The Good Trainer

OK, so I’m not Pearl Buck.

Some of you actually got that.

A few months ago I experienced a momentous change in my life.  About as fully recovered as I was going to be (plus a few extra months of recovery for good measure) I made the decision that it was time finally to get serious about my fitness.  I had always had a vague goal in mind to look good.  Every man does.  But, try as I had over 20 years I had never reached that goal.  I didn’t know what I was doing and found it difficult to commit to what needed to be done.  This time was different.  I have this stone table in the back of my mind and on it are etched the words: “Don’t let this happen again.”  This was the second time my spine has been taken apart and reassembled.  There might not be an option ten years from now except a wheelchair.

I looked around for help.  I found a friend whom I had always been afraid to approach for training.  The thing is, I reasoned, he’s very busy.  He’s got kids like I do, a wife, a home, and his own very active training regimen.  The guy appears to run half-marathons every day before breakfast (which, by the way, he prepares himself from scratch because he’s a gourmet).  Plus, he’s not going to take me seriously.  Trainer-types never have time for the little people (I thought).  What helped me get over that was when I talked with him in terms similar to what I mentioned above and expressed my level of commitment he seemed genuinely interested in helping me.

Don’t let this happen again.

We set a goal.  We set a few goals.  I wanted to be able to run 2 miles.  I wanted to be able to do more pull-ups.  I wanted, in short, to be Adonis.  Well, I wanted to be shredded, kind of like him, of course.

How’d that work out, you ask?

This past Saturday I completed my first 5K.  I ran slower than I wanted to.  He assured me the humidity played a big part in that.  Nonetheless, he encouraged me and told me I did great.  And then as if to show me a new goal, he went out and easily sprinted a 10K after work today.  And like that I have a new goal!

December 16th is the WORST time to try to double down on a commitment like this…

Have I gotten stronger, leaner, fitter?  I think so.  Am I anywhere near my goal?  Not by a long shot (at least not in my eyes).  Somebody tell me I’m wrong!  Ha.  But I can at least do some pull-ups (and properly, too) and I can use a kettlebell when I couldn’t before and I’ve had people comment on how much better I’m looking so that’s good.  On that last point, look…  It’s not about vanity (although it kind of is).  But that look I’m going for is THE metric for the fitness level I want.

Diet’s a big part of this transformation too.  Some of you might even know what I’m talking about when I say that December 16th is the WORST time to try to double down on a commitment like this.  But I asked him tonight straight up if he thought I had a chance of getting in his kind of shape.  By the way, the key phrase here is “six pack” just so we’re not beating around the bush.  I expected to hear one of his standard answers.  “I’ve been doing this for years so don’t get your hopes up,” or “It takes time to see results like that,” or “No.”  Instead he responded:

“It takes one thing.  Commitment.  No bullshit, no excuses, no shortcuts.”

OK trainer-man.  Game on.  I think I’ve demonstrated that I can commit.  Here’s what I’m asking you to commit to.  Stick with me, please.  Stick it out for three more months.  You set the targets, you set the indicators.  You want me to go for a 10K by March?  I’m there.  Do you believe I can do it because I’ll be more likely to believe it myself if you honestly see it in me.  Kettlebell twice a week like that brutal workout you gave me that time?  I’m down.  And tell me when you think I should change it up, too.  Supplements?  I’ve already familiarized myself with something called “green superfood” which sounds like a snack food for Kermit the Frog because of your say-so.  Anything else?  You do realize how much trust I have in you, right?  So let’s do it.

I have to mention at this point that the best thing about this trainer, the thing that makes him the “good trainer” is something that has absolutely nothing to do with fitness.  I just enjoy hanging out with him.  Over the past couple of years he’s become somewhat like a brother.  True, each of us has an abundance of male siblings.  I have 7 and he has 6; but since neither of us live close to any of them and since we seem to get along pretty decently, well, looks like a fraternal bond to me.  Throw in some alcohol and a few tobacco products on the very rare Saturday night (I don’t smoke anymore except in such instances and he’s hardly ever actually able to hang out), and it’s either a recipe for success or disaster.

Now if he tells me to stop drinking…

One response to “The Good Trainer

  1. You can do it, Harvey! Make sure to take notes and pictures of your progress. Maybe next year I’ll get a calendar of you! 🙂

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