Taking me apart

The first day I went into the gym, and shook hands with my  coach he made me a promise.

“I’ll take you apart, then put you back together again — better.” It sounded cool and dramatic and I smiled about as I told my husband that night. I felt tougher just saying it.

Today I’m understanding what he meant. And it’s a lot tougher to smile. I promised I’d be honest writing about my experience, so here it is. I cried when I got home, pulverized, from my workout today. I don’t like being the “before” in a ‘before and after.’

As the ‘before,’ I know how much I have in front of me. How much painful, hard, gut-wrenching work is between the me I am and the me I should be. I actually enjoyed squats today because they were a respite from the wicked rowing machine that Coach said will stare at you and laugh in your face, and the torture of chin-ups.

Chin-ups. They sound like an innocent high-school PE exercise, but they’re murder. Four sets of five, along with the rowing and the squats (after the push-ups and lunges and warm-up on the rower). I couldn’t do a single chin-up on my own — Coach supported me and lifted me progressively more as I struggled through them, not allowing me to give up no matter how my arms shook. Even the Rocky IV soundtrack blasting couldn’t help here. There’s not wanting to quit, and then there’s physically just not being capable, and it was finding the meeting point that made me cry afterward. Wanting to do something just isn’t enough to make me able to do it and that’s hard to face.

It’s hours after I left the gym and my arms are still weak and a bit trembly, I still feel sick, and I have a pounding headache Google tells me may be an exertion headache brought on by intense exercise. In short, I’m having a whiney self pity party right about now.

Coach says in six months of work I should be able to do a single chin-up on my own, and in a year, do five. He explained that right now, at the beginning, I’m getting huge benefit from the effort of even attempting them. But naturally that means I want to prove I can do one in three months, and five in six months. But it’s going to take a lot of sweat, and yes, probably more tears, before I get there.


Later: Yes I can!

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