Sunday, January 29, 2012

Personal Training

My back issues started in earnest when I first started working out with a personal trainer (about 5 years ago). It was my first experience with a personal trainer ever. And I was out of shape (of course) but had never really exercised before. (I don't think P.E. in Jr. High really qualifies.) I was exercise adverse. I don't mean that I was / am against physical activity. I just was against the kind that involved a gym, equipment, looking stupid and sweating. I had several times in my life where I went to Jazzercise or Aerobics class (back in the day when we all wanted to look like Olivia Newton John as she "Got Physical").  But I digress.

I had amazing health insurance at the time and it paid for a medical program that included a weekly nutritionist, 3X / week personal training and periodic check ins with the doctor.  It was a one time program and I had to pay a portion, but I wouldn't have been able to afford it without the amazing health insurance plan. Anywho, the program expected dramatic results (which it achieved). And the personal trainer I was assigned to was a young man. I believe he felt pressure to be able to write down quick physical fitness improvements in my chart.  (The program was heavily monitored by a team of professionals that were evaluating the program as a whole as well as the results of individuals).

Lots of lessons AFTER I was hurt.

This seems obvious, I know.  But...there's this weird thing at work here. I'm paying this trainer to help me get into shape. I believe that what he is asking me to do will actually help me get into shape. I believe that he knows better than I and would not instruct me to do an exercise that I wasn't ready for. Whenever I wanted to say, "No, I don't like this", I wasn't sure if I just didn't like it OR if there was a reason I shouldn't do it.
Turns out, one of the reasons I got hurt was because my trainer DID have me doing exercises I was not ready for.  A big reason he didn't see that was because with each exercise he would show me, I would mimic fairly well. Because I was able to lift the weight or hold the pose I believed that I was actually seeing the results of my new workout routine. Trainer was happy because he could write down in the little chart that I was progressing.  I was happy because I thought I was progressing.

The things that were important were the things that were not visible to the eye. That is, I was doing the exercises by using the WRONG muscles. He said "Lift this", so I lifted it, period. What I learned in physical therapy was that all along I had been using my back muscles for every exercise. EVERY exercise. This whole exercise thing was new to me, so I had no idea how to identify that the correct muscles were working for each task.

This is exactly what I had to do. I had gone to the doctor with my hurt back and he sent me to the physical therapist. So I had to add physical therapy 2X / week on top of personal training 3X/week. I shared with the trainer that I was in PT and what I was instructed to change in my work out. But I had to really stay strong and confident because as I got physically stronger, he kept encouraging asking me to return to an exercise I had been doing before I was hurt.

Exercise is not supposed to cause actual pain. Discomfort maybe but not actual pain.

P.S. I'm linking up here for "Say Hi Sunday".


  1. stopping by from Say Hi Sunday.

    I have never had a trainer. They do make me nervous. LOL

    1. Hi, Thanks for stopping by. I did get another trainer who was a woman and specialized in working with clients that were also working with Physical Therapy. She was great! But I couldn't afford to stay with it. You know...I don't know how/if I will use a trainer again. :)


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