so today . . . i've decided age has it's advantages--at least when you are working with a personal trainer who is young enough to be your son!
yes, today was the day--it was time for my free consultation with a personal trainer. i admit i had some pre-conceived ideas as to what was going to happen. my experience with personal trainers is limited to watching other people want to kill theirs, so my first expectation was that he was going to make me suffer. a lot. and i was determined not to kill myself, or him, so our expectations may have been somewhat different.
we began by meeting in his office. he talked really really really really fast, which made it hard for me to catch everything he said--especially with my hearing issues. so i am pretty sure i didn't understand everything, but i made it clear right from the start that i was 51 years old. and would be 52 in another five months, so he should take it easy on me. he asked me what my goals were, and i said, "not to keel over dead while exercising." he looked at me blankly, like 'i can't write that down.'
"let's just say you want to increase your muscle tone." ok, i could live with that. increasing muscle tone doesn't sound all that hard. i kind of pictured lots of stretching, maybe some bike riding . . . then he wanted to know how serious i was about reaching my goal. i wasn't quite sure what he wanted me to say. i was very serious about not keeling over dead, but i didn't think that was the goal he was referring to, so i said, "well, i want to come to the gym a few times a week, but i also have a life."
i think maybe he gave up on me before we even left his office.
he guessed my height and missed it by 3 inches. he guessed my weight and missed it by 25 pounds. he handed me something that looked like a nintendo control and said, "stand up and hold this out at arms' length. it will measure the percentage of your body fat." maybe i didn't want to know the percentage of my body fat, but apparently i didn't have a choice! i obediently held it out until a number popped up. he looked at the readout and said, "hmmm. well that's obviously wrong!" ok, i'm starting to wonder if this is a personal trainer imposter. nothing is adding up . . .
after he tells me i need to add at least 15 pounds to my tiny little frame, we head out to the weight room. he feels i should be using free weights to "increase my muscle tone," so we walk down the long hall to the maximum security weight room. i say maximum security, because i don't think they let just anyone in there. i'm pretty sure they shouldn't have let me in there!
i hadn't seen this room before. it is separate from the cardio equipment and all the other machinery. the first thing i noticed was that the weights in this room were enormous!! the second thing i noticed was that everyone else in the room was male and muscle-bound. and there i went, in my new pink top, scrawny arms hanging from it's sleeveless shoulders, ponytail bobbing, following my trainer like a puppy.
he looked for weights for me, but the lightest ones in this room were 15 pounds. i'm not sure he thought i could even lift them, but i got through the first exercise and was feeling pretty proud of myself. until i tried the next one . . . it was harder, and i couldn't even do one with those big weights. he just looked at me, took the weights and led me out of the "big" boy weight room . . . i think he maybe he should have been able to tell that i didn't belong in there just by looking at me.
the rest of the work out went better. he lowered his expectations, i continued to remind him of my age, and we found some middle ground. he occasionally asked me to do something that i knew would kill me, i would say, "remember, i am old," and he would modify the instructions to better suit me.
he did push me to do more than i thought i could do, and i did it--most of the time. we worked muscles that have been taking it easy for far too long. i have no doubt that i will feel it tomorrow, but i'm still not completely sure what i should be doing when i am working out alone . . .
what i learned today is that the free consultation with a personal trainer is mostly an opportunity for them to try to get you to sign up for further personal training. he didn't design an exercise program or eating plan for me. he didn't show me how to use all the equipment. we didn't even go upstairs! he did tell me that if i would sign up for his services for the next three months, at a cost of almost $1200 for 24 hours of instruction and training, he could help me tone up those muscles, lower my body fat percentage (based on that crazy readout) and gain 15-20 pounds.
i politely declined.
i'm pretty sure if i set my mind to it, i can gain a few pounds on my own . . .