Die Trying: Personal Training at 50.

There is an old acting class exercise where a student is waiting for the bus and is supposed to take on attributes of various people “you’re 15 and you just got your first real kiss, you’re an old lady on the way to chemotherapy, you’re a kid who has to pee…” and at some point the teacher will yell “you can now see the bus, the bus is coming”  which is a phrase I use all the time when I’m expressing the feeling that something is inevitable is about to happen like it or not.

When I stalled in my weight loss on the keto diet, the bus was the gym. I could see the workout bus a-commin but I was not at all happy to get on. Wasn’t this the diet that meant that I could lose weight without working out?! Really, I am losing weight still, just at the mind numbing pace of about a 1/2 pound a week. I’m an American—I want my results NOW! and with a thousand people cheering me on! and I want a new car just for trying.

I made a Herculean effort and sent an e-mail to the YMCA that I’ve belonged to for years and asked to see a Personal Trainer and three days and $200 dollars later I have a trainer. I’ve done this before but not because I was fat and middle class but because I was skinny and poor, true story.

Actual True Story of How a Poor Person had a Personal Trainer  

In 1996 I was living in the Midwest and I had willingly become a divorced parent with three kids. I had a house that I could not afford (the mortgage was  only $675.00, by the way) and I had not yet finished my education so my job prospects were a little narrow. Occasionally we would lose a utility for a day or two due to non payment but I never paid a gas bill  in warm weather months. I would quit paying in February and about two months for the gas company would disconnect my service but usually by then I didn’t need the heater as much. The only thing we really lost was hot water which is, as it turns out, something that you need all year. My kids would bathe at their grandmas or take showers at the public pool shower facilities but I joined the gym down the street for $19/month which was a shit ton cheaper than my gas bill. At that gym everyone was automatically assigned a “trainer” who was actually a sales person who showed you how to use the Nautilus equipment and tried to sell you extra classes. I went to the gym every day to shower. Sometimes I even worked out.  

My trainer now is definitely not a sales person, she’s 1/2 my age and 3,000% lean muscle. I’ll bet I outweigh her by 100 lbs and she could still kick my ass. I made it very clear at our first meeting that I do not go to zumba classes or water aerobics classes because I can not stand people who smile all of the time. She just smiled at me. I let her know that I would be cursing a lot (under my breath because, you know, it is the YMCA) but that I would respect her time and never be late and yada yada yada.

I also told her that I didn’t like the exercise classes because I am really self conscious and don’t like being in room with glass walls which is where gyms tend to put these classes so other people can see you working out. Because we are really just monkeys after all but I’m a surly monkey and I don’t like being on display. So she escorted me into a room that, I shit you not, has floor to ceiling windows right in front of a public transportation spot. So folks waiting for the light rail can look in. But, what the hell, those people are probably more miserable than I am.

Instead of getting on all of the weight machines, she ran me through a series of exercises with three different trials. These trials isolated different muscle groups and in 1/2 hour we had done 9 different exercises. This type of circuit training is supposed to be more effective for women (I don’t know why yet) but it definitely kept it interesting.  I’ve been to three different training sessions and we haven’t done the same thing yet.

Now, the first week I was tremendously sore. This was not joint pain but muscle pain. After a few years of dealing with an MCL strain and an arthritic neck, I know muscle pain from “oh shit” pain. Walking up the stairs hurt, sitting down hurt, squatting was particularly bad. She had warned me to eat more protein but that was in direct conflict with my keto diet so I didn’t. But yesterday after training, my lovely husband (who also has a trainer) make me a shake with whey protein powder (11g of carbs and 20 g of protein) and I instantly felt better. It may have been the shake that made me feel better or maybe my body is adjusting to training but I’m definitely having a shake after training tomorrow.  I was told to wait 45 minutes after my workout to have a shake, again I have no idea why but it works out with my travel time from the gym.

So far I’ve worked out with ropes, kettle bells, medicine balls, more than a few pulleys, platforms, steps, rowing machines, hill machines (OMG), pushed around metal weight benches, and used the walls of the gym for resistance. I either row or walk about 1/2 mile to warm up and stretch to cool down. I continue to drink a gallon + water a day. Occasionally I will go into rag doll or triangle post just to feel alive (pain)  again. I see a chiropractor about twice a month to get my hips and neck adjusted which is an old routine for me. So far the exercise hasn’t changes my alignment but  it’s only been two weeks, I’m an american but even I know Rome wasn’t built in a day. It did burn down pretty damn fast though.

BTW, I’ve found a way to eat Avocados! In a smoothie with coconut milk here’s the recipe.

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