* * * My Words, My World, My Way * * *

Please Write: ALewisPDX@gmail.com

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cody and The Spirit Collide

I had my first not-so-pleasant experience at the gym today. With Cody, my personal trainer. As most trainers are, he is a nice looking guy with big arms and nice legs. But he's a driver. Totally. He's been on me from the beginning......to kick it up a notch, keep working, "five more," and all of that. Which I suppose is part of his job. But it doesn't really fly very well with me. You see, I'm back in the gym purely because I feel that I should be there. To be healthy. To keep the oxygen moving. I am not there to look like him (which I told him today). I don't care about looking like a body builder. I don't really compare myself to others in that way. I think it may have been better off for me to not have bought the few personal training sessions that I did. The last time he and I had this discussion, it was when he called me a woosie because I couldn't do whatever he was asking of me. He told me that "We could do it like the girls do, but I'll make you do an extra ten reps if we do it that way." I said to him, "Why don't you just call me a god damned pussy and then we'll get past it." He laughed, we both did. Until today.

I was doing crunches on the big inflatable ball. It was hurting my neck and lower back (I'd rather do them on the ground) and I told him so. He said, "Cool, let's just go to the Miss Buttercup program....maybe that'd be better for you." Again, a giggle or two. So, I finish my crunches and sideways plank core exercises. And we head to the leg machines for a lower body workout. We just kept up this bickering and bantering back and forth about too much weight and all of that. At one point, I stood up and said to him that it was apparent that he didn't understand why I was actually back in the gym in the first place. He didn't get it that I am 46 years old and have been in a gym a total of about six months in my entire 46 years. I told him that I didn't care if I ever looked like him or any of the other hot guys in the gym. I reminded him that I was here to enjoy myself, try to have some fun, and do a little workout. I told him that "I can't blow my whole wad at the beginning and then have nothing to use later." He laughed, uncomfortably. I told him that I wanted to still be coming to the gym for the remainder of my life and that I absolutely had to enjoy my time here or I'd stop coming. And, the clincher, I mentioned that it may be better if I changed personal trainers.

He was understanding, I must say. He apologized and backed off. He said that what he was asking me to do is just about the minimum. I pointed to the weights on the machines and reminded him there were several notches below/less than what we were doing already....and why couldn't we use those? He concurred. We finished the workout in much better shape. It just wasn't good. I've got two more sessions and then I'll be on my own. I think that'll be much better for me. We ended it on a good note -- both of us apologizing and reminding ourselves of the importance of clear communication and understanding for each other. He is a nice guy, he really is. And I appreciate the desire to keep me moving. But, I swear, if this isn't a pleasant experience for me, I'll stop going. And there's no way that's going to happen.

28 comments:

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

Well done you!
It's important to set your own goals and work to those, otherwise as you so rightly said, it will cease to be an enjoyable experience.

Breenlantern said...

I'm sorry, but I find the "degradation as motivation" approach appalling. Encourage me...support me...advise me...great. Even push me a little maybe...but insult me or degrade me and you can shove your head up your ass and walk away because we're through...good for you, baby! I think you will find yourself a much more compatible motivator than anyone else you work with...

annie said...

wonderful life lesson learned here, to wit: communication is absolutely ESSENTIAL between humans, even in the gym. what i say to someone may come to their ear as, "blah, blah, blah". i'm glad you two "worked it out", and you've gained some good pointers to use once you're on your own.

Kevin in Danbury said...

Seems he forgot you PAID for this Help and that you are the CUSTOMER!

Ok now off my rant cause this isnt my blog, but when you work in customer service....

WAT said...

OOO WEEE.

I detect a bit of homophobic comments on that trainer's part too, but u earn my respect for standing up for yourself and telling him your discomfort.

KUDOS!

feetlikewings said...

According to some trainers crunches are TERRIBLE for your lower back and neck and that you should not be doing them.

They promote the rounding of the back which is really bad form and well blah blah .... I mean you're an example why NOT to do them.

http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/entertainment/step_up/index.php/2008/11/17/blah-blah-blah-stop-doing-sit-ups-blah-blah-blah-is-anyone-listening/

Here's an article on it. Try rollouts, planks, or hollow bodies, hanging leg raises, static leg raise, or reverse crunches.

Stacey said...

Problem is the personal trainer programs do not teach the trainers either modification or moderation. So many personal trainers have no idea what to do with someone who isn't already fit, or who is older than 25 years old.

Good for you for speaking up, in the long run it is only YOU who has to live with overdoing and/or injuring yourself.

Java said...

