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I Failed “Standing”: Adventures In Personal Training - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
August 10th, 2017
09:17 am

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I Failed “Standing”: Adventures In Personal Training

So for my birthday, I got myself an expensive gift I didn’t want:

A personal trainer.

I don’t want a personal trainer because I hate exercise and I hate going someplace else to exercise and I hate paying money to have strangers judge my body.  But I also recognize that my fitness has never been great, and perhaps I don’t know how to push myself properly (which is a real concern when you have both heart problems and a proven inability to recognize fatal pain), and so I signed up for a couple of months with a personal trainer as an experiment.  Just to see whether it would make a difference.

And this trainer seemed nice.  She told me she was not the ooh-rah trainer who says you’re not done until you’re barfing. She was a physical therapist who’d dealt with heart patients before, and could make long-term changes conducive to my benefit.

So as I went to the trainer yesterday, I was nervous.  I’m not a weightlifter.  Would she have me doing laps around the gym?  Would it be the medicine ball?  Would I be completely useless after the session, my every muscle quivering?

As it turned out, my job was to stand there while they critiqued.

I failed at standing.

“See how his hip is turned out?” she asked her fellow trainer, who was called in for a consultation.  “All his weight is on his left foot.”

“Dangerous to let a man like that exercise,” the other trainer agreed, and I was shuttled off to a massage room where she jammed the inside of my hip, telling me to relax as she rammed stiff fingers dangerously close to my crotch, reminding me to breathe.

“You’re very shielded,” she said, wrenching me aside.  “I can’t get this muscle to release.”  And then, five minutes later: “That’ll do.”

She didn’t get it to release, but apparently she’d given up on me.

Then she had me breathe.

I failed breathing.

Apparently, there’s a way you breathe from your diaphragm in a way that makes your crotch tighten, and if that sounds sexy I assure you it was not.  All my breath was in, apparently, my chest.  It’s supposed to be in my diaphragm, which is to say my belly, and I did that wrong.  She had me on my knees, palm on my stomach, urging me to do something with my belly button to bring it against my spine, and eventually she sighed and called out, “We’re putting him on his back.  He can’t do the APT.”

Even on my back, I didn’t breathe properly.  She said, encouragingly, that I’d learn, but it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’ve just failed standing and breathing. I’m not sure what else there is to fail, but I’m sure I’ll find out.

So I have a sheet of exercises.  When I head towards the bathroom, I am instructed to take a moment in the hall to twist my leg and loosen the hip, or to stand with my back against the wall and press out.  My hip aches from where she pressed hard enough to bruise it.

I thought personal training would be gruelling – and to be fair, I was sweaty and tired at the end of it.  And I’m sure it’ll ramp up over time.

I just thought it would be more “You’re too weak to lift this weight” and less “You’re too incompetent to breathe,” you know?

 

 

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/585696.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(42 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
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From:andrewducker
Date:August 10th, 2017 02:27 pm (UTC)
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The journey from "unconscious incompetence" to "conscious incompetence" is a really useful one.

Even if it makes me feel incredibly stupid, every time.
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From:evelynne
Date:August 10th, 2017 03:19 pm (UTC)
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As uncomfortable as this all is, I hope that at the end of this you will feel better -- more energy, more flexible. To me, that's the goal of fitness.

The breathing thing is extremely common, so you are not alone!! I had to learn to do it, too. Very young children breathe correctly instinctively but something happens to adults and they start chest-breathing. It sounds crazy! This is the kind of article that helped explain it to me:

https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/how-to-activate-your-diaphragm-to-improve-breathing-and-performance
From:s0meh0w
Date:August 10th, 2017 03:22 pm (UTC)
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Might not be the right trainer for you. Sounds like she comes from a yoga background, don't get me wrong yoga is great but not for everyone you might need the more Richard Simmons kind of trainer.

Edited at 2017-08-10 03:23 pm (UTC)
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From:cynic51
Date:August 11th, 2017 02:13 am (UTC)
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On the other hand, this trainer seems to actually know things beyond the exercises. I'd call that a major plus.
From:anonymousalex
Date:August 10th, 2017 06:23 pm (UTC)
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Rather than thinking of it as "failure," perhaps it would be helpful to think of it as something you can learn to improve, and which will (hopefully) improve your life, without that nasty exercise thing we all hate.

-Alex
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From:Douglas Scheinberg
Date:August 10th, 2017 07:07 pm (UTC)
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That breathing thing is part of singing lessons, too...
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From:acelightning
Date:August 11th, 2017 02:08 am (UTC)
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Also public speaking, acting, and (at least sometimes) TV/radio announcing.
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From:franklanguage
Date:August 10th, 2017 07:24 pm (UTC)
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I never learned to breathe until I was in my 30s and getting acupuncture treatments at an acupuncture school. The students put a bunch of pins in my diaphragm—and it hurt!—and it became possible to breathe deeply. Before that—and I've been playing wind instruments since I was 11—I never breathed correctly; nobody taught me how.

I've also noticed a lot of people breathe from the chest, not the diaphragm—because your lungs are in the chest, y'know? But it's much more efficient to breathe into your gut, so as to take in the maximum amount of air.
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From:acelightning
Date:August 11th, 2017 02:16 am (UTC)
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You're not "incompetent" at standing or breathing - it's just that your body has fallen into some bad habits, which you need to un-learn. I don't know why most Western adults learn to breathe shallowly, instead of using the natural "belly breathing" they're born with, but it's woefully common. And if you stand with one hip tensed, that's probably the result of a long-forgotten minor injury that made you unconsciously tense the muscles in anticipation of pain, and your body just never stopped doing it after the injury healed. The starting point for undoing things like these is to become as consciously aware as possible of the everyday workings of your meat suit. (This will probably be very difficult for you at first. But it may very well improve your sex life.)
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From:franklanguage
Date:August 12th, 2017 03:40 am (UTC)
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This. I'm not saying I don't have a whole litany of bad habits in my daily living, but I try to learn from my mistakes.
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From:acelightning
Date:August 12th, 2017 08:43 am (UTC)
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I'm probably the least physically fit person I know - almost 70, twice a cancer survivor, fat, sedentary, and overly fond of things like rum, bacon, and cheesecake. But the one thing I've learned is, as I said, to be aware of what my body is doing and what messages it's sending me. (True, I shouldn't ignore sme of the things it tells me...)
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From:channelpenguin
Date:August 11th, 2017 10:27 am (UTC)
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I have to say i don't like the approach used by your trainers. Making your client feel totally inadequate is not a humanly-nice way of treating them, not very encouraging or motivating, IMO.

It also sounds llike their explanation of diapragmmatic breathing is a little confusing to say the least (if not downright wrong). From what you wrote, I read it that you have understood that they say the belly comes in on the in-breath - which is the exact opposite of what happens! So they are either wrong or did not explain it so you can understand it.

I would post a link to a diagram, but I can't, it gets me marked as spam!
From:anonymousalex
Date:August 12th, 2017 11:38 pm (UTC)
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I was giving the trainer the benefit of the doubt, that the author cherry-picked (if not outright massaged) the comments that fit in with the theme of "failing standing." But you're right, if your trainer is being a dick no amount of being right makes up for that.

-Alex
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From:pandorasfox
Date:August 15th, 2017 07:15 pm (UTC)
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you should try a chiropractor for what is going on with your hip, your trainer is not going to be able to fix that and working out until then is just going to be your body fighting against its self.
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