Reformer to the Rescue

Working out with a trainer helps to push a person physically further than they usually will go on their own.  A trainer will also show a person new exercises to change the way the muscle breaks down and rebuilds. That also alleviates the boredom that comes with doing the same routines. A few times in my life I have had a trainer and each time it has pushed me further than I thought I could go, forced me out of my comfort zone and helped me heal emotionally as well.

The last trainer I had was Lauren. She was all of 23 when I met her with a heart and soul I needed at the time. Her ability to push me without making me feel bad about my body or my discomfort was uncanny. I would say I can’t, she would help me see that I could by modifying and being there for me. Her heart allowed me to share my fears and we slowly worked through them as she guided me to push my body in ways I didn’t know I could. I never could do a burpee before Lauren. At first she allowed me to step back instead of jump back until I built up both the confidence and the body awareness to understand what I was doing. She wasn’t easy on me, but she was caring and gentle, which allowed me to build body confidence and begin to forget that there was an entire gym there judging me. I thought they were anyway, I learned that nobody was watching me. That was me judging me.

Unfortunately after 3 years of training with Lauren, she left the gym and I needed to seek out other help. The next trainer was more like Jillian on Biggest Loser…yelling at me, without a care about how I was feeling. She thought that was motivational because that is what she needed. Yeah, that doesn’t motivate me, that intimidates me and assures my psyche that I am fucking up somehow! I found myself not being able to get to the gym as much; I didn’t want to see her even on the days I wasn’t training with her. That relationship didn’t last very long!

I haven’t had a trainer since. I thought I was doing great working out on my own. Lauren had taught me a lot and I thought I was pushing myself all on my own.  Instead of feeling great though, I found that I was playing with the same 5 pounds over and over again and my body wasn’t as strong or fit as it had been. In fact, the amount of cellulite had increased (I so dislike the getting older skin elasticity thing!). My arms weren’t shaped as they once were and I realized that I wasn’t really pushing myself.  And my confidence had waned.

So I recently decided I needed to try something different, for my body and for my mind. I was starting to retreat and isolate myself, starting to make my knee an excuse and believing that I wasn’t worthy of feeling good. My mind sometimes scares me with how dark it can go. I pull myself out of it often, but I knew I needed something else to help.

And the universe answered my call for help. Out of nowhere, I received an email from my gym recommending a free demonstration of Pilates on the reformer.  I decided I would try this as I have a friend who swears by this type of exercise, for both changing her body and settling her mind. The first instructor and I had a lot of trouble scheduling the demo. She didn’t work weekends and I had trouble getting there during the week. She finally gave my information to Barbie. Barbie was much more flexible and was able to schedule a demo on a Sunday morning. We met for about 50 minutes. I was sold.

I signed up for 6 one on one sessions with her. The next week we were there at 9am on Saturday morning to begin my journey. My first thought looking at this machine is that it is a torture chamber. There are straps and bars and a table top that moves with tension/resistance. All I could think of was this is going to hurt like hell! When she had my foot in the straps I laughed out loud. I felt like I was in the gynecologist office. She laughed with me, not at me. At one point she wanted me to stand on the machine. She saw the look of terror on my face and immediately asked me if I was ok. I was so afraid of trying to step up on the machine with nothing to hold onto there were already tears in my eyes. I was as surprised as she was by my reaction. Barbie changed up the next exercise so I didn’t have to step up. She never asked me a question or judged me; she just modified the routine and helped me continue to gain my confidence.

During week 2 she asked me what was holding me back from stepping up on the machine so she could help me. I explained that I was afraid of that size step without holding onto anything. This is where my mind dictates my body, my fear gets in the way. I allow my fear to stop me. I started to cry and I could see her compassion and care kick in. She brought over a box and a bar. I could easily step up on the box and then onto the reformer and she just took away the big step that I was afraid would make me unsteady. The bar was something I could hold onto. And next thing I knew, I was on the reformer and doing this amazing exercise for my hips and legs. I did it with tears streaming down my face, mostly from relief that I didn’t fall and from gratitude because this woman helped me begin to overcome a fear. She also did something for my mind, and my heart. She cared. She cared enough to help me without making me feel bad.

I felt great after the session and hugged her. She was exactly what I needed. Her style of training, her heart, her smile and the ease at which we talked reminded me so much of Lauren. I left the gym thinking about how much the universe answered me with Barbie.

I also left realizing that I will no longer let fear get in the way of living. No more.

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