It is hard enough turning up for my weekly personal training session, anticipating the pain and humiliation that will follow, but now I have identified a new concern – Competitive Personal Training. Now you might think this would occur between the clients being trained and to be honest, I am as competitive as the next person, but no. I have noticed that there is a disturbing competition between trainers. The idea being that the more advanced exercises their client can survive, the better it reflects on them.
My last session started benignly enough with the usual rolling around using foam cylinders on the buttocks to help with any stiffness (if you read my earlier post, you will understand why) and then a gentle warmup. Enter two more trainers with their clients. One was a lady of around my age and fitness and the other was a young, slim woman who looked about twenty five. The older lady was asked to lie on a mat and lift her legs gently in different directions and take long rests between sets of repetitions. The younger one was quickly set a punishing warmup. As she began a long and complicated set of lunges, my trainer who was handing me a kettlebell, snatched it back and watching her out of the corner of his eye devised some very similar lunges for me as well, instead of the kettlebell lifts I had been expecting.
Bright red, and with my legs trembling, I got through those and was looking enviously at the lady on the mat (she had not changed colour and was admiring her manicure), when the young women was instructed to jump up onto a high box from a standing start. She managed it with apparent ease and her trainer looked around the gym as if to say ¨look what my client can do¨. My own delightful taskmaster looked at me speculatively and then dragged over a smaller box and indicated that I should attempt the same feat. After a couple of humiliating tries where I either bottled out or tripped and landed on my knees on the box, he sighed and suggested that I step up instead.
Meanwhile, the young women had been hoisted up to a high beam to do some assisted chin ups with her own trainer helping by pushing on her heels from below. My trainer´s eyes narrowed, and he looked from me to the beam. I stared at him incredulously and said ¨Seriously?¨.
¨ You can do that with your eyes closed¨ he replied and grabbed me around the waist to lift me up to the bar. I squawked and having grabbed the bar, hung there like a sloth. ¨Right, now do a chin up and I will help¨ he said. There was a long moment when I pulled up and he pushed and we got absolutely nowhere and then my fingers started to slip.
¨I can’t hold on¨ I warned. He ignored me and continued pushing up against my heels. Meanwhile the young woman had lightly jumped down and after a smug glance from her trainer moved on to some crunches. At that moment, my fingers lost their grip and I hurtled down landing ignominiously on top of my trainer. As we picked ourselves up, I noticed the lady on the mat was lying on her stomach being gently stretched and discussing her plans for the weekend. Finally my trainer glanced in her direction.
¨We will do some core work when the rehabilitation client is finished¨ he said. ¨What happened to her?¨ I asked. ¨She hurt herself training¨was the reply.
Frankly, feigning injury might be the way forward…