A personal trainer who hits the gym every day says she almost stopped going and quit her fitness career due to men constantly harassing her.
Char Borley, 40, used to be a competitive bodybuilder and has in recent years qualified as a personal trainer, sports therapist and nutritionist.
But the mum’s dreams of a fitness career were nearly shattered after she began experiencing frequent sexual harassment in the gym.
Char, who is from London, used to offer one-to-one PT sessions but says she was forced to stop due to male clients behaving inappropriately –with some asking her to “squat” for them or asking for her number to go on dates.
“I have always loved fitness and becoming a qualified personal trainer was a dream of mine,” Char, who has 522,000 followers (@char .borley), told Jam Prime.
“I used to be a competitive bodybuilder and I won every show I did, so I trained to become a sports therapist and nutritionist as well.
“When I offered one-to-one classes, men would say that they wanted assistance and motivation, but all they really wanted was some fun.
“I only lasted a month.
“All of the men made advances, some would ask for my number and others would ask me to squat in front of them – it was so inappropriate.
“It made me think that if I really wanted to continue on with my dream career, that this was the reality of what needed to happen, but I didn’t like it one bit.
“I spent so long training and educating myself in fitness, but everything I said to them went in one ear and out the other.
“The last straw was when one of them asked me to train privately at their house.”
Char eventually switched to offering female-only pole dancing and burlesque classes at her local gym, but this didn’t stop the “creeps” from flooding in.
She said: “For three years, a man used to wait outside the gym for me and cry at the door as he wouldn’t be let in.
“If he did get in with a pass, he wouldn’t come into the studio and instead watch from outside.
“But he never actually spoke to me, he was too scared.
“Another guy stalked me for about eight years, as he found me online after spotting me doing television work.
“After finding out I was a personal trainer, tried to hire me all the time with different names.
“In the end, I had to leave my job at the gym.
“It honestly drove me to breaking point.”
Determined to find a different way to enjoy fitness and share her passion with the world, Char now offers classes and personal training online.
She claims to make £2,000 per hour and over the past two years and has pulled in £200,000 so far.
The mum said: “My style of training is so personable and I absolutely love it.
“I’m not the standard personal trainer, it’s a very personal service compared to the standard.
“My fans tell me their inner desires, but also what’s going on in their lives, which is often stopping them from reaching their diet and fitness goals.
“I find they open up very deeply at times and those who have been with me for many years now are developing into friendships.”
But she has her doubts about returning to a gym as a teacher.
Char said: “When I work out, I still get guys coming up to me and asking if I’m a personal trainer, where they try to give me their number.
“I’ve had a few men approach me and ask if I need help taking off any weights.
“I respond saying: ‘I’m probably lifting more than you love’ and the look on their face is hilarious.
“Often, I tell them it’s just my warm up, so they’ll back off.
“All of them watch me in disbelief as I press or lift more than them, they can’t seem to believe it.
“They usually get quite embarrassed and walk away, but some have filmed me before without consent.
“By the time they’re done, I’m gone, so I don’t say anything – but one of my friends did once.
“I don’t think they really cared though and it’s a shame I can’t go to the gym without getting harassed.”