By Ali Solomon of Wiggle Room
Dear personal trainer,
“You’re not serious about getting into shape,” you told me with a hint of a sneer. One minute I was on the elliptical, trotting along to REO Speedwagon, the next I was sitting in your office, drenched in sweat, as you promised to improve my workout.
I immediately regretted agreeing to your free consultation.
Of course the purpose was to get me to sign up for more training sessions with you, but I was hoping to get some exercise pointers while resisting any further commitment (although the last time I received a hard sell, I wound up with my gym membership to begin with).
To your credit, you’re a persistent salesman. You’re also kind of a dick. My dear PT, you made a few mistakes with me. If making me feel worse about myself is your way of convincing me this is something I need, you’ve lost me forever. Not that I was ever serious to begin with, right?
“Anyone can do it.”
You asked me what my goals were. I looked down at my jiggly midsection, full of mini muffins.
“I’d love to lose the rest of my baby weight. I just had a baby.”
“Congratulations,” you said, utterly unimpressed. “When?”
“Oh, six…teen…months ago…”
“You know, I have a client who gave birth six weeks ago and is meeting all her fitness goals.”
At six weeks postpartum, I could barely cross my legs without screaming in agony. Clearly his other clients were more serious about getting into shape.
“If you cared about yourself, you’d value your health.”
I agree with you on this one, PT. I want to be around for my daughters’ college graduations. Hell, I want to be around for their preschool graduations. So, if I work out with you three times a week, can you keep me from getting cancer? Shingles? Pneumonia?
Ugh, I know, I know. Exercise really will make me healthier. But I don’t like your implication that being slightly overweight means I don’t care.
“You need to do something for you.”
Let me tell you, PT, as a mom of two toddlers, I have so little time to myself, I’m not even sure what constitutes “me” time anymore. Does taking a shower count? What about reading 1/10 of a newspaper article? As I pass by the gym, I find myself eying the express pedicure place next door or dreaming about finally watching the last Daily Show which is still sitting in my DVR.
What I’m not excited about is doing 20 sets of leg lunges.
“Everyone can make the time for fitness.”
Except I can’t. Really. Not right now, anyway. I’m not saying this as an excuse but merely stating fact. My day begins at 4:45am: I get my kids ready for daycare, work full-time, come home and play with my kids, make dinner, bathe said kids, put them to bed, eat my own dinner, pack up all the diaper and food bags…holy shit it’s 10 pm. Time to go to sleep, wake up and do it all over again.
Do you have training sessions at 3 am? Because that seems to be the only time slot I have available.
“Your body needs a lot of work.”
Ok, it’s your job to get real about weight, but you’re the first person in a while to openly address it. Oh, people have noticed. My friends have stopped complimenting me on my appearance; no one is marveling at my post-baby body. Now, when I make self-deprecating jokes about my weight, no one pipes in with, “You have nothing to worry about.” Instead, there’s nervous laughter, averted eye gazes, asides about how it’s “so hard.”
But define “a lot of work.” 30 pounds?!!! You think I need to lose 30 pounds? That is a lot of work. To meet this goal, I would have to work out five days a week, and…oh, I see what you did there.
“You’re not serious about getting in shape.”
This again? Really? I’m not working out in a clown nose and polka dot cape. Sure, I’m wearing my husband’s sweat pants, a tank top that’s stretched out from nursing, and sneakers that can best be described as “for show.” Don’t I look serious about getting in shape?
The real question is what kind of shape I am serious about. If I could make my shape less Lumpy Space Princess, that would be swell.
“The longer you wait, the harder it will be.”
The truth, PT, is I would love to look and feel better about myself right now. I’m surrounded by women who have babies and bounce back; moms who don’t put on 65 lbs with each pregnancy; petite moms and athletic moms who barely looked pregnant while I still have people offering me their seat on the subway (which I sometimes take, because dammit, all those mini muffins weigh me down).
They find a way.
But I can’t. Not now.
There will come a time when I can make the gym a priority. When I can fit into my old clothes, look in the mirror, and see more than a doughy version of my former self. And then, I may need a trainer to push me in positive directions.
But believe this: that trainer will not be you.
About Ali Soloman
Ali Solomon is a cartoonist and art teacher living in NYC with her husband and two wee daughters. You can find her on the Huffington Post, NickMom, Scary Mommy, In The Powder Room, and other parenting sites. Read more of her ridiculous nonsense at Wiggle Room, on Facebook, or on Twitter at @Alicoaster.