By Anna Bennett
I’m going to be embarrassingly candid here. Prior to this summer, the last time I got myself to the gym was first semester of my sophomore year of college–aka, a year and a half ago–when a friend forced me. I stayed for about 25 minutes, got a smoothie, and left. And the last time I got a “real” work out…never?
Aesthetically, I’ve always been somewhat satisfied with my body image. My weight has fluctuated some through the years, but I have never been considered, though I really hate the term, “fat.” At 5’3” and my weight hovering around 110 pounds, I am not really a candidate for a weight loss camp–still, that’s the kind of push I needed. It was only this past spring that I found my body changing in ways that troubled me. With the combination of Amherst’s (at UMass) candied bacon donuts and my (truly) sedentary lifestyle, I felt bloated on the outside and morbid on the inside. My mom, one of the few who understand how unhealthy my habits actually were, offered to set me up with a trainer at Prescriptions for Fitness in Chappaqua and I agreed to try.
Soon after, I met my trainer, Amber Jo, a friendly young woman (with a rockin’ bod) just three years my senior. After filling out some forms and testing my abilities, Amber customized a routine for me. She designed a “circuit,” which is a series of different exercises performed one after the other, and then repeated a number of times, which challenged my strength and endurance alike. And by “challenged,” I mean I was sweating bullets and flopping all over the place rather than working out. Fortunately, at Prescriptions for Fitness, I was given a private space, where I didn’t have to worry about looking funny or struggling in front of others. There, I was able to learn different kinds of exercises (and flop around all I wanted) in an intimate, judge-free zone.
Between sessions, Amber texted me copies of what we did together. This way, I could exercise on my own and keep what I had learned fresh in my mind. Although I couldn’t push myself quite as far as Amber would, I went from doing nothing to doing something, which was a huge accomplishment for me. Many of the exercises we did involved floor work and weights, so I could work out easily on my own at home too.
Week by week, I still struggled, but felt a gradual improvement. The initial workouts that made me feel absolutely miserable became tolerable, and then, even (gasp!) enjoyable. Feeling myself perform in ways that I was once incapable (as in doing a real pushup!) and Amber proudly acknowledging the ways in which I had improved was a great boost to my self esteem. At the conclusion of my 12 sessions (thanks Mom!), I can say that I now “know how” to work out and am motivated to continue on. For me, having Amber as my trainer was crucial to my personal growth, and probably crucial to my future health.
Editor’s Note: You’re welcome, Anna.