Note: There would be a photo with this post, but I can’t lift my arms to hold the camera!
Throughout my teaching career, I spent a great deal of time on the floor – sitting chris-cross applesauce with a group of littles, reading aloud, or helping fifth graders create some masterful project. Hopping up and down, running out on the playground, climbing, stretching, lifting, moving…all part of the teacher job description.
How is it that, within a few short years, it has changed so drastically? I used to be able to hop right up from the floor, but now…not so much! I used to be able to run with my students in a game of kickball. Now, the very thought makes me suck wind! As my retired friends and I contemplate this situation, we always come to the same burning question…
When the hell did this happen???
In an attempt to battle the inevitable aging process, I have made (I thought) a reasonable effort to get/stay in some sort of shape. I don’t work too hard at it, but I joined a gym and I make an effort to keep “old lady status” at bay. I try to go down there with some regularity, although I am by no means a gym rat. A little lifting here, a little biking there. In my mind, I congratulate myself for my efforts to keep up with the younger set. But since Christmas, I have struggled to get rid of the Christmas candy ass weight gain, so when last week I saw a cardboard display on the gym desk with a sign that said,
“Sign up to win 2 sessions with a personal trainer!”
I thought, “Hell yeah, that’s a good idea!” – and besides, I never win anything! What I should have been smart enough to realize is that this sign really said, “Please give me your contact information so that I may call you and convince you how badly you need to spend a gazillion dollars on a training package. Come on down and I’ll show you how.”
Here’s how it went: I met Jen (the trainer) at the gym at 3:00. In the interest of full disclosure, I made sure she knew up front that I had no intention of buying a package of training sessions. Now, I don’t know if this was a good idea or a bad idea. Perhaps she wanted to show me how much harder I would work with the guidance of a personal trainer, or maybe, I just pissed her off and she was thinking, “I’ll show you………”
In any case, this little twenty-something girl, who didn’t weigh 100 lbs. soaking wet, and who actually wore perfectly drawn on eyeliner to the gym – worked my ass off! Even after I had tried to explain to her the things at the gym that I like to do, (weights, treadmill, bike) and the things that I’m not doing for anyone (these D cups do not jump rope!) she put me through a workout that turned my legs to Jello. You know it’s bad when, after hobbling to the car to go home, you cannot lift your leg high enough to clear the car door threshold.
I found myself thinking that there must be some happy medium. I understand the concept of calories in-calories out. I understand that a little bit of muscle soreness is just an indication that you are using your body. But really??? I almost couldn’t get up off the toilet this morning! My quads scream when I try to get up from a chair, and I’d love to put a photo with this post, but my arms have the weakies so bad that I can’t hold the camera without wobbling! In my heart of hearts I know there must be a workout regimen that falls somewhere between
Take a leisurely stroll around the block
Work out so frickin’ hard that the sweat is stinging my eyes, I can feel my pulse in my ears, and I hate your guts!
I don’t blame Jen, the trainer. How is she to know what 50+ feels like? Maybe I need to find a 50+ trainer? I know that I will continue to do something to try to stay physically strong as I add birthday candles. But I’m just not sure I’m believing “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” right now. ‘Cause she dang near did!
We watch the personal trainers at our gym, and I do admire those who decide to go that particular route. In fairness at least to myself, it appears that those who do so make a decision that they must for varying personal reasons (i.e. they are overweight, they have problems with sticking to a regimen, they simply need help planning a workout schedule, etc.). Both my wife and I are fortunate in that we go regularly and have separate routines that we each like. But I definitely find your own observations to be true that those who choose to work with a trainer do get one hell of a workout! I am the first to admit my own efforts, though regular and consistent, aren’t nearly as robust and “energetic” as theirs. I commend you for doing it!
The other thing my experience with the trainer gave me, besides ridiculously sore muscles, was a broad overview of a variety of activities and machines that are available to me at my gym. I learned how to use them all, and more importantly, it gave me confidence to just go to the gym, and as you say, do my own routine. Before the trainer, I would have been intimidated to go into the free weights section of the gym with all of the “meat heads” throwing weights around. Now I use the weight room as if I own the joint – but like you, I probably don’t push as hard as others. And, I skip a workout or two if I don’t feel like it. Wouldn’t do that with a trainer…
My first reaction was no – the level of soreness you had is the sign of a BAD trainer. My in-between space (and I hate going to the gym) is walking in the local parks with friends (and at a good pace, not a stroll) and Zumba. Sometimes, yes I am sore…but never to the point of being unable to lift a leg or arm!
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I agree. Perhaps not a “bad” trainer, but a young one, who is inexperienced in how much to push. And I bear some responsibility for not telling her to “slow the truck down!”
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