The Worst Trainer in America, and “A Menstruating Bear?”: Training Alone, Part 2
I’m going to tell you about yesterday, and I’m going to tell you about the worst trainer in America.
I am also going to be a little less sugar, a little more spice today (disclaimer 😉 ).
As I told you in yesterday’s post, my trainer was sick. So, for the first time by myself, I weight-trained. It was “legs” day, which thankfully involves a lot of machines. The machines are daunting, but I feel I can at least “figure them out.”
What could go wrong…?
Trainer had been sick Tuesday as well, but trained me anyway. I had joked about wanting a day of rest and told him he could just stay home instead of training me, to which he replied with some sort of weird drill-sergeant routine. It was pretty funny. But I was surprised that he thought I actually wanted to blow off training.
What surprised me more was realizing how much I wanted to go.
I wanted to train the way I want to travel, the way I want to write, the way I want to make love to a dark chocolate marzipan bar when I can afford to spend $5 on one, and the way I want to jump my husband every night when he comes in the door…
I can’t go a day without it anymore.
Even my language has changed. I hardly ever use the word “exercise.” It’s always “fitness” and “training.” I’m not sure what I’m “training” for though, except maybe life?
Oh please. I know exactly what I’m training for.
I’m “training” to avoid early death, to grow old with Kurt and… for more rigorous sex with him.
So when Trainer Lurch texted that he was too sick to train and probably not good to be around people, given that he’s as grouchy “as a menstruating bear coming out of hibernation” (to which I laughed hysterically while thinking wtf? who says that?) there wasn’t even a consideration of a “rest day” for me, although I wasn’t about to tell him that. I was worried he would try to talk me out of it or feel obligated to train me so I didn’t hurt myself.
There isn’t a trainer within 30 minutes of our house in Pennsylvania, so I try to utilize a trainer every single day I’m in Ohio. I don’t use one for cardio, although the motivation would be nice. But I need one for weights, because I still don’t trust myself completely to remember how to adjust the equipment, or what weights I use (I keep calling them sizes, to which trainer jokes in mock television salesman voice that “Today you’re using a size 8 and 1/2”). It’s embarrassing and nerve-wracking. Will I injure myself? Will I make a fool of myself?
I’ve been fortunate to have good trainers who don’t have what I call the judgy-judgy superiority attitude. Or if they have it, they manage to hide it under a strong mask of sincerity.
Each day I try to read a fitness blog or website. Some days I look for new ones. Yesterday as I was looking for new ones, I came across the worst, most awful post by a female trainer in Arizona.
Her post was titled “Everyone judges fat people so don’t become one of them with personal trainers in Phoenix.”
I thought maybe it would be a funny post, or possibly a post by an ex-fat person (pretty much the only person in my opinion who can talk about why fat people are fat with any kind of genuine authority.)
Nope. Not funny. Not funny at all.
She went on to say “America doesn’t have an obesity epidemic – we have a lack of self-control epidemic.”
Self-control is certainly one of my problems in some areas. “Control” is actually a key word and a trigger word for someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Better words, Trainer Nastybreath (as I’ve come to call her, given the foul things emanating from her mouth and small mind) would be “balance” and “moderation.”
People with OCD lack the ability for balance and moderation without a therapist and/or medication. (I personally believe in the power of therapy over medication in my own life, but I’m also not a worst-case scenario of OCD.) In any case, we tend to be “all or nothing” people who have difficulty with the multitude of decisions necessary to regulate a healthy middle ground. (Think neatfreaks, like Monk, but also think Hoarders-a show I detest because of the lack of good psychological treatment and true understanding of the mental state behind hoarding.) Both are OCD-associated personality disorders who go to extreme ends of the spectrum. Neither is a healthy mental state, but a Monk is more socially acceptable than a Hoarder because of appearance.
I am a hoarder.
I argue that the same goes for OCD within the realm of fitness. Some, maybe even Trainer Nastybreath, are in “all” phase, manifesting in extreme fitness at all times. Others are in “nothing” phase (with occasional manifestations of “all”). I wouldn’t be surprised if many fat people have undiagnosed OCD, as well as a range of emotional and physical issues that need addressed before the word “willpower” or “self-control” could ever be introduced.
It’s time to stop equating fat with lazy.
I know several skinny people who do nothing to achieve their hyper-metabolic state. They overeat, eat poorly, never work out, and burn through whatever enters their mouth, not gaining weight, or if they do, it’s not until they hit a little middle-age spread. My sister has hypo-thyroidism. Our cousin has hyper-thyroidism. I luckily have no isms other than this OCD and ranting-against-nasty-breath-trainer-ism.
