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More Fitness Stuff, and Another Question

So, I went ahead and re-joined the Rosslyn Gold's. I haven't been there in about 4 years, and I have to admit, it feels much nicer now. It's set up more like a no-nonsense place where people attend to their health and strength, and less like the kind of place where people go to see and be seen.

Here's the other thing; since my membership comes with one free session with a personal trainer, I agreed to try that out. The conversation I had with the head of their new in-house personal training department was sort of amusing. He wanted to tell me about how they'll help me keep track of how much weight I'll lose, how many inches I'll lose… but when I said "how about how strong I'm getting? And how much weight I'm lifting?" he genuinely did a double take.

Sigh. I was being advised yesterday to set positive goals, rather than subtractive ones. Excellent advice. But sadly, it seems like trainers still expect "girls" to be primarily concerned about their dress size, and not interested in gaining muscle, and strength as well as cardiovascular health.

So I am going in to see the trainer they hooked me up with tomorrow. However, I'm thinking of refusing to let them take my measurements. Weight, body fat and body composition analysis are great. Assessments of my flexibility and cardiovascular condition, most certainly. But I want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm not there to shrink. I'm there to get healthy.

I realize this is an emotional reaction, but I don't think it's unreasonable. I'm not squeamish about my weight. I know what it is, and I'm not one of those people who prefers to ignore it because it would stress me out to know. But it's not that big an issue for me. I assume, if I am working out regularly, and my cardiovascular condition, my flexibility and my strength are improving, how can my body shape do anything other than improve?


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
That sounds right-on to me, and I bet you will get a better session from the trainer if you make your goals clear at the beginning.

(And those body fat tests are insane... the one time I got assessed by a gym, they told me I was in "endurance athlete" range, which was absolute nonsense. I had little fat but very little muscle either, and could barely run up the one flight of stairs to the gym.)
Aug. 2nd, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the affirmation!

I know that as soon as I let someone make this be about "looking good in cute clothes," my feminist ire will kick in, and my commitment to exercising will shut down. In fact, I feel myself getting hot just talking about it.

That's always been one of my problems. I can't help feeling like the fitness industry is sort of the enemy. So how the hell could it possibly help me? Argh. It's a dilemma.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
I think you should tell the trainer, "I want to measure how strong I am getting and how much flexibility I have gained, not how much weight I am losing." Be very upfront about it. I understand your discomfort with trainers, but when I went to the Gold's in Clarendon, I had a GREAT trainer for whom that was actually the focus. In fact, he told me not to get on the scale EVER, and pulled me off of the Zone diet the nutritionist had me on because the amount I could lift was getting lower by the week. He was a big, BIG believer in the idea that cardio and muscular fitness were far more important than weight.

Er, so, yeah.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC)
We'll see how he responds to it. The guy I'm going to work with seems cooler than the Boss-man I talked with yesterday. I wonder what he'll have to say on the topic of nutrition? People's heads just spin when I tell them I'm on a variation of South Beach, but I'm a committed vegetarian of 20 years. Just doesn't make it easy for people to advise me regarding food.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't put too much stock in the free training session...in my experience they just try and get you to sign up for more sessions. And the computerized questionnaire they had me fill out was CRAZY personal. For cancer screening purposes, they asked me things like how many sexual partners I had and how old I was when I lost my virginity! (Yeah, already had cervical cancer, got the t-shirt, thx.)

Get the basic routine, and add weight when it gets too easy. And ask vicar for advice.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC)
Yay! That's like 4 of us "family" there now.

In the session they will probably try to sell you more, no doubt. I think you should be very up front (not mean, just up front) about your goals. You could even point out they are positive / gain goals rather than negative / lose goals.

I see Lori there - and am more than happy to give my half-assed advice. My scheudle there is a bit weird though, Mon and Thur maybe after work - but now I bike monday evenings so it's rougher. Sat and Sun they have boxing, but I have a boxing class earlier Sat and Sun I often hike. Either way, there is me here in cyber if you want pieces of advice.

Honestly, I wish there were more see and be seen. I feel pretty when I'm stared at (when I'm not scared I look horrendous).
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC)
Kewl! Maybe we should have t-shirts printed up or something. Black T-shirt, natch.

Honestly, I wish there were more see and be seen. I feel pretty when I'm stared at (when I'm not scared I look horrendous).

