Get Fit Now!: The Trainer Tells All

Sex. Boob jobs. Drunkenness. Indecent proposals. I saw it all when I worked at a Main Line gym, and I learned one valuable lesson: Getting fit is the last thing on most people’s minds.

I had been working out with a woman for months when one day, out of nowhere, she dropped the bomb.

“I have been giving you so many signals, what’s the problem here?”

“What signals?” I was totally clueless. Did she want me to up the weight on the Abductor? Was I making her do too many reps? Did she have to go to the bathroom? “What are you talking about?”

“Come on, my husband is never around. We can do some things. It doesn’t matter.” How stupid could I be? This happened all the time. To me. To other trainers. I knew guys who got into training just for these kinds of fringe benefits. And here I was. Again.

“It matters to me,” I said.


“Number one, you’re married. Number two, you’re a client.” Number three, I wouldn’t sleep with you if you paid me. “It’s not happening,” I said. A couple days later, she fired me.

The firing? That didn’t bother me. I had so many clients, so many gym members asking to train with me, I was set. But the situation was another story. Sure, I was used to the come-ons. I was used to the face-lifts. I was used to the “If you make me sweat, I’m outta here” attitudes, to the clients who we knew were only there because they liked to tell people at cocktail parties that they had a personal trainer. Okay, only a small percentage of my clients were lunatics. Most of them were great, hard-working, down-to-business. Most of them respected me. But after five years working as a personal trainer at a Main Line gym, I was getting pretty bored — the last thing I would
have ever expected the day I walked in there, begging for a job.

I didn’t set out to be a personal trainer. I wanted to go to officer candidates school, but the military didn’t take me. My test scores weren’t high enough. I thought about grad school, and then thought twice. I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do, until one day I was driving past a gym on the Main Line and decided to see if they would hire me. “You want to work for me?” the owner asked, sizing me up, this 22-year-old punk kid with no experience, all pumped up from playing football and running track in college. “Come back at eight tonight and we’ll see.”

I came back at eight, and he trained me. No, he destroyed me. When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t sit on the toilet, my hamstrings hurt so badly. I couldn’t lift my arms to put a shirt on. And I thought to myself, “That was the greatest workout ever.” I called the gym and asked when I could come back. The owner told me I’d passed the test, and in three days, he’d start training me to train.