My fitness goal is to finish in a sprint triathlon in October. This is going to require convincing myself I’m disciplined. It’s going to mean getting outside to run and bike and hours spent in a chlorine-filled locker called the indoor pool. Soon, the outdoor pool near work will open for the summer, and I’ll be able to feel less confined.
Right now, I’m in the heady, everything-is-full-of-wonder-and-possibility phase. I bought a new bathing suit and goggles. A new heart rate monitor/cadence sensor/pool watch is on its way. I have indulged in a couple of new workout tops and shorts. I know none of this will magically make me perform better (though the heart rate monitor certainly can’t hurt), but all this prep makes me feel more confident. When I feel more confident, I perform better.
The other day, I ran for the first time in about two years. When I was in college, I ran four miles four days a week, on a treadmill. Now, I can barely handle a five-minute jog. But you know what? I did made it through those five minutes.
At one point, I actually thought I was going to throw up, and that was the worst part mentally. “Why is this happening?! Why is my body against me?”
You know what, though? My trainer just said, “So we’ll power walk. We’ll run more next time.”
After that run/walk session, I was empowered. I told everyone I knew and plastered it all over social networks’ walls.
Tomorrow, I’ll hit the pool for the first time in maybe a year (not sure). I remember loving swimming more than running or even cycling. I know my heart rate will be high, but that’s okay. I’m going to do what I can, and I’m going to enjoy it.
A couple of words about trainers:
1. Find one who challenges you. After all, you’re paying good money to be challenged, not to chill over coffee.
2. Find one who respects you and your limits. A good trainer should look you in the eye. A good trainer needs to listen and communicate with you so that you don’t get hurt but still meet your goals.
3. Find one who knows what they’re doing. This should go without saying, but there are trainers out there who stick with the books more than others. It’s important to trust them because they’re going to be working with your form and helping keep you from injuring yourself.
4. Find a trainer who will work for you. What I mean by this is that the trainer should be coming up with plans when you’re not around. He or she should be taking notes as you work out.
You are worth the trainer’s time and attention.
Let me repeat that: you are worth the trainer’s time and attention.
Don’t be that proverbial doormat. Respect yourself. Ask about qualifications, go to classes the trainer teaches at the gym, and, if possible, talk to others who have worked with this trainer.
I’ve worked with (now) four trainers in the past few years. I can tell you that it can be expensive, but with the right trainer, the experience can be totally worth it, especially if the training keeps you from getting hurt, which I am prone to do.