Stretch Hardbody jogs up to the gym at 7:30am. He lives a couple of miles away, but he can hardly justify driving to and from work when his entire livelihood hinges on a passion for physical exertion. His job is one where it's actually okay to arrive looking a little sweaty.
He enters the gym, and many of the members are already on the machines, workin' it. Before starting his day, Stretch converses with Barbrell, a fellow trainer whom he’s had his eye on since day one. Some guys might be turned off by women with calf muscles that resemble tree trunks, but Stretch found brute physical strength sexy.
"You work out last night?" Stretch asks. He instantly regrets the question. He doesn't want to make it seem as if all he cares about is fitness, even if it is pretty close to the truth.
"Yeah, but only for about 45 minutes," says Barbrell. "My usual workout days are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so Wednesdays are usually my days off. But I was feeling pumped after a session with a client, so I decided I had better find an outlet for the adrenaline."
"I hear that, sister," said Stretch. Ugh. He really hated it when he opened his mouth.
"See you later, Stretch—my first client's here."
It was nearing 8am, so he knew his first customer would be popping in soon, too. It was a referral from a friend of his—someone who wasn’t sure about this whole personal training thing, but was willing to meet with him for a consultation. Stretch didn't particularly love this "salesman" aspect of the job description, but it came with the territory.
"Hi—Douglas Weakling?" he asked when the prospective client came up to him at about five past eight. This guy had a butt the size of Milwaukee and love handles big enough to shelve books.
"Yeah…nice to meet you, Stretch."
"Nice to meet you, too. However, I'm going to need 50 push-ups for each minute you were late."
Douglas looks petrified. Stretch keeps the mind game going for about five seconds before laughing.
"I had you going for a minute there," he says. "Trust me, once I've had a chance to work my magic on you, 250 push-ups won't sound too impossible.”
Douglas chuckles nervously. He isn't convinced.
Stretch shows him around the gym, introducing each machine and promoting each of the facility's other amenities, such as the racquetball court and sauna. Then he takes him back to his desk (he doesn't have an office—just a desk sitting out in the open, about 15 feet from the nearest exercise machine). They sit down and go over Doug's goals, fears, hang-ups and aspirations. Stretch gets an idea about his lifestyle, such as his diet, stress level, and average amount of daily activity. He asks about any other health risks to make sure he wouldn't prescribe a program that might endanger his health rather than improve it. Stretch pinpoints the areas to which Doug might want to lend focus, and draws up a rudimentary workout regimen showing how he could achieve success in a relatively short period of time.
Doug seems impressed, but committing to a Personal Trainer isn't the easiest thing for a person to do, so Stretch won't be surprised if this is the last he ever hears of him. Still, he gives his spiel about the importance of physical fitness, and explains why his gym—Muscle and Flow—is the best. Doug says he'll sleep on it and get back to him and, despite Stretch's efforts to get him to sign a contract on the spot, he sticks to his guns.
At 9:30, Stretch has his first regular client appointment. Flex Luthor has been coming to him for a year and a half now, and his progress has been dramatic. When Flex first walked into the gym he was flabby, his muscles were undefined, and he was lacking in energy. Now he was 30 pounds lighter, boasted some impressive definition, especially around his pectorals and abs, and had tripled his endurance. His marriage had fallen apart in the meantime, but he couldn’t pin that one on Stretch.
"Hey buddy," said Stretch. "You ready?"
"Let's do this," said Flex.
Stretch had reviewed Flex’s exercise prescription prior to the appointment to refresh his memory. He now knew how long they would spend today on cardio and how much in the weight room, what machines in particular they would be visiting, and how long the entire session would last. He was going to push Flex just a tiny bit harder than he had the last time he had seen him.
Generally, Flex didn’t need much motivation. He had gotten on a roll by now with this working out stuff, and he mostly just relied on Stretch for prescribing specific exercises, determining what he needed to work on and acting as his spotter. Today, however, his dissolving marriage was getting to him emotionally. Halfway through his final set on the leg press, he begins to lose steam.
"Come on, push it, you only have eight more!" Stretch encourages him.
"Ahh, can't do it."
"You did it last time, you know you can do it. Summon that strength, squeeze out eight more and then you can rest."
"But my wife is leaving me. For that idiot yoga instructor of hers."
"Okay…so pretend the press is that idiot's forehead."
Flex finishes up his last eight reps without much of a problem.
Stretch has another four client appointments throughout the day, finally finishing up with his last one at 2:30. He likes having this early shift, because then he can get in a workout of his own, shower, and still have the evening free to go out and have fun. Speaking of which….
"I was going to go hiking in Runyon Canyon this Saturday. You wouldn’t want to join me, would you?"
""Hmm. I'm actually running a 10k with a friend Saturday morning, so I might be a little sore…what if we just saw a movie?"
Stretch grins. Stretching out his smile muscles was a nice change of pace.