As I finished my surge workout, I felt the eyes on me as usual. Every evening my audience seemed to expand by one or two since I started doing my workout at six, and I wondered how many it would take to give them the guts to speak to me. Apparently it took seven.
“How often do you do that workout,” a tall, slim blond man asked.
“That one? Every four days,” I responded, knowing it would draw him to ask more questions, which is what I hoped for.
“Then what were you doing two nights ago?” he asked, right on cue.
“That would be a different routine that focuses on the lower body. This one focuses on back and shoulders, with just a touch of abs,” I looked down to hide my smile. It was too easy to draw them in.
A different man, this one not very tall, with a paunch and severely receding hairline, asked, “How much time do you spend working out each week?”
“Hmm” I said, looking up and calculating out loud, even though I already knew the answer, “Twelve minutes six days a week, and another eight minutes three times a week…that’s ninety-six minutes a week.”
They were murmuring, as they always did at this point. This was such an easy sell.
A buff, beautiful man spoke next, “Seriously! You get that body in ninety-six minutes a week? Get out of here!”
“Why? How long does it take you?” I asked, all innocence. I knew this guy was here for at least ninety minutes most evenings.
“A hell of a lot longer than that,” he responded. The others all laughed and nodded.
Wait for it…wait for it…yes! They’re hooked when they ask this:
“How does it work? You know, your workout, how do you get those results in such a short time?”
“Well-l-l,” I began, then I gave them the whole spiel for surge training, my classes, and my personal training program. I usually try to stay in the background, being part owner of this gym, but with new memberships down and the need to get more members to partake of extra services, I found this scenario pretty successful.
I had gotten the morning crowd involved several weeks ago, then the noon crowd, and now I had the evening crowd hooked. Next month’s finances will surely be improved.
I had always offered the classes and personal training, I just never needed to actively promote it before. Having the nicest downtown gym, situated near the state house, court house, as well as city offices, we had a pretty good clientele… until the budget cuts started pinching us all a bit too tightly.
I didn’t mind drawing the guys in the way I did. Sex appeal sells, and in this case, I was selling the real thing. My program does work. If it takes seeing my body clothed in tight stretch shorts and sports bra, covered in sweat, to sell my services, I could live with that. I just wish it didn’t bring other interests.
I tried to never mix business with pleasure, so all the invitations and sexual innuendos from these guys made me really uncomfortable. I’m no prude, but I really don’t think the tendency for some personal trainers to use the intimacy of the professional relationship to pursue a different kind of intimacy is proper. Bad business in my opinion.
I don’t have time for a private life anyway. I open the gym at six; and while I occasionally go home in the early afternoon for a couple of hours, I close the place at seven most nights as well. Once I get home, I usually have time to check email and call my mom before I can’t keep my eyes open any longer and hit the sack.
When I griped about the sexual harassment I was getting, my business partner told me to give it back as good as they gave it, and eventually I’d be one of the guys. I should have known that only worked for him because he was a guy; but, I followed his advice in the hopes the men in my classes would stop pestering me for “personal training” of another sort.
“Come on you wusses,” I called out over the loud music, “At this rate, I could take you all on and still not be out of breath.”
I had been teaching this particular group three times a week for about six weeks. There were five in this class. There were younger men, Austin, Jerod, and Guy, in reasonably good shape, who gave me a lot of grief over the whole dating thing.
One man, Jeff, was in his early thirties and buff. He was quiet but smiled at the antics of the three younger guys. The last was a middle-aged guy named Bob who was putting in a good effort to get back in shape. Most days there was a young woman in the class as well, but she was missing tonight.
The usually quiet guy said, “I think we’ll take that challenge, Raechel,” and I saw a glint in his eye as he winked at the other guys. What did that mean?
Since surge training doesn’t take long, even with warm ups and cool downs the class only lasts 20 to 25 minutes, I didn’t have any time to think about the comment before we were breaking for the showers. The young guys were suggesting drinks, or something more private, but I told them they obviously couldn’t handle me after the showing they had just given me.
