I recently signed myself up for regular PT sessions. And for once, it doesn’t mean physical therapy. Nope. I am locked in to a year of personal training sessions. You know, as if I was just a normal, non-fibromyalgia person. La di da! Look at me! I’m just going to lift some weights! Whee!
Except, I suspect, my fitness goals are rather different than most other people at the gym. I’m not trying to lose weight or get rid of that weird side butt thing going on by my hips, although I won’t complain if that happens. When my trainer asked me during our first session what my fitness goals are, I said I have two: 1) To be able to lift a bag of groceries without pain and without injuring myself and 2) To be able to kayak for 15 minutes without serious pain that lasts for days. The trainer, who I will call Ronnie because that’s not his name, nodded his head sagely. Then he said, “We can do that.” Points for Ronnie! He also gets points because when I asked him what he knew about fibromyalgia he didn’t say, “Ummmm . . . let me google it on my phone . . .” Yeah, that happened. True story.
So I had my first session with Ronnie this week. And it went kinda like this:
(Ronnie demonstrates how to use a machine. Then I try.)
Me: Whoa! I’m awesome! This is a lot of weight!
Ronnie: Don’t forget to breathe.
Me: But I’m lifting things! With my arms!
Ronnie: Focus on your form. Keep the elbows in.
Me: I’ve already done five and my arms aren’t shaking!
Ronnie: You’re doing great!
Me: I didn’t know I even had this much muscle!
(Ronnie looks at his clipboard, almost like he wants to avoid eye contact)
Me: How much weight am I lifting?
Ronnie: Don’t worry about the weight, just focus on your form.
Me: But look! I’m lifting something! How much? What, 20 – 30 pounds?
Ronnie: Well, technically you’re not lifting any weight.
Then he went into some long-winded explanation of how the machine has no weight on it and a counterbalance so I’m not even lifting the bar-thing and how he just wants me to get used to the machine and proper form blah blah blah. It took me a minute to get over the shock that lifting nothing really felt like lifting something. I decided I could feel bad about my lack of muscle or I could feel . . . not bad.
Me: But I look like I’m lifting something, right?
Ronnie agreed. So that’s what we’re going with: looking like I’m lifting something. And it’s better than where I was before: forlornly looking at things I couldn’t lift. Soon I will actually be lifting something. That’s right, baby, I’ve got no where to go but up!