For the past few years I had been having a serious conversation with myself about fitness and health. I had been beating myself up for losing control of the foods I consumed and the lack of time I spent exercising. I kept promising myself that I’d fix that problem after I wrote the first book, then the second book and then again after the third book. I swore I’d make the time for myself and preserve that time, but then I didn’t. The thing about self-talk, like this, is that eventually you have to listen to the promises you make yourself or your credibility with yourself is greatly diminished.
In December when all three books were done and the company was sold, I was left having to put up or shut up. I chose to attack fitness in a way I had never done before. My fitness life has been manic depressive over the years, which means I’ve gained and lost a few small grade school children worth of pounds over my adult life.
I decided to put everything I ever knew about fitness aside and start from scratch, as if I knew absolutely nothing at all. I humbled myself to the control of a personal trainer. Most days I wonder, what was I thinking?! I’ve put myself in the care of a maniacal fitness puppet master who dreams up modes of torture for me. Mostly I look at him quizzically and say, “You want me to do what?” as he explains the next challenge to my coordination, strength and submission.
I’m still in the midst of relearning health and fitness. It has been painful. I’ve ached in muscles I forgot that I even had. I considered having the toilet raised in my master bathroom so that I don’t have to strain my sore muscle to sit down. Some days my arms are so sore that I can’t scratch my nose. On those days I look like a T-Rex trying to navigate the world around me. Sometimes I wonder if my trainer has secretly put me on an extreme crash diet by making it too hard to lift food to my mouth.
Yes, I have actually been that sore. But now I’m lifting 2 and 3 times the weight I was lifting 3 months ago. I tell my trainer every time that I see him how much I hate him. Oddly, that makes him happy just like he rejoices when I’m so worn out that I’m shaking to complete my last few tasks. I’ve come up with little rhymes to recite during various training: I do not like this, I do not like this up or down, I do not like this side to side, I do not like this, I do not like you mean trainer man.
I’ve learned that personal trainers have a whole new set of curse words that I had never heard in my life like: super-sets, five more, watch your core and come on you can do it. Sometimes I feel so near collapse that my brain is shutting down, which makes it impossible for me to remember the names of the exercises he assigns me so I make up names to write in my fit book. Last week I wrote, “stupid step thingy” and “stinking ball contortion.” This week I missed a few core exercises and learned that either I should learn to lie to my trainer or never have a slugglish week again. I never would have imagined the penance he dreamed up to insure that I never forget!
I need a t-shirt to wear to the gym that says, “If you can read this you are in my splash zone” since I sweat so much. I look like something the cat dragged in when I enter the gym and on the way out I look like the cat threw me in the pool with my clothes on. But that is okay; because I figure I give the gal who just showed up for day one a bit of hope that she belongs at the gym too. It’s a journey.
I’ve had a few pit stops over the years in which I lost control of fitness, but I’m taking it by the reigns now and riding this puppy till the end. No more self-talk of what I need to do to get in shape – only action from here on out.
Despite my tongue-in-cheek attitude about fitness, I show up five days a week and do all of my assignments — and the most important things I have to show for it is that I feel great and I got to turn off the repeating self-talk recording that was playing in my head. What a relief it is to turn off that noise!