On Friday night I go out with Matty and Nicole and Elliott and others for Niles’ birthday, but I don’t stay very long, I’m at home by 2230 and in bed by 0030 because I’m stressing about my first personal training session with Jack and I want to get a god night’s rest before. Then of course I wake up at 0500 and stay up until 0800 stressing a bit more. Then I must fall asleep again because it’s suddenly 0900 and I have to get up.
So at 1045 I make my way to the gym where Jack works ready for the workout, or actually not so ready, with about 5 hours of interrupted sleep. And at the first personal training session with Jack the following things happen.
Jack turns up 5 minutes late and he offers his hand to me and repeats my name a lot and shouts in an overenthusiastic personal trainer way. I tell him that I’m quite nervous because I don’t know what to expect. I tell him that because it’s true, but also because I want to start establishing a chilled out, friendly atmosphere where we can go through the work but also joke about things. He sort of ignores what I say and goes into auto-pilot giving me the script of what we’re going to do and asking me what my goals and motivations are. This is the first sign that my plan to befriend him is off-track.
We sit down and for 40 minutes we go through my current workout and he makes suggestions about what I should change around/improve. During this conversation I continue with my original plan but he is having none of it. My usual manner of being mildly sarcastic, taking the piss out of myself and him (humorously of course, not offensively), being self-deprecating and overly confident at the same time goes completely over his head.
I’m not just firing jokes at him obviously, I do discuss the workout mainly, but when I do joke about something, he just doesn’t get it. I use my best material (for example when we talk about diet I mention eating toilet paper and he looks blankly back at me) but there’s no connection. At one point I actually have to say “I’m joking by the way” after I say something, at which point he gives a short fake laugh.
Worst of all, when I go ask questions about him (“how old are you”, “do you drink alcohol”, “where are you from”, “how long have you been in the UK”), he answers cordially, but he never ever asks me anything back. Not once. Of course we may have different motivations for being there (he thinks I’m another client – I think I’m on a date), but I like to think that even I, seminally unsociable, know the rules of polite conversation whereby you ask the other person questions back even of you’re not really interested.
Hilariously, he has no sense of humility and through the chat when he talks about different exercises or eating habits or whatever, he starts his sentence with “Even I…” at least four times. For example, “even I need to work on my triceps a bit more”. You get it? “Even him”. What hope is there for the rest of us?
Anyway, what we do learn through this chat is that Jack’s life revolves around going to the gym, and if I were to make any improvements I would need to do the same. This rules of this lifestyle are:
Primary rule: The focal point of every living day is my Workout. Every activity before that needs to build up to my Workout and every activity after has to be a consquence of my Workout.
Secondary rules: I must – fork out on at least 5 different supplements, measure all my meals on electronic scales, have 7 meals a day with specific ratios between nutrients, work out for 2 hours a day, pump myself with caffeine before the workout in order to get through it (at this point I made a joke – “shall I just inject it”, which he said “no that’s not necessary” to).
I point out that I will somehow have to balance this with my full-time job, unless of course I quit and dedicate my life to going to the gym, this observation doesn’t seem too relevant to him.
After wasting 45 minutes like that, we hit the weights for a quick 15 minute workout, which is very effective and hurts my back a lot (in a good way) but at the same time I realise I couldn’t do this every day, after 9 hours in the office and without having somebody directing my every move like he does. And I don’t really have £40 to pay him every time I want to go to the gym.
a) I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m already doing the best that I can in terms of working out without having to make it a full time occupation and get more petty obsessions than I already have
b) I don’t want to admit this but should I really start questioning whether anyone can have a good balance between maintaining an impeccable appearance and not being conceited and shallow? Is it possible to have as good a body as Jack and not think you’re shit hot?
Anyway, after all this, I leave the gym and Matty sends me a text that says “so?” and I send one back that says “obnoxious, doesn’t get my jokes, obsessive, self-satisfied, humourless”. Then I send the same text to Mean and they reply:
Mean: Sad but wholly predictable. Not nuanced enough to realise life has more meaning.
Matty: Is that actually true or is that what you’re going to tell yourself and others to make it easier?
And I reply to Matty: No seriously it’s true. If he had been nice I wouldn’t need to “make it easier”. I’d just continue being friendly and occasionally train with him.
Finally, this is where you come in. What do we do from now on? These are the options as far as I can see.
Option 1: Give up the plan to befriend him or even like him as a person, but pay him £40 once a month to get workout tips (that’s as much as I want to spend really, no more).
Advantages: I guess this might work as a training check up every few weeks.
Disadvantages: What difference is one good workout once a month going to do, if I continue as I am for the rest of the time (which I will).
Option 2: Forget the whole thing and not see / contact / mention Jack again.
Advantages: We all go back to our normal lives with peace of mind.
Option 3: Go all out, take all chances and send him a text asking him out on a “date” (to finally assess if he’s gay, even though after an hour with him I am 95% confident that he’s not and even if he was he’s only like to have sex with himself).
Advantages: Amazing fun, things to write on the blog, creating some drama in my pedestrian, boring life.
Disadvantages: I can never step foot in that gym again or of course I could and I would die of embarrassment. Also any further client/trainer interaction is destroyed.
I have to say I am currently loving Option 3, because I can’t help myself and I have a permanent desire to press the self-destruct button my finger is hovering on and also I need excitement oh I need it bad (a bit like teenage kicks right through the night). Thank you.