Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I live in Los Angeles, which means I have horrible self esteem and body issues. So I decided to sign up for personal training sessions at my gym. I was randomly assigned Alyi (yes, she spelled it like a hippie or a hip-hop artist would), and she seemed nice enough. A normal, healthy looking girl about my height. I asked for a contact number in case I had to cancel one of our sessions if something came up. She gave me her headshot. This was not a good sign.

    Alyi trained me for a little over a year, and I got to know her fairly well. One might even say that the relationship between trainer and client should not involve Alyi voluntarily offering up as much detailed personal information as she did, like the fact that she was a 22-year old former meth addict who also used to be bulimic. She came to LA to be a dancer, but fell into personal training the same way people fall into bartending – because their first choice career just wasn’t happening. She would often change her career trajectory from filmmaker to actress to joining The Army. She didn’t actually pursue any of these paths more than just talking about signing up for classes, or browsing the Army’s website.

    During one session, I admitted to her that I thought about liposuction before I decided to spend that money on a personal trainer, losing weight the healthy way.Taking that as a suggestion, she went to a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and got lipo on her thighs. Some days she would only drink green tea to lose weight quickly and become, I quote, “a total rockstar.”

    Alyi lived with her fiancé, an alcoholic Mexican living in the US illegally. The one time I met him, he was plastered and it was not yet 7pm. He barely spoke a word of English and we communicated mostly through mime. I would have understood her attraction to him if he was handsome and debonair, an exotic lov-ah. But he was shorter than both of us, had no muscles to speak of, and looked, if you'll allow me to be bluntly honest here, kind of retarded. What the hell was she getting out of this? Maybe they had drinking in common, since I once had to pick her up from a gay bar because she was too drunk to bike home. (It's for the best that she didn't own a car with all the drinking she did.)

    She was a sweet, friendly girl who was always interested in my personal life - what dates I've been on, what I've been doing at my job, what music I like. When I had an extra concert ticket to my favorite band, she offered to pay for it and go see the show with me, without ever hearing the band before. It was an awesome gesture and I really appreciated it. Of course, she ended up getting another ticket for her fiance, who went with us to the concert already drunk, left halfway through, and vanished. We spent the hour after the close of the show driving around the neighborhood calling out his name until we came upon the firemen with their fire truck who found him first, passed out in the middle the street. "We have a training session tomorrow, right?" she asked me after we carried him back into their apartment. "Let's just pretend this never happened." Neither of us ever mentioned it again.

    She came to my Halloween party dressed as a sexy cop, her fiance dressed as an "illegal alien" with an orange jumpsuit and alien mask. You can't say she didn't have a sense of humor. She also brought chocolate cupcakes. My personal trainer brought chocolate cupcakes to my Halloween party and then did three shots with me.

    She gave me a month of free training for dog-sitting her pitbull over Thanksgiving. I lived in her tiny studio apartment for a week cleaning up after her dog that peed everywhere but outside. Her fridge’s only contents were vodka. She had no pots or pans. She actually owned the complete box collection of the Look Who’s Talking movies. (I openly mocked them, then I watched all three films in the trilogy while drinking her vodka.)

    One day, she called me and told me I had to meet her at another gym for our session. “Why?” I asked. She admitted she got fired.

    “For training me illegally under the table?” I wondered.


    “Was it because you hit on your boss?”

    “No, not that either.”

    “What about showing up to work drunk, was it that?”

    Who knew you could go through so many likely scenarios of why someone could get fired and none of them were the reason? Apparently, she had been stealing money from the gym by not reporting unused training sessions. She told me this with just a hint of embarrassment, and no regret.

    Shrug. She didn’t kill anybody, and I could fit into my skinny jeans again. I’ll keep meeting with her.

    Alyi had miraculously gotten a job at another gym, but continued to train me discretely since I wasn’t a member and couldn’t legally use their equipment. She would sneak me in, then run on the treadmill beside me like we were workout buddies. “Keep going! Only two more minutes at this speed!” she'd whisper over to me, looking straight ahead with headphones in her ear.

    When I hit my goal weight, it was finally time to say goodbye to Alyi. I had lost thirty pounds, but I gained a complete reassurance for my own sanity.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.