By Pelumi Oyinlola Adewale
“Gbe bodi e” is a Yoruba slang that means “Move your body.” These days, when that slang is used around a gymnasium – gym for short – it means: ‘do all you can to get your dream body.’ You can achieve this by either exercising your body to the point of losing some calories of weight if you are a woman. Or getting a well-toned pack of muscles that will sweep the ladies off their feet and make them drool about a body so attractive, if you are a man.
But the gym training sessions come with their own dilemma: if you are a male trainer, how do you overcome the temptation that comes with handling female trainees, with watching, looking at or unknowingly touching sensitive parts of their bodies while taking them through their paces? Simply put, is your body easily moved or aroused at such moments? And, if you are a female trainee, is that kind of temptation a mutually shared feeling between you and your trainer? Or, is it an isolated thing?
Those were the questions that Saturday Sun took recently to this gym located in Igbogbo Bayeku area of Ikorodu, Lagos. Some winked at you while wondering what kind of mischief you were up to with your questions. Some blushed while others giggled. But a few simply braced up and answered the questions without any betrayal of emotion.
From the trainers’ perspective
Mr. Idowu aka ID said although he coaches both male and female genders, he trains the ladies more because of his area of specialization and wide knowledge of aerobics. But he does not mix business with pleasure, he assured you. To escape the temptation of being aroused by the opposite sex, he said: “One thing that I don’t permit in the gym is indecent dressing. I know that some ladies come here just to show off some sensitive parts of their bodies. But l tell them to either change their outfits or find something to use in covering up so as not to distract me and other guys that are also here for training.
“You know how guys can be. Some of them can position themselves in a way that all they are looking at during training sessions is indecently dressed female trainees. So I don’t allow any inappropriate wears and I’m always very careful during my training session with ladies. I hardly make physical contact with them, so that I don’t touch them inappropriately. I don’t have to take special training on knowing how to comport myself before my female trainees. Common sense tells you that some things are not right, such as getting aroused while training your female clients because they will know when you are. So I simply put my mind off such things in order to concentrate on what I am doing.”
Oluwafunsho Abdul, a female trainer also denies having any problem with being aroused while taking her male clients through their paces. Although she trains both genders, she prefers the males, she said, because she likes to make them know that what a man can do, a woman can likely do better.
“I prefer to train the guys because sometimes they feel reluctant to learn from me, seeing that I’m a woman. But I like to show them that I’m good at what I do or teach and that most of the trainings I know, they might not be able to do them. Guys like to feel like guys. They like to feel that they can’t be trained by a woman because they are either stronger or better. So it is good to give such guys some workout routines to embarrass them a little and change their perception about female trainers.”
But in doing that, she explained, she is always extra-cautious not to put either herself or her male trainees in an awkward position where either she or they might feel sexually harassed. “I am always very careful when it comes to training, either with guys or ladies,” she said. “I don’t touch them inappropriately even when I am trying to correct their posture for any workout routine. I try not to make the mistake of touching them anyhow because I wouldn’t want to be blamed for or accused of harassment.”
She said she is so focused on what she does that she has no time to think about romance. Hear her: “I take it easy with them. I always advise that they should go a day at a time because they didn’t add the weight in a day. So, they shouldn’t expect to lose it in a day.” The kind of training she gives differs from individual to individual, she explained, because, to quote her, everyone has different reasons for coming to the gym. She noted that spending time at the gym to work out is not everything. It must be accompanied by a change of diet, she added.
“The kind of training we give depends on what our clients (trainees) want. We give them the training that will, at the end of the day, help to fix their complaints. It is like if they want to build either their upper or lower body. In that case, people are not trained the same way but differently because they all have different complaints.” But whichever the case, the trainings are done in such a way, she informed you, that the opposite sex don’t end up leaving what they came for to begin to look for what they did not pay or come for. That way, hours allotted are judiciously used, she said.
The trainees weigh in
As with the trainers, so it is with the trainees! One of them who gave his name as Mr. Melody Ariyo explained that the reason he goes to the gym is to keep fit. This, he added, will eventually and hopefully leave him with a body build that will end up turning girls on and making them pee in their panties just by seeing him pass with big biceps.
He noted that after overcoming the initial procrastination, he became a regular visitor to the gym. “Though it costs me N500 daily I don’t mind because I’ve finally decided to work out and be the Casanova I have always dreamed about,” he enthused. “In order to be able to do that, I had to make a lot of sacrifices such as changing my diet and limiting a lot of things that can cause harm to that dream body of mine.”
To achieve his dream shape, he said, he opted for a male trainer because, as he explained, men have more strength, strictness and determination than most female trainers. A female trainer, he added, could also be a source of distraction to him. He confessed that he would have found it a bit difficult focusing on his training if he went for a female trainer.
“You should understand what I mean by being distracted,” he said. “I go to a gym to get the body I need. So, imagine being trained by a lady with a good body shape. How do I focus? Not only that, a female trainer will excel more in trainings for women. But a male trainer will drill you and help you as a guy to get what you came for.”
Caressing his upper body, he said: “As you can see, my chest and hands are already getting bigger and it was not done with the help of a female trainer but rather a man. And, you should not expect me to get sexually harassed by a man like me. This is why I actually prefer male trainers. Females are rather soft and not as strict as males are.
Paul Olaniyan, a male trainee, agreed with Ariyo. He said he also goes for male trainers for the same reason.
But the case is quite different with Miss Mercy Afolabi. She not only works out in the gym but also at home. Also a trainee, she said she is not choosy when it comes to the question of male and female genders so long as they are good at what they do.
“I don’t see why I can’t go for either of them,” she said. “This is because each has their strengths and weaknesses. There are some exercises that a woman is better off teaching and coordinating and there are some a man is better off teaching and coordinating. But I prefer male trainers because of their strength. You know when it comes to physical strength, a male trainer is stricter than a female trainer. So going for a male trainer prompts me to want to train better and harder.”
She explained that part of her reasons for going to that particular gym is because it seems to have a sex-harassment-free workout space. “Since I’ve been working out here, there has not been any report of sexual harassment or molestation. This is because trainers of the opposite sex are very careful and cautious when it comes to training people. They do their training in such a way they don’t get you sexually aroused or harassed.”
She said she prefers to work out instead of using pills or other conventional means of getting a shapely body. “I really love working out both in the gym and at home. I find out that as long as I am working out and keeping fit then there’s no cause for alarm. And, besides, I don’t work out to impress anyone. I do so to stay healthy and maintain my shape.”
She recommended workout for people but lamented that most people don’t know its health benefits until a doctor instructs them to begin to do so. She advised Nigerians to start a workout routine rather than waiting for a doctor to tell them to go for it.