Category Archives: sports

How’s it going with those personal training sessions, Rima?

Much to my chagrin, J.B. was not my personal trainer, only the overlord who sold the sessions.  He assigned me to one of his minions, a genial young woman named Amy. Amy was great, but she made me do a lot of hard things I didn’t like and she had no pity. One time I fell down in the middle of a set of push-ups and refused to get back up, but she still made me complete the set. Another time I told her that if I had to do one more shoulder press, both my arms would fall right out of their sockets and roll across the floor. I had to complete that set, too. I am typing this with my nose.

Amy also liked to keep the conversation flowing during my sessions, where conversation equals Amy asking me a bunch of senseless questions about my life, like, “What did you do last weekend?” Which wouldn’t have been a problem if I hadn’t gone to a wedding in Southern Ohio where I ate two pieces of cake and a fried chicken leg, drank keg beer, and did Peanut Butter and Jelly shots. It was exhausting trying to make up healthy menu items to list when she’d ask me what I’d been eating all week.  She always wanted me to show her my food journal, but I kept forgetting it in my locker.

Amy also had a propensity to ask her questions at the height of my physical distress. Say I was doing football drills while holding a ten pound weight in each arm, sweating a river, gasping for air and feeling like my legs could give out any second.  Amy would be standing there with her little timer and say something like, “Tell me about when you lived in France.”

Luckily, I had a recurrence of vertigo after my session last week. (Yup. I started using Q-Tips again.) I’m not really sure if it was the vertigo or the workout, but I felt pretty sick afterward, kind of like the time in ninth grade when our Art Teacher turned track coach made me run the 800 meter when I had only ever trained for the 50 meter sprint and I puked in the bushes after the race.  It was the perfect opportunity to do the right thing and tell Amy my true feelings about personal training, womano y womano so naturally I went home and sent her an email under a cloak of invisibility.

Amy emailed me back to tell me that she would take me off her schedule, but she was pretty sure I had a contractual obligation to complete three months of sessions.  Reading between the lines of her message I was also able to decipher the following encrypted phrase: “Good luck trying to whittle down that booty by yourself, you chicken livered little wuss.”

But I don’t consider myself a quitter – unless you count piano, gymnastics, Lithuanian harp lessons, Jazzercise, and now this – because I still went to the gym today and did a hearty workout. I didn’t have to talk to a soul and when I started feeling a little dizzy, I took a break and watched Guiding Light.  I know how to use the weight equipment now and am finding that I really love it, so from here on out I’m going to be working out to my own personal fitness compass. Don’t be surprised if the next time you see me, I have rubbed myself down with coconut oil and have a size 22 neck.

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Joie de Vivre

I wanted to be a gymnast, and I was pretty sure I could do it. I had the right build, a little bit of talent, and a lot of enthusiasm.  As a kid, I lived in a leotard and traveled via cartwheel. I could drop into a banana split anywhere, anytime, and if I wasn’t executing a round-off/back-handspring combo across your front lawn, I was trying to recruit you for the neighborhood Olympics. After a year of lessons at a local gym, I was invited to join a team and compete seriously.

But I didn’t. Even if my parents hadn’t put the kabash on the idea of a gymnastics career (they felt it was more important for me to get an education and for them to put food on the table), the fact was that I had started training too late in life to think of competing seriously. I was devastated with thoughts of what could have been, but eventually hung up my leotard and set my sights on becoming either the first female network news anchor or Michael J. Fox’s wife.  And it was all for the best, because as my friend V later pointed out to me, “If you had kept training, you would have never developed boobs.”

I can’t say I’m very athletic anymore – the mere thought of attempting the splits requires an epidural and the last time I tried to do a handstand, I had to put my head between my legs.  But I still try to bust a move every now and then, to show off for my kids or get the old familiar rush.

And it is a rush.  There’s something about gymnastics that is so powerful and thrilling – it’s like ballet with balls.  I turned 37 while on vacation last week and to mark the occasion, I did a string of cartwheels on the beach. They were not perfect, but at least I pointed that one toe and didn’t pull anything.

In fact, I’m going to make it a birthday tradition for as long as I can.

Special Note to Béla Károlyi: CALL ME.

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