When working with a personal trainer, the first thing you have to do is to calibrate. Then, if the trainer does not crank it up to a higher level, she's probably not worth her fee.
By this time it had become clear that I was joining this gym with a life membership. I'd lay out a few hundred bucks and be a member for about $50 a year forever after. That may seem like a lot and these sorts of things are not always good deals. But part of my motivation for choosing the super-membership was to put the money down up front so I would be motivated to stick with the program for a long time. In the end, that worked.
As part of the deal, I got six hours of trainer time. I knew from my reading that working with a personal trainer was a good idea if you don't know what you are doing, and I didn't know what I was doing. A good personal trainer could save you from injuring yourself, and help you to be more effective in your training. I'll tell you about some of the things I learned about this in a later post.
Lenora was one of the personal trainers at this gym, and it eventually became clear to me that the sales rep and head trainer with whom I'd met when I joined up figured out that I wanted to work with a serious personal trainer, and so they matched us up. And I'll tell you this, since that time I've watched a lot of trainers working with various clients, and there is a great deal of variation across trainers, and across trainer-client relationships. There are people throwing away their money, and there are people who are getting a very, very valuable service.
I was determined to be in the latter group, and as a trainer, Lenora was determined to be in that group as well.
Lenora is medium to tall in height, and thin like a stick. She has soft brown eyes and a pleasant countenance, a quiet conversational voice and a very polite manner. When we first met she was very formal in her introduction, and after a few pleasantries and technicalities, she came to the key question.
"How hard do you want me to make you work."
"Well, harder than anyone else you've ever worked with."
"Are you sure?"
"Well, I figure that if I don't work hard enough to puke at least once every few sessions, we're not working hard enough."
She looked at me for a moment, trying to read how serious I was being. Then, just as she turned away to lead me to the evaluation area, she said, "Very well. We can do that."
She may not have realized that I could see the grin appear across her face in the mirror towards which we were walking. Within three weeks I was to throw up once, and I was to collapse on the floor once. And those were the only times I was to see her grin in just that way again.
Maybe I'm just sociopathic, but my natural reaction to someone trying to tell me to do something is to say, "Fuck you!" This works poorly when a personal trainer is trying to motivate me but works well when I am trying to tell myself to stop or slow down.