18 February 2015


I signed up with a personal trainer.  YAY!  I had one before, several years ago and loved it (it was a friend so it was free).  Here...it's expensive and we don't get a discount at the gym where I teach.  I've wanted to sign up with one for a while but never wanted to bite the financial bullet.  I finally did. 

I went for my first session today and I was really excited to get back to working really hard in the gym.  He promised a tough workout but I figured he'd underestimate my ability and be surprised.  He did not.  Or, perhaps I overestimated my ability.  I made it through the first set of exercises just fine (about 12 different exercises or so).  Shortly after starting the second set I had to stop.  I was really lightheaded.

As an instructor, one of the things I tell participants at the start of class is that if they feel dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, faint or like they're going to throw up, STOP.  I've never had to stop a workout before.

This is normally me.
I felt like a failure.  After sitting for a couple minutes I was able to start again but only made it through 1.5 more exercises before having to stop again.  The trainer decided that was enough for one day and he was right to make that call but I was very disappointed in myself and felt pathetic...like I was making excuses even though I knew I wasn't.  It was a tough workout but not by any means the toughest I've ever done.  And I workout a couple times a week so it isn't like I'm starting from zero.  I have no explanation as to why I got so lightheaded. 

The trainer said I did fine but really, what's he going to say?  "That was sad...I expected more out of you!"  Of course not...you can't keep clients that way.  I wish he had said that, though.  Why?  I don't know.  I'm really hard on myself and I guess I want others to have the same high expectations of me that I have. 

How I felt today.
I feel like this experience was good for me in a way.  It showed me that I have work to do (although I already knew that) and that things aren't as easy as they were when I was younger (I'm fighting this notion of getting older pretty hard!).  I'm looking forward to the next session. I like a challenge and clearly this is going to be one!  Hopefully this will help me turn around some of the bad-eating habits that have crept back into my life (hello cookies and ice cream that aren't in my house because I ate you all).  Can't perform well if you're not eating well, right?

Have you been in a situation where you didn't perform the way you expected/wanted?  How did you deal with it?

02 February 2015

On My Toes

One of my favorite classes to teach at the gym is boot camp.  There are so many different ways to do it and many of the exercises can be done without any equipment so people learn that they can exercise anywhere...at home, while staying in a hotel, in the park.  There's often a look of surprise when new students see me for the first time. I don't exactly look like a typical fitness instructor.  I'm really short and although I'm pretty strong, I'm not thin and don't look muscular.  And I'm very self-conscious about not looking the part. 

Yesterday I went to a free offering of boot camp at a gym nearby.  One of the exercises in the circuit was diamond pushups; so called due to the hand placement which makes a diamond shape.


These work the little triceps muscles on the back of the arms (the ones hidden by our "bat wings" or "granny arms").  This muscle is small and that makes these pushups harder to do. 

I've always had a relatively strong upper body.  In elementary school I'd not only climb the rope to the top of the gym but I'd do it repeatedly until the gym teacher made me stop.  I have large-ish shoulders (not linebacker large but big for a tiny girl) and can pound out quite a few pushups...on my toes.  Remember when girls did pushups on their knees and boys on their toes?  Yeah, not me. I do them on my toes and always have.  In 10th grade or so I did more pushups than any other girl in my grade.  The gym teacher didn't believe I did that many (we were working in pairs and counting for each other) and made me do them again.  A boot camp instructor I had overseas used to say, "Good, you're doing them boy-style," and I'd reply, "No, I'm doing them girl-style!"

So yesterday, in this boot camp class I was doing diamond pushups on my toes (okay, to be honest, I can't do as many of those as I can regular, wide-arm pushups but I can still do them) and the instructor saw me and said, "Look at you doing them on your toes!"  Of course, she did not know that I'm also an instructor and, not looking the part, I can understand why she would be surprised. 

My blogger-friend Angie posted just the other day about body image and not meeting image standards (check it out, it's a great piece...and if there was a poster of me on the door to the gym I'd go into hiding so good for her getting past it!).  It's not easy.  I know I'm strong and fit even if I don't look it.  But that doesn't stop me from wondering if people don't come to my class because they feel like they will get less of a workout from an instructor who doesn't look like she lives at the gym.  I worry about not looking "good enough" to be an instructor even if I can out-pushup the guys in the class.  I want to be satisfied being strong and fit but I'm not sure how to get there mentally.

How do you feel about body image or about what expectations you have from fitness instructors? Have you overcome body image issues?  How many triceps pushups can you do (on your knees or toes)?  Challenge yourself!