The other day, someone called the gym their ” happy place.” I couldnt see how that could be possible. Unless they’ve started serving Diet Coke and Doritos at the gym. And Ryan Reynolds is doing the serving. So I went to my gym to check.
My usual nice personal trainer Steve was on holiday. He had been replaced by Mean Matt who is a handsome hunk from Turkey. Mean Matt speaks with a captivating accent, kind of like Arnold the Terminator. Except there was nothing captivating about him once we started our training session. When I couldnt pedal furiously on the cardio bike for ten straight minutes, he told me to “stop being lazy woman.” I told him very politely that I’d only just started coming to the gym ( A lie. Alright, alright, I tell lies sometimes. So shoot me.) I said “Im not lazy, Im tired. I have 5 children and thats really hard work you know.”
He was suitably astounded. “No. You lie. How you have five children?!” He even went so far as to threaten me. “I no like when people lie to me! Tell me truth. Speak truth now.You too young to have five children.”
I assured him, yes its true. I (am dumb enough) to have five children. He persisted. “Maybe some of them are from husband and another woman?”
Oh honey, hell no. “Excuse me, all those (demon) children are mine thank you very much.” Ain’t no other woman taking credit for this lot.
With that truth firmly established, I mistakenly thought that Mean Matt was my friend. On my side. The workout continued. We moved on to the weights machines. I happily worked out on the leg thingamajig machine. And the shoulder thingamajig machine. Mean Matt seemed almost chatty. “What job you do?”
“Oh, I’m a writer.”
He grunted. “How much exercise you do every week?”
I blathered on like the trusting fool I am. “Oh I used to run 5 days a week. Last year I did a 105 km relay with a team of six women. It was so much fun!” (Ok, ‘fun’ an exageration. What am I going to do – tell people that I wanted to puke and die for most of those kilometers?)
And that was when Mean Matt revealed his true self. Mean as meanie. He upped the weights on the ab machine. Started counting reps faster. Told me off for pausing too long in between sets. I whined. “But you dont understand, I dont have any ab muscles. Maybe I did when i was like 12…”
He didnt care. “Hurry up, keep going, why you stop for? If you can run 105km relay, you can do abs workout faster.”
“But I can’t. I’ve had three c-section deliveries. Do you know what that means? They literally SLICE through your abdominal wall and Im sure they sewed my abs back up wrong because they just dont work anymore. There’s something wrong with them, I just know it. And my youngest kid is practically a BABY and I still havent recovered my full strength…” (So the kid is three. Practically a walking, talking adult, but what the hell…)
Mean Matt interrupted me. “What, now you are writing book here? Telling me your whole life story? Stop doing writer job here and do workout.” In other words – shut up Lani and do this.
I shut up. Seethed. And worked out harder, fantasizing about (one day) having a kick-butt awesome body so I could come back to the gym and kick Mean Matt’s ass. I’ll be back.
Maybe that was Mean Matt’s secret personal trainer technique for getting his clients to push themselves to the limit. When we were done, he smiled ( meanly) and said, “All clients tell me they hate me. But when finish workout, they thank me for pushing them hard.” I smiled. (Weakly) And said thank you. But inside? I was hearing my inner Arnold Predator movie voice, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
I knew I hated the gym. News-flash for those of you who havent been there in a while? They arent serving snacks. And Ryan Reynolds is definitely not there. But Mean Matt is. Hasta la vista, baby.
My crystal ball future self?
So yesterday I joined a gym. Not only that, I paid to have three sessions with a personal trainer – who would gaze into a crystal ball and tell me my future. ‘I see a tall, dark, super toned, kickbutt, beautiful woman running towards me. She looks like a light-brown version of Serena Williams…ohmigosh its you! Six months and 60 pounds from now!‘ Yeah, now we’re talking. Give this seer some more money.
To be perfectly honest, I dont know why I dished out money for training and nutrition advice. My husband is an elite athlete and I have done so much research on the topics of exercise/diet/motivation/coaching on his behalf – that I could write a PhD thesis on How to Lose Weight and How to Get Fit. But I’ve lived in NZ for 6 months now and spent most of that time eating, so its time to get desperate. I dragged my sorry splodgy self to the gym and pasted on my earnest, I-will-listen-to-every-word-you-say-and-promise-to-obey-because-Im-a-fat-loser face.
A nice man called Steve asked me what my goals were. Duh, I want to be skinny. Because then I will be prettier than all of HRH’s ex-girlfriends put together. And I just might catch SBW’s eye next time he’s fighting ACC beneficiaries at the Trust Stadium up the road from my house. Because SKINNY equals Nirvana-bliss. But you cant say stuff like that. Thats far too superficial. You have to say some of the PC stuff from their handout. Stuff like “I want to have more energy, greater self confidence. I want to be fit so I can realise my dreams of feeding starving children in the mountains of Afghanistan, building wells in Somalia so entire villages can have clean water…be a role model for my lazyas children and my fat community…” Stuff like that. You know, noble inspiring stuff.
Steve nodded empathetically. Yes, I could see he was convinced of my sincere comittment to becoming a gymbunny. He then proceeded to give me somse nutrition guidelines.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We should all eat a big, healthy breakfast. So tell me, do you eat breakfast Lani?” Oh Steve, do I?!.
I smiled. “I never skip breakfast. NEVER. Let me see, I have weetbix and toast with scrambled eggs, and yogurt, and some fruit, and frenchtoast with a sprinkle of cinnamon and then I probably warm up some pasta leftovers from dinner. Yessir, I eat breakfast.”
Steve tried to keep a neutral expression. (Such a nice man.) “Well those are all healthy options! And we do need to eat a big breakfast.”
“Yeah, but then I eat a big morning tea too. Choc chip cookies, fruit, doritos, a muesli bar, leftover french toast from breakfast. Oh yeah – AND a Diet Coke, because Im trying to be healthy you know.”
Steve’s face is looking a little strained now. “Right, well there’s certainly some room for improvement here. Now this may sound odd, but the best way to eat for weightloss is to eat 6 to 8 times a day. And its important to PLAN our meals. For many people, this can be a difficult thing.” Oh Steve – if you only knew.
I smiled again. I couldnt help it. “I have no problem eating 6 times a day Steve. No problem at all – just look at me. And planning? Steve, the minute I wake up in the morning, I think, what am I going to eat today? and if there’s yummy things already in the fridge then I get out of bed a happy and positive person. I always plan ahead because if there’s nothing in the house thats good to eat, then right away I know my day is gonna suck. I’m a wonderful meal planner.”
Steve stopped taking notes, closed his folder and stood. “Right. Well I think thats probably enough about nutrition. Let’s move on to the weights room shall we?”
What an auspicious start to my journey to realizing my Serena Williams inner self. I can see that Steve and I are going to make beautiful gym music together – because he has given up on getting me to change my eating habits. Hmm he does look a little grumpy though.
I think I might bake Steve some oatmeal choc-chip cookies. They always make ME happy. He looks like he could use a little bit of choc-chip happiness in his day.