01/09/2013 03:29 pm ET Updated Mar 11, 2013

Why You Really Work Out - The Cut

Until I began working as a personal trainer in Los Angeles at one of the largest nationwide fitness clubs, I thought the point of going to the gym was to get fit and lose weight. The company's training program for new employees quickly disabused me of that notion. Since most people who sign up for a monthly or annual gym membership can't easily afford even the lowest rate for a full-time trainer, trainers must charm, seduce, and manipulate new members into signing contracts for multiple sessions, much like a stripper hitting her lap dance quota. To this end, trainers closely follow an elaborate script. Central to that script is figuring out the Who, What, When, and Why of a potential client -- but the Why is what matters most. Not the Why the client told us (usually losing weight, getting in better shape, etc.), but the real, unspoken reason they're coming to the gym.