Sunday, March 7, 2010

A nod to the supporting cast........

One of the things that makes Lifetime stand out, in my mind, from other gyms is how many services are available beyond just exercise. LTF has trainers who specialize in nutrition and metabolic testing, there is a massage department, there are educational programs and in some clubs (Eagan doesnt have this) there is a full spa. While having all these additional experts to turn to can greatly enhance the experience, for me it started out more than a bit overwhelming.

If I easily came to a great comfort with working with Gui (maybe too easily), the opposite can be said for the attention of the rest of the training department. As I mentioned in an earlier post, more than anything I wanted to fly under the radar when I started working out. I was very self conscious and paranoid. I felt like the target of laughter and judgement even though no one ever did anything that even resembled either.

I had an interesting talk today with friends about the difference about growing up in a small town vs a bigger city. In thinking about it, I think this paranoia about others talking about me is in big part of a result of growing up in a very small town where everyone knew everyone (I graduated with 24 people) and everyone talked about everyone and judged everyone. I have never fully gotten past that feeling of being watched and ripped apart in a gossip driven town. Eagan LTF for as big as it is, has a small town feel at times (everyone seems to know everything) and so it was easy to transfer those feelings to it.

But just like I could never hide out living in that small town, it became very evident very fast that I wasn't going to hide out at LTF either. With a department of 9 trainers and needing to have multiple tests done and issues that needed to involve other players I quickly found more and more people involved in my journey, like it or not. Everyone knew what I was eating (or not eating), everyone knew what my weight was doing, and everyone knew the tests I failed. That was really hard for me.

Who Gui is didn't help much either with keeping me invisible. It's hard to easily describe his personality in a blog. On a good day he is a little bit tigger (bouncing around) crossed with the tasmanian devil. I haven't met anyone in  long long time that has his energy and enthusiasm. Add in a healthy dose of sarcastic, tell it like it is (which I GREATLY value and I think is why we click) and when he wants it to be a voice like a megaphone and you are getting close. (and BTW I say that all as a compliment if anyone is wondering, his personality is a perfect match for me! I need someone who has that strong a personality to balance out my stubborness and control issues!)

Even when he isnt trying, you don't hide well when working wtih Gui. But add to it that he is good at pushing my buttons and quickly learned that cheering loudly for me while I was working out got my attention (as I tried to shush him) and starting using it to keep me moving. Being invisible was NOT happening well at all.  Its hard to admit now, but this group visibility came close to driving me away from LTF a couple times. I wasn't ready to embrace it. I couldn't get past the image I had created in my head of them sitting around at meetings laughing about me and making fun of my inadequacies.

My cross roads on this came the day I had my second cardio-point test done (a metabolic test that deserves a post of its own soon). I had already steeled myself for having yet another trainer I hadn't worked with befor doing the test, and having to tell yet another person all my limitations. But what I wasn't prepared for was most of the trainers being 10 feet away the whole time. For some reason everyone was around that morning and appeared to know what was going on. For those that didn't already, Gui had come in on his day off to "assist" me and was not doing to quietly. I think the whole gym knew I was doing the test by the end of it! Luckily the test turned out reasonably well, I'm not sure if I would have ever come back had I failed again in front of that many people, but luckily I didn't have to find out.

I don't know what changed inside me after that morning, I wish I did, it would be handy to know for other situations. But somewhere in the support I got that morning I came to see that these people were really on my side, and that if I stopped fighting the idea so much I probably had a lot to gain from them. It was a good decision. I have since gotten to know many of the other trainers and have found them to be incredibly supportive, informative and just fun to be around. I now enjoy interacting with them and don't shy away at all from turning to them with questions I am struggling with or just for a good laugh.

I think a lot of the comfort I found with them is what has since allowed me to start this blog and share this journey publicly.  That once I broke through my need to hide this from the world it all became easier to share.

Gui told me at one point in my struggle with this, that the point is to enjoy being at the club and that the the more I could see people there as part of that positive experience the more I would look forward to coming to work out. I hate to admit it, but he was right... AGAIN *rolling eyes*

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