I take this stuff seriously. In the beginning it was kind of a novelty. An amusing foray into a culture that wasn’t mine. I was like an anthropologist, standing outside as an observer, studying, marveling.

But you can’t pour as much sweat and determination and sometimes tears as I have into something like this, and fling your whole body into it, without eventually finding yourself in it for real. And somewhere between my first chin-up and my 10th, getting strong became as vital to me as anything else I love to do in this world.  And if I take it this seriously, I need to be taken seriously.

So when I’m grinding through a brutal workout —  whether it’s skullcrushers or the dreaded wall-sits, or endless Turkish sit-ups — when my coach won’t even think of letting me give up, sometimes I wish with the part of me that’s still weak that he’d let me stop, that he’d take the weight off me. But the strong side, that’s getting stronger, would never accept that. And that’s what I’m most grateful for — that he’s taking me seriously. Where a lot of well-meaning other trainers might never have taken someone like me seriously, Ben has demanded that I put everything I have into this, every minute that I’m training and has never cut me an instant’s slack. And I wouldn’t have it any other way (just maybe don’t ask me that when I’m halfway through a wall-sit)


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