I started working out twice a week with a personal trainer. I needed help with my balance, finding myself falling toward the wall or railing when I walked up and down the stairs to the basement where the treadmill resides. I also wanted help with maintaining my weight, so I signed up for twelve personal training sessions at the gym that Douglas and I love.
My personal trainer is the owner, Abbe, who calls me Ms. Regina, although we are only about ten years difference in age, but I recognize it as a sign of respect learned in black culture, so it’s all good. Abbe became a competitive bodybuilder in her 50s, and she still attends conferences. She is an inspiration to the young and old who come to her gym, a black woman about to open a second gym in west Georgia! Astounding!
One of the first lessons that she taught me was to not obsess about the numbers on the scale. She told me that I could be 125 pounds and wear a size eight, or work on buliding muscle and strength and be 125 pounds in a size four or six. She really emphasizes fitness over the BMI or weight, and she stresses believing in what you can accomplish. Her boards are full of inspirational sayings that help motivate her clients. Her motto is “Your health is yourwealth!”
She also stresses commitment, staying the course even when nothing seems to be happening. As two black Christian women, she and I talk a lot about the importance of faith in weight loss, setting goals that are attainable, but not being afraid to dream of bigger possibilities, and not being discouraged by small or even teeny gains. I like things to happen fast, and I can be ready to just stop if I am not feeling like I am moving forward. That is the history of my weight-loss journey and why it took me so long to settle in and start to lose the weight.
But, for all of her niceness, that “sistah” is a tough taskmaster who means busines! I had her laughing on Thursday when I asked her what fresh “hell” she had in store for me. At first, I was afraid that I would hurt my very sensitive back, but Abbe makes sure that I learn to do the exercises and work on the equipment in the right ways. And even though I hurt in places that I didn’t know were parts of my body, I haven’t had a serious problem, which is almost counterintuitive, for me. She keeps reminding me to relax my shoulder muscles, and in front of the mirror, I am always surprised that my shoulders are hunched up toward my neck, something that has become normal and that I have to learn to overcome to prevent pain in my back.
I admit that I have never been so glad to reach a set number, such as ten reps on the machine for strength-training of the legs or arms or my core. Sometimes, I think that I can’t continue because of pain, but actually I have been surpised and thankful for what I can endure. I always feel so proud of myself afterwards, and I love it when Abbe says, “Good job, Ms. Regina!” From now on we will start doing more than one set of reps, of 12 to 15, so pray for me, please!