The other day, someone called the gym their ” happy place.” I couldnt see how that could be possible. Unless they’ve started serving Diet Coke and Doritos at the gym. And Ryan Reynolds is doing the serving. So I went to my gym to check.
My usual nice personal trainer Steve was on holiday. He had been replaced by Mean Matt who is a handsome hunk from Turkey. Mean Matt speaks with a captivating accent, kind of like Arnold the Terminator. Except there was nothing captivating about him once we started our training session. When I couldnt pedal furiously on the cardio bike for ten straight minutes, he told me to “stop being lazy woman.” I told him very politely that I’d only just started coming to the gym ( A lie. Alright, alright, I tell lies sometimes. So shoot me.) I said “Im not lazy, Im tired. I have 5 children and thats really hard work you know.”
He was suitably astounded. “No. You lie. How you have five children?!” He even went so far as to threaten me. “I no like when people lie to me! Tell me truth. Speak truth now.You too young to have five children.”
I assured him, yes its true. I (am dumb enough) to have five children. He persisted. “Maybe some of them are from husband and another woman?”
Oh honey, hell no. “Excuse me, all those (demon) children are mine thank you very much.” Ain’t no other woman taking credit for this lot.
With that truth firmly established, I mistakenly thought that Mean Matt was my friend. On my side. The workout continued. We moved on to the weights machines. I happily worked out on the leg thingamajig machine. And the shoulder thingamajig machine. Mean Matt seemed almost chatty. “What job you do?”
“Oh, I’m a writer.”
He grunted. “How much exercise you do every week?”
I blathered on like the trusting fool I am. “Oh I used to run 5 days a week. Last year I did a 105 km relay with a team of six women. It was so much fun!” (Ok, ‘fun’ an exageration. What am I going to do – tell people that I wanted to puke and die for most of those kilometers?)
And that was when Mean Matt revealed his true self. Mean as meanie. He upped the weights on the ab machine. Started counting reps faster. Told me off for pausing too long in between sets. I whined. “But you dont understand, I dont have any ab muscles. Maybe I did when i was like 12…”
He didnt care. “Hurry up, keep going, why you stop for? If you can run 105km relay, you can do abs workout faster.”
“But I can’t. I’ve had three c-section deliveries. Do you know what that means? They literally SLICE through your abdominal wall and Im sure they sewed my abs back up wrong because they just dont work anymore. There’s something wrong with them, I just know it. And my youngest kid is practically a BABY and I still havent recovered my full strength…” (So the kid is three. Practically a walking, talking adult, but what the hell…)
Mean Matt interrupted me. “What, now you are writing book here? Telling me your whole life story? Stop doing writer job here and do workout.” In other words – shut up Lani and do this.
I shut up. Seethed. And worked out harder, fantasizing about (one day) having a kick-butt awesome body so I could come back to the gym and kick Mean Matt’s ass. I’ll be back.
Maybe that was Mean Matt’s secret personal trainer technique for getting his clients to push themselves to the limit. When we were done, he smiled ( meanly) and said, “All clients tell me they hate me. But when finish workout, they thank me for pushing them hard.” I smiled. (Weakly) And said thank you. But inside? I was hearing my inner Arnold Predator movie voice, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
I knew I hated the gym. News-flash for those of you who havent been there in a while? They arent serving snacks. And Ryan Reynolds is definitely not there. But Mean Matt is. Hasta la vista, baby.