My husband and I, though our diets are within about 200 calories of each other every day, and though I’ve been actively working on cardio for a couple years now while he has not, are vastly different in our weights. He has never been more than 10-15 pounds over his ideal weight. I am still nearly 100 pounds over mine.
But Trainer Nb’s presumption, as evidenced throughout her post, is that the whole world is fixable by willpower and non-laziness. Maybe she can argue semantics, but willpower and activity don’t start because Trainer Nastybreath of Phoenix, Arizona says they should. They begin in deeply rooted emotional parts of the brain, which you can’t relate to if you haven’t been there. Sorry, you really, truly can’t.
But she still isn’t the worst trainer in America.
Neither can Trainer-I-Think-I-Know-Fat-People-Because-I-Gained-Weight-For-A-Minute-Drew-Manning. He disappoints me too, because he figures since he can just pack it on and take it off, like movie stars do for roles, that he’s got the inside track on fat people. First, if you’re a trainer or fitness person for a living, you don’t have to “make time” in an already busy day to put fitness in there. You live fitness and make your money as a fitness celebrity, so you aren’t coming from the same real struggles as a fat person with a non-celebrity life that revolves around, well, working out! And sorry Drew Manning, unless you’ve packed that fat on for long enough to slug your metabolism for a good ten years, talk to the hand.
I will give him empathy points. I would give him more if he stayed fat for at least five years and lived in that body long enough to really feel what it’s like to be obese on a long-term basis – both in body and in spirit. And he isn’t the worst trainer in America either.
Don’t be worried about my rant today. I’m still overall sunshine and smiles – I BELIEVE in fitness and transformation. And I do believe in different types of motivation. I just don’t buy the route that these perhaps well-intended (but ultimately fat-ignorant) trainers are selling.
My second favorite quote by Trainer Nastybreath is “the thing to be ashamed of is letting yourself go until you can’t even walk anymore.”
Oh no she didn’t.
She did not just use the word “shame” as a deserved state when talking about weight. Shaming is one of those trends I find
disgusting in America right now, and I think people who believe others should be ashamed because they’ve gained weight, are the disgusting ones. I have many fat friends, several obese friends, even a couple morbidly obese. (We fat people tend to cluster together on couches, hoarding our big bags of chips and cookies, and crying about how much we wish we could just blink ourselves into someone mean and arrogant and lacking earnest empathy or genuine sincerity…someone like Trainer Nastybreath of Phoenix, Arizona.)
Every person, regardless of weight, race, religion, sex, etc., struggles with some issue. Shame is rampant enough without a person in a position of power/authority/influence (all things a personal trainer has) asserting that certain states should induce shame. Most people are lucky enough to have their issues hidden from the world, like closet nose pickers and sex addicts. Even Trainer Nastybreath probably has something she’d rather the world not know – maybe she’s a closet booger-eater. Heck, I don’t know. But we all have something. Some of us just have it out there for the world to see, like fat.
But “shame” is one of the worst words you can introduce to the training motivation of a fat person.
I’ve been the girl who could eat like crazy and stay fit and attractive. My weight gain and metabolic shift was medically induced, and I’ve lived with 100 pounds excess weight for most of my adult life since. My heaviest weight was 262 pounds. At 5’5″, that’s a lot of stuffing in this turkey.
My last weight check was around 235. (My real success began when I switched from scale measurement to letting myself feel my body fullness, how my clothing fits, my blood pressure and cholesterol, and my aerobic fitness level). Even if I didn’t have the chemical cocktail that stopped my metabolism, I might be fighting genetics like my siblings. Anyway, I still have that mindset of pre-fat me, and it still makes me knock over things with a big ol’ bum that used to be flat.
Weight loss is as much mental as it is physical, and the last thing anybody needs who already struggles with the “shame” of being fat in America, is to come across a nastygram wrapped in self-promotion when looking for fitness people to emulate or be inspired by.
So I was determined to find the opposite of Trainer Nastybreath of Phoenix, Arizona.
And I found TWO. Both happen to be men, but I will find some great females for you as well before next week’s fitness post. In the meantime, here are two really good ones (at least in terms of their internet presence – I can’t account for them in “real” life):
The first is called Uber Beast Mode. The post I came across that drew me into his site was called Swollen Eye – Proof. I like people who aren’t afraid to show themselves in less-than-attractive states and be self-deprecating. I find them more authentic and am willing to read more about their journey. This dude is a family man and has been overweight and seems to look at his journey as a way to motivate and inspire others.
