Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How a Personal Trainer Tried to Push Me into Warrior Mode

About a month ago, I joined a gym. The last time I belonged to a gym was when I first moved into my apartment after college, and being that we're coming up on ten years in our house, and I canceled my membership a good bit before that, it's been a while. I wasn't concerned about the big gap, because I've done several "workout" programs since. Walking, a few random classes that lasted for a few weeks, wii fit, a few DVDs, prenatal yoga...the end.

Right. So it's been a while.

But I took a Zumba class through parks and rec this spring, and I liked the idea of taking a class like that. Zumba is definitely not boring, and knowing that a class is there for me keeps me focused. That particular class got me started. Then I put my foot down and decided to finally take up tennis again. I've been in a clinic weekly, and I'm getting what little game I had back. Since I'd gotten off my butt, I wanted to keep the momentum going, and it was time for the next step.

So I tried to find a gym that was

a) close enough where I wouldn't spend more time in the car than actually exercising,
b) offered classes instead of just weights and machines,
c) was reasonably priced - the magical number where I'm motivated to go but don't feel insanely guilty if life happens, and of course,
d) had onsite child care.

I was really looking for a gym that had

e) all of the above.

And I found one.

I got off to a good start. The gym I picked is a newer location, so everything is new and clean and gorgeous. The girls dashed into the childcare area without a backward glance. There are plenty of machines, all with built in TVs so I can indulge while I climb or walk or cycle. There are plenty of classes to break up the monotony. And if I have a light week, the cost isn't so high that I feel guilty. I do have to pay for childcare, but since you only pay for it when you use it, it isn't so bad. This could be just what I need.

One of the perks you get for joining is a free session with a personal trainer. They highlighted this fact like crazy when I joined, although I'm pretty sure most gyms give you a a freebie to start off with. I wanted to make sure I didn't forget, so I signed up for mine within a week of joining. Madison was at day camp, so I only had to pay for childcare for Reagan. I wanted to pick up a few exercises that would work my core without pushing out my soft belly.

This personal training session was probably one of the most frustrating sessions for the trainers. Here's the thing: I'm not a person who is ever going to be super passionate about fitness. I know it's good to keep active, in the same way that I know it's a good idea to eat well. It's not that I don't care entirely. But I don't have the passion that some do. We'll leave it at that.

Well, my trainer was about 24 years old and definitely fit. Not tiny, not ultra muscular, but fit. My session started with a meeting. You can tell from some of our conversation that this meeting was just begging to be written about.

Perky Trainer Girl: So! You are here and that's awesome! Tell me, how have you been keeping yourself active since your last gym membership?

Me: I run after two little girls all day.

PTG: (confused) What?

Me: I'm a mom of toddlers.

PTG: (blank stare)

Me: Never mind. I play tennis, but just recreationally right now.

PTG: Wow! Tennis! That's AMAZING!

Me: Well, I wouldn't call it amazing. But it's fun.

PTG: You're a monster!

Me: Ummm...

PTG: OK, so we know that you are FIERCE. Do you have any old injuries worth mentioning?

Me: Back in high school I pulled my hip flexor playing field hockey. I finished the season without really resting it, so the trainer warned me it might heal weird. But for the most part it's fine. When I do a ton of walking I'll feel it.

PTG: Field hockey too???? You are a warrior!

Me: Well, it was close to twenty years ago.

PTG (ignoring me): You are going to be amazing in no time. OK, so are there any areas you really want to tone up?

Me: My stomach hasn't been the same since I had my kids. I was doing some research and I guess there are some exercises targeted to get those stomach muscles back together - I forget exactly how I saw it. You know, the ones that separate when you're pregnant? And if you're not careful in how you work out, you can actually make the fat push out more? I really want to make sure I'm not making things worse.

PTG: Yeah...I mean, I'm not a doctor or anything, so I'm not really clear what happens to your muscles during pregnancy and stuff. But we can totally work on your core.

Me: Oh, well, I guess I can find them on Pinterest or something. But yeah, core stuff, great.

For the next fifteen minutes, I do random exercises targeting my core. Some I knew, some I didn't.  Some were totally doable, some kicked my butt. She was great at correcting my form and encouraging me to keep going.

PTG: You were amazing. You are so strong. I'm going to meet with you twice a week, and you are going to be a force of nature when we're done!

PTG walks me over to someone at a computer, who is my "body expert" and will walk me through all the plans.

PTG: This is Meredith. She is amazing. She is so much stronger than she thinks. I'm going to meet with her twice a week. Can you walk her through what you'll do to get her as healthy as she can be? 

Militant Health Coach: Ok, I see what you've listed as your weight, and what we calculated your body fat at. You're in the normal and healthy range, but we can get you even better off. How much weight do you want to lose?

Me: I don't really care about the number of pounds. I'd like for my clothes to fit better. I still have that pooch from the second baby and I hate the thought of straining to button my pants.

MHC: So, twenty pounds?

Me: That sounds really ambitious.

MHC: Fifteen?

Me: Um, whatever. Sure.

MHC: And what is your goal date?

Me: I don't really have one. I know healthy weight loss is around 1-2 lbs a week at most. So...end of the year, I guess?

MHC: Do you have a wedding? A reunion? A gala?

Me: No, no galas on the horizon. Nothing special. I have a wedding in September, but I already know what I'll wear to that.

MHC: We really find our clients do better when they have a goal date to keep their focus - we even recommend they pick a certain outfit they'd like to fit into. Can I say Thanksgiving is your goal date? Or do you want to get something new for the wedding and really try to accelerate your goal?

Me: No, let's say Thanksgiving. Although it feels a little weird to aim for a holiday that's all about food.

MHC: I'm entering your goal to lose fifteen to twenty pounds by November. Now how many calories are you planning to take in?

Me: I'm not a huge calorie counter.

MHC: (dumbfounded).

Me: I mean, um, less than I do now?

MHC: Right. You'll probably want to do 1200-1500 calories a day for your goal.

Me: (knowing I don't really count calories) Ok.

MHC: So, you'll be training twice a week with PTG and checking in weekly with me with your food log.

Me: I will?

MHC: Well, PTG wants you training twice a week. And with such an ambitious goal, you'll want someone checking in on your food choices. But don't worry! We're giving you access to our app! You can do everything from your phone!

MHC: (showing me various images at light speed on her computer). So this what you look like now, and this is what you'll look like by November! And here's the app! So anytime you eat or drink or work out or play tennis - I hear you're a warrior! - you just stop and enter it into the app.

Me: I need to be honest with you. I don't really see myself doing that.

MHC: Oh, you will. Focusing all the time becomes totally second nature.

Me: (thinking this sounds terrible). Well, we'll see. The app is free?

MHC: Yup! It's included! Now, body coaching is $$$$$$$$$$ a month, which will get you weekly check ins with me and access to your online profile and the app. And PTG will see you twice a week for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ a month. So we'll bill your account $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ a month with your membership fee.

Me: Excuse me????

MHC: Isn't it important to invest in yourself?

Me: Well I'm certainly going to talk about this with my husband. And honestly, it's not in our budget.

MHC: (sadly) Does he not believe in you?

Me: No, I'm pretty sure he does. But we budgeted a certain amount for a gym membership and childcare. If I were to spend seven times that, we would need to discuss it and figure out where all that extra money was coming from.

MHC: Why don't we sign you up, and once he realizes how worth it you are as a woman, he'll see the value?

Me: Yeah, I'm definitely going to say no today.

MHC: Well, I'll be looking for you!

I retreat to the bathroom and spend approximately five minutes doubled over at the hilariousness of this situaion. Knowing that I've already done some core work, I decide to spend about fifteen minutes on the bike before I indulge in the pleasure of an uninterrupted shower, which, face it, was one of the biggest reasons I joined in the first place.

Me: (texting Adam while on bike) Hey, so this trainer tried to get me to sign up for twice weekly sessions at $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ a month. I'm pretty sure I just tore my abs laughing.

Adam: I'm glad you're laughing. I'm guessing you told her it's not happening?

Me: Yup. And according to her, it's because you don't believe in me.

Adam: If you tell her that not only do I not believe in you, but I actively try to sabotage you and any and all efforts to better yourself, can you get a discount?

Me: Shoot, I should have tried that.

Adam: Are you sure they didn't sign you up? Did they see you laughing?

Me: I'm not that rude. I walked away before I doubled over. But I think it was a firm no. Hey, do you think I can count that as part of my ab workout since I was laughing so hard?

Adam: That depends. Did they charge you for it? It seems like nothing counts until they're charging you.

This is one of the reasons I love Adam.

So, in conclusion, this session did not include me becoming a warrior. I do pass both MHC and PTG as I do my non-warrior workouts, and they are nothing but friendly and tell me that they hope they'll be seeing me soon! Because I could be amazing!

And luckily, this situation didn't dampen my spirit. I'm still going. I'm still enjoying the childcare, the leisurely shower, the juice bar, the TVs on the equipment, and heck, even the equipment itself. I've actually managed to get my butt moving on a regular basis, and I'm counting that as a win.

Even if I'm choosing to be a pacifist.

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