Gym Trainers, Damascus Style, 19 June 2008
Today I learned a new Arabic word, but I’m afraid I already forgot it. It’s the word for pee-pee.
While attending a women’s only gym in Damascus, I’ve learned that the trainer’s job is to suggest ways for me to improve my body. Not to get into shape, not to tone muscles, not to live a healthier lifestyle. To get a better body.
Since the gym I joined has a full-time trainer at the service of its members, I decided to ask her about a specific type of tummy toning exercise. She was excited that I was asking her for advice, I suppose she felt reassured by the fact that I was considering doing something at the gym other than exercise. She directed me first to a horizontal wheel to stand on. I was instructed to stand on the wheel and grip a handle at about shoulder height. Then I should twist back and forth on the wheel, trying to twist my hips while keeping my shoulders stable. This is supposed to tone my waistline, I guess, although I didn’t really feel anything, no stretch or burn or anything like that.
Then she grabbed a big wooden stick and handed it to me but before she told me what to do with it she got called away. She told me to wait there and went off to do something at the front desk while I stood in the weight room holding a wooden stick. When she returned, she enthusiastically presented me with a special offer. Would I like a free trial of their toning services? It’s on the house today, just for me!
I’ve always been curious about these services, so figured it was worth a try. I was ushered down the stairs to a side room with four massage beds. Another woman was waiting on one of the beds, but apparently the trainers didn’t want to serve her today, and my sudden “appointment” was a strategy to convince her to go away. I had to act like an eager customer so the woman would give up.
A second trainer had me lie on the bed and bare my tummy. She splashed some water on my tummy and started rubbing it with some kind of sucking device – imagine sonogram. The thing rubbed hard all over and actually hurt quite a bit. Was not comfortable and certainly no where near as much fun as running! I asked her what it does, and she explained that it pulls the fat in my tummy area – or any other area I want to treat – down to my gut, from which it will be excreted next time I go pee-pee! Next time I go it’s supposed to be a different smell and colour, filled with all that fat I’ve now lost.
Then she switched machines to something that was a bit more like an electric massage but apparently was made for a different type of sucking. This one didn’t hurt as much, and apparently its job is to suck out the empty space in the skin – to tighten up the skin, so that I get to be more toned without actually toning!
She offered to do a third machine with me, which she described as a contraption which makes the body exercise without the owner of the body actually doing any exercise. Fortunately, the woman vying for my spot in the fat-sucking bed had given up by then, so I was able to get out of not exercising and go back to my regularly scheduled workout.