Permission to Eat . . .

I come across many interesting individuals in my role as a personal trainer. While I endeavor to help all whom I come in contact with, invariably many individuals shun my help. You would think that an individual would welcome the help from a professional, but I found out first-hand, this simply is not the case. 

In other facets of life, we seek others with more experience, to help us to comprehend something, but it’s the complete opposite when it comes to bodybuilding. It would appear that the novice is under the impression that lifting weights is all that is needed to build one’s physique.  

I am appalled when I see individuals picking up weights that they have no control of and worse using improper form. Before I became a personal trainer, I would merely look and say nothing. As a CPT it is my duty to help, even at the expense of being eschew, and not having that person as client. 

On this particular morning as I was making my usual rounds on the gym floor. I met a guy who I had seen but never had the opportunity to introduce myself. 

“Good morning.” 

“Good morning,” he replied, suspiciously, while removing his earbuds. 

“I see that you’re busy. I just wanted to introduce myself, as you rest between sets. I’m one of the personal trainers here, and when I’m not at the PT bar, getting new members started on their fitness journey. You will find me on the floor meeting existing members, to see if I can be of help, and find out if they’re making forward progress towards their goals.”

“I’ve seen you around,” he said. “I’m getting permission to eat.” 


“When you get old. Your metabolism doesn’t work too good. I come to the gym, and do 15 minutes of cardio on the elliptical, 15 minutes on the bike, before I do some resistance training. I do this 5 times a week, Monday thru Friday. Each day when I finish. I’ve given myself permission to eat, all the foods that are not good for me.” 

“Well, I see you have a plan in place. Are you making progress on the goals you’ve set?” 

“I’d say so. The work I’ve put in so far, means that I can eat a lot of rice and beans today.” 

“Great,” I told him, looking at watch my watch. “I will be on the floor for another hour. If you need a spotter let me know. I don’t want to take up any more of your time.” 

What a novel concept? 

No way of knowing if his nutritional intake was detrimental to his fitness efforts, given the brevity of our initial conversation. I only interrupted his workout to introduce myself, offered any assistance, and to find out if he was making forward progress on his fitness goals. 

It seemed that he had the deep-rooted belief that his workout regimen allowed him to eat, as he so jokingly put it, “prohibitive foods.” 

Without more inexhaustible research into his daily nutritional consumption, do I dare tell him that it was folly, to think he could outwork a bad diet . . . 

B.M.Booth (NASM-CPT) 


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