Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Practicing What I Preach

So, you know all these posts of mine about eliminating “I can’t,” stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things? I admit that I fight a daily battle to follow my own advice.
I am not a natural risk taker. I’ve always preferred what is safe, what is familiar, and situations that won’t leave me looking or feeling like a jackass. I never joined any groups or clubs when I was young. I never asked questions or made comments in class as I just wanted to blend in. I played softball for a few years but quit when it got hard. Even when I started working out regularly, it had to be in a gym, on my own, preferably when hardly anyone was there.
Initially, I lost most of the extra weight I’d always carried and went from being a total couch potato to getting into decent shape. But eventually, I got into a workout rut. I tried Pilates classes and some at-home exercise videos, but I never stuck with them. I looked and felt OK. But I knew I could be better. I considered getting a person trainer, but the thought of training one-on-one with a scary guy barking orders at me (as well as paying crazy fees) kept me from looking into it. I could talk all day about how people should step out of their comfort zones but when it came time to do it myself, that was a different story.
Then, earlier this year I got a message on MySpace from a trainer named Zach Hunt. I had always ignored messages from people I don’t know, but for some reason, I opened it. He was trying to build his business as a trainer and wanted me to come in and try his program. At first, I was hesitant. This would require a giant leap out of the comfort zone I had grown so accustomed to. I’d have to try new things. What if I failed? What if I was so out of shape that I couldn’t do a simple set of exercises? What if everyone laughed at me? Also, what would a man know about training women?
Still, my butt wasn’t getting any smaller, and I had told myself that 2009 was going to be the year I tried new things.
I called Zach and set up a date and time to meet him. Before I knew it, that day had arrived. As I sat in the parking lot of the studio, I realized I had no idea what to expect. I hoped I wouldn’t fail so miserably that I’d have to leave MySpace forever. I hoped he wouldn’t weigh me. If he did weigh me, I hoped I wouldn’t break the scale.
An hour later, my first session was over. My face was red and I was sweating profusely. I could barely breathe and I felt like I was going to vomit. My hands were torn up from bear crawls and lifting weights. Not only was I weighed, my fat was pinched and measured… and all from a kid as young as my little brother. At the same time, I felt strangely great. I felt like I’d really accomplished something. Every muscle was on fire, including muscles I had no idea I even had. Turns out, this man does know a lot about training women.
Not only are Zach’s workouts effective, he’s an extremely nice guy. Sure, he wants you to do your best, discourages excessive resting, and carries a cattle prod (without batteries) he calls a “motivation stick.” But he doesn’t yell at his clients and I’d probably die of shock if I ever heard him swear. Instead, you’re encouraged to do challenging exercises while listening to Christian rock music in a positive, supportive environment. Best of all, Zach trains several people at once, making the cost more affordable and taking some of the pressure off. This is not to say you can skip reps. Zach will know. Trust me.
After three sessions with Zach, I got a massage from my regular massage therapist. He could already feel a difference in my muscle tone. After two weeks, I started losing weight, which is a miracle in itself because my body is convinced it needs to hold on to every fat cell in case we encounter a new ice age. These days, I admit that I’m still not at my goal weight. This is partially due to a love of wine and chocolate, partially because I travel frequently (and often make bad food choices when I do), and partially because muscle actually does weigh more than fat and the scale isn’t always the most accurate measure of progress.
But the difference in my energy level is unbelievable. I have more energy than I ever thought I could have. I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been. I’ve even tackled the most vile form of exercise on the planet, something I swore I’d never do: running. Best of all, I’m wearing a smaller jeans size than I ever have. Usually when I do manage to lose weight, I lose it only from my upper body until I resemble a squash or pear. But the program Zach has us doing has actually managed to shrink my lower half, something I once thought only surgery could do.
Zach’s training is not easy. About twenty minutes into it, I tend to hate my life and wish I could just be one of those happy fat people. Sometimes I want to puke or cry….or both. But when it’s over, I always feel amazing. Never once have I regretted going. I workout twice a week with Zach and three times a week on my own. Like I said, I love food, but I’ve learned to look at it differently. I know if I eat healthy meals I’ll have more energy for my next workout. It’s not easy, but it is undoubtedly and completely worth it.
Normally, I don’t do product promotions on this blog. Even this tiny blog, with its handful of readers, has been approached to advertise some things. I’ve always refused because I want this to be a place where I say what I want without worrying about what others think. But this is something I have personally experienced and cannot recommend enough. This is something that has caused me to step out of my comfort zone and in turn showed me that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought I was.
If you live in the Spokane or Coeur d’Alene area and have weight to lose or are in a workout rut, do yourself a giant favor and give Phyzique a try. Zach knows what it’s like, unlike most trainers, to be overweight and out of shape. You will never be put down, teased or told you can’t do it. You will always leave feeling better than when you came. It’s less than an hour out of your life, more affordable than you think, and the schedules are flexible. Best of all, Zach gives everyone two weeks free to see if his program is right for them (it usually is). You have nothing to lose except your old ways of thinking and living.

Visit Zach’s website at http://www.spokanefitnesscoach.com .

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