I spent the past year working at a commercial gym as a Personal Trainer. I had always assumed that I would enjoy working at a gym; I love fitness, and I’ve spent an insane amount of time (stupidly) working out prior, so what’s better than just living at a gym? As the saying goes “don’t meet your heroes,“ you realize their faults to them like anyone else, and you’ve spent so long idolizing them that they, in reality, can’t compare to the construction of your mind. Nobody and nothing is perfect not to sound nihilistic even though I always am (I’m whiny). I realized in the same sense “the perfect job” also applies. My attitude changed of those around me and the fitness industry itself. People will always be ridiculous in their own ways, and I think every field in life has their percentages. If I could label a gym setting with one word, I believe douchebag would be succinctly eloquent. This is not to say I had never been any one of these people or some other form. I almost feel like I suddenly became self-aware of my environment. These are my observations…
The characters in a commercial gym are interesting. While working out can be fun, it is mostly a vain hobby in a sense. Everyone who steps foot into a weight room wants to look like a Greek statue; I should say most people. Some others have health issues they are determined to work through, but I know in the back of their mind they have the same wish to a certain degree. This is akin to asking anyone on the street “who wants to be rich?” Being male all my life, as I had never determined I was any other gender (shout outs to 2017). There is this hidden peacock game or an imagined hierarchy ladder in the setting. Guys show up in stringers with the dumbest gym phrases like “here to train” “train or shut the fuck up” or input any other string of barely intelligible words, and you have a gym T-shirt. I am not a fashion Nazi; any fourth grader can beat my closet. I am one step above wearing sketchers that light up when I step. I can still, however, recognize when something looks inherently retarded. A couple months ago, a memory that will forever be with me. I was training one of my clients and a man wearing an unbuttoned flak-like jacket with no undershirt wearing a fisher’s man hat was glaring at me. I had done nothing to this man, but I assume that he felt his need to assert himself to me since he was in better shape than me. I’m glaring back thinking “dude you can’t look like a c minus backstreet boy dancer and be mean. You can’t look like you just left the Chippendale academy and act like a suicide bomber.” The unfortunate case this is never isolated incidents in gyms, something about being twenty-something and deadlifting raises everyone’s testosterone.
Women are far worst although in a commercial gym. Women dress like what I would imagine an Amish strip club would be. Yes, I understand this is purposely done for attention and if you were to argue against that, I would also believe you think the earth is flat. I don’t see how you can justify a girl wearing shorts where quite literally half her ass is showing. While my English teacher would find that sentence extremely verbose, I don’t know how else to strongly communicate what I see. I don’t mind it although, I would encourage this more if I could. At the same time, it’s been dividing my attention that should be spent on my clients. Being twenty-six and single doesn’t help, I feel like the dog from the movie “up.” I go from trying to explain a Bulgarian split squat to being lost in my mind in almost seeing an entire breast. The number of times I’ve muttered “Jesus” I assume my clients think I’m a devoutly religious man. In group fitness classes women tend to be more cliquish, they band together and bully one another. Complaints from those bullied are endless and happen more often than I would imagine for those in their mid-thirties. I wish I could say something better to these women than just don’t go to that particular class or stop caring but it’s funny how high school-like drama still goes on.
Social media and gym life go hand to hand. Social media is braggadocios in nature and gym goers love to show off, it’s like marshmallows and hot chocolate. A perfect combination or storm. I usually witness some spectacular feat with someone recording off to the side. The other day I watched someone alternate a power-clean with a rollout using the barbell. A power clean isn’t an insanely technical movement, but it isn’t something (in my humble opinion) you would want to stack on top of something else. When it comes to programming and diets, most people just follow the wrong type of person. Every gym idiot does not think overtraining is real unless you are on Vitamin S (steroid) you are otherwise limited by the number of weeks you can train continuously. A lot of people don’t seem to understand after X number of weeks your body takes a much longer time to recover than your first week. This will continue until your body stops recovering altogether and your performance after stagnating hits a decline. Everyone wants to look like someone the follow-on their Instagram, but everyone forgets those people usually have other factors that contribute to the success.
I still love my job; I love interacting with people who want to make a change in their lives. It makes me reflect on my life and the goals that I keep dreaming about but never take action towards. It’s been fascinating to see people’s different levels of motivations and drive. It’s been enlightening to try to work with those who struggle even with sometimes the frustration I experience when I don’t get met half-way. Sometimes you do a great job with someone other times you do a piss poor attempt. I think it comes with the territory. You need the bad to contrast the good I guess.