Some personal trainers are specialists in strength training, some are great at helping you shed pounds, and some try to transform you into their childhood friend they weren’t able to save from drowning in an icy lake. Here are seven signs that your trainer falls squarely into that last category.
1. He sets your new weight goal to 82 pounds: There are ambitious weight goals, and then there are weight goals clearly designed to transform your body into the weight of a fourth-grader who slipped beneath the ice back in 1997 screaming for his best friend to come back and help him. If your trainer holds you to this standard, he’s definitely using you to reconcile with his past.
2. He insists that during bench presses, you need to lower the bar so it knocks out your front teeth: It should be a red flag if your trainer refuses to count the rep unless the metal bar bangs into your front teeth, loosening them up until they fall out. He may argue that it’s so you can breathe better during your workouts, but you should know he’s trying to give you the mouth of a young friend lost to icy tragedy long ago.
3. He taps the floor in front of you with a broom handle before letting you lunge: If your workouts start to go over by 15 minutes because your trainer keeps saying “One sec,” to check the stability of the floor in front of you, it’s most definitely symptomatic of a childhood trauma of watching his friend fall through the lake ice.
4. He convinces you to train in shoes five sizes too small: Don’t be fooled—there is no article in Fitness magazine about how constricting the blood vessels in your feet get lactic acid out of the body faster for better recovery time. This is all about your trainer trying to turn you into his friend, forever stuck at 9 years old, in hopes that it will make up for telling that friend’s parents that he had tried to help their drowned son out with a stick, even though that was a lie. If this is not what you want in a personal trainer experience, find a new one!
5. He rewards you with a bowl-cut haircut after a workout: After a session, your trainer may go, “Well done! Let’s get you a bowl cut, my treat,” then motion for you to both hop in his car to head to a barber shop. Though some might think this is a trainer’s way of forging a bond with his client outside the gym, it’s just another classic step toward sculpting you into his lost friend.
6. After each sit-up he looks you dead in the eye and apologizes for not seeing you graduate: After each one, he just goes, “I’m sorry, Cameron,” before you go back down and inhale, even though that’s not your name.
7. Every time you take a post-workout ice bath, he rushes into the locker room and pulls you out, screaming, “My sin has returned!”: Most personal trainers will let you have a post-workout cool-down in peace. If your gym guru rips you from the bath and starts giving you mouth-to-mouth even though you are fully conscious, you just might have a trainer trying to sculpt you into his childhood friend so he can finally apologize.