They snickered and turned off into the men’s locker room. The class ran during the last 30 minutes the gym was open, so generally by the time I got out of the shower the place was empty and the front desk staff had locked the doors and turned off the gym lights. I frequently used that time to get the day’s paperwork done before heading home. Today was one of those days.
A few times I thought I heard noises, but the gym equipment sometimes does that as it cools, so I ignored it after checking that the alarms were active. It wasn’t until I heard music filtering through the hall that I realized I wasn’t alone. The cleaning crew never comes until 3AM, so I got a little nervous, but not nervous enough to hit the panic button. Instead I went to investigate.
I followed the music back to the gym, at the free-weight end, and gasped at what I found. There was a small table set up with tablecloth, candle, flowers, wine and a single chair. Standing in front of the mirrored wall were three men in Zorro-style masks and black Speedos.
I jumped when a fourth man stepped from the shadows beside the doorway and touched my elbow. He gripped it just firmly enough to keep my sudden movement from dislodging him as he urged me forward towards the table.
“You shouldn’t be here,” I said, voice a tad shaky, “we’re closed and the alarms are on,” I continued, hoping my little threat would be enough. I was pretty sure these were the guys from my class, but what they thought they were doing was a little beyond my comprehension.
“So we’ll stay far from the doors,” the man beside me said evenly. He was definitely Jeff, which convinced me the others were the three younger students. They had obviously put a lot of effort into this.
“What are you doing, anyway? What is this?” I asked. I wasn’t afraid of them, they just didn’t strike me as dangerous, but I also didn’t think this was a good idea.
“You said you could take all of us without even breathing heavily. We just want to see if it’s true,” Jeff purred as he sat me at the table and poured the wine.
“I meant I could take you at weights, or squats, not wine drinking,” I laughed and it sounded as fake as it was. I had a bad feeling about just how they thought I could take them.
“Oh, this is just a little sustenance so you don’t claim we have any unfair advantage. You usually pick up dinner on your way home, so we wanted to make sure you were fed before the challenge started,” one of the other three said as he placed a salad in front of me. In the low light and with the little masks on, I had trouble telling them apart.
I was feeling a swirl of emotions, most of which weren’t very positive to be honest, but the prevailing one was curiosity. While I was feeling a little stalked, and highly outnumbered, I still didn’t get the feeling anyone was going to hurt me. I could play along for a bit. I hoped! “I appreciate dinner, that was very thoughtful of you; but I don’t work out after eating, it makes me sick.”
A different man answered, “We won’t start out too strenuously, don’t worry.”
“I’m not buying what you’re selling guys,” I said, trying a different tack. I had told them often enough that I didn’t date members.
“We’re not selling anything,” Jeff answered from behind me, “you made a challenge, and since we all think you’re a great trainer, we thought we’d take your challenge and prove that all your hard work isn’t for nothing. We think we can have you breathing hard before we are.”
Well there it was. They were going to seduce me. The concept was not without its charms, but my basic scruples still wouldn’t let it happen.
“You guys know that can’t happen… right? I don’t date members,” I scoffed.
“No one said anything about a date,” Austin answered, I could recognize his voice, “this is a simple challenge.”
“You guys need to leave,” I said, starting to stand. Firm hands held me in the chair.
“After all of our effort, you’re backing out on your own challenge?” Jeff asked. It was his warm hands resting heavily on my shoulders. He wasn’t hurting me, just making me aware he was there to discourage me from leaving.
“I appreciate the trouble you went to here,” I said, motioning to the table, “but I don’t get involved with members outside of gym hours.” I figured that took in anything they had in mind.
“Just eat. If you want us to leave after you’re finished, we’ll go,” Jeff seid. He was obviously the ring-leader, which surprised me, because he had never harassed me the way the younger guys did. A look from him silenced one of the others who had started to speak.