I had my weekly training appointment this morning, and to my surprise J has noticed my “booking it” through the gym in the last week. I explained to him in more detail about my anxieties related to being there – bothering or inconveniencing others, wishing to just quietly do my thing without being noticed, the challenges of making myself go – and unsurprisingly I am not alone in these feelings and he had an alternative worth trying.

He introduced me to a standing weight machine in a quieter corner of the gym where I could do an entire full body strength/toning workout with minimal distraction and the music/noise in the group fitness room. While I will go into that in more detail in my week 6 recap tomorrow, suffice to say this is an excellent alternative for when the group room is in use, too busy, or just too intimidating for me to bear.

But I find it curious, sad, and sort of gratifying that there are others who feel as I do about the gym. Perhaps to a greater or lesser degree, we all just want to do our workouts without the added pressure we put upon ourselves. In truth no one notices, no one cares what I am doing – it’s a roadblock distraction my head manufactures. Yet even though I know that to be true intellectually, it is damn near impossible for me to overcome it emotionally. This quite corner, one machine will be helpful, I’m sure. Probably I will cross paths with other clients who are feeling the same sort of self-conscious, imposter syndrome (thank you SAK for that perfectly descriptive term).

Today I met J’s standing Thursday 9:30 client, a charming 70-something gentleman I have seen on prior weeks. We were finishing up and N came over to see if it was his time yet and J kinda/sorta introduced us, again being sensitive to me and my social awkwardness. Funny part is I am fine in such one-on-one interactions with other members; I introduced myself and shook his hand. There was friendly banter – N cutting on J and me effectively defending each and every one of his good-natured barbs – and it felt nice to feel normal rather than desperately clinging to my invisibility cloak.

Another discussion topic was crossfit gyms. I know as surely as I know my own name that this is an extremely poor fit for me, although I have nothing against the method or the gyms themselves. A good friend is seeking a fitness routine and invited me to attend an introductory class with her. I had to very gently tell her that I am not interested, explaining that I cannot even cope with a group fitness class at my gym right now. Her feelings are easily bruised, so I tried to be kind and yet completely honest that in this it is 100% me – I simply will not thrive or succeed in that environment. Heck, half the time I think about cancelling J each week, because the voices inside my head and their negative, toxic whispers. Unfortunately she took it as a personal rejection. I know she will get over it, but it saddens me to know she is even more insecure than I am, and believe me that’s saying something.

I asked J about it this morning, with the strong preface that I know it’s not good for me for all the obvious reasons. He had tried it while in college and actually ended up tweaking his back for a few days. In his view it depends a lot on the coaching, but it can be a good solution for those confident and experienced with tone and strength training exercises, but most definitely not for the raw beginner (the “like me” was only heard echoing inside my own head). I cannot recall how he termed it – I was huffing and puffing and working my way through some weighted hinge things at the time – but it was essentially a different direction for strength training and fitness. Because he’s always so encouraging, he said that if I wanted to try it when I get my body weight down where I wanted and felt confident and sure of myself around weights, then yes, it might be something I would enjoy. With complete and utter surety I told him I could not yet see such a day on my horizon, but who really know? It could happen (but please do not hold your breath on that – you will likely turn blue and die waiting).

From my prior post here about deserving good things and self-destructive behaviors, I know I hit a nerve with many of you reading. If I had any answers I would surely share them, but I don’t so I will continue to ruminate about the issues until some sort of calm clarity surfaces and sticks. I am only a teeny, tiny bit disappointed that J is enabling me in maintaining my invisibility cloak by showing me the machine in the corner. It does allow less distraction by the other members working out around me, a problem I have and for which he sought a realistic, sustainable solution. In my heart and mind I know his ultimate goal is my success, and that requires getting my butt off the couch or my feet away from my treadmill desk and into the gym frequently and working at the techniques and perfecting form he is teaching. The new machine he introduced me to is very challenging, especially since he left me on my own to decide what weight is appropriate for each exercise. I am already planning on tomorrow night for going through them again and figuring it out, because I want to be back on Monday confident about each setting for each movement. I can do this. I am excited to do this. And M is happy because there is no risk of me dropping a dumb bell onto myself or anyone else. Great confidence builder, that M. He always, Always, ALWAYS means well, but he also knows how clumsy I can be with new things.

It was a good day. I still have to write my recap of our training session, but overall I feel very excited to have a new place to hide in plain sight while I am in the club.

2 thoughts on “Being the invisible woman

  1. The machine will help in many ways – the most important one is that it will increase your confidence in knowing what you are doing – and that will help reduce the invisibility shield. And you don’t have to worry about putting things back where they belong because they don’t wander! 😉 So trainer D is very anti-crossfit and I’ve never been impressed. Mostly because many of the trainers (like many trainers period) don’t spend enough time on form and so people are pushed to do more/faster/etc without proper form and end up hurting themselves. D has helped a lot of people rehab rotator cuff injuries especially. I think like any exercise it depends on who trains you and how good they are. It all seems too random for me – I like the new routines D has developed that target different areas different days – allows for my muscles to recuperate and I’m seeing more targeted results. Saw friend today I hadn’t seen in a while – pants I bought 3 weeks ago – really loose. Ditto on the top and the jacket is getting there too. It was great to get genuine positive supportive feedback from this friend.

    1. “pants I bought 3 weeks ago – really loose. Ditto on the top and the jacket is getting there too.” Love, LOVE, LOOOOVVVE this! It truly is all about the clothes. J and I were chatting while I was running through my last set and he asked me if there was anything in my wardrobe that was fitting even a little differently and I got to share yesterday’s happy triumph with the khaki pants that have not been on my ass in over a year, and even then they were snug. Now they fit perfectly and perhaps soon may be a bit loosey-goosey.
      I believe trainer J is anti-crossfit as well yet does not want to come right out and say “no, Janelle, very bad idea for you and what are you thinking even asking about it?” He said it was all very dependent upon the coaches without coming right out and saying there are a lot of bad coaches and trainers out there. I thought I was clear that I KNOW how bad a fit such a program is for me personally – I cannot even bring myself to attempt his small group fitness classes because I will freak myself out and probably never return to the club – but maybe he thinks I want to try it. I have some real fears for my friend, though; we are the same height and she presently outweighs me by at least 50 lbs., and believe me, I could drop at least that much and just squeak into my height/weight range. I was as gentle as I could be in declining, and she took it personally as a rejection. We have talked about it, and honestly I only wish she would cease chasing quick fixes and just accept that it’s going to take what you’re doing, what I’m doing, what everyone else who is consistently trying is doing to achieve real change and success.
      But really – WOO HOO! on the clothes and the quality response on your evolving transformation!

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