I have staggered into a topsy-turvy world where pain is considered a goal. All is peculiar to me this side of the looking glass, for I have gone through to the dominion of "The Workout."
Thinking unclearly in the midst of a sugar-rattled brain freeze, I committed recently to enlisting a personal trainer to guide me in an fitness regiment. For session one, she requested I "come to the park so I can see how you walk."
I thought, "Wow! This will be easy!" However, insecure by nature, I rehearsed; walking forward and backwards; to and fro, hither and yon. I sauntered, moseyed, even ambled; performing perfectly all permutations. With confidence high, I arrived at the playground; where I discovered here there be implements of torture. Appearing to the untrained eye as climbing structures for children, trainers manipulate them to inflict hurting upon the soft underbelly of unfit middle-aged men.
After observing my walk, she asked me to "step up" on the stairs at the base of the jungle gym.
I did so (quite well I might add).
"Step back down," she said.
Going up and down and expending more than a moderate amount of energy is a frustrating, seemingly aimless process; yet, trusting her tutelage, I obliged.
"Good, do it twenty times."
My breathing increased and dull pain enveloped my legs. However, trying to maintain a modicum of manliness, I refused to let her see weakness. Puffing and huffing my way through the repetitions, counting them down in my head, I pressed on until, upon reaching my target, I planted with great relief both feet firmly on the grass.
"Five more," she said.
I argued, "You said 'twenty'."
"I changed my mind. Do five more."
Upon completion, she inquired, "How do you feel?"
"I'm fine," I gasped, struggling not to show that I had to expel the syllables between heavy breaths, trying not to let on that a two-word reply was testing my endurance.
"Great! Let's do more."
From then on, I lunged, planked, walked, twisted, and hung, concluding with an excruciating method of pain application whereby one supports himself backwards on the edge of a bench while "sitting" with derriere suspended over thin air, forcing the triceps to hold up the entire weight of the upper half of his body. Not painful enough, he then repeatedly lifts and lowers himself, similar to backward push-ups. I believe these are "reverse planks" but the severe, repetitive, throbbing in my arms was exceedingly distracting, causing me to use all my mental resources to hold at bay the fear I would never use my arms again.
Seeing my expression, she said. "Pain means you're building muscle."
I wanted to rub it away but could not raise my hands. Realizing that should I be required at this moment to lift my limbs for self-defense, I would be a goner, I whimpered. I would have cried, but how would I wipe my eyes?
"In fitness circles, this kind of pain is inspiring," she added.
"Odd," I thought. In non-fitness circles where I reside, looking forward to sitting on a couch with a bag of chips is inspiring; and I don't ache next morning.
Sounds like you were pushed pretty hard. I'm not so sure pain inspiring, but when working new muscles, you are bound to be sore the next day (sometimes even later that day). If you walked away from every workout feeling fine, you didn't push yourself very much, but remember to listen to your body. Check out this
Wow, that's a little scary. I don't think that's what was going on with my trainer. (She runs a chain of fitness centers.) I think I'm just a beginner and that's what was going on. Also, to be honest, when I write my newspaper column (which I share here each week), I have to write for entertainment too, so there's a teensy weensy bit of exageration to make the story more fun.