Friday, October 5, 2012

Kick in the Pants

Sometimes we all need a little kick in the pants. Like say you are going about your business everyday, thinking you are a good, hard working individual. An opportunity for a promotion pops up, so you apply. Your interview goes well, you start getting excited for all the manicures you can afford with a new salary, and then, you don't get the job. Or like how you go to the gym everyday and kick your butt (or so you think) and then a new trainer comes along and TAKES AWAY YOUR HEAVIER WEIGHT AND REPLACES IT WITH A LIGHTER ONE. Or how you think you have this awesome sex life and then your boyfriend cheats on you. Clearly these scenarios are hypothetical. Except for maybe a trainer replacing my 35# Kb with a 25# Kb during single arm Kb thrusters in a warm up. And clearly, I'm over it.

Seriously though. An event or action or decision or circumstance that rockets you out of your comfort zone and gives you a split second view of reality often is the best possible thing that can happen. Chances are you won't see it like that at the time, but eventually, you will. Upon receiving the "kick in the pants," there are two options. Continue along the same path you are currently on, or change somehow, someway, something. After not getting the promotion, one might re-evaluate how hard they are working versus how hard they think they are working and make some adjustments. Or one might just get bitter. Upon learning your bf is cheating on you, one might leave him. Or, some (I don't know who) would ignore it/pretend its not happening. See what I'm getting at?

This new trainer at my gym is turning out to be a kick in the pants.
1) The first time I we ever met- without her ever have seen me do anything, or knowing my history, abilities, or anything she made me change to a lighter weight Kb than I normally use for things.
This had several different effects on me. First I was kind of irritated. I mean, I chose a weight I was comfortable with. Who was she to change that? Then, when I used the lighter weight she gave me and it was like stupidly easy, I felt like I was super strong. Yeah, I'll show her! Lastly, I realized that maybe I'm an idiot and I need to just let her do her job, and stop being obsessed with the numbers on the side of a Kb, as if that is somehow a reflection of my worth.

2) Same day- post workout. It was my second workout back from 2 weeks off (honeymoon, etc.). I felt ok cardio/lung wise but it was clear from our toes to bar segment of the workout that some of my grip strength had left me. She called me over to the pull-up bars after a 12 minute workout that involved many toes to bar. My hands were shot. She told me she wanted me to practice "pulling down the bar" as I swung my legs up towards the bar. I grabbed onto the bar, swung wildly, more like I was being electrocuted than a controlled swing. I jumped down, looked at her, and she said flatly "ok. we're done with that for today." Then she went on to say "but, before class everyday, I want you practicing these scap pulls*."

3) The second time we ever met- everyone in class was setting up their stations for a circuit of push-pull-squat-lunge-twist-flex-extend. Any barbell moves were to be done with 65# for girls, 95# for boys. The workout was 4 rounds of: unknown reps of each of the following movements- push press (65#), Sumo Deadlift High Pull (65#), box jumps, lunge-jump over cone, Russian twist, sit-ups, back extensions. The reps were to be decided by a deck of cards, and change each time they are "dealt" over the four rounds. I set up my bar for 65#, and trainer comes over to me and says "um, can you push press 65#?" I looked at her kinda funny, and said "yes." I was thinking Really? Who can't push press 65#? Then she said, "well some people pick a weight they can sumo high pull, but they can't push press it" and walked away.

4) Same day- post workout. I chalked up my hands and walked over to the pull-up bar. It was just me and new trainer in the gym now, since pretty much everyone leaves right after the workout. I told her I need to get on a program for my pull-ups, and she told me to start doing 50 pull-ups after every workout that didn't include pull-ups. I stared at her blankly. "I can't even do one unassisted." "Well, thats fine" she said. "Work on those scap pulls. Do 50." I grabbed onto the bar and did 10. Rested, did 13 more, then went for more chalk/escape (my hands were killing me). We were just talking about stuff, and I was planning on heading out. Then she says "um, I know you haven't done 50 yet." Damn. I see how this is going to be. I got back on the bar and I could only knock out 5 or so at a time. I had to keep re-chalking cause my palms get so damn sweaty. Then my forearms seized up into one huge cramp in each arm. Its a feeling I've had many times at Crossfit, so no need to panic, just shake it out. Non-chalantly I mentioned my fore-arms were on fire. Not as a complaint, just a fact, and she says almost sarcastically, but definitely with no sympathy "oh, I'm sorry." It made me laugh so hard. It was right then I fell in love, and finished my last 7 scap pulls.

New kick in the pants trainer, I love you. I don't want to be coddled, I don't want to be babied, I just want the facts, and I realize the harder I work, the harder you are going to work with me. See, its not YOUR responsibility to make me better. Its MY responsibility. You will do everything in your power to help me, but it needs to come from me. Challenge accepted.

*Scap pulls- short for scapula pulls- hanging from a pull-up bar, engage your shoulders and pull your shoulder blades (scapula) together. When done properly (even adding in a little controlled swing) your body gets a slight upwards lift towards the bar. The better you get at it, the more height you get.


  1. Awesome! She knows what motivates you, she pushed your buttons.

  2. Twelve years of Catholic school have permanently ingrained a "do as you're told" mindset in me. It quiets my inner rebel to this day. As frustrating as it is when Mark has me on the lower weights, I accept that he knows his shit and it's all part of a Grand Plan to Make Norma More Beast. :) I'm gonna try scap pulls today on my tower at home. :)

  3. Love trainers that really can push you to be your best.

  4. I find with CrossFit it's hard to sometimes check your 'ego' - I hate having to lift lighter weights, even if it is for my own good. It's just my mind talking. I gotta trust my trainer. Love your perspective change. I need to check my own!