Doubting the Whippersnapper: Lessons in Humility

As I believe I had mentioned a couple of posts back, my beloved personal trainer (also close friend and confidante) Tanya moved her exercise and training studio into her home. This is great for her, but her home is a 40 minute drive from me. I thought about the cost of our sessions together (Tanya gives me a good deal, but personal trainers just aren’t cheap), and how busy my life already feels, and how much time I spend driving already to ferries and back – and I just couldn’t do it. I only cried a little. I couldn’t help it – we’ve been seeing each other twice a week for over two years.

Anyway. A couple of months before our last session, Tanya had made the acquaintance of a new young trainer who was working out of the same building as her then-studio. He was new to the game, looking to drum up clients, and eager to start putting some of his new knowledge and skills into practice. He was also, since he was so new, very affordable – even moreso than what I’d been paying with Tanya.

So, I grumblingly, grudgingly agreed to give him a go. On the outside I was all optimism and open-mindedness, as cheery as a sister-wife, while inwardly gritting my teeth, assuming/expecting the worst, and full of suspicion and resentment, like a sister-wife*.

Another friend of mine agreed to see him on a trial run as well, and her first appointment was before mine, and what she reported didn’t sound promising – strange odor, extreme nervousness, lack of personal space respect, constant out-loud counting, and a head-to-toe black ensemble, like a phantom, or Zorro (if Zorro were a nerd in black socks and black Reeboks).

I steeled myself before our first session, treating it like an obligation and vowing to give him at least 4 sessions before I icily informed him this wasn’t going to work out, and returned gracefully to the butt-groove in my couch, smug in the knowledge that I had at least given him a fair trial.

And at our first session, I admit, my inner monologue was pretty unbearably smug. “Tanya wouldn’t do it this way. I’m used to doing it more like that. This kid’s a fetus. What is he having me do here? Oh Lord, I’m barely feeling this. One set real slow is NOT as good as three sets at regular speed, you kindergarten keener. I’m barely even breathing heavily here. Pfft…15 lbs?! What are these baby weights?? Oh, you are NO Tanya.”

He was pleasant enough (and on my first visit, had opted to throw some white into the ensemble and not just swoop out of the darkness like a big weird bat), and seemed to have an impressive knowledge of injury treatment and prevention, different exercise techniques for different goals, etc. But when we parted that day, I sauntered out of their with a self-assured, rueful smile, and a thought-bubble above my head: “Poor kid never had a chance. Well, I’ll see the four sessions out and find someone else – or, you know, take the winter off and buy shares in Haagen-Dazs.” I went home, went to bed…

….and in the morning, could barely move. My muscles were SO.SORE. I couldn’t believe it. During the workout itself I had felt as though I was barely exerting myself…how could this be? I must be coming down with the flu. Aches. Yep, influenza aches. Gotta be. I grimly hobbled and limped throughout my day, in severe denial of a terrible case of DOMS, chalking it up to coincidence.

I have since seen him 6 more times, and my confidence has grown with every session. I’ve never sweat as much as I do when working out with him. I’m not only consistently sore after our workouts, but my chiropractor gave me a list of areas on my body that need help, and The Whippersnapper (he’s 21. Did I mention that? Fetus.) put together a program to help with that – tightening my joints and ligaments and tendons (all of which are loose, as a result of my being so heavy for so long). My chiropractor has said she can already tell a difference. Even today, he started me doing an exercise that seemed totally laughable and below my skill level – lifting an 11 lb large medicine ball from my chest to all the way above my head, with both hands – s-l-o-w-l-y. He said it was to tighten and tone my shoulders. And my cocky brain went “pfft, this is some bullllllllsheeit. This is a waste of my time and mon…owwwwwwww“. He had me do three sets of 20 reps, and by focusing on going slowly, I could barely lift my arms at the end. I was trembling, sweat pouring down my face, laughing at how difficult it had become. The kid knows what he’s doing. I think this could be the beginning of a very good thing. He’s even cracked jokes a couple of times yet.

There’s definitely hope for him – and maybe even some for me, in learning to be more open-minded, and ignore my preconceived notions, and in general just stop being such a big ol’ know-it-all.

*Also – I watched the series finale of Big Love recently. Really, writers? REALLY? Why didn’t you just have Bill and Barb wake up and go “ha! ha! It was allllll a dream.”
Worst. series ending ever. I actually said “oh COME ON” out loud to my laptop.
ALSO also, I watched the series finale of the Sopranoa recently (having rewatched the entire series). It – and I missed 90% of what was there, the first time around – was absolutely fucking masterful. Jesus, what a fantastic show. Watch it. Savor it.

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One Response to Doubting the Whippersnapper: Lessons in Humility

  1. Cheryl says:

    Finally you’re back. Who is this ‘friend’ you speak of. One time my mom’s friend tried to set me up with a guy that wore all black – black trenchcoat, shoes, socks, glasses, turtleneck… he wasn’t really my type, and my brother called him ‘the phantom’.
    You’re looking so great – keep up the workouts!!!

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