Jennie Smash vs. The Personal Trainer: Fight!

One of the many reasons I hate working out is that it inevitably brings me into contact with that most loathsome of creatures, the personal trainer. My apologies if you are one of these people … but you should probably drown yourself. I’m trying to think of anyone else who, in the course of their job, thinks it’s OK to wander up to someone who is sweating and miserable and offer them advice. And I just can’t.

Today, the trainer got me before I was sweating. (You can safely assume misery: I was at the gym.) My friend Caryn and I had just arrived at the gym, and were sitting on a mat stretching. I was trying not to groan too loudly or complain too much. Caryn was pretty happy. She’s a much nicer person than I am.

The trainer came over to us, crouched down in front of me and said, “Now, ladies, you know better than that! We don’t stretch when our muscles are cold!”

I grimaced at him, and in the brightest possible tone said: “I’m sorry, but I actually don’t like it when people give me advice while I’m working out.”

“Oh, you’re one of those, are you?” (And here he gave me one of those smiles where the person’s eyes stay all cold and hard and, just looking at them, you can totally understand how there are serial killers roaming among us for years and no one notices.) “Well, I’ll just tell your friend … but I’ll speak up, so you can hear me too.”

I’m not kidding. That’s what he said.

Caryn inclined her head politely and asked him why we weren’t supposed to stretch before working out.

I interrupted: “Whatever he tells you won’t be true two years from now. They change their minds all the time.”

He laughed. (Soullessly.) “That’s true! That IS true. But that’s because science advances all the time and–“

“–They have no idea what they’re talking about. NO IDEA.” I sprung up and headed over to the elliptical trainers. Caryn trailed after me, looking at the trainer apologetically. “And since I’ve been working out since I was six*, I think I know what I’m doing.”

Basically, I’ve stopped listening to anything they’ve “figured out” about health and exercise. Here’s what you can count on, and the rest you can toss:

1) Don’t do a lot when you haven’t been doing anything at all, or start doing a lot more when you’ve only been doing a little.

2) If it hurts, stop.

3) If you do more and eat less, you’ll probably lose weight.

4) Smoking is bad for you.

5) It’s better to eat fresh food.

6) If you deny yourself all the time, you will go insane and eat the entire dairy section at the neighborhood bodega and they’ll call the cops and by the time the cops get there, you’ll be sitting in the middle of the floor in your fat pants, covered by ice cream, crying and rocking back and forth. That’s just what I heard.

7) Having a drink now and then probably won’t kill you. But that’s a drink, Chuckie.

* Doing the Jane Fonda Workout with my Mom totally counts.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

13 thoughts on “Jennie Smash vs. The Personal Trainer: Fight!

  1. “I’m trying to think of anyone else who, in the course of their job, thinks it’s OK to wander up to someone who is sweating and miserable and offer them advice. And I just can’t.”

    Porn directors. Grats on actually going to the gym though, my bowflex has been collecting dust for many moons now.

    p.s. If you would be so kind, wish me luck tomorrow… I’m applying for a job that I’m totally overqualified for, just so I can sell video games part-time and get a mad discount. If I didn’t do my own taxes, my accountant would be so proud of me. :p

  2. I’m taping your list to my bathroom mirror for those days when I go crazy and actually GO to the gym.

    You should totally write a “health and fitness”/diet/life philosophy book. You’ll be a millionare.

    If Dr. Phil can do it…

  3. Also, I am totally going to write that book. You’re right, Housewife: Why should Dr. Phil get all the cash?

  4. One of my friends attends the local community center with their mediocre weight machines and 1-hour waits for the treadmill.

    She and her workout partner call one of the trainers “Carl Weathers.” ‘Nough said.

    From time to time, Carl gives the worker-outers tips and hints and comments on their excel spreadsheet workout rosters and their beautiful techniques on the machines.

    Lately though, he has expressed his interest in my friend. A couple of weeks ago, she was waiting for her gym buddy to finish with the evil lat-pulldown machine, when Carl Weathers snuck up behind her and whispered in her ear, “You know I want you, don’t you?”


    This evening, while she was stretching, Carl slithered up on my friend and said, “You know I want your phone number.”

    In other words, “you know I want to DO you.” Ew, times two.

    1) My friend (not me, I promise. This would never happen because I don’t work out.)
    2) Ew. Ew. Ew.

  5. I HATE personal trainers! I was actually driven out of my last gym because the personal trainers wouldn’t leave me alone. I even started wearing headphones all the time, hoping they’d get the point and stop… They didn’t. Finally, when one of them walked up to me I would just shrug, point to my ear phones and mouth politely, “I can’t hear you.” 22 bucks a month or no, I just couldn’t deal. Now I go to the gym on base, where they may ogle you, but at least no one gives you unwanted advice.

  6. Who knew this was where the KKK held their secret meetings. First Cosby’s and now poor Carl Weathers.

  7. Someone’s being a bit sensitive, methinks. If the dude were white, they might’ve said Ahhhnold.

  8. From Arrested Development: “Let me tell you a little story about acting. I was doing this Showtime movie, Hot Ice with Anne Archer, never once touched my per diem. I’d go to Craft Service, get some raw veggies, bacon, Cup-A-Soup… baby, I got a stew going.”

    See, Carl always be fightin’ THE MAN.

    PS: Jennismash: I posted a reply fessin’ up to Penthouse Forum.

    PMS: Look Ma Smash, no typos!

    (Which is what Carl Weathers called Fydor–“Doyz-Keff, MY MAN!”)

  9. As one of the offenders, I apologize. I seriously didn’t intend it as a racist remark and again, I’m sorry. It never occured to me that my statement could be taken in such a way (though to be honest I didn’t give the matter much thought). I just don’t think in those terms.

    During my time posting here, I think I’ve established a pretty strong track record of being an open-minded individual.

    If you think I’m over-reacting in my response to what may be a flippant comment made as a joke… I don’t care. I am very serious about this subject.

    When I want to offend someone I do so, to great effect, without resorting to the results of the universal lottery we call genetics. Pre-judging an individual on the basis of sex, race, religion, or sexual habits excludes so many valid reasons for dislike.

    Thank you. That is all.

  10. Yeah, but inadvertently offending is probably my only phobia. (Mostly because it takes away the joy of deliberately causing offense.) :p

    p.s. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get this part time job shilling video games. Go me, go me.

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