Hit the gym, not the trainer

I have started working out again, after a long dry spell and a stern warning from my doctor.

“It’s about your bones,” she admonished me.

It’s funny how, as we age, we go from thinking “how does my butt look in these jeans?” to “why isn’t there a railing here, do they want me to break my hip?”

I sat in front of a trainer who had been highly recommended to me. Lying to your trainer is like lying to your dentist about flossing; one minute into the session, the truth comes out.

“When was the last time you worked out?” Mike asked me, poised to take some notes.

“One year and four months ago,” I responded.

He raised his eyebrows. “You know that specifically?”

“Yup. I had to get in shape for some pictures, and the second they were done I ate a pizza and stopped working out.”

In fact, I ate many pizzas. My abs looked like somebody had stacked a bunch of those quilted moving blankets on top of them. I told Mike he had to fix those. I also told him I didn’t want my arms to blow in the wind.

Mike started to silently curse the person who had recommended him.

A first training session is much like a first date. You’re both very polite and you both want to know pertinent information without looking too weird. Mike had to find out how much of a wreck he was taking on. He had me do a series of exercises as I pretended not to hear my knees making noises like somebody driving over broken glass.

All was going well until he handed me a skipping rope. I looked at him blankly.

“I don’t skip,” I informed him.

“Come on, everybody skips! Just give it a shot, see what you can do,” he said.

Most trainers are part cheerleader, which makes you want to simultaneously admire their optimism and punch them. I held the ends of the ropes, and carefully stepped over it. I swung it over my head and it stopped at my feet.

“Uhm, you have to jump,” he said helpfully.

I hopped over the rope. I swung it a few more times, managing to jump over it once, in a double bunny hop. I did it twice more, out of a dozen attempts.

Mike was looking at me. I’ve seen that look. It’s the “come on, everybody can skip” look. Only now it was saying, “wow. I thought everybody could skip.”

“OK, you know what? We’ll come back to skipping,” he told me.

I shook my head. We would not be returning to skipping.

We ran through a bunch of other things, mostly to my liking. If it involves weights or sit-ups, I’m happy. If it involves running, jumping or anything requiring coordination, forget it.

Mike brought out a big ball, and demonstrated how I was to sit on it, and then do some exercise. I wasn’t listening to him; I was busy telling him I can’t sit on balls.

He began his skipping pep talk again, so I sat on the ball. And fell off. I got back on, finally got balanced, when he proceeded to tell me what the exercise was.

“I though balancing on the ball was the exercise,” I patiently explained.

“You know what? We’ll come back to the ball,” he told me.

I didn’t say anything, but I mentally placed the ball beside the skipping rope. A few minutes later, a box step Mike thought I would be hopping onto joined them in exercise equipment limbo.

Something tells me one of us is going to get more of a workout than they bargained for.

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2 responses to Hit the gym, not the trainer

  1. Pat says:

    I love this article, good luck Lorraine, good luck Mike.

  2. Pat Bryan says:

    I wonder if Mike is thinking of transferring to something less challenging, like being a sous-chef for Gordon Ramsay.

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