hit on" girl. But perhaps nobody is more annoying than "the personal trainer".

I should be very clear in my distinction here: I have a good friend who's a personal trainer and takes the job very seriously. He wastes no motions or time when in the club. He charges reasonable rates. He understands proper workout techniques and nutrition. He can create reasonable workout routines to help his customers reach attainable personal goals. He treats his customers like any professional rendering a service would. I'm not talkin' about him.

I'm talkin' bout' Big Al.

Big Al is the standard bearer for why I hate personal trainers like their last names were Palin. 9 times of out ten, when I arrive, he is either standing in front of the club trying to holler at office workers passing by on their lunch break, or inside trying to holler at women as they come out of the dressing room. For a personal trainer, he isn't even really in that great shape. He looks like a former CIAA running back, 20 years after his last game. This bama looks just like Clifton Powell, and sounds just like Steve Harvey. He probably should be somewhere downtown behind a desk working for Wackenhut, but instead, he's working at a large, franchised personal fitness center which shall not be named for legal purposes.[2]

Perhaps oddest is the one time out of ten that Big Al actually does have a client. Man, I gotta tell you, I just don't understand middle-aged suburban housewives sometimes. Again, Al has a stomach out to here, but these poor, clueless women take his advice like it's gold, albeit gold that costs $35 per session. Big Al "talks" them through a pretty flimsy "workout" of situps, stretches, and band exercises when he's not busy flirting with passersby or talking on his phone. And perhaps most disturbing is when Al has these women laying down on one of those huge "workout balls", which I assume is for the abs.[3] Watching Al playfully tap the women (repeatedly and forcefully) on the backside with each rep, and watching them smile at the attention is sorta gross in a "catching your aunt and uncle making out in the living room" sorta way.[4]

I'm sure these women come to Big Al to make up for some of the attention they might be missing at home, and he gladly provides it for a mere $140/week. Are they getting an actual "workout"? Judging by the continually expanding waistlines of many of these chicks, I seriously doubt it. And sadly, I can probably say the same for most of the other personal trainers at my gym, who also seem to prey on middle aged women, and are rather, shall we say, "liberal" with their hands when showing these women how to stretch, and bend, and whatnot. It's like a 2am SkineMax flick with fewer plastic parts, more clothes, and even worse music.

Then again if I looked like Clifton Powell and sounded like Steve Harvey, I'd prolly rather grope these thirsty, middle-aged chicks than do some lame security gig myself.

I ain't (that) mad at ya' Big Al.

Question: Do you use a personal trainer? Have you actually gotten results, or are they simply telling you to do what you already know? Is Big Al pimpin' these chicks, or is he providing a valuable service to the suburban community?

[1] I usually keep my headphones on the entire time, even in the shower. Yes, it's possible.

[2] But just for the record, it rhymes with "Gold's Gym".

[3] What the heck are those big balls for anyway?

[4] All together now... "Eeeewwwwwwwwww!"

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