Evil Jen

I joined a gym about a block from my work about 6 weeks ago. One thing they do for all new members is assign you to have two personal training sessions. The fist session is a fitness assessment – you get weighed & calipered to assess body fat, heart rate & blood pressure are tested, your VO2 max is calculated on an exercycle. Tests for overall fitness included a series of push-ups, sit-ups, squats and measures of flexibility. So the first session was OK if a bit depressing. I know what I should be able to do and but my upper body strength is currently non-existent.

For my second session, just Wednesday night, I met with Evil Jen. Actually she’s not truly evil; I hurt today as I knew I would and & we had joked that I would be thinking of her as evil. I am. Granted I asked her to push me hard and warned her that I was sadly unfit outside of my cardiovascular health. I have been going to the gym 2 or 3 times a week running sprint intervals for about 3 miles a pop. I am back to running 3 miles in just under 30 minutes. This part is fine.

Jen focused on strength training. We started with bar bell squats, moved to lunges on a bosu ball. Most every exercise recruited multiple muscle groups by design. She likes sets of 15 to 20, done twice – I’ve generally done sets with fewer than 12 reps in the past. The core exercises, done at the end, were fun and made use of stability and medicine balls. The middle, working chest, shoulders and back, was simply brutal. She likes range of motion exercises so there was some cable work as well as some chest press exercise where the weight was lifted not only straight up but over to each side at about 30 degree angles away from center. Doing each location (left, right, center) was 1 rep – lets do 2 sets of 20 after killing me with push-ups. She had to spot me on the 25 lb plate I was using for this. I am very weak in my upper body but at home I can still use my 25 lb dumbbells to press (twice the weight but only straight up, and not after push-ups). The shoulder exercises (lateral & front raises) involved standing on one leg with the other held high.

By the time she was done with me I was grateful to go sit in the Jacuzzi for a bit. Even after a long soak I could barely raise my arms enough to drive home safely. The next day I was struggling with the stairs. Oh my quads. I was also very aware of my core.

This was my first real experience with a personal trainer. I’m tempted but it’s quite expensive  ($75 per 1 hour session! – only about $60 each if you commit to 24 sessions) at my health club. I see the advantage, much of which is simply paying someone to meet you there to make sure you get it done, who will laugh with/at you while you struggle to finish the set.  I need to try out some of the group fitness stuff. I never thought I was a joiner but a class might be just what I need at this point.