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$300 loan.

Tonight I am invigorated. I just completed a workout with trainer Shane Kinney at Life Time Fitness, and I’m feeling strong. Not sure how I’ll feel tomorrow, but this evening, I’m a conqueror.

After focusing most of my efforts on stress management and diet for the past several months, I’ve decided it’s time to get moving. Really moving. A few weeks ago, I met with trainer Craig Weller of Barefoot Fitness, and we spent an hour evaluating how I move. Or rather, I stood, squatted and posed while Craig watched and looked for imbalances in my strength. I learned a few things: one, I’m stronger than I thought. Two, I have good form. And three, there’s no better way to get comfortable with someone than to have them stare at your body for an hour. I’m not easily embarrassed, and after I made a joke about my unshaven legs, I felt much less self-conscious. The trainer-client relationship is hugely important, and if the chemistry isn’t there, the trust, commitment and motivation won’t be either. And I’m guessing not just for myself as the client: my trainer can show up and get paid, but if we don’t really get along, how much can they like the job?

A few days later, Craig emailed me his program, a weight-lifting circuit with lots of foam rolling for my warm-up — customized to build strength where I need it and stretch and straighten me out. I ran through the three workouts with our fitness editor, Jen Sinkler, and was impressed with the routine. It felt challenging yet doable. Unfortunately, Craig doesn’t live in the same state as me, and since I’m new at this whole fitness thing, I decided it would help me to have someone nearby that could coach me. I would be willing to make myself as available and flexible as he or she needed, but I wanted to continue doing Craig’s program three days a week.

Keeping that in mind, Shane Kinney, a master trainer at Life Time Fitness’s Highland Park location, chose the TRX for our workouts. My knowledge of TRX comes from our July/August feature, “Strength Hangs in the Balance,” and it looks like something for athletes, not beginners like me. I mean, it was developed by a Navy SEAL, for crying out loud. I barely get in 15 minutes of activity most days. But Shane seemed confident I could do it, and once I got started, I began to believe in myself as well.

It wasn’t until later that evening, then over the course of the next three days, that I began to doubt my strength. Did I take on too much with these two trainers? Will my quads stop burning or should I install a chair lift to get up my stairs? And is it normal to be on the verge of tears when foam rolling? (FYI: foam rolling should hurt, at least a little if not a lot, depending on your frequency of use. If it doesn’t, you’re not doing it right. It works to loosen up the muscle fascia. Read more and learn proper technique in “On a Roll” in our November 2007 archives.)

Tonight’s workout on the TRX, however, went well. I pushed myself a little further (the more you angle your body, the tougher it gets; by moving your feet slightly, you can make it easier). I felt stronger with some moves, and struggled with others (the plank and hip press/lift are my biggest challenges). And tomorrow, I plan to get back in the gym for round two. Because I’ll continue to get stronger and improve. I’ll have to keep that mindset for motivation — especially when I’m holding a plank.

Thoughts to share?

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