When you’ve worked with as many clients as I have, you tend to meet people from all walks of life. And let’s just say; fitness can attract some “odd” individuals.

Now don’t get me wrong – anyone who shows up to better themselves is alright in my book. But there are some people you’ll meet that will make things downright awkward.

I could list dozens of stories of awkward moments I’ve had training clients, but I’ve narrowed it down to the top 5 times a client I worked with made me feel awkward as hell:

  1. The smelly client. When people work out they sweat, and certain aromas are bound to be produced, but I’m not talking about the typical “sweaty smell”. I’m talking about the client who clearly doesn’t understand how to bathe effectively, or comes to their session after working on a farm. These were instances where it wasn’t just an off day for them; I was going to have to learn how to coach from a safe smelling distance. I’ll never forget one of my first smelly clients. And yes, he worked on a farm. We ended up coming to an agreement where I could spray him with Febreze so I didn’t have to stand 5 feet away during our session. It’s one of those stories I’ll never forget, and if you have a smelly client, don’t do them a disservice by not telling them. For all you know, they have no idea!
  2. The gassy client. I know I just shared a story about the smelly client, and a gassy client could certainly be bucketed into that same category. But I’m talking about the client who seems to always let one squeak out during their sets. Look, I get it if you’re pumping out some heavy squats and it just kinda happened, but nothing makes a session more awkward than a fart. I’ll never forget a client I had who I was spotting on single-leg squats, face-level with his hips. You can imagine my delight when he decided to let one rip – right in my face. Let’s just say he never did that again. I had to walk away to get the taste out of my mouth. Too graphic? Imagine how I felt!
  3. The sexual noise client. Grunting and yelling are all acceptable during a workout if you’re really giving it all you got. But when the noises you make could be misconstrued for something else, that’s when it gets weird. I’ll never forget a client I was training. We were doing hip thrusts on a stability ball. With each rep it only got more and more awkward. Even more so when every guy in the gym was staring at us. It was one of those moments where I’m glad I had my wedding ring on, or things could have been taken the wrong way. 
  4. The “I want more client”. I’m not talking about wanting more reps, I’m talking about wanting to be more than just a client. It’s not uncommon to hear about trainers hooking up with their clients, and it’s common because of the bond that is formed when you work with someone. It’s an intimate experience being a part of changing someone’s body and there are feelings that can arise during that process. But as most Fit Pros know, that is commandment number one and you should never break it. Once you cross that line there is no going back. You no longer have a client, whether things work out or don’t. I’ll admit that I  made that mistake early in my career and it’s one of those experiences you never want to have again. So if you have a client wanting more, I wish you good luck. There is no clear cut way to deal with that kind of situation since it’s a case-by-case basis.
  5. The inebriated client. Most (not all) clients are out of shape or overweight for one reason and one reason alone: the choices they make. Most of the time it’s poor eating choices or not exercising. But some clients choose to drink or do drugs before a session. I had one client who decided to smoke a joint before one of our sessions. I was beyond livid, but I figured I’d teach him a lesson instead of scolding him. I had him do nothing but balance ball exercises. I got to watch him fall over dozens of times while trying to do push-ups on 4 medicine balls. Now you may disagree with my methods, but I’ll tell you that he learned his lesson and he never showed up to our sessions inebriated again.

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