Don't you get ogled enough out at Alchemy and ChOScO?
Aug. 2nd, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
Er, not that I mean to discourage you. Just be prepared for a little BS and take what they say with a grain of salt.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:51 pm (UTC)
Uh. They do not get information about my sexual history. Blargh, what's wrong with these people? They aren't MDs.

And they already *have* tried to sell me a bunch of sessions. They tried to sell me three sessions a week at $65 per session. Which comes to something like three and a half times our monthly house bills.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)
I guess it's good to have someone screening for cancer risk factors, since a lot of people don't go to the doctor. But, um, yeah. I was kind of stunned.

(I lied, BTW. In retrospect I should have just not answered...)
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:03 pm (UTC)
I bet they're selling statistical data to somebody.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
You are so right on with the not going by negative changes. Wish I'd done that.
Other, positive, ways of tracking change: Before I started doing yoga stretches every day, I couldn't reach the top shelf of the bookcases, and I couldn't change the light bulbs in the kitchen even when standing on the stepladder. Now I totally can. I can also tie my shoes without bending my knees and shave my legs by propping my heel on the wall above me.
I can change the water bottle in the cooler now, too -before I couldn't even pick the damn thing up off the ground- and I can carry all the groceries in at once.
My balance has also improved tremendously, but I can't think of a solid way to track that, other than just noticing...
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:52 pm (UTC)
Those kinds of changes are harder to see as concrete, since you can't track them on a chart. But to me, they are much more important.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
Heh. As I always say, everyone suffers in a highly gender-conscious society. Not just women.

You should have told you you were just kind of "metro" :)
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC)
The best workout experience I had was in college, when I took a fitness class that required us to work out 3 times a week. I tracked the weight I lifted, and my goal was to increase my strength.

When I weighed myself at the end of the semester, I had lost 3 pounds. 3. But I looked and felt WAY better. So fuck the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat.

Also, keep in mind that you WANT to hang onto that extra fat for when the apocalypse happens. Who's going to survive-- the fashion victims with 3% body fat who can't walk a mile without falling over, or the people with reserves of fat and of strength? Rah.

I have to find a gym once I move. I loved working out at my last place.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC)
Excellent points to keep in mind. Thanks!

You know, I was under the impression that you had already moved?
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
Ack, no! Right now the goal is to put the house on the market right after Labor Day. We did close on the new house, thanks to my dad's help, so maybe that's what you're thinking of.

Another good thing about living in Florida is that my apocalypse preparations will make sense as "hurricane preparations." And no one will think I'm being paranoid. :) Dude, I'm going to be so set.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
Trainers are people too, usually. Some of them are strange pod people, but most of them are people. The trainer/client relationship is actually a lot like a therapist/client relationship, in that it's important -- and possible -- to find one with whom there's a good click.

Or so I've heard :>

Yay strong girls! I can't wait to hear about the first time you stack a machine! I know it's a goofy thing, but the sense of Raa! I'm fierce! is delicious and indescribable and I *know* you'll love it.

I'm going to make you a lifting mix, specifically.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC)
(Stacking: If you use machines in addition to freeweights, that is.)
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you, honey! *sniffle* I don't deserve you people! You're so good to me! *sob*
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
Curves bullied me into getting measured. They pulled this BS line about how I should be proud of my curvy figure, but loss of inches is what goes up on the wall. Sigh. I should have known to walk out right then.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I'm sorry to hear that. It's such an ugly situation. A place founded on anti-woman principles (if you ask me) just cannot be fundamentally pro-woman.

But, OTOH, you hear all this stuff about how good and empowering the place is, and how we have an obligation to support woman-owned businesses.

I just had to get away from there before the irony made my head explode.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
Just show 'em this picture...
Aug. 2nd, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
"Make me look like this! Only... a little less British."
Aug. 2nd, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC)
I go for extreme blutness. Say "I'm interseted in being stronger and having better cardiovascual health, not in being skinnier. I do not want you to address issues of weight loss. " If he starts ome kind of diet bullshit, interrupt and remind him that you do not care. If he does it twice, speak to the manager.
Aug. 2nd, 2005 11:35 pm (UTC)
Here here. You know what you need to do. Don't allow yourself to be bullied by the thick neck folks at the gym. They have no life but working out - you are *so* on the right track.

I am finding that I really just want to feel better and knowing that my heart is healthier is more of a motivator than anything else. Yes, I stepped on the scale the other day. Yes it sucked. However, the trainer reminded me that muscle weighs more and that I needed to stay the hell off of the scale.

I am so happy for you. Getting there is half of the battle.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )