The End of Personal Training: Channeling a Stubborn Nature

As I come to the end of my personal training sessions, I find myself in a state of reflection.  The past month has been a true learning experience; I’ve come to know that I’m nearly as weak as I thought that I was and that in fact, I’m more stubborn than ever thought before when it comes to attaining something that I want.

After accepting the fact that I was going to have to do things that I would otherwise avoid, like countless lunges, squats and lifting weights I developed a kind of love/hate relationship with these activities.  I knew after the first couple of meetings with my trainer that there would be no escaping these vicious, muscle-burning movements and that I’d be better off getting the right form and doing as many of them as possible on my own time to see some results.  The exciting part was that not only did I begin seeing results in a very short period of time, but my tolerance for these movements increased and I actually started to enjoy them…okay, maybe “enjoy” is a strong word, but I became excited for my workouts because I knew that was I was doing would heed the results that I want.

My least favorite of the activities of which I was introduced is hands-down weight lifting.

what I feel like while weight lifting

I’ve never been a fan of lifting heavy objects and avoid it whenever possible, but considering I was paying someone to tell me what to do and how to do it to get the best results, I decided that the best plan of attack was to grin and bear it (and ask my trainer if she’d lost her mind when she would hand me a dumbbell much heavier than I thought I could handle, or would load up more weight on a machine than I would do on my own). I haven’t developed a good relationship with weight lifting, but I always feel a sort of vindication after I’m finished.  I feel triumphant and sweaty, a bit like I’ve just won a battle, despite the burning sensation residing in my arms. As much as I despise the actual activity, I’ve grown to love the feeling of accomplishment afterward.

One of the most challenging exercises that I’ve encountered to date is one that I was introduced to last week: a plank hold while balancing on a medicine ball. One word encapsulates how I feel about this exercise: OW! This is one of those exercises that I found so challenging that I refused to give up after doing twice. The first time I did it, I held it for about a second before flopping into a wobbly substance on the floor; then, I stubbornly looked at my trainer and said, “I’m doing this again.” This is kind of the perfect exercise because every muscle is engaged: arms, legs, butt…it’s pretty fantastic. Now, all I have to do is continue to force myself to do it on my own.

example of a plank hold









My final session with my trainer is tomorrow evening, and even though I’ll have everything that we have done together written down, it just won’t be the same as having someone there to guide and encourage me.  I now understand why people hire personal trainers: it’s like having your own personal cheerleader to offer words of encouragement while  you grunt and complain over and over again about how much you hate the exercises that they’re making you do. In all seriousness, this experience has been nothing but positive and with the confidence that I’ve gained over the past month, I believe that I have it within myself to get where I’d like to be physically.  With more hard work, continuing to eat a healthier diet, a positive outlook and channeling my stubborn nature, I believe that I can do this. It’s a good feeling.



Squats and Feelin’ Flat

I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus from writing lately for a couple different reasons. Number one: to focus on working out (also known as sweating profusely in public) and transforming my body. The second reason: life has felt a little flat as of late. Not good, not bad, just…flat. This stagnant feeling has opened the door for me to do some serious thinking about life.

My training at the gym has been going fantastically. I’ll insert here that although I cannot truthfully say that I love squats and lunges, the hundreds nay, possibly thousands that I have done in the past three weeks are paying off. My thighs and butt are in a constant state of uncomfortable, but it’s the good kind of uncomfortable. It’s the uncomfortable that makes my internal voice say, “Hey, Lex? You’re doing it! Now, go back today and tomorrow and the day after that…keep going. You can do it.” My shoulders and arms are unyieldingly sore from the reps upon reps of push ups and brutal reps of burning triceps and biceps weights.  I’ve noticed that I’m not nearly as jiggley as I once was. My thighs are more toned and my rear end has more definition. Big changes are afoot! My body is physically changing for the better and it’s because I’m working at it like I’ve never done before.  My endurance is increasing and I’ve got far more strength in my legs than I have from “pushing past the point of pain” (thanks for that quote, T!).

Cardio is probably my least favorite of everything that my gym regimen has to offer.  I’ve reached a personal best on the StairMaster that I affectionately refer to as “The Beast”.  Every step on The Beast is agony: my heart feels as though it’s going to beat out of my chest, my breath is short, sweat drips into my eyes and down my back.  Thus far, my personal best is eighteen minutes. After eighteen minutes, my thighs feel like quivering jelly. But, that’s only the beginning of cardio hell. Next, I jump on an elliptical machine and crank up the resistance until it feels like I’m running through really thick mud. At this point, all I want to do is jump off and drop to the floor. But, I don’t. I do what’s known as intervals: I lower the resistance for a minute to give my heart a “working break”, and then I crank up the resistance again for a minute or three increasing my speed. And then I do this for at least thirty minutes. And then, I want to fall to the floor in a big whimpering, shaking pile. But, I stretch instead.

Maybe I should back up a bit and go into one of the motivators for throwing myself into this fitness regimen.  I did some thinking and decided that I wanted to get away this summer; really get away: get away from my comfort zone and go somewhere I’ve never been, somewhere I could experience a different ecosystem of nature. I wanted to see big mountains and see red sandstone formations. I decided that I wanted to go to Colorado. After my last hike, it was blatantly apparent that I was out of shape and had lost my endurance for hiking. So, I decided it was time to get my ass in shape so that when I get out west and am at 6,000 ft. above sea level, not only will I be able to breathe, I’ll be able to hike and enjoy the nature at hand.

Ok, so that part of my life is great. And, I’m really excited about my upcoming trip; I’m looking forward to experiencing another place (and more importantly, getting to experience it with a great friend). The rest of it though…it’s good, I can’t complain. I just feel stuck. Stagnant. I’m tired of living in a small town where I’m known as someone’s daughter, granddaughter or niece. Perhaps it’s time to investigate where I’d fit best?

A very insightful woman once gave me a really good piece of advice: When you are doing what you love, and love what you’re doing your transformation will become permanent. My turmoil stems from not really knowing what I love, and feeling a bit like a fish out of water in the place where I grew up. I like my job (I’m good at it, and I like anything I’m good at). But, I don’t necessarily believe it’s my calling. I was talking to an old friend yesterday and she asked me what I was passionate about. I just looked at her with a blank stare and said that I didn’t know. That confession made me sad. It’s time to delve deep into myself and figure it out. It’s never too late to decide what makes you happy.