Years ago, I wrote a blog about how women have a distorted view of their body. In that blog, I told everyone that 85% of all the clients I have trained in my career have been women: 85%?
Why is it so high, you may ask yourself? Why haven’t I had more male clients? Let me sum it up in four succinct words: Men know it all—the male ego
What? Didn’t you know that? Of course, men know it all! There is this little area in our brains that tells us we know it all.
Why are you snickering?
Let me give you some examples here. A certain bodybuilder at one time was adamant that when doing bench press, you only need to come down four inches to get the full effect of a bench press … Huh?
When I ask him what his point of reference was for making this statement, he said to me, “Another guy told me.”
Oh. Well okay then. If another guy told you, I guess you must be right. Or take the 20-year-old male who chastised me that I was training my female client wrong. He interrupted our session when I was having my client working on some functional movements with a medicine ball. I’m paraphrasing here, but he basically said, “She ain’t (awesome language) going to gain any muscle by doing that. She should be using dumbbells.”
Oh. You’re right there, Chester.
I’ve been training for 14 years now, know what my client wants to accomplish and you are 20-years-old. Thanks for the input. I’ll make a note of it.
Another reason I haven’t had very many male clients is … wait for it … the male ego.
I think I just heard a collective “of course” from all my female clients.
Men do not like to be seen as weak by another male. They also have all the answers, remember? They know what is right for them when it comes to achieving their fitness goals; hence, working with a client who has a terrible male ego can be challenging1
Let’s visit more examples, shall we?
The same bodybuilder from the earlier story wanted me to workout with him. Now this bodybuilder was much bigger than me and much stronger than me on a lot of exercises. I took the bait and did a workout with him.
For most of the workout, he was able to lift a lot more weight than me. However, when he wanted to do dumbbell skullcrushers, things get a little hairy. I was able to match the weight he was using in the first three sets. We should have been done at three sets.
But I was challenging his fragile ego.
He decided he wanted to do more sets and keep increasing the weight. I knew what was happening so I decided to go with it to see where it would end up. After the sixth set, I finally faltered and couldn’t lift the weight.
With the look of a petulant third grader who just won the shoe kick at field day, he triumphantly proclaimed, “Yeah, that’s how I roll. Ain’t (I am not making this language up) no one going to best me in my lift.”
Another example is a 20-something male who met with me for personal training. He sought ME out for training, and as we were discussing what we can do, he told me, “You know, I don’t think you can show me anything that I don’t know. I’m already in great shape.”
I tell him to give me three sessions to show him some stuff. He agreed.
For the first session, I kick his ass with movements he never dreamed of doing. Why would I waste his time with exercises he already knew how to do? He came to the second session, but was so sore that he couldn’t finish the session.
He never showed up for the third session.
His ego was challenged and he lost. It was better to save face and not show up even though he already paid me.
I have one last example. I had a male client who was constantly missing sessions. I finally sat him down and told him that I was going to let him go if he kept missing sessions. He was wasting both of our precious times.
He goes on to tell me he would stop missing sessions and start focusing on his goals. But I can tell that I have upset him by calling him out.
We proceed to the workout. We were doing some dumbbell bench presses and he was having a hard time getting the weight up so I start spotting him.
He yells … yes yells at me, “Leave the #*@?! weights alone! I can do it myself!”
Whoa. He got chastised by another male so his fragile male ego was now crushed. It was time to be angry.
So there you have it. I challenge you to see how many male trainers are actually training male clients. I bet it’s not many. The male ego is truly a fragile thing.