Yay and thumbs up for that!
The second site I spent quite a bit of time on is Fit Twin Cities, because he really hits my short attention span (I know, I know,
ironic considering how long-winded my posts are, right? Right!?). Anyhoo, he’s a personal trainer whose website has a lot of places to browse for education and inspiration. On his blog he has posted short videos and some accompanying words. He’s not consistent with his blogging (the last post was November 19th) but the posts are timeless since they’re either instructional or informative. He has a menu option called Inspiration which takes you to some nice motivational (again, nice and short!) posts. Maybe my favorite menu item on his site is Fitness Media, because it’s all the instructional videos in one place. He even has some women in there, which gives him bonus points in my fitness sites to watch.
And of course, my daily fitness guru site is CultFit. They’re a little off of mainstream (something I love), with a strangely wonderful mix of hippie/zen/no bullshit (I know, I don’t quite get the combination but it works) and they post quirky or surprising short pieces with accompanying photo or video to inspire and motivate and make me think about fitness every day, and they include a suggested routine for the day to accompany the post. Some of my favorites have been Tune Down (“Today we challenge you to find the courage to be optimistic!”) and Open Slowly, Never Be the Same, and of course, Save Me (“Are you merely going through the motions of life, or do you embody who you are and what you are…”)
I get a lot of motivation from my online fitness community. I’m not a “fitness blogger.” For me, fitness posts are just another extension of an assortment of posts comprising where I’m going, what I’m doing, who I am. But they still welcome me, in a positively reinforcing way, to participate in the community.
With all this online help and training on my own yesterday, why even have a trainer?
Mine was sick and I did it all by myself…
And I might have kinda, sorta, probably, definitely, overworked my poor wittle abdom-inom-inom-inom-inals until I weakened my bladder.
All. or. Nothing.
Damn OCD. I need a trainer to regulate me for that balance and moderation I lack. I’m an over-trainer. I realized this after an hour and a half of weights yesterday. My already bad knee is on the verge of collapse, and my pelvic floor, I’ve learned, has a worse potty mouth than I. It has been launching a barrage of cursewords at me this morning that would shame an ironworker.
Having a trainer takes away all the embarrassment and concern for me, because I can just let go and trust him or her to give me the proper weights and do the proper workout for my body – pushing me without letting me injure myself.
I could just have had a day of cardio yesterday and left the weights for the professional when he was well again…right?
But I couldn’t. I now have to train every day, as hard as I can handle it, and let it be “All.” Just let it be all, because the alternative for me is nothing. I said to myself, I will learn how to use the equipment by myself and trust myself to train today. Lack of trainer is not an excuse not to train.
True. Lack of trainer is not an excuse to not train. But skipping one day of weights to ensure I don’t hurt myself out of ignorance might be a good idea for someone all or nothing.
So now you might have a better idea of what I meant in the analogy of yesterday’s title, about throwing dynamite in the pond? It’s easy to get myself into a position of thinking I can super-train and do all necessary training in one day. Instead of getting one fish at a time, I want to toss in an M-80 and complete the assigned task all at once. Good girl. Good girl. Watch me supercede your expectations! Does the imperative to be “good” and nice” and “pleasing” always have to rule my actions?
It turns out I’m my own worst enemy (a lesson I’m sure I will continue learning but never remember quite early enough to prevent repeat mistakes). It turns out I’m the worst trainer in America, when training myself.
A better analogy, which also works with my OCD, and one I can apply the next time I go, is “Teach a Marla to fish and she will try to figure out how to catch salmon in her teeth.” In other words, I can take that obsession and compulsion and put it toward quality instead of quantity. I like knowing exactly how things are done and hate doing things incorrectly, so maybe it’s time to start catching salmon in my teeth instead of blasting a pond full of trout. (It’s okay. Just go back and enjoy the slow pitches.)
I guess there’s nothing left to say today, other than here’s to sharp canines and the attitude of “a menstruating grizzly leaving hibernation?”
P.S. At the bottom of this post I’m leaving you with a great video I came across while exploring the Fit Twin Cities site. They got it from a site called The Real Bears, the unhappy truth about soda.
P.P.S. For more fitness posts, just type “fitness” into the search box at the top right of the page.
*Those of you new to reading me, or those of you a little thick in the nugget, I do have OCD, but I also throw it out there randomly for everything unrelated. If you don’t get it, just stay handsome or pretty or sweet and enjoy anyway. There are always a few slow pitches in there as well. 😉