|(Original unedited image via Pintrest)|
About three months ago I decided, “Right. No more mucking around.” And while this could be a metaphor that I should really be applying to my whole life, the specific area I had in mind was…exercise.
Confession time. I really like gyms. It’s more about the music and variety than the tight-fitting clothes. But although I’ve always belonged to a gym, I think a fair amount of my time spent there has been dedicated to mooching around in a pseudo-athletic kind of way. I also do a lot of sighing, yawning and have an internal dialogue running with the theme of “Wish I could do that”.
I “run” on the treadmill, putting great focus into my posture and incorporating “rapper hands” if the accompanying song calls for it. (A side note here: I once accidentally hit the emergency STOP button on my treadmill while doing “rapper hands.” Ironically was to the part of the song in TheClub Can’t Handle Mewhere Flo Rida says “Go Now, Run the show”. I lurched forward as the treadmill abruptly stopped, almost knocking my head on the display screen in front of me.)
Anyhow, for the longest time I’ve mostly been doing a lot of flailing around on the gym equipment and not really making much progress in the fitness department. So, I decided to enlist the services of a personal trainer.
This, dear reader, is trickier than it sounds. I found myself skulking around the gym, strategically working out alongside personal trainers and their clients so that I could eavesdrop on the tone* of their training methods. (*tone = how close to death they will take you.)
It was depressing. Some trainers are so incredibly fit that they literally have no idea why people like me can’t do a full push up. Other trainers set the bar so high (I think it’s deliberate – rotten show-offs) that you feel like the oneNavy SEAL (or even an actual seal, flopping around on the floor) on selection day that’s not going to make the cut.
And there’s another thing. Most of the trainers, if not all of them, are at least ten years younger than me. I have no time for this kind of youngness because I know for certain that they have absolutely NO idea about the aches, pains, old-injuries and world-wariness of those in the 40+ age bracket. Oh no. For them its all “box jump here” and “scissor jump-squat thingy there”, showing complete disregard for the fact that both my feet haven’t left the floor at the same time while doing exercise in years. YEARS I tell you!
I managed to secure the services of a wonderful trainer who, while she looked like a million bux, was at least of the age where she would understand my deep love of sleep and taking multiple breaks in the day.
I arrived at my first session in my usual suave way, which is to say that as I walked through the turnstile, I managed to hook the strap of my gym bag on the metal bar of the turning thingy. This had the effect of someone pulling a “jumper” off a ledge by the shoulder. My feet slid out from under me and I landed unceremoniously on my arse. At the entrance to the gym.
Undeterred by this fantastic start, I gathered up myself and my bag and found “Killer Queen” (not her real name.)
She was all smiles (well of course she was…just look at her) and I felt really amped until she said “Before I work out a programme for you, I need to assess you.”
I panicked and blurted out “I’m not running”.
Can I just say, at this juncture, that I’m not fooled by the word “assessment”. We all know that what it actually is, is a TEST. And to be clear, I hate TESTING more than I hate gelatinous food like Turkish Delight. I don’t think testing should exist. I think we should be able to swan through life with people saying encouraging things like “Measurements don’t matter” and “You’re doing fine, you’ve got this.” I don’t even care if it’s all a lie.
That’s OK”, said Killer Queen, “We’ll start off on the elliptical trainer” (which, despite its rather esoteric sounding name, is simply another instrument of torture.)
“Ten minutes only.”
That was the good news.
“Sprinting every 30 seconds.”
That was the very, very bad news.
What ensued was an hour of me trying desperately to look fit enough so that Killer Queen wouldn’t think I was a total loser, while simultaneously making sure I looked tired enough so that she wouldn’t actually kill me. Like for real. That last bit came rather easily.
Everything was wobblying. My arse. My bingo wings. My hair. My heart. I silently thanked God that the session ended before my sphincter exhausted itself and let out a fart (this is a very real fear when exercising.)
When the session was over, she broke what I consider to be the most devastating news EVER. She said, “Just remember, training is very important, but you can’t out-train a bad diet. It’s 80% about what you eat.”
Feeling crushed (and disappointed that egg white consumption could not be in the form of meringues) I went to Dischem to buy the Glutamine and whey powder she suggested. I was not prepared for the wide range of supplements out there and was even less prepared for a) the cost of whey powder (what is it made out of? Flakes of pure gold?) and b) the size of the tubs (who on earth is ready to make that kind of commitment to a food they’ve never even tasted?)
And that’s why, if you care to look at my browser history, you’ll find searches like “most protein, whey powder, cheap” and “box jumps for beginners” and “how not to cry during your workout”.
May the force be with me.