A year ago, when I was at the zenith of my unhappiness/verge of burning down my office if the stress and 13 hour work days did not cease, I employed a personal trainer. I needed someone who would kick my we-know-what into shape, which I had neither the time nor presence of mind to do.
I was asked at the gym if I wanted a male or female and I mentioned that I didn’t want a woman, because what out of shape gal wants that rubbed in their face every day? And, I didn’t want a guy, because I had worked out with one before, and I couldn’t climb into bed for a month, he had injured me so.
The solution? A gay trainer guy. He was perfect. I called him Thor, which was not his name. It made him giggle and it got me out of remembering his actual name. He was really tough with me, but diverted me with topics like fashion, celeb gossip, and boys. I lost a few pounds every week that I worked with him. He took my iPod and loaded it with excellent booty-shaking playlists to maximize my calorie burn when I worked out without him, listened when I vented about work and dating, and then offered appropriate commentary.
Instead of screaming, “I want to see 20 more, you fluffy nancy!” when I asked how many reps were left, Thor would calmly say, “Are you afraid of what doing too many more will do to your body? Now, let’s keep going and think about how we’re carving out that abdomen!”
Thor once asked me if I could work out during lunch, and I responded that I was a head-sweater who looked like trailer trash in a pony tail, and couldn’t shower at the gym because…ew. Thor replied,
“You should have it botoxed. To stop sweating.”
“Pardon?” I huffed while pumping out my 342nd Burpee .
“Your head,” he grinned his beefy, cosmetically bleached grin, “You should have your head botoxed. I do my back.”
“You (wheeze) are. Not. Right,” I shrieked, “My body (hack) obviously needs. To. Do. This.”
“And your chest,” he remarked.
I glanced down at that uni-thing sports bras create under your tank and looked up in confusion, still heaving.
“Push-ups?” I asked, already beginning to assume the position, “Botox?”.
“Ha, no. That won’t help. My mom had hers done. It was no biggie. Think about it,” he said the last part very seriously before marching his perky bottom over to a section of the gym I called the gorilla cage, because that was where men worked out with gallon jugs for water bottles, and arm holes cut out and down to the waist of their t-shirts because their muscles are just too big to contain.
It took me 2 days to understand what Thor was talking about.
So, for the past week, while the weather has been glorious, I’ve been recreating Thor’s workout in my backyard. It’s crippling, just like his were, and I am much more aware of how much work it is without his stories and veiled (not really) criticisms. I miss his placid, injected forehead and his high-pitched chuckles when I would attempt to crab walk for a minute, and his passive-agressive remarks on cosmetically altering myself. It’s his voice I hear in my head when my glutes are trembling in revolt and my head is shvitzing like a Fontana en Italia, cheering me on with encouraging words like, “Ohhhhhh, woman. We have got SO much work to do.” And, “I think you move more quickly at a Nordie’s shoe sale.” (fact).
Onward I trod. I am currently working on October’s issue of SELF, which has given me a workout for my lower half that promises to drop me down a jean size in 2 weeks. Have realized that anything that quick is going to hurt really, really badly. But, that’s how much I want it. Thank you, Thor, you oafy, chiseled, coach with sneakers a different color for every day of the week.