Fear, anxiety, and my evolving success story

I met my trainer at the gym last night. JC is soft-spoken, thoughtful, and nothing at all like those frantic, manic, loud-voiced type trainers I used to see pitching exercise products on late night infomercials. He seems more sensi than drill seargent. Not that I have ever seen anyone like that working at my gym, but the stereotype exists and looms large in my imagination.

JC and I spent our first hour talking. I believe he usually tries to get clients out on the floor and demonstrating equipment and getting started on the basics, but the battle with me starts with the brain. What’s my motivation? What’s the cost/benefit for me? Understand I do not want to be in the gym, that I hate exercise and have not yet found it satisfying or fun or sustainable on my own. Help me understand what we are doing and why before we step-up and start moving weight around.

I am almost always painfully honest. If you ask me a question I will answer it in a candid manner. The lies I tell are usually to myself, and even then I know I am completely aware that I am doing it. While I do not recall the precise framing of the question, JC asked me a question that evoked an honest “because I’m a lazy slug who needs prying off the couch.” That is true, but as we continued our conversation I confessed my anxiety and intimidation of the weight room, of being completely clueless about how to use the weights and the machines in a safe and sane manner. I probably sound a bit inane, but I get deer-in-the-headlights paralysis when faced with too many choices and have no idea how to efficiently and effectively use the equipment.

It was an excellent conversation, one that stuck with me late into the evening and lingers into today.

I am not excited about our first training session tomorrow night (hopefully getting moved to Friday, when I have the whole day off and would gladly give up an hour in the middle of it rather than tomorrow after another long day at work). In fact, I realize again that I still hate exercise and still hate going to the gym. M helping me with equipment is a fast-track to divorce – he says “do it this way” and I hear “you’re an idiot” or worse. We agreed that hiring a trainer would be a good idea and investment in my overall health, and anything that gets me into the gym and softening my resentment against exercise by at least not harming myself is money well spent. M is also so competitive in this area that is it better for him to stay out of the gym when I am there working with the trainer. Thankfully he goes during the day primarily for the back strengthening machines so our paths do not cross. He knows better than to critique someone helping in the moment, but he would have a tough time resisting voicing his dissention and opinions about techniques outside the gym. Which would tend to irritate me to the point of an argument, reinforcing my overall resentment and defeating my efforts.

So far, so good. JC seems to get that that conquering or at least taming the voices in my head is more than half the battle. We talked about the very basics of exercises and very generally about the vast variety of exercises, machines, and methods to first find point A for me and then map out a strategy to get to point B. We also chatted about diet and the critical role it plays in success, and it was both humorous and enlightening. He gave me an outline of a book he recommends and an app he is using (twopound) where you photograph the food you eat in a day. At first it sounded kind of weird and unhelpful, but throughout the day every time I sat down to a meal or thought about snacking, I thought about what it would be like to post photos of those meals. Let me just say that piece of cake, that cookie, that can of soda suddenly appealed a lot less imagining it in my food diary in living color.

I found a copy of the book he recommended (Lean Habits by Georgie Fear) available to borrow from another Kindle user, so I am starting that tonight. The app for the phone – TwoGrand – I may download tomorrow.

While I am the one having to literally do the heavy lifting to make more progress on my healthier lifestyle journey, JC seems like a nice, easy-going guy and I’m hopeful for a successful coaching/training partnership to boost me to the next level … wherever that is, probably just beyond that elusive point A in strength training. Hopefully I can overcome my fear and anxiety about moving forward. Hopefully it’s not me throwing up another roadblock and finding another way to weasel out of doing something I hate. My logical mind says that if I gain some mastery over the techniques and see some positive results, I will be inclined to stick with a program. Or so goes my hope, anyway. It’s kind of weird that I feel the same sort of fear that tries to overwhelm me when I know I am going into a social situation where I will not know many people and feel as if I have nothing to contribute. I can do this, one session at a time.

5 thoughts on “Fear, anxiety, and my evolving success story

  1. I think a trainer is a great ideA! I wish I learned long ago to stay away from having the x try and teach me anything because you are so right about the fast track to divorce!! Good luck! You will do great with the trainer!

    • Thanks, M! The barriers my brain throws down are tough to overcome all on my own, and I really love my DH – I hate that crazy woman who takes over and screams when he tries to help me.

  2. You got this! Remember you don’t have to love it – or even like it when you start (or ever) – you just have to do it.

    A few things that help me. A fixed schedule with the trainer – yes it changes occasionally because life doesn’t always follow the calendar – but I would say 90% or more are as scheduled. Because if my calendar says you have a meeting – I do what the calendar says. As you work out think about what keeps you going – is it chatting about exercise, world news, celebrity gossip, whatever – talk about that stuff – focus on that (and form) not how much it hurts, how you dislike, etc. Understand what the exercise is targeting and the necessary form (where should you feel it) but at the start at least trust your trainer and do what he says – trust that the exercise is appropriate, effective for you and the weight is right. And give them feedback – where do you feel it, weight to much or too little, etc.

    Like I said – you totally got this – you can do this. You are a strong person and I bet the real barrier is in your head (mine is). If it is – ignore it long enough to show up and start you session. You deserve to be a strong healthy person in all areas of your life and you can do this – you have done it in other areas.

    Best of luck – keep us updated please!!!!

    BTW – my houseguests are never as fun as yours – the police never show up! But they also stay dressed by the pool – thank goodness – the scenery would not be attractive if they didn’t. 🙂

    • *LAUGH* Yeah, we have the mildest wild parties EVER! It was a cultural difference – all our guests were from outside the US and a few this was their first visit California visit. But everyone was good natured about it, especially after we had the local law call on us about parking. Our neighbors directly across the street are really cranky and really weird.

      I so appreciate your perspective and experience on the exercise. I was thinking I needed to settle on a regular day/time to work out with him and the nights I will be at the gym by myself executing the stuff he has taught me. I already had to reschedule from tonight to tomorrow – we are having friends over tomorrow night and my son, his gf, and 4 of their good friends on Saturday and there is no guest-appropriate food to prepare in the house. But I’m hoping JC can fit me in on Monday and Friday next week, then Friday evenings going forward. That sort of schedule will keep me honest on my part, doing what he’s taught me on Monday and Wednesday evenings. I am encouraged by this process, if only because I am on the road to understanding and strengthening the connection between the numbers on my meter and the time I’m doing in the gym. Overcoming my head’s resistance is definitely a ongoing work in progress, but I do feel as if I am (finally!) taking steps to creating success.

      And not to worry – my struggles with diet and exercise are the bigger drama in my life and have to be expressed frequently. 🙂

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