My gorgeous-and-just-out-of-med-school back doctor immediately recommended physical therapy, which did exactly nothing for me. My therapist basically gave me a polyester heating pad to lie on and then told me to walk on his ancient treadmill for 15 minutes. This was not how I wanted to spend my $25 co-pay.So I did what any sensible person in my position would do: I upgraded. To a personal trainer.
After my sexy doctor gave me the green light, I enthusiastically signed up with a trainer. “What exactly are you looking for in a trainer?” asked the Supervisor of Trainers at my posh gym.I thought long and hard about this question. Did I want someone that would push me to my limits? Or did I want someone that would coddle me and go at a slow pace if that is what my injury required? Did I want someone who was ultra-perky, like a cheerleader, to make me feel good about myself? Or would I rather have someone who had spent years in Physiology classes learning the exact way the muscle groups respond to exercise?
Finally, the Ultra Virgo in me won out. “I want someone who is on time.”The Supervisor of Trainers recommended Pat. “I have known Pat a long time, and he is extremely reliable.”
That was all I needed to hear.I showed up for my first session at 4:30 am, half an hour early so I could get cardio out of the way without having to pay Pat. (Let’s ignore the fact that I go to the gym before the local Starbucks is open or the newspaper delivery guy is out; I just wake up that early, I can’t help it.)
As I got out of my car in the near-empty parking lot, I noticed an older gentleman parking and getting out, too. He was pale, short, and wearing a bright green shirt. “Pat” is an Irish name, and clearly this gentleman was Irish.He was also about 100 years old and 50 pounds overweight. According to the Law of Things Do Not Always Go My Way, this would be my new trainer.
I braced myself for the inevitable: a trainer that did not look like a trainer but would of course be my personal trainer. I tried to give myself a little pep talk: MOV, who cares that he is fat and old and ohmygod, is he smoking?!? None of that matters. Give him a chance.I went in, entered my membership number onto the key pad (my phone number, obviously my posh gym knows that my brain is too full to remember any additional numbers at this stage in the game), and grabbed a hand towel. Next, I went upstairs and got on the treadmill for 25 minutes.
Normally I stare out the window or figure out how many miles I would have to walk to burn enough calories to drink three chocolate shakes in a row (I am not saying that I drank that yesterday, but what if I did, how bad would that really be?) but today I was focusing on something else: How I was going to fire my new trainer in the first five minutes of our work-out session.When I re-told the story to my son Tall later, he said, “Mom, you should have said, ‘Pat, I want to explore all my options.’ No one can be offended by that.”
It was oddly comforting that Tall will be really good at breaking up with his future college girlfriends when they try to lock him into a long-term commitment.But I digress. The point is, words were orbiting my brain, words like, “Sorry, I was looking for someone younger,” and “Maybe I should train you instead of the other way ‘round?”
In the end, I told myself that one hour with fat, old, chain-smoking Pat was merely a small price to pay on the way to me achieving Merit Points From God for Being Nice. I would not get any closer to my goals of physical fitness and a healthy back, but at least I would not be going to Hell any time soon.“Are you MOV?” asked a friendly voice belonging to a buffed out twenty-something.
My new trainer was not the older gentleman from the parking lot that I feared; but instead he was exactly what I had expected, hoped for, and dreamed of about a new trainer:He was on time.
****Watch for lots more essays in this space in the weeks to come! My goal is 30 new essays before Christmas to bring my overall essay count to a landmark 1000.xxo MOV