My first day in the gym, back in 2007, went something like this.
Trainer: “Do you want to warm up on the elliptical?”
Me: “Um, sure.” <The spinning thing over there? I guess so, that’s where she gestured.>
Trainer: “Great, do about 10 minutes, slow and easy to get ready to work out.”
Me: “You got it!” <If I at least fake enthusiasm, she may not try to kill me later.>
5 minutes later…
Trainer: “You doing ok?”
Me: <gasping for air> “I think so, I’m not sure.” <For the love of all things holy, get me OFF this thing!>
At that point, the trainer stopped me and helped me hobble off of the torture device to then begin the workout. Are you kidding me? I was pushing 260 pounds, the only “beginning” I was hoping for was a fresh basket of chips and salsa.
That, my friends, was rock bottom. I was a young, able-bodied (ish) woman, and I couldn’t go 10 minutes on the elliptical. People talk of hitting rock bottom, but you often don’t know you’ve hit rock bottom until you look back in history and pinpoint it. I think if you knew in the moment it was rock bottom, you would curl up in a ball right where you were and wait for the rapture.
I didn’t end up training long term with this trainer, I can’t even remember her name now. But not long after this fateful day in 2007, I met Candice. I have written a little bit about Candice here, and she’s a pretty shy person, so if she’s reading this she is likely to become 10 shades of red.
She is the most patient, supportive, intuitive and caring person you are likely ever to meet, and she has been my trainer since 2007. We have taken sabbaticals from training here and there, but for the most part, she’s been by my side for each of the 80 pounds I have shed.
She has gotten me a banana when I didn’t eat properly before a workout. She foam rolled my aching muscles until I could walk again. She has listened to and coached me through my diet woes. She doesn’t even know all the things she has done for me, but I remember them all.
Like the time she said, “you are getting so small!” No one had ever said that to me, in my life. Ever.
And the time she said, “somebody’s been doing their homework. Great job!” when I was able to master something I couldn’t quite do before.
She had confidence in me when I didn’t have any. She pushed me past what I thought were my limits to find my true potential. She helped me find my love for weight lifting (we’re still working on me loving cardio, but we’re not holding our breath.)
Candice gave me the most incredible gift. She gave me my life back. She handed me this glowing, magical ball of knowledge and it shines bright in my hands and my heart. It seems selfish to keep this gift to myself, hence this blog, and my side projects to find ways to help teens who are battling obesity.
The other way I hope to pass along Candice’s glowing, magical ball of knowledge is by becoming a personal trainer myself. That terrifies me even as I write it. I must be going crazy. Me? A personal trainer? Yes, me.
I am getting certified as a personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Not surprisingly, that is also where Candice is certified (among her dozens of other credentials.) As I study their methodology, I see how she designed programs for me that were challenging, but also built confidence. It’s a tough balance. It’s a nuanced relationship, but she finesses it perfectly.
I won’t give up my day job as a marketer, but I will always have fitness as a part of my life. I just hope I can use this knowledge to help even one person the way Candice helped me.