trainer

Decisions and Dilemmas

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”
-Sydney J. Harris 
(Ain’t that the truth!!!)

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Ladies and Gentleman,

I have a dilemma!  I couple months ago I was in a training slum.  I was getting bored with Insanity and P90X (GASP!), and was really looking to try something new.

About the same time, I FINALLY managed to pay off the last my student loans.  To celebrate this momentous occasion and as a gift to myself for doing it over a decade ahead of schedule, I signed up with a personal trainer.  With my loans paid off, I had the extra income to afford it.  Plus, I figured that if I was ever going to try it, this would be the time- before I got used to the added cash each month.  I spoke to the owner of my gym, and he suggested I try the TRX workouts with one of his newer staff.

I can’t say that it was love (or even like) at first sight.  My trainer looked like he was about twelve, and had the maturity level of someone even younger.  After I went home and read his bio I discovered he was pretty much just out of diapers college.  He had me do a relatively simple workout, but the addition of the straps made it significantly harder.  It was a rude awakening to just how deconditioned I was, but within a few weeks I made HUGE strides and my trainer and I were just about getting along.

Almost immediately, however, there were some issues with professionalism.  He would drunk text me late at night, talk smack about his other clients, ask to reschedule last minute, and play on his phone during our sessions.  I had pointed out to him on numerous occasions that I didn’t find these behaviors very professional, and specifically that the smack talking and drunk texts made me uncomfortable.  This seemed to curb the behavior some, but didn’t entirely eliminate it.

Overall, I was (for the most part) happy.  I was trying something different and getting back in shape.   The TRX workouts were super challenging and I enjoyed them.  I thought working out with a trainer would give me an opportunity to maximize the efficacy of my workouts and help me avoid over-doing it and getting injured.  That’s the part I got wrong.  For starters, the TRX workouts are great, but we don’t do them every session… or even every week. The rest of the workouts are sort of hit or miss.  The days when my trainer is on and feels like being there, they are super tough and I enjoy them.  The days when he doesn’t feel like being there (or is annoyed that I ran beforehand) they are less than challenging- which is just a little disappointing at $40 per session.

However, the thing that really has been bugging me (haha I know, but honestly the other stuff I can deal with) is dilemmathat I have TWICE now gotten injured-  Not once, TWICE!  The first time I strained my quad doing squats and one legged lunges with a weight that was too heavy for 30 reps (I pointed this out, but clearly should have just refused outright).  I spent a couple weeks having to modify my workouts before we came upon injury #2.

After running the Fairfield Half, I really should have taken some time off to rest;  I guess I didn’t realize how badly I had beaten up my body.  I went to workout with the trainer 2 days later after having run a brisk 5 miles on the treadmill. (I almost always run before my session to make sure my body is warm and I can get a good stretch…it also puts me a good mood which I think is a perk for the trainer)  I was feeling good during the run, but almost as soon as I started doing the upper body workout with the TRX, my shoulder was giving me trouble.  I mentioned this to the trainer, and he accused me of just complaining.  As the workout went on, my shoulder became more and more painful.  My trainer watched me struggle, but instead of listening to me criticized the form on my push-ups.  He never modified the workout to make it easier, and continued to have me do push-ups in the straps with bad form.

I am normally I pretty bubbly person when I’m working out.  Even when I’m miserable, I’m smiling because I’m happy to be there.  I will admit that I get frustrated when I am not at my optimal performance AND that I tend to be tough on myself.  However, I AM NOT a WHINER or COMPLAINER.  I am the type of person who if you tell me to do something, I will do it to the best of my ability.  I don’t cheat, miss reps, or try to negotiate for an easier workout.  If I am paying $40 for a workout, I want to get my ass kicked and get every pennies worth.

That is why it irritates me so tremendously that by the time I got home I couldn’t even turn my neck.  My neck and shoulder were in full on spasm again, and I ended up missing almost a full day of work because of it. I also had to take the rest of the week off from training.  I told my trainer right away that I would be unable to make the rest of our scheduled sessions for the week, and he tried to pressure me into doing legs and core instead!  After inquiring how he expected me to do core with a messed up shoulder, I told him I wasn’t coming; and  that I definitely wasn’t risking injuring anything else when my body was clearly fatigued.  Instead of feeling badly about it, he tried to make me feel guilty that he had just bought a truck and needed clients.

tryharderAdam, understandably, thinks I should talk to the gym owner about switching trainers.  While I am aware that my current trainer is unprofessional, doesn’t listen to his clients… and possibly doesn’t even know what he’s even doing... I am still extremely conflicted about firing him.  For one thing, despite his short comings as a trainer, I still like him as a person.  I also genuinely feel sorry for him because he has no idea why his clients are leaving him or why people don’t like him (granted that is really not a good reason to train with someone!).  I also feel like on some level that I am a grown up, and I know my body.  While I realize he should have listened to me when I first brought my injuries up, I also should have gotten more vocal when he didn’t.  Not to mention, that I shouldn’t have showed up to work out with him when I had already beaten up my body 2 days prior…  I guess I am not really sure of how much I am supposed to expect of a trainer, however I think professionalism and not getting clients injured  should be on the list…

