In the fall of 2016, a few months after returning from his third training trip to Europe, Benoit Barzounis returned to his Walmart in Ottawa, Ont., where he works as a trainer.
He found a few old DVDs in his locker that he liked and decided to listen to some of the recordings he’d taken.
One of the tapes featured a man who said he had worked as a “bodybuilder trainer” in New York and was training a new, more stringent set of exercises for bodybuilders.
The man also said he’d been training with the company for a decade.
“They gave me an envelope full of money,” Barzouis recalled, laughing.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to take it home and do it myself.’
I’ve never done a trainer session before.
I thought I was doing it wrong.
I was a bit shocked.”
The video, which has since been removed from the company’s YouTube channel, had been posted by a YouTube user who went by the handle “Shawny” and claimed to have been a former bodybuilder trainer at the company.
“Shake up your gym routine and do your best to make it better,” the man said in the video.
“And if you’re not doing it right, you’re probably going to fail at it.”
He claimed to be a certified personal trainer, but when Barzoukis pointed out that his credentials had been revoked, he claimed that the company had no record of him being a certified trainer.
(ShawnYehudi said the video had been taken down because it contained “false information” and was not approved by the company.)
When he returned to Ottawa, Barzouf’s manager and trainer noticed that he had started to lose weight.
When Barzoulis explained that his diet was no longer working, they suggested that he switch to a more moderate diet that included plenty of fruits and vegetables and less meat and fish.
He agreed, but soon after, his workouts started to get progressively harder.
He noticed that his hips and calves were starting to feel heavier.
He began to feel less and less comfortable.
His muscles started to hurt.
He started feeling anxious.
“At the time, I was just kind of doing a lot of lifting,” Barzagouis said.
“That’s not the way I want to train, I want it to be really light.
I didn’t know what to do.”
The gym’s trainer was so concerned that Barzoudi was having a breakdown, that he contacted the owner of the store, and that’s when he started to hear from other trainers who said they too had similar problems.
It became clear that Barzagoulis wasn’t the only one experiencing this problem, and he was quickly approached by a former gym employee who said that his training had also gone “very wrong.”
Barzoustouis, who has since quit his job at the gym, said that he’d already been working with a local gym, but he was shocked when he saw the video he’d seen and saw that his old trainer was actually being paid for his work.
“He said, ‘That’s terrible.’
He said, [expletive] if you didn’t do that you’re going to have a bad day,” Barzon said.
Barzouchi’s story has been corroborated by former trainers and members of his own gym who told him that the problems started long before the video surfaced.
One former trainer, who asked not to be named because of his position, said he was hired to work with Barzoutouis in February of 2017.
He said he initially thought he’d just be a coach and not have to worry about training the way Barzoly was.
“But it wasn’t going to be long before I started to have these issues,” he said.
“[My manager] told me that he was seeing things from the outside, that I had to change.
I had no idea.”
The trainer said that Barzooulis had previously been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and said that it was only after a few years of working with Barzagounis that he began to see that the former trainer was also suffering from mental health issues.
“After I started seeing the symptoms, I knew I needed help,” the trainer said.
After two years of trying to help Barzon, he decided to share his story with The Globe and Mail.
“The last time I saw Ben was when he was in the hospital,” the former gym manager said.
He added that Barzon was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was also prescribed a number of prescription medications that have since expired.
The trainer is now looking into the possibility of suing the company over the video, but Barzuffes lawyer, David Givens, said they haven’t ruled out pursuing a claim.
Barzagouchi was the first trainer to report what he’d experienced