There are some etiquette issues that they just never prepare you for. Case in point: My trainer needed to go on a diet. To be honest, I was never fully impressed with her body, but she had toned arms and her butt was very high, so I sort of figured she was fit enough to train the likes of me. Six weeks into our relationship and I began to see results. I was leaner and stronger and in the right lighting (i.e. dim) comfortable in a bikini. Okay, so she wasn’t Cindy Crawford, she knew how to work out and she knew how to teach me. I decided somewhere around week nine that I was in it for the long haul. But then she went on vacation, where I can only presume (based on her visibly distended belly) she ate herself silly while lying in a prone position. I’m talking four months pregnant belly, and I know whereof I speak; I’ve had two kids, and the last time my gut was that big I was sporting a fetal sidekick.
But what is the proper etiquette between trainer and trainee? Was I obliged to facilitate an intervention of sorts? Because I couldn’t see how she was engendering any confidence in her clients with that tummy hanging out of her adorable OliveU tank. As we continued our workouts, I gently steered the conversation into this core area. I would ask about best tips for weight loss, or if a particular exercise could target a specific area. At one point I asked openly what one could do to lose unsightly bulge in the tummy area, to which she sighed, and muttered, “It really all boils down to diet.”
Which isn’t exactly the answer I wanted to hear because if it all boiled down to diet, why the hell was I doing lunges until my glutes exploded?!
In an effort to get a second opinion I asked a few other trainers who were looking rather fit.
“It’s all aerobic,” said one.
“You have to do the weights,” said another.
“It boils down to metabolic burn which can’t be achieved without both aerobic and weight bearing exercise.”
“What about diet? Does it all boil down to diet?” I asked.
“Well, only if you’re eating everything in sight.”
I had my answer.
The next day I returned to my gym prepared to give my trainer a piece of my mind. I was paying top dollar and for that I expected her to be chiseled perfection. Her job was to show me the ultimate body that I could only dream of achieving. She was the proverbial dangling carrot in front of the treadmill. But when I entered the gym she was lying on the sofa eating yogurt covered pretzels out of a feedbag. I turned and saw my reflection in a nearby mirror and realized all at once, that I had become more fit than my trainer. It was a scary realization. She was no longer a dangling carrot. She was a cautionary tale.
I considered searching for a new trainer, but the truth was, the more she ate the better I looked. I had to wonder if her weight gain was part of some larger karmic scheme to get me over my last plateau (which occurred right around the time of her vacation). Maybe she got fat in order to inspire me, because as a result of her excess tonnage, I am now weighing my food and training for a 5K. I’ve also bumped up my sessions to five times a week. I guess in the end it has been worth it. I’ve never looked better and she is quiet literally becoming a cash cow.