Very interesting. Sounds like a good and useful conversation.

I cannot go into a gym. I don't know why, but I get a terrible feeling of dread. Hell, I'm beginning to tear up just thinking about it. Keep it friendly, Lewis.

Lemuel said...

Unfortuantely your post (and your trainer) bring back all my worst memories about jocks (and I don't mean straps!).

Dave2 said...

I want your trainer!

I had exactly the opposite problem. The trainer I had did not encourage me at all. I never felt as if I were being tested or pushed, just toyed with. Eventually I got bored, didn't see the results I wanted, then stopped going. I tried to communicate that I was looking to get a good workout and be pushed, but he felt his job was just to keep me safe. And while I agree training safe is smart, I was hoping for more.

In any event, I'm glad you spoke up. Perhaps if I had been more forceful like you in saying what I wanted, I'd still be at the gym today... and in much, much better shape!

Nico said...

Large and dumb, how original :( Dump him before he makes you hurt yourself.

Doug said...

The insults don't work with me, either, and Chris absolutely hates the whip-style "motivation" that many trainers have. For example, he hates the group-cycle class (spinning) where the group fitness instructor is yelling and screaming to pedal harder. It's not for everyone.

Good for you for standing up for yourself. It's your money and your goals and your body.

johnmichael said...

Good for you...I think all too much most trainers want us to look like them. And the uncomfortably push us to do things we don't want to do. I feel that is how most injuries happen, because we are made to do things our bodies don't/can't do.

Enjoy your time at the gym.

RAD said...

hmmm...Communcation is good...well I hope its helps turn you into the stud even more than your already is!!

Ur-spo said...

Personal trainers from time to time need to hear feedback from their clients what the clients want (rather what they want).

I would love to swap personal trainer stories. My personal trainer is working this 46yo as well.

travelling, but not in love said...

I hate those bullyish personal trainers. It's nice to have a good pair of legs to look up at from the press-ups, but hey, good communication and an understanding of your goals is more important...

good luck with the regime though, I'm impressed...

Wayne said...

That's good Lewis. It's important to set the ground rules. As a personal trainer, he's suppose to push you hard. It was good you two talked it out.

tornwordo said...

You don't need a trainer. You need a little workout agenda and an ipod. Good luck sir.

afod said...

It seems like what you told him should have been questions that HE asked you before even starting a regime program. Shame on him for not doing his homework and finding out why his client is there to begin with.

(F)redddy said...

And you've just explained why I've never gone to a gym with any consistency whatsoever.

bridgeout said...

I concur with Steven's comment... but I gotta say good on ya for standing up for what is important to you and not just letting the experience be ruined! We can't afford to allow anyone else out there to way lay our plans!!!

David said...

I like trainers for the ideas they provide on ways to keep workouts fresh instead of boring. I take a session once or twice a year to learn new exercises and then train on my own. Fortunately I'm pretty disciplined in getting to the gym.

I've never liked the aggressive pushing types and I've rarely if ever had one as a trainer. The ones at my gym always seem supportive and understanding. And super hot.

Jason, as himself said...

This is why I don't go to the gym. I'd much rather stay in shape all by myself thankyouverymuch. Your experience reminds me of 7th grade.

Love your blog!

Mark in DE said...

I can totally relate! When I started with personal training I said the same thing: let's start out slow and easy, then gradually build up. Overdoing it in the beginning will create undue pain and discomfort (not to mention the possibility of injury) and will be a dis-incentive to come back.

Good for you for standing up to him.

Mark :-)

Iron Fist said...

Good for you for talking to him about it. You're absolutely right: if the workout isn't fun then you're not going to walk to stick with it.

LSL said...

Just catching up on my faves and wanted to say that I don't always have the courage to speak up in situations like that. I admire you for doing so, and you've kind of helped me out here. Thanks, Lewis!

TonkaManOR said...

Cody? Which gym do you workout? 24 Hour? Near Mall 205?

Hmm, I didn't think he was like that...

Larry Ohio said...

Thanks Arnie for giving me the link to this post! Good stuff. I think commenter Stacey said it best. We are all not in shape and 25 years old.

I'm a 43 year old fart who's more than a little overweight and has a bulging disc in my lower back. My husband Greg likes to tell me what exercises to do and how to do them. There are a couple that cause sharp pain in my lower back. I tell him I have to avoid those particular exercises but he gets all pissy and calls me names (like your trainer did). I think I know my body better than him, and I'm not willing to risk a rupture. Now we rarely go to the gym at the same time, and when we do I try to avoid him.