‘Don’t mean to be rude, but I didn’t ask for your advice’

A piece of my gym, Lifestyle Family Fitness. Inset: Trainer Leslie Moraitis.
A piece of my gym, Lifestyle Family Fitness. Inset: Trainer Leslie Moraitis.

There’s really no polite way of saying that, is there?

No, I don’t already know what I need. I just think people assume I’m clueless. And apparently quite approachable. No matter where I go, total strangers come up to me and strike up a conversation. Now, I know that’s also a Southern thing, but honestly, way too many strangers – white, black, Asian, Armenian, from ages 8 to 80.


I know this because I am watching them do so, and that’s likely the antecedent: Eye contact. I’ve been told I have a very “open” countenance, a welcoming personality. This is often unfortunate, especially when it comes to business, because I’m routinely underestimated, most often by men. The ego takes over, and it’s downhill from there. When it comes to rudeness, I have the patience of a gnat. Thank goodness for lawyers.

Since this blog launched two weeks ago, I’ve been approached by four personal trainers. I understand the appeal. I’d be their “Biggest Loser” prize. Even after I said no thanks to one, he sent training and diet plans. It’s my fault. I’m fully capable of spewing a string of words so foul they would singe his nose hairs.

But that wouldn’t be very polite now, would it?

So partly to take myself off the market, but mostly because it makes sense, I spoke with Leslie Moraitis (see inset photo), a personal trainer at my gym, Lifestyle Family Fitness. I wasn’t looking for her, specifically. She just happened to be available. I asked about my workouts. I know I’m strong, because on the resistance machines I’m pushing weights sometimes five or six times what other women are pushing. Example, the hip abductor and adductor: Many women set the weights at 40 or 50 pounds. Me: 210.

Several ladies have told me I shouldn’t life so much because I would bulk up like a man. It’s a ridiculous myth, and the women who say this to me are always out of shape themselves, but it would be rude to say so to their chubby faces.

Leslie explained that what I was doing sounded great, but with a personal trainer I’d be doing more natural movements that mimic everyday life. The next day, I had a free session. We started by taking my measurements. I would share them with you, but I did not look. Some things, I just don’t need to know right now. I’ll wait about a month, when I’m measured again, and find out. But she measured my neck and OMG, my upper arms, which I revile.


Then I held onto some thingie that measured my fat percentage. I already knew that a healthy range for a woman my age was 20-30 percent. I clocked in at 50 percent. Disappointing, but not surprising.

The session was to last 30 minutes, but I arrived late. After measurements, only had about 15 minutes left, thank God: Really innocent looking moves with weighted contraptions that had my arms screaming.


On the way out, I struck up a convo with Kevin McManus, the operations manager. Turns out he’s a certified weight management coach. We spoke for about 20 minutes about increasing my daily intake of protein, how it’s absorbed by the body and the importance of drinking up to half my weight in liquids a day. (Yes, I told him that at my weight, I would drown. He said to aim for slightly less.)

You know what else he said? Stop in any time I want to talk about eating right and losing weight, no charge. Translation: You won’t have to worry about any unsolicited advice from me.


I was out of town most of the weekend in Greensboro, NC, so I didn’t get in a workout, but I was conscious of my protein intake. This is getting a little long, so I’ll let you know the surprising results tomorrow.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” ~ Plato


Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.