Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

There are certain times in life when it's essential to dig deeper and find that something extra, just to hang on and stay in the race. For me, it was about seven years ago when I decided it was time to get back in shape and regain my fitness after my second child. He's now eleven.

Unfamiliar Territory
Never before had I stepped inside a gym. Seeking refuge inside the bathroom, I pretended to make myself look busy as I tied and re-tied my startling white, new gym shoes but in reality, I was much too intimidated to venture out because I didn't think I belonged. On the way in, I'd noticed the gym floor was saturated in testosterone and everywhere I looked perky twenty year olds wearing way too much makeup and hair product flitted about. The girls were just as bad!

Finally, after a firm pep talk I pushed myself out the door and headed for a treadmill. Seriously, how much trouble could I get in, walking? Little did I know I was being sized up like a lone baby gazelle drinking at a waterhole on the African plains. Enter Pierre the Personal Trainer – ex French Army. Ohh la la – ouch!

“Would you like me to show you a few exercises?” was his opening line. Two hours later, after what felt like a decade of squats, he chirped, “Have you had enough?” That was rhetorical, right?
The next day I could hardly walk.

Pierre called to check on me and asked if I was ready for some more pain. What sort of question was that? For a moment, I thought about faking an injury or pretending he had the wrong number, but instead the lioness stirred within me, “Bring it on!” I said, throwing down the gauntlet (and my dirty socks – it was so much more dramatic that way.)


The worst thing anyone can say to a personal trainer is “bring it on,” because they will and they'll take you on a one-way ticket to a whole new world of pain. They look like normal people but inside there’s a mean streak comparable to a 1950’s chain gang guard.

After another forty-five minute session, I wished the lioness had kept her canines clamped firmly shut! Instead of the roar of a lioness, brave and determined, a Persian kitten curled up and meowed.

“But I’ve had children, Pierre,” I whined. “My body’s a bit out of shape.”

“Then I will bend you back into shape,” he replied, like a villain with a cunning plan. I wanted to quit. It was all too hard. If I could’ve run out – stormed out – I would’ve but I had to stay because limping away wasn’t nearly as dramatic. So I stayed and conquered. I almost threw up but nevertheless I stayed and conquered. I continue to conquer today.

My point is; there are times when we must awaken the lioness within and get the job done. No more backing out, whining or complaining and no more transparent excuses or wishing things were different. Make them different. Some obstacles appear insurmountable so we hold back, intimidated unless we learn to break it down into more manageable steps. Always remember: a lioness devours her prey one mouthful at a time.

There is a time to make a commitment and follow through. It's never quick or painless and it will always cost us something but in the end, only those who finish will know how that feels.

© 2011 Philippa Vette