Posted by: Marie | January 21, 2013

(777) Calling all cheerleaders

Post #777
[Private journal entry written on Friday, February 10, 2012 at 3:00pm]

Early this afternoon, I went to the gym to do my usual lightweight workout on the treadmill. When I got to the main entrance, there was a guy waiting to get in. He didn’t have a little electronic dongle key that gives members access to the building. The gym has had a problem with members letting unauthorized people in, so there is a big sign on the door that warns members will be charged a $25 guest pass fee if we let someone follow us into the gym.

So, when the guy asked if he could follow me in, I pointed out the sign and expressed hesitation. He showed me a business card of one of the trainers and pointed out that the office was scheduled to be open at that time (but it was not) and he should have been able to just walk in the guest entrance without my help (which is true) and he said he was supposed to meet the trainer for an evaluation . . .

The guy seemed legitimate . . . and I recognized the trainer whose photo was on the business card as the trainer I’ve been watching and considering hiring as my own trainer . . . so, I decided I would let the guy in but that I would keep an eye on him and make sure he really did meet up with Kyle, the trainer. (I didn’t know his name was Kyle until I saw his name on the business card.)

About 15 minutes later, Kyle walked in and started looking around like he was searching for someone. The guy I had let in had started working out and hadn’t noticed that Kyle had arrived – I figured they must not have met in person before because Kyle was fairly close to the guy and didn’t seem to know it. So, I hollered out, “Hey, Kyle” and pointed to the guy. Kyle went over to the guy and connected with him . . . they started talking . . . so, I guess the guy’s story was legit.

Photo by Martin Chen

Photo by Martin Chen

About half-an-hour later, as I was finishing up my time on the treadmill, I noticed they were finishing up their consultation. I got off the treadmill and started packing up to leave. As I was walking out, Kyle thanked me for helping him out. And, I said, “Oh, by the way, do you have a couple of minutes? I’d like to run something by you . . .”

I only had about three minutes to spare as I had a piano lesson right after my workout. But, I figured I could talk to him for those three minutes . . .

I explained to him that I have a general idea of the type of program I would like to do, but I need some guidance on the specifics of how to implement it. And, I would like some feedback on whether or not I’m doing the exercises effectively and safely. I told him I don’t need a trainer every time I work out, but I would like a trainer to spend some time with me every month or two to spot check my progress.

I paused . . . and debated about going a bit further in my inquiry . . . I wanted to ask about how comfortable he is with working with someone like me who is dealing with PTSD and traumatic somatic memory . . . I decided to go for it . . .

As soon as I opened my mouth to ask him about that, I got tears in my eyes – a lot of tears – I wasn’t sobbing, but I was definitely crying. I said to him (through the tears), “By the way, I was assaulted and I’m dealing with PTSD. I’m in therapy for all of that and I’m trying to incorporate healthy habits, but I can’t have someone else pushing me out of my comfort zone because that is triggering for me. You can give me some guidelines like: ‘Here is where to start and when you are ready you can bump it up to here’, but you would have to let me be in charge – I need to be in charge and I need you to not push me.”

He responded, “It’s not my style to push hard – I encourage, but I would never push hard, especially if you have issues around that. We don’t want you to be triggered; that’s not helpful to you. It’s not my job to push you that hard. My job would be to train you on how to work out on your own; that would be my goal. It absolutely can be within your control. You can tell me what kind of program you feel comfortable doing and I might throw out suggestions, but it would absolutely be you telling me what you’re comfortable with, and then I’ll work within those parameters. That approach better supports longevity of healthy practices . . . and I’m all about establishing and maintaining long-term healthy habits.”

I looked up at him in relief and asked, “Would it freak you out if I got emotional like I’m doing right now?” He said, “Oh, no. That’s not an issue. You know . . . I work with nine year olds kids all the way up to an 86-year old; I’ve learned that everyone has their own speed. Just keep talking to me about what is going on with you and I’ll work with you to find the best way through.”

As I wiped my tears and caught my breath, we concluded our conversation by deciding that an hour session would be best – and his fee is $40/hour. I told him I would let him know when I was ready to get together with him.

Anyway, I was teary-eyed and emotional all the way home – I really needed to stop crying and get my eyes to be not so red before my lesson. But, it isn’t easy to shut off those emotions and I arrived at my lesson with red eyes and a stuffy nose. Oh, well.

That conversation was spur of the moment, but I’m glad I did it because now I have two resources for support in my exercise efforts – my books and Kyle. I’m feeling really good about Kyle. I’m becoming surer that he is a safe, cool guy who would be in my corner, cheering me on. He would be one more cheerleader – one more quality guy in my life who wants to see me do well.

I’m feeling more empowered in that area (working out), like I’m not alone in my battle to reclaim my body. That is rather bizarre, really, because it’s not like I know Kyle very well, but I already feel like I can count on him to be there for me in a very healthy way.

Quotes 687


  1. Congratulations on initiating the conversation. I hope it has gone well since.

    • Thank you for the supportive thoughts!

  2. This was so wonderful. Good for you. I am so glad that you were able to ask for exactly what you needed based on what you are dealing with in your life.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Hey, Kate –

      Thank you for the kind words! Yes, I’m learning how to identify what I need and I’m learning how to ask for it . . . big progress!

      – Marie

      • You have a lot to be proud of in that!

        Good and healing thoughts to you.


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