New York Times – A Knack for Making People Sweat

New York Times – A Knack for Making People Sweat

Terrence Walcott, 25, has worked for two years as a personal trainer at the David Barton Gym at Madison Avenue and East 85th Street. He grew up in Crown Heights and was on the track team at the University of Michigan, where he could long-jump 26 feet.

Slogan on work shirt: Look Better Naked

Way he knows his workouts are working: I use the spousal test: “So, has your husband or wife said anything yet?” Everyone you know, the guy on the corner who hits on you, your boss, may be noticing that you’re working out. I was training this woman for two years and she said to me, “Yesterday my husband gave me a compliment on my arms,” and I said to myself, “I’m the best trainer in the world.”

Loves to hear: “I got down on the floor and picked up my grandson for the first time.” There was a 75-year-old client of mine who went kayaking last week, and before, he could barely walk. I get so much joy from being able to work someone out hard.

Hates to hear: “I just got my hair done and I can’t sweat today.” No matter what we do, there’s no way you can be here for an hour and you don’t sweat. It becomes like a chess match. If I know a person needs things, I’ve got to figure out a way so they get the benefit of that exercise. If they didn’t get what I felt they needed, it’s a bad session that weighs on my days sometimes.


Terrence Walcott has worked as a personal trainer for two years. CreditSuzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

Typical lunch: A couple of turkey burgers on pita, with grilled sweet potato and a drink. And in an hour and a half, I’ll eat the same thing again.

Who comes in when: Some guys get here at 7, get beat up, and they say, “Good morning, Terrence, goodbye, Terrence” — that’s it. They tend to be the Wall Street finance guys. Once 9 o’clock hits, it changes at 9. At 9 are these guys’ wives. And the wives at 9 are more focused than the ones at 11.

Childhood obstacle: I was born bowlegged, and I had braces to correct it, but they were too tight, and the bones fused incorrectly. I had surgery on my right leg as an infant, and I was never supposed to be able to walk again. My mother was ecstatic when I started running track.

The road through college: I was planning on going into geriatrics. Halfway through school I realized I didn’t want to be a doctor. It was painful. It was even more painful because I didn’t know what I did want to do. After college, when I couldn’t run or compete anymore, it devastated me. I figured, that’s my passion.

After work: When I have a couple of hours I watch documentaries on the Science Channel, and sports. Every so often someone will force me to go to the movie theater.

Should a trainer look totally buff? I had this one trainer, she was 4 feet 11 and maybe 90 pounds wet, she beat me down like no one has ever done in my life. It’s all about knowledge.


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