On the Personal Trainer

I now have a personal trainer. This did not use to be the case. Only a few years back, I would look forward to my five weekly Bikram Yoga classes or put in with enthusiasm 30 miles of running per week training for a half-marathon. But for the past year or so my discipline and motivation to exercise have dwindled, largely due to my challenging job. So I joined a gym and with it signed up for a trainer, let’s call him Mike. Mike is strict with me and I like it, there is not really any other way of putting it. He organizes my weekly exercise schedule and bosses me around in the gym. Surprisingly, there is a sense of relief in being able to give in to him being in charge for one hour per week. Honestly, I think I have a little crush on him. How could I not! There is something so intimate about the personal trainer/client relationship. We see each other regularly. Mike has seen me at my worst, sweating and exhausted, and he knows things about me that I would only tell a friend. Of course our relationship would never go any further than that. The mutual unspoken understanding that is implicit in a contract with a personal trainer is that one would never go beyond the gym setting. But, ultimately, I think the the forbidden quality of this contract becomes the source of all kinds of fantasies and desires. The fantasy of the personal trainer as a personal caretaker is part of what makes the client motivated to return.

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