T Nation

Little boys & personal trainers

Something’s been gnawing at me for a few weeks & I’ve just got to ask…

The gym I use has several personal trainers on staff. Lately, there have been 3 or 4 guys who’ve been using the perky, little, blond female personal trainers. I see them together several times a week. These guys are all 20-somethings, & I look at them & try to say, “men,” but it doesn’t work; the label just won’t stick. These guys are just that: “Average Guys.” They’re not men, they look more like over-grown boys. The trainers are bouncy & bubbly & stand up straight & speak in audible voices. The guys are kinda slouchy & stoop-shouldered & tend to mumble. There’s something soft in their manner, something wimpy, whiney, (dare I say it?) submissive. I ask myself if they’ve ever had a serious date.

I’m wondering how often those of you that are fitness professionals encounter clients that have psychological issues, persons given to transference, power exchange, who develop “crushes” or other dependencies on their trainers, that sort of thing. And is there anything in your education that helps you recognize these things &/or deal with them?

i had a female client that would shower me with gifts and call me at the club all the time just to say hi. every time id see her she would go way out of her way to say hi. if i was working out and didnt say hi to her she would get upset and say things like “do i have to pay you to say hi to me,” and “whats wrong dont you like me?” i no longer work at the club and she still sends me flowers, she definitely has some problems. oh and every time i trained her she had some low cut skin tight shirt on exposing all she had to offer.

it happens, but not a lot in terms of really freaky behavior

mostly, the clients with real weight issues have BIG self-esteem issues, which often get in the way of them thinking they can make a positive change–there really wasn’t much training for that from the ISSA (none, actually), but I have a psych minor which helps a bit (plus staying current with motivational stuff [not the foo-foo variety])

there should be some training for professionals in how to deal with “troubled” clients, both the psycho variety and the merely “defeated” ones


Are the trainers able to get them motivated at all? Or are they there just for the eye candy?

Reply to Whiskey: Hard to say. In one case the trainer has been working on his squatting form for about 6 weeks now. She’s got him up to a big 85 lbs…

Maybe there’s an injury in there somewhere I don’t know about…

My clients don’t really have those issues. I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way, but at my price, the people I train pretty much have to be successful at life in general. And you don’t get to that point with major self esteem issues. Motivating people is something that good trainers have to learn to do. It’s better when you can adjust your approach to the individual because everyone has different “buttons” so to speak.

Hi everyone. I’m not a trainer and I have never played one on tv, but I believe I have witnessed this sort of phenomenom- exceptionally hot girls with tiny boys that couldn’t even bench press the bar. The guys seem to have no outward self esteem issues, judging from the 15 rep squats with no weight, the 5 pound pink dumbell curls and even some half push ups on a plushy mat. I’ve always thought there might be some sinister sexual fetish at work here, as the girls really work these guys hard, barking orders, measuring them etc. Interesting topic. I’m glad to know it’s being looked into in a serious manner.

Perhaps they have an excess amount of estrogen and just associate better with the women.

I hate to say it but in my teens I probably was one of those little boys. What I mean is that I was always trying to be nice to everyone. Really I was just weak. This continued until life was unbearable and I had to change.