Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gym Class Heroes

I think the last time I learned ten new vocabulary words in one day, I was like three months old.  But after my friend M and I spent an hour with a trainer at the gym tonight, I’m speaking a whole new language.  I still speak the old one too though, and that’ll come in handy tomorrow when I have to ask one of my children to brush my teeth for me because I can’t move my arms.

M and I have been pretty serious about working out the last couple of months.  Or what I considered serious before tonight.  We were familiar with the machines and we spoke freely of sets and reps.  Who knew that was the tip of the iceberg?

Our new friend, J, offered to donate his services and help us take off the training wheels and learn how to do a "real" workout.  He offered on Monday night after we had spent the last hour doing what was apparently a make believe workout, that gave us imaginary soreness, and pretend perspiration. 

We met him tonight full of nervous excitement over what we would do and learn, but with a back-up plan of “If this gets too hard, one of us has to fake a serious injury and the other has to drive them immediately to the doctor.”

First up, the bench, the quintessential weightlifting experience.  But, despite my affinity for exercise and trying new things, I’d never been on it before.  The two of us going over into free weights land was a bit like teenagers sneaking into a nightclub with fake IDs.  We totally didn’t belong, but we tried to blend in.  Inasmuch as two confused giggling girls can blend in over there.

J explained good bench press form to us, showed us how it’s done, then took all of his weights off.  I bravely assumed the position and then looked up at my new trainer, wondering when he was going to add my weights.  He smiled and said, “Just try it with the bar.”  I smiled back, lifted the bar, then didn’t smile again for quite some time.  I don’t know how much the bar weighs, and maybe some of you do, but I’d like you to pretend you don’t, because I’m going to estimate it at seventy pounds right now and I need to believe that until my arms stop crying.

Not that they’re crying from just that.  Everything he made us do was extremely hard, and if we ever weren’t making an ugly this-is-killing-me face, he increased the weight and made it harder.  But he didn’t just torture us and give us seizures in our arms.  He also educated us.

He taught us the difference in compound and isometric exercises.  There’s a chance that my ninth grade biology teacher went over that, but I was too busy writing love letters to my boyfriend to notice.  J also taught us about drop sets and super sets.  Before today I was only familiar with twin sets and sunsets.  He explained what it means to go negative, and a few other terms that escape me because I’m in an ibuprofen induced haze.

But my favorite favorite favorite new word that I picked up tonight is “Diesel.”  M and I were telling him how we want to be fit and toned, but not scary looking like some of the women we see at the gym.  And he assured us that he wouldn’t let us get “too Diesel.”  As in Vin Diesel, the action star, an apparent gold standard for males who workout.

I’m a suburban housewife and mother of three that likes napping and frozen yogurt; I don’t think there’s a big risk of me getting too Diesel.  But, I do intend to make that name turned adjective a new staple of my vocabulary.  Like when the pool opens on Saturday and M and I are lounging by it, I will most definitely look over at my tiny friend and say, “Girl, you’re lookin’ Diesel!”

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