Don’t Get Discouraged

Something happened at the gym recently that saddened and angered me. Let me paint the picture for you. I was working in the free weight section doing my routine and saw an overweight guy with a personal trainer. I overheard bits and pieces and it was apparently his first session. I smiled at him to be encouraging as he struggled to do a plank.

Later, I was doing my stretches on the mat and the same trainer was talking to his next client but what he was saying stopped me in my tracks. The trainer was making fun of Client #1 to Client #2. He was laughing at how the client couldn’t do a plank.

My workout was done and so I left. But as I was walking to my car, I was kicking myself for not saying something. In my mind I practiced what I SHOULD have said to the trainer, calling him out on talking smack about someone who was DOING HIS BEST.

Why do I bring this up? Because it really bothered me. You may wonder why I care. Well, I was that guy once upon a time. I was morbidly obese and totally terrified of people at the gym or pool making fun of me. I had to get my 250+ pound body in a swimsuit and walk to the pool with my thighs rubbing together, feeling self-conscious about my body, thinking that everyone in the pool was laughing at the “fat girl.”

You know what helped me? Encouragement from people. My friends and family were all supportive. My neighbor and close friend Star was enthusiastic about my progress. I also made a friend at the community center’s gym. Christian, a personal trainer there, was a true cheerleader.

Maybe I was spoiled. Christian was such an awesome trainer that I’ve compared all others to him and they have fallen short. But truly, I think he was great. For example, I worked out a few days a week in that tiny gym and every time I was there, Christian had a kind word to say. “Good job, Lisa” and “I’m seeing progress” and “Keep at it!” They may not be anything special, but that encouragement made me feel good about myself and good about what I was doing. It kept me going. It made me work harder when the scale got stuck. And you know what? I wasn’t even using Christian’s personal training services. It was over a year before I finally paid for 3 sessions with him.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad personal trainers out there. Be picky, ask questions, and if you don’t like the trainer find a new one.

Don’t ever let someone diminish your efforts. There are haters out there everywhere that are just waiting to tear you down. It could be a so-called friend, a jealous coworker, a family member; it could be an internet bully, or a complete stranger. (The event made me think of a post a blogger wrote, When People Say Mean Things.)

Discrimination against overweight people is nothing new. But it still hurts. And I may be 100 pounds lighter, but I still have the wounds of hurtful words and embarrassing memories somewhere in me.

It doesn’t matter if you have 100 pounds to lose or 10, if you are working towards your goal you should be proud of yourself and your efforts and never, ever let some jerk discourage you from trying!

QUESTION: How do you deal with the haters, the bullies, the Negative Nancys?

My Ass-Kicking

I finally got to try out my old trainer’s gym. Christian is an amazing personal trainer. I bought sessions with him probably a dozen times over the years and every single time he kicked my butt–in a great way. I remember the awesome workouts followed by about four days of being crippled. It was worth it! He’s a very positive, encouraging person and I feel like he has my best interests in mind when works me. It was a million times better than that awful personal training session I had at 24Hr Fitness.

I set my alarm early on Saturday morning, ate a Bagel Thin and some Kashi Puffs cereal and drove out near the airport where his gym was.

It was a big space with lots of equipment. He’s doing a great job collecting props for any kind of workout you can imagine. There were big white boards on one wall with all the different workout routines. There were bars all over the place for things like pull-ups or stretching. Christian told me about a Crossfit competition he was preparing for and lifted (I think) 75 pounds?

I’m pretty sure I would struggle just doing that with the BAR! Another couple arrived for the 9am class and Christian’s cousin was also there helping him out. First up was some stretching. Then we did a warm up to start:

3 rounds of the above was the warm up. 10 Squats (holding the squat position for 10 seconds, then standing up for 5 seconds, repeat). 10 Jump Squats. Then the Samson Stretch and Shoulders. Followed by 10 medicine ball squats and then 10 burpees. Repeat 3 times. THIS is the warm-up?! Holy moly! My legs felt like jello by the time I was done with the warm up.

The above photo was the shoulder stretches with a PVC pipe. It was great! It really stretched things out and I felt a bit looser after that. Everyone went at their own pace. The other two people did some modified exercises according to their skill level and injuries they had. Christian then described and demonstrated what the actual workout would be.

Of course once I got home I realized I forgot to take a photo of the workout. I’ll try to recount it the best I can from memory. First was a 400m run (twice around the building).


I felt good running. It was a good warm up. Once I finished that and was back in the gym I did the pull-ups with a stretchy cord as an assist. WOW. I did pull-ups! For REAL!

It was HARD. I could do about 7 or 8, then I had to rest a moment before I could do the rest. I did 15 total and then moved on to the next part: Jumping up onto the big tire and then back down.

Haha that picture is really funny of me jumping onto the tire. 15! Towards the end of the workout I would do 5 jumping and then the other 10 stepping up and then down. I modified it because I was worried about the jumping and my knee.

Next was throwing a 10 pound medicine ball up on the wall, catching it and squatting. Ouch. The yellow “X” is where the girls aimed for, and red “X” above it was for the men. I could do about 3 or 4 before I had to rest a moment. It was hard to do 15. Then I did the Kettle Bells (15 pounds). Swinging them 15 times.

I LOVED the Kettle Bell workout. It was a lot of fun, I really felt like I could do it without much coordination or skill, and it was easy to do 15 of them. I suppose I should have tried the 20 pound Kettle Bell instead of the 15 to see if it was harder but I didn’t want to overdo it too much.

Repeat! Back out to run 400m and do the WHOLE THING AGAIN. 3 more times in fact. A total of four times through the workout.

My time for 4 sets of the workout: 31:56. Not too shabby. The run totaled 1 mile after 4 times around.

My legs were very jello-like by the time I was done with the four sets. I had most definitely worked up a good sweat. It’s funny because I originally thought I’d go for a run after my Crossfit workout. There was no way I needed to. I got in a fantastic workout with Christian.


Time: about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Calories Burned: 680

The workout ended with more stretching and then I used the Foam Roller and a Lacrosse Ball on pressure points. It worked wonders. I had such a fantastic time at Christian’s gym. It was a killer workout and I definitely got my time’s worth. It makes me a little sad to go back to my crappy (but paid for) gym. SIGH. I do plan on dropping in to Christian’s gym maybe once a month to get in a good sweat.

I got home and made myself some Navy Bean and Ham soup for lunch (lots of protein) and I’ve been sucking down gallons of water to prevent soreness tomorrow. But I must say it’s been a few hours now and I’m already hobbling a bit. It hurt so good at that gym! Any Portlanders that want to join me sometime, let me know! Let’s sweat!

QUESTION: What’s the best workout you’ve ever had? And if you’re in the Portland area do you want to try the StrengthFit Gym?