Sunday, February 18, 2007


You asked for it. You got it. Here's A WEEK AT THE GYM: ONE MAN'S STORY from Belinda's perspective... By Marissa Beck (Even better if read alongside the original!)

Dear Diary.
I've taken on yet another tall, lanky, muscle-deprived older man as a client, Milton Goldberg, whose wife thinks personal training sessions with me will magically get his body looking and feeling like it did when she first met him… Because I didn't want to admit that her beloved Milton would never be an Arnold anytime in the next, oh, lifetime, I put on a chirpy face and assured her that her husband would be a "ROCKSTAR!" by the time I was through with him. Here are some of my training notes:

Pumped up after my own hour-long cycle/row workout, I met with Milton at 6AM. Thank goodness he was prompt; there's nothing worse than tardiness. I am used to clients who don't dress properly for their workouts, but I must say, never in my life have I seen anyone so oddly and inappropriately clad. Yes it's winter, but a woolen vest? I asked Milton if he wanted to take the vest off, but he crossed his arms, squinted his eyes and shook his head rapidly. Okay. So I had him hop on the treadmill. I was quite surprised to find that Milton never actually saw a treadmill before, and even though I had the speed at a comfortable 3.6, felt him wheeze and cough all over me. It reminded me of the sporadic steam-room blasts of wet air… only, his breath smelled like skunk and stale toast. His rubber sandals squeaked with every step and it was hard for me to actually take a pulse. He kept looking at me between sweaty blinks and said that my polypropylene sports-top, which he called Lycra (anything but!), was very fitted. Thanks Milton, you perve. Five minutes later, his HR was 140 bpm and we hadn't even begun our workout! I quickly whisked him off of the treadmill and decided to show him the weights. He touched the rack of dumbbells as if he were searching for a ripe apple in a supermarket. When we crunched, he grabbed his stomach like he was giving birth. At least he was beaming with excitement. Where did this guy come from?

Milton was as jittery as a school-girl who wet her pants, so I had him lie down on a bench. A nice bench wkout can fix up just about anyone… or so I thought. Milton could hardly lift the 45-pound barbell WITH my spot. But he still had a smile on his face, so I assumed that meant he wanted more. I put on a couple of plates. Just 2.5 pounds, but my, did Milton gawk at me when I did that!! Next I put him on the treadmill and it looked like he had a pole running through his behind. To my surprise, the guy made a full mile! I think I'm really helping him because he thanked me profusely at the end of our workout. These are the days that make training these suckers worthwhile!

Milton strolled into the gym 15 minutes late, and he didn't even apologize! This agitated me, so I stuck him on the treadmill for a little warm up right away. The man began to screech and hold his little pecs like I was poking him with a vaccine. Other members started looking at us in fright, so I raised my voice and said, "Milton! Toughen up!" He didn't take to the Sergeant Bilko sort of tone… So I softened, and put him on the Stairmaster. That's a lot easier than running. But he seemed to have a problem with that too, grimacing and shaking his head again! I told him life isn't as awful as he thinks it is. At least he has a wonderful wife who cares about him enough to buy such expensive training sessions with me. (I mean, what a spoiled, arrogant little baby—I work hard for the money so he better treat me right!)

Milton is lucky that I didn't clock him with a cable this morning for arriving 30 minutes late. When he finally got here, it looked like a stray dog dragged him in from a nightlong storm. His collared jean shirt had holes in the armpits and he kept tripping over the bottoms of his enormous khaki pants, AT LEAST FOUR TIMES as we walked over to the dumbbells. I turned to grab an eight-pounder and the sneaky sonuva gun slipped away like a bandit. But I showed him. Grabbed Lars, who mind you, used to wrestle for the WWE. Whatever Lars did worked, because Milton acquiesced and sat down on the erg. He looked like he was at a rodeo riding a bull.

What an angry-looking face on this cretin. I was alarmed to see that Milton had his finger pointed at me underneath the towel, as if it were a gun! Oh silly Milton—he couldn't hurt a soul! I decided that today should be a triceps day. As I had him lying back in skull-crusher position, his nostrils flared wider with every elbow bend. It actually looked really scary. Something funny happened during our workout, though… (I can say it is funny NOW, but at the time, we thought Milton had died because he didn't get up for some time). He fell off of the end of the treadmill! Like a little feather, he floated peacefully onto the floor—right at the foot of another trainer. It looked like slow-mo! I think Milton is a drama-queen… I'm sure it didn't "hurt" as much as he said it did.

I know that chump was sleeping in his warm little bed. I bet he contrived the whole thing, planning to stand me up. Unacceptable! I left him a message. I am almost positive he screened my call. Of course, I was way too nice on his answering machine. I should have bribed him with pizza or whatever those people eat.

I'm resorting to a no-training-unappreciative-nitwits policy. Amen.

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