Sydney woman ‘leaves gym’ after rude comment from a personal trainer she’s never met before

The coaches who work in the gyms are supposed to be there to help, but a sinister comment from a coach I’ve never met made me quit for good.

When I walked into the budget gym I recently joined a few months ago, I had no plans to pump iron or sweat through an intense workout.

My period had just arrived with the agonizing cramps and deep aches in my lower back that usually hit me in the first three days.

Oftentimes I spend 72 hours alternating between the couch and my bed, or if I’m at the office, making sure I have a whole box of heavy-duty pain relievers in my handbag.

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Maddie was shocked by what happened at the local gym a few months ago. (supplied)

Walking is one of the few things that helps, so I usually head to the gym for a 45-minute walk with Netflix on my phone to distract me from the pain at the base of my spine.

Being a gym goer for years (and a former gym addict), I trained well in the art of ignoring what other people were doing around me and just focused on myself that day.

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I kept an easy pace on the treadmill and was able to get a little dab of sweat before I called him in the day and wiped the machine down to go home.

As I was taking out my airpods and heading to the lockers, one of my muscle trainers in my gym uniform decided to wear it.

“Is this today?” asked the man, whom I had never spoken to before, lightly. “That’s all you’re going to do, just some cardio?”

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At first I thought I had heard him wrong, but the smirk on his face confirmed that he was serious.

Put it on raging hormones or building headaches in the temples, but I was instantly pissed off. He had no idea who I was, so why did he think he had the right to explicitly judge how I chose to exercise?

If he is trying to tell a joke or engage in some kind of motivational banter, he has chosen the wrong target.

I’d say I made some clever banter or put it down, but the truth is I muttered “yes” and then stuffed my water bottle into my bag and chased home.

Why do I think he has the right to openly judge the way I choose to practice it?

After just a few days, his comment still echoing through my mind, I canceled my gym membership.

I didn’t want to support a gym where coaches openly criticize gym goers for not appearing to be working hard enough, even when they have no idea what this person is going through.

There are millions of reasons someone might choose to take it slow on the treadmill in the gym for a day, and many of them are more personal than me to my period.

They may have an invisible handicap or injury that makes strenuous workouts more dangerous.

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Gym personal trainer stock photos.
Personal trainers and gym staff should be motivated, not judgmental. (pixels)

They may have a history of excessive exercise and restless eating and are trying to stay active without relapse.

It’s probably the first time they’ve gone to the gym and are too shy or afraid to try other devices, so they’re sticking with something familiar.

Maybe they just want to take things slow.

Not to mention the fact that research has shown that a small amount of daily exercise – like walking for example – can be more effective than one group training session per week.

How someone chooses to stay fit is no one else’s business unless that person specifically requests your advice or input.

By making the comment he made, that gym trainer made me feel somehow ‘less than’ for choosing the right exercise for my body at a time when I was already in pain.

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This stranger made me feel guilty for not jumping off the squat rack and squatting half my body weight (which I can do, may I add) while actively losing blood.

I can only imagine how the same comment might make a novice, disabled or recovering person from over-exercise.

It made me feel somehow “less than” choosing the right exercise for my body.

For decades, the fitness industry has encouraged everyone to get active and prioritize their health, but how can we do that when the people who run places like gyms are quick to criticize anyone who doesn’t meet their standards.

Revoking my membership won’t affect that gym and I’m sure the coach who made the comment didn’t think about it again.

But I hope that if he makes a comment like that again, the next person will stick to himself and tell him to stick to his judicial banter where the sun doesn’t rise.

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