Personal Trainer Love

I worked out with a personal trainer. And felt like an athlete again.

Let me explain: I am so not a personal trainer kind of person. I’m a run-barefoot-in-the-woods-and-be-free kind of person. But Tim and I are trading sessions: I life coach him, he personal trains me. And I was curious. What does a personal trainer do?

I guess I expected to get yelled out, to be told to gut it out, to be shamed somehow. What I didn’t expect was to feel so loved.

I told him that my goal was to learn how to be a 40-year-old athlete. I was a pretty strong 20-year-old athlete and a pretty strong 30-year-old athlete. Now, at 41 (after one caesarean and one VBAC), I just get hurt. Tim said that was easy.

A couple of week ago, I decided to work on my core so I did pushups after a run. I barely managed two reps of about three trembling pushups. (I used to be able to do lots.) And tweaked out my neck (an old whiplash injury) and my back (an old bulging disc) and didn’t run again for two weeks.

Tim told me to do 15 push ups. And I did them. We repeated the circuit and I did another 15 pushups. I freaking did 30 pushups. Two days later (plus a couple of Ibu), I feel great. What’s going on?

He carefully watched each rep and corrected my form. I felt seen and safe.

He told me I had great form. I felt strong.

He told me, “Good job!” I felt impressive.

Something that seemed impossible when I tried by myself was – not necessarily easy, but doable with that kind of encouragement.

Tim probably tells all his clients that they’re doing a good job. But that was entirely irrelevant to me in the moment: I felt encouraged and supported and loved. And I felt like an athlete.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about the power of that small gift of encouragement. Whom did I last encourage? Whom did I miss? And whom do I want to give that small gift to?