Posts Tagged With: Gym

Flirting or Motivating?

I’ve managed to go to the gym 6 days a week for the last two weeks. I didn’t know that it was possible for me to sweat that much. Sweat just pours off me in rivers, my face gets flushed, my hair gets soaked, my clothes turn dark with the stuff; in short I’m not at my most attractive.

It’s slow going, and Tarek, my trainer, seems more focused on upping my stamina; overall I do feel better. Today, Tarek was very complimentary when I arrived. He mentioned that I already look thinner, complete with hand motions in case I wasn’t getting the picture. Well, at least that’s what I think he was saying. Tarek’s English vocabulary is rather limited, and a lot of our communication happens through guesswork, hand signals, and facial expressions.

At one point during the workout I had to stop because my heart rate was through the roof. I was worried I might pass out, and Tarek had me take a rest. He stood with me and we chatted as best we could.

Have I been to the Pyramids yet? No. Maybe this weekend.

Do I feel like I’m losing weight? Have my friends mentioned anything?

No, but I’m definitely going to ask if they notice a change. I can’t tell anything. To make things less awkward I agreed: sure, my clothes fit a little better. (Do they?)

“Is good! You will be *quick motion indicating skinniness* it’s very good.”


“Your face, is beautiful face.”

“Thank you.” I feel so gross, my face is red, I’m pouring sweat, and can’t really catch my breath.

“Yes, your face will be *quick motion indicating skinniness* What do you eat? At the villa…hotel?”

“I cook for myself.” I said.

“You’re good cook?”

“No, I cook for myself.” (small laugh) At this point I thought he was going to ask about my diet for training purposes and started to tell him what I usually eat for breakfast. Instead he told me that he likes to cook.

“You do? Are you a good cook?” Cue modest grin on his part. “What do you cook? Egyptian? Italian?”

“Egyptian food.” (Of course! his shoulders and expression say) “Now, go do treadmill, two minutes, speed ten.” Great, more cardio to make me ill.

After nearly dying on the treadmill and then bouncing around holding free weights, we paused again so I wouldn’t pass out or throw up. Tarek said something about a restaurant. He either works in one, or knows of a good one. And he…maybe…asked me to go to eat what he cooks on Friday…? Confirmed: He did ask what my availability is for this Friday. (All day.) He also asked me to call him.

But, the question still remains: Is he flirting with me or just motivating me to work my ass off (literally) at the gym?


Update; Wednesday September 18, 2013:


Well, on Tuesday, as I was sweating on the treadmill, Tarek asked me what I was doing on Thursday after my workout. “I’m busy sorry, something for the school. Friday? I’m free all day.”

“Ok, [pause] I will call you Friday. We will go to eat.”

“Okay. Great.” I said as Tarek hopped off the (unmoving) treadmill next to me. I looked around in disbelief for a moment. Did that really just happen? Unfortunately, no one was close enough to hear our conversation, and body language made it look like he was telling me to walk faster.

Huh, seems he wasn’t just motivating me. We’ll see what Friday brings.

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What’s in a gym?

Going to the gym has never been fun for me. I have no clue what I’m doing, I’ve had some poor experiences, and I tend to give up and fall out of a routine easily. However, here in New Cairo I have a chance at a fresh start.

Even before I’d seen the school the staff were talking about signing up for membership at a nearby gym. The more people who join, the cheaper it is. So, I bit the bullet and raised my hand to join the gym. What better time to start than now? I start a new job, in a new home, in a new city, in a new country; I might as well start at a new gym, too. So, I forked over a lot of money for a 14-month membership and started out.

What does and Egyptian gym look like? Well Titan’s Gym looks a lot like most gyms in the States. There are treadmills, elliptical machines, weight machines, free weights, and even a pool, it’s simply a little smaller at the New Cairo branch. There are 5 treadmills, 5 elliptical machines, one of each weight machine (some of which pull double duty), and the pool is attached to the hotel so it’s small and oddly shaped.

Wandering around the gym are the requisite trainers who are impossibly fit and gorgeous. I think they’re there to make everyone feel the need to push a little harder. I was met by a trainer, Hannah who immediately signed me up for my four free personal training sessions. Hannah is beautiful, but if she stands sideways and sticks out her tongue she could be a zipper. She’s impossibly skinny, and shows it off with form-fitting workout gear. She’s also very nice, but rather blunt when it comes to my training regimen.

Also present in the gym are locals who are working out just like anyone else. Some women wear headscarves, some do not. In the locker room I saw an attendant praying as she took a break from her duties.

The attendants are so helpful with the facilities. They’ll show you how to use the jacuzzi, steam box (room is too generous a term), or sauna. My friend, Kelly, always has trouble with her lock, and now has a close relationship with the attendant who comes over to help her unlock it.


My personal trainer, Tarek, is a very fit gentleman with limited English. During our first session together he also trained two of my colleagues from work. He’d send me to the treadmill for 2 minutes while he took Luke and Emily through drills. Then he’d work me in drills while Luke and Emily ran on the treadmill. 35 minutes went by pretty quickly, and not too painfully. Tarek uses few words, opting to show me the exercises he wants me to run. He is constantly counting to five as I do jumping jacks, run in place, or shuffle across the floor.

That was yesterday. Today, Tarek worked me for 45 minutes; after the first 15 I didn’t think I’d make it through. I think I’ll hear his voice counting to five in my nightmares. He even said, “Today, very good. Yesterday not so good.” Boy, will I be sore tomorrow!

Tomorrow I’ve got an appointment to see the doctor, and next week the nutritionist. If not now, when?

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