Monday, Feb. 26, 2007
Dear Diary:

The one thing I did have to let slide when my mom-in-law was ill was my fitness. Between juggling her care, my work and pulling together a Christmas for the extended family, something had to give. That something was my hours at the gym.

When I went back early in January, I decided to give the new trainer a try. My old trainer (who will be ever after known as Ms. T�as in "I pity the fool who messes with that woman") quit her job just before Christmas to selfishly have a baby.

Yep, I find the perfect fitness person and she ups and quits on me to have a baby. Imagine. Doesn't she realize it's all about my needs?

You can well imagine my bitterness.

Up front let me say that the new trainer is a lovely person. Very gentle, very new age-y, very positive and alarmingly uplifting. When I see her I subconsciously hear Enya.

We are such a bad fit.

I made a special trip to the gym to see her to outline my goals and my various issues. I showed her my past workouts. I told her my primary goals were to fine tune my cardio and to try to gain four or five pounds of muscle over the coming year. I understand that it's very hard for a trainer to get a handle on someone right out of the gate, so I told her that I'm extremely goal-oriented and I need set challenges to thrive.

We did a treadmill fitness test that showed that my VO2 max was 32, which is very good for a woman my age. I told her my goal is to go for excellent, to pull myself over 33.

We made an appointment for me to come in and get my new workout five days later. I came in for the workout and, well, she hadn't prepared anything. So right there I was kind of ticked off because, hello, I'm self-employed. When I take time off work to come in specially to see you, I expect this to be time well spent.

Wait, it gets worse.

She started pulling exercises out of, um, er, ah, where the sun don't shine. They were the sort of exercises you might give a 50-something woman who's never been in a gym, but they're not the sort of exercises you give a 50-something woman who uses 20 pound weights to do her bicep curls, a woman who squats her body weight. So that told me that she hadn't listened at all when I'd showed her my past workouts and explained my goals to her in great detail.


I told her politely that I was disappointed. I tried to explain to her that although I am a woman approaching her 56th birthday, the best way to think of me in gym terms is to think of me as a somewhat puny 16-year-old boy trying to build his first muscles.

Yes, I realize that I am a freak, but hey, it's her job to deal with freaks like me. I could see she couldn't grok it at all, so I thanked her for her time. The next morning when I went back for one of my regular gym days, I pulled an old workout from my folder and did that. Oh, the tragedy.

I completely understand if you need to take a break here to blot the tears from your eyes.

A week later I was at Ms. T's baby shower and of course the talk turned to the gym. She asked me how it was working out with the new trainer and I told her how much I missed her snark.

Seriously. At that point it had been at least two months since someone had mocked me as a loser for not pulling out that extra rep. You can well imagine my pain. Frankly, all this new age, uplifting "you can do it" stuff Gets On My Last Nerve.

So Ms. T offered to set me up a new workout. I offered to pay her and she said no way, because she expects me to be her training buddy once she squeezes out the kid. Since then I've begun my second new workout from her. I love these workouts. They push me hard, give me a real sense of accomplishment.

When she waddled in to the gym on Friday (I'm sorry, but when you're in the final weeks of your pregnancy there is but one verb to describe how you walk, and that verb is "waddle"), Ms. T told me she's two centimetres dilated. With her due date just weeks away, I expect her son to born any time now.

Did I say something warm and supportive as she did her workout, cheer her on for keeping up her fitness right up to her due date?

Oh puh-LEESE.

Nah, what I did was mock her for the fact that she's down to using eight pound weights to do her arm and shoulder work. I ostentatiously picked up some 30 pound weights and did shoulder presses. It almost killed me, but I did it.

Ms. T sputtered a lot and said that two weeks after her son is born she'll be able to go back to real workouts and that in a month from that she'll be taking me down.

"Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, whatever you need to tell yourself," I smirked, and we both laughed.

The truth here? While Ms. T and I might be the same height and general build, I'm six years older than her mother. Yes, I am older than dirt, dirt I tell you.

Ms. T will totally take me down, but in the struggle to keep up with her, I'll be a better athlete. In the struggle to surpass me, she'll regain her own strength and fitness far more quickly that she would on her own.

Plus, three times a week we'll both get our recommended daily requirement of the snark.

I can hardly wait until she squeezes out the kid.


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