Getting an ass-kicking in the weight room

Maureen is petite. She is cheerful and thoughtful and could easily kick my ass. Not in the metaphorical sense. I mean in the actual sense of snapping me in two. Her stature and nature have the ability to belie her power. Maureen is one strong woman — physically and otherwise.

Which makes me one lucky gal.

Because while I may joke that Maureen creates torture workout sessions for me, the reality is that I love the new challenge.

It’s only been two weeks since I started working with Maureen for my strength training workouts (with the blessings of Peter, my triathlon coach). But I already know this is unlike any other athletic experience I’ve had.

Strength training and I have had a lackluster relationship in the past. I’ve done work with weights from time to time, usually doing a round of exercises on gym equipment. The workout routine has lasted a few months. But left to my own devices, I underestimate myself. By a certain point, I stop adding more weight or increase my repetitions. And then I get bored. I’m unsure of the result and I let the strength training slack in favor of running, cycling and swimming.

I had never worked consistently with a trainer before and luckily for me, I found Maureen, who seems the perfect person to motivate and encourage me in the weight room. She uses not just her knowledge but her intuition to help me through the workouts. She listens to what I’m telling her about how my body feels, but she encourages me to push. She keeps the workouts fresh. She laughs with me, which is something I do often in the course of hour, particularly when my attempts at using an ab roller wheel result in belly flops to the mat.

But why even take up strength training again? It started by listening to my friends talk about their weight workouts. My curiosity piqued. And when an idea, a feeling, a notion or an opportunity keeps reappearing in my world, that’s a sure sign it’s something I need to try.

Perhaps that’s why this foray into strength training feels different to me. My desired outcome for strength training is to  simply get stronger — physically and mentally — and to have the opportunity to try something different. It has nothing to do with improving my triathlon sports (although it likely will) or to help me lose weight (although it will probably will affect my body composition in positive ways). It is the enjoyment of the movement, of the progress, of the self-competition, that has me interested and focused.

In the bigger picture, in my vision and desired outcome for my life, I have a sense that weight training will help give me tools to create what it is I’m wanting — a life filled with adventure and challenges, a balance between smelling the roses and cycling furiously past a field of sunflowers. But that comes not so much with how much weight is actually on the barbell. It comes in knowing and believing that I can add more to it, and not just survive but thrive.

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