Monday, February 25, 2013

Men Training Women: It's About Trust and Respect

Read a forum post today about some bad gym behavior. Apparently, a trainer was training two young women and was trying to come on to one of them:
 “He obviously wanted to hit on the one girl so he ingratiated himself by ‘correcting’ her lat pulldowns - and in the process made her technique worse! Now her back exercise is a jerky, could-strain-her-shoulders bicep exercise.” 
To make matters worse, the above was followed-up with the following comment:
“..nothing wrong with hitting on a hottie. It's not her lats that he was interested in.” 
Here’s my response:

Under the circumstances, yes, it is wrong.

I am a certified fitness trainer and a martial arts instructor. To use my position to hit on a client during a training session would be unethical. A woman should be able to train in peace. Besides, in the situation described, the trainer sounds as if he was more focused on hitting on his clients than training them, which means he was essentially robbing them of time and money. Plus, he taught bad form, which is inexcusable.

This sort of training requires trust.
The relationship between a trainer and trainee is built on trust and respect. Consider that several of my friends and I teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some of our students have been very attractive women. Few things are more physically intimate than BJJ, and it is hard enough to get a woman (or even a man, for that matter) to feel comfortable in some of the positions required without her worrying that the guy straddling her on the ground has ulterior motives.

This might be a shock for those who inhabit the juvenile wasteland known as “bro culture,” but plenty of women go to they gym to workout, get strong, and better themselves. They aren’t looking to be harassed by some horny jackass.

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