My other issue is he is the only trainer at the gym who does the TRX workouts, so if I go with a different trainer it will be a completely different program… this could be good or bad.  I suppose I know enough of the TRX to do those workouts on my own at this point anyway.  Which brings me to my last thought, which is whether it is worth paying a trainer at all… $40 a session is A LOT of money, and right now I don’t feel like I am getting my money’s worth- especially now that I am on my second injury!  I got into great shape on my own training for the Ultra Beast, and did much better at avoiding hurting myself.

My plan is to talk to the gym owner on Monday, but I don’t think it will be an easy decision regardless of which route I choose.  Right now, I’m just trying to figure out what is best for me.

 

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Why I Love (and sometimes hate) My Trainer

“Dedication and commitment are what transfer dreams into realities.”

-Unknown

I never thought I could afford to work with a trainer.  I always thought it’d be really expensive.  Then I joined boot camp and met the instructor Mike.  Initially, I had my doubts.  He seemed kind of angry and yelled a lot.  That was before I got to know him.  The truth is that Mike is one of the most dedicated and committed people I have ever met- and not just in terms of training (and, yes, he still yells a lot- but he’s also the first person to give you a high five fist bump and tell you when you’ve nailed it).  He takes his role as a boot camp instructor and personal trainer very personally.  He truly wants his clients to succeed, and is always willing to go that extra mile to make it happen.

Case in point, our boot camp class is supposed to be an hour long; however, it typically runs at least an extra 15 min if not longer. Why? Because Mike stays until everyone is finished.  At boot camp we don’t finish when we are tired, we finish when we’re done (whether it’s late or not!).  His group training sessions are no different.  The last one Adam and I did ran almost an hour over (that’s double the length) and Mike did the whole workout with us (after his workout on the stair climber with a weighted vest…he still kicked our butts- hate him! jk).  I have personally even seen him stay late to give someone that extra push to meet a goal when he stayed an extra hour after group one night to help a client conquer her fear of the tall box.

I am GOING TO OWN YOU EVIL PULL-UP BAR!!!

This past month, Mike made everyone at boot camp come up with a goal, which basically turned my 2012 goal of doing a pull-up into my February 2012 goal.  The problem: my lats refuse to cooperate on this one!  I bought a pull-up bar and hung it in the guest room door way (right by the bathroom, so I have to walk by it 50+ times a day) and have been doing negative pull-ups like it’s my job.  So far, the only thing I have to show for it so far is some really sore muscles and the feeling that my shoulders are going to fall off.  Meanwhile, everyone else has been annilating their goals.  As ecstatic as I am for them, it’s making me feel like a total loser.

I know it’s not right to compare and that the part that really matters is I’m putting in a lot of effort.  However, I’m someone who pushes myself to the limit on my own so having this deadline is only making me frustrated.  Most of the time, I really appreciate Mike pushing me hard, but in this case I am pretty much hating him for it (not all the time…just when I look at that damn pull-up bar).  While I am POSITIVE I will get to the point of doing a pull-up, I’m a little doubtful it’s going to happen in the next week- and THAT is going to make me feel like a total failure until I make it.  The worst part is I just had an awesome run yesterday and I have knocked out 3 wks of Insanity, but all I can think about is that stupid pull-up!  It’s going to be the bane of my existence until I get up there.

Of course, despite all my drama with the pull-ups I really do love training with Mike (and the rest of the boot camp crew!).  They have really become a second family to me and have helped me grow as a person.  When I first started boot camp and training with Mike I went into every workout anxious about whether I would make it through (despite being in shape enough to run over 15 miles).  Over time I got to the point of approaching the workouts with the attitude of “I can get through this”.  Now my attitude is always “BRING IT ON!”

Working out with Mike is always a challenge.  His boot camp classes have been tough enough to make Insanity seem easy in comparison.  Making it through his group sessions and boot camp have made me feel like I can truly conquer anything- including pull-ups!

I don’t know that I would have made to the point of being this tough (mentally and physically) if I had not signed up for that first month of boot camp.  Running a marathon was a challenge, and it without a doubt changed my life.  Yet, it doesn’t even begin to compare with what working out with Mike and my boot camp family has done for me.  Running is a solitary sport- it’s just you and the distance you need to conquer.  There’s no peers for support and no one to push you other than yourself.  It’s great for building discipline and character, but it can only take you so far.  Having the support of other people to push and motivate you is what makes the difference.  It’s what makes a workout that would otherwise seem insurmountable seem doable.  At the core of that workout support for me is Mike.

Today I started week 4 of Insanity…and did some more negative pull-ups.  I’m not sure what the rest of the day has in store for me, but it might just include a run to the gym. 🙂