Posture shy, missing the “zone” and giving my trainer the stink-eye

For those of you getting a little inundated with these fitness blogs, be patient for one more day. Tomorrow I am planning a very, very special non-fitness-focused post.

I exercised for 3.75 hours Wednesday: 1 hour walking dog in morning; 1 hour with trainer; 45 minutes lap swim; 1 hour walking dog in evening. I’ve been wondering if it’s a bad thing to have so many fitness blogs, but I thought What’s the point of my blog? To talk about what I’m doing when I’m traveling, and this is a new adventure for me. This whole blog isn’t going to become about fitness, but as I incorporate it into my life, I’m going to give you some of these blogs as well.

As you can tell from yesterday’s blog I’ve already developed a love/hate relationship with my trainer. He’s nice enough (and if I had more time in California I’d buy him a drink or a Valium for having to put up with me) but it’s difficult to think about how nice he is when he’s pushing my weak muscles to their limit.

[Poor Gary got the stink-eye for most of the hour, when he was only doing his job and trying to get me to do my best.]

Like my blog about failed Buddhism, I still try to find a lesson in my experiences, particularly when they’re new or I feel that I didn’t live up to expectations of myself. I was mostly proud today. I did everything he asked and was only disappointed because my left arm isn’t able to do half the work of my right. I don’t know when it became some weak. I guess it was a gradual distance from the activities that used to make me so happy.

[This one was actually really difficult for me. My left arm, which I’m looking at, is not even close to the strength of my right arm.]

Today my lesson was to realize that I am still sometimes trapped in the body-consciousness of a teenage girl (if only I were also trapped in my teenage girl body).

I was thinking about these things while swimming. After the hour’s training session I rewarded myself with 45 minutes in the lap pool. Swimming is the only place I can still get into a “zone” with exercise. It used to be running. In high school we would run for hours after school on the dirt roads around Marion Center. I was never a sprinter, but God I had endurance. I just got out onto those open roads and let my mind go. I can still smell the dirt and grass, the musty smell of fall, turning crisp in my lungs as the cold set in, and the smells of flowers of spring and summer.

[This is a good demonstration of why I need to work on form. See Gary’s angle with the cords? That’s how mine should have been. It’s that discomfort again of using the shoulders and pushing the chest forward.]

But for my junior year we moved to another school district. The summer before school began my toes were operated on to remove the middle joints because I had bad hammer toes and was in a lot of pain. I had the surgery because they said it would be less painful to run again. It was worse. I stopped running.

[This is Mr. Farahmand. He very nicely demonstrated using the equipment one-handed and told me not to let Gary boss me around. I like Mr. Farahmand. :-)]

The school where we moved had no swimming pool, so I went from years of running and swimming to no activity. When we moved back to Marion Center for my senior year, I joined the swim team again, but one joke from the coach about my two periscopes during my backstroke and I quit. I had gotten used to the modified toes by then and could walk and jog on them with only mild pain, but I was mortified by my C cups prominently displayed against my still small middle, and limited my track to shot-put and discus.

[Honestly, did I have to give him SO many dirty looks? It’s like I’m 12 or something.]

Do you remember my telling you the other day how much I love my breasts? I do. They’re ample, and beautiful and I know I’ll be lucky if I get to keep them, because the combination of obesity and heredity are dangerous factors in breast cancer statistics. But what I didn’t tell you is that while I do love them in private, I still fall back into the mental state of that teenager who tried to hide them—from sports, from boys, from myself.

[Next time I will be all smiles. I promise. ♥]

These exercises were difficult for me not only because I love/hate trainer Gary pushing me so much, but because the posture required to correctly do these exercises forces them into prominence again. I can’t round my shoulders to hide them, and each exercise carried a mental struggle against posture before I could even think about pushing the weights.

[Having my chest so prominent (via correct posture) is half the battle. Working out the muscles is the other.]

It’s funny how easy it can be to slip from adult to child and back again. I have no problem, for example, finding the humor in the fact that they call a couple leg machines the “good girl chair” and the “bad girl chair” (the former works your inner thighs to help you keep your legs closed, the latter your outer thighs). But while finding it funny, the chair was the only place I “lied” to my trainer. Like my fear of putting my breasts on display, I was afraid to put the chair as wide as I was comfortable, because of the anxiety of sitting in a room full of men with my legs so far apart.

Good girl chair gym

[Unable to keep a straight face on the “good girl chair” at the gym]

So I still have a lot to remove in my own self-consciousness if I really want to improve my fitness. I feel it working already: even as I type this I notice I keep correcting my posture, pulling my shoulder blades in, sitting tall and feeling stronger. But I’ve been lucky this trainer has been so professional, or I think I might have quit from that self-consciousness. Isn’t that a piece of irony? I can have a completely filthy mind, but I don’t want his to be anything but squeaky clean. Hmmm. I’ll analyze that another day.

Until then, last fitness blog of the week. Tomorrow you get something extra super special that I think you’re gonna’ like!

Love, Marla

7 Comments on “Posture shy, missing the “zone” and giving my trainer the stink-eye

  1. Once again, I can totally relate, Marla. It took me many, many years to come to terms with my D-cups (a fact my husband has trouble wrapping his head around). I wore super-baggy clothes all through high school and most of college trying to hide them. Finally, as a woman of almost 40, I’ve come to truly appreciate my shape and enjoy all of my very womanly features. My mom’s recent bout with breast cancer that ended in a single mastectomy has me now treasuring the parts that I once distained. I wish I wouldn’t have wasted so many years wishing for something different.

    • Yeah, my husband too. I have to be in a pretty comfortable environment or among friends before I feel okay just having them out there. Yeah, high school for me was mostly t-shirts and sweat pants and I’m glad that mentality is finally changing, even if I have now crossed into, er, “cougar” age. Eww I hate that word. Such a predatory concept. Why are older men still “studs” but women become “cougars?” I think we need new language for women of a certain age who want to be attractive but not creep on boys. Blecch.

  2. Your faces make me think of a trainer I worked with 3 years ago – every time I was “in the zone” and really pushing myself, I’d get what he called “the mean face.” Apparently, I looked like I was going to hurt someone (possibly him??)

  3. So proud of you, Marla! I’m enjoying the fitness blogs! Just wondering why Gary has such un-tan legs for California. And does everyone wear black socks with sneakers out there? (Sorry, Gary, if you’re reading this…please continue to be nice to my friend.)

    • Haha. Yeah, isn’t it adorable? I like that Gary is much more east/midwestern than CA. Actually most of the trainers there do look more Cailfornia-sunned than Gary. He was picked for me by Heidi because I said my emphasis was on getting a nice person who would pay attention to me in the workouts instead of looking around to see who was watching him train me. I’m so glad she picked him. He’s really great. Very professional with an extremely dry sense of humor.

      • I’m glad you got the nicest trainer. And who doesn’t love someone with a Pittsburgh tan in California? I like that he pops his own style. (new lingo from the pre-teen group).

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