Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Best Black Friday Deal Ever....25% Off that Changed My Life....Part 1....

When I joined LTF a year ago working with a trainer was the last thing I was even considering. In my mind, weight training (more accurately known as resistance training) was something for muscle bound jocks looking to get all pumped up, not for obese women looking to shed a few pounds. And trainers were for those looking to compete and the celebrities in California. It was not even something on my radar. But when the chance to try it at 25% off was made (my free trainer into session was on Black Friday 2009) I took the leap, I am a sucker for a good sale....

Fast forward one year, I have done probably close to 150 training sessions with a personal trainer in the last 12 months and consider it the best time and money I have spent in my lifetime. When my schedule prevents these sessions I get cranky and difficult to be around (although my trainer might question how that is any different than my mood during the sessions *smile*).

These 2-3 hours a week are the hardest, most challenging things I do, but it is the time I look forward to the most. While I love pushing my brain to do more, it is no where near as fulfilling as pushing my body to its brink. I am particularly fond of the heavy weight portion of our training. There is NO greater feeling than realizing you are lifting, pressing or squatting more than your own body weight! Endurance trainer (lighter weight for more reps) is still a struggle for me to stay focused during, it doesn't provide me the same goal feedback that the heavy weights does and that same type of physical sensation. But it is a neccesary evil so I get through it.

There is a lot to the practical side of  working with a trainer and doing weight resistance training, lifting weights, nutrition, cardio, but as one of my trainers said to me once, "if the relationship isnt there the rest is not going to work". This is the part that is really hard to make others understand, sometimes even for the trainers themselves.

Trainers have two very different kinds of clients, those just looking to get fit, and those undertaking major life altering changes. What I am going to say is about that second group, including myself. I have never been in the first group, and neither of have any of my multiple friends who are working with trainers, so I can only write about what I know.

As I said in the beginning, I had NO intention of working with a trainer, and even after I started the last thing I was looking for was to build any kind of friendship or relationship with my trainer. I was there for a purpose, to lose weight, not to bond or share anything about my life. Particularly with my current trainer, I fought NOT to let that happen. But I am slowly coming to see that is a battle that can't be won. That trust is integral to the journey and not a choice.

The reality is working with a trainer is not just purchasing a service an hour at a time, like having someone mow your lawn or paint your house.  There is too much of your personal life that impacts your weight and your physical journey for the person who is guiding you on that journey to not become part of your trusted inner circle. From the start a trainer sees you at your most vulnerable moments...when you are fighting ever fear, every weakness, every emotion about your inadequacies that you hide from the world on a daily basis, they all come spilling out on the gym floor, sometimes in an uncontrollable flood. If the journey is going to be successful it is as much about facing your insides as it is changing your outside, sometimes more so, and that part has to be exposed and shared as much as your weight, height and BMI.  The flaws in our bodies start in our minds and our hearts and unfortunately that is where you often have to conquer them too, and that means letting your trainer in to see them and to help with them as much as allowing them to help with lifting a weight.

This is part of it all I have come to accept, but have to admit I don't like, somedays I truly hate it. Because as I have learned this year, letting a trainer in can be a huge risk for a possible short term relationship. And for me at least, once I have let someone in that far into my greatest secrets and thoughts I don't know how to not become attached. Much like soldiers who have faced the enemy together are bonded forever, this is how the relationship with the trainer becomes, at least from the client's side. Which is a unique challenge because the down side to the training community is that there is a HUGE percentage of turn over. Trainers move job to job at a very high rate, which means clients are also changing trainers often.

Over the last year I have gone through a trainer change, I currently have three friends going through transitioning to a new trainer (two of whom are on their second transition) and have three who have made the transition and are settled in.

Losing a trainer you like and trust, especially the first time, is a blow I am not sure I can put into words. I have cried over it, I have watched friends cry over it, I am currently watching friends cry over it, we have talked about it at length, and I am still not sure it can be described to someone who hasn't experienced it without it sounding weird, obsessed, possessive and even stalkerish, but it is none of those.

Here is the reality, for most of us making a life changing journey from being obese we have 1) trusted very few people in our lives, 2) we are used to being judged and put down for who and how we are and 3) we have created a limited inner circle in our lives as a protective measure. So when you start working with someone who appears to accept you, flaws and all, who has been instrumental in helping you improve a situation you thought would never change and who you haven entrusted to see your darkest secrets the thought of having them gone again is scary, lonely and unsettling. It has NOTHING to do with being weak, emotional or dependent, it is true human nature. Each of my friends who has gone through it has been very different personality types, yet we have all had the same general reaction. This is a major loss and it requires grieving! And that grieving is also made worse by an immense fear that even though we have done all the work to be successful, that without that specific guide the success will end or even be erased. Rational or not (as I have come to know it's probably not, as I have been very successful with my new trainer) it is a fear we have all faced.

The good news, after this post that got a lot more serious than I ever expected when I started writing it, is that there are lots of great trainers out there. And that is where part 2 is going to go, I promise a much happier post...about the trainers who have touched my life this year and my thank you to them!

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