Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spartan Trainer

SPARTAN: Definition

1. Courageous in the face of pain

2. Rigorously self-disciplined or self-restrained

3. Sparing in consumption of especially food and drink

This pretty well describes my trainer.
I really want to write about my trainer because of her uniqueness and because I believe she is descended from ancient Sparta, itself.
But it is difficult.
People are much more complex than can ever captured in a singular Blog. Most people are only poorly described even after a full lifetime.
Anyway here are my thoughts and pardon me if I miss the mark.
A trainer is much like a therapist or a physician.
A lot of transference goes on and you either love or hate the individual.
In the later case you generally try to find someone else unless you are into power struggles and humiliation.
In my case I happen to be “in love” with my trainer.
She has an easy smile, a quick wit and a keen intellect. She vibrates with energy and enjoys music with harsh beats and harsher melodies. It drives the program.
Hers is more than a job. You can see it in her attitude. She enjoys the classes and enjoys the interactions.
But the slogan on the T-shirt puts everyone on notice: Go hard or Go Home.
The core group (I will talk about these later) is always there unless mortally wounded. They believe the slogan.
As for me, I believe the slogan. She has gotten more exercise out of me than I ever thought possible. She has caused pain in muscles I didn’t know I had.
She has pushed me beyond reasonable limits but I have gotten there and still go back for more. You just don’t want to disappoint.
It is paying off; I can see the changes and better yet I can feel the changes.
In the end analysis, I will keep going back because, I want to own and have those same characteristics.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am the Trainer

I recently went on vacation.
Vacations are an escape from the real world and the mindset changes. It is very easy to “sleep in, overeat, and drink too much” and slide into a mode of, I’ll catch up tomorrow.
I had promised myself that I would maintain my training schedule. I did not want to suffer the pain of re-training after a period of time off.
So at 6 AM on the first day in paradise I awoke and walked up to the gym.
I was the only person in the gym so I picked up a set of earphones, plugged into the music station and got on the bike. I picked the mountain course and started pedaling. I got lost in the music and sweat and one hour later the program ended. I was drenched but felt pretty good.
Do the 1000 crunches, I thought. Down on the mat and begin: the first 100, legs up and crunch to the center.
At this point a lady walks in and asks, “Can I do those with you?”
I am never one to deny someone else the pleasure of these exercises so I say “sure, I am going to try to a series of different crunches until I get to 1000.
She laughed and got down on her mat and we started. Unlike my trainer at my home gym, I counted out loud.
The lady got up at 500, said thanks and went to the treadmill.
Day 2, back in the gym at 6 AM. Back on the bicycle, mountain program, earphones in, resistance level to 5 on the bike.
One hour later covered in sweat, I notice two ladies are standing by the door.
The one from the day before says, “Can we do those crunches again”?
“No problem”, I think I said.
Now all three on mats and I begin the count.
First, legs up everything to the center, next to the side, feet off the floor, now the other side, finally I get to side planks, 50 per side and both stand up and let me finish alone.
“Anything else”, says the first lady.
I say, “We could do the sets of arm and shoulder exercises to 100”.
They both concur and I suggest a light weight.
The lady that does the talking says “how much are you using”, “Six pounds, I say”, she retorts, “Well then I will try six”.
At the count of 30 both move to smaller weights but stay with it, finish the full 100, say thanks and leave the gym.
I never again see them in the gym the rest of the week, but as I was walking through the town with my wife, looking in shops, I spot the original lady. She is with, I assume, her husband and two young children.
She rushes over with the family to stand in front of me and says to her husband,
“Look Honey, it’s my trainer”.
My wife only frowned.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Seeing the moment

The Washington Post won a Pulitzer in the feature writing category for Gene Weingarten's April 2007 story about this experiment.

A violinist played in a Metro station in Washington DC for 45 minutes on a cold January day in 2007. It was a busy time and possibly several thousand people walked past. Mainly a few younger people stopped and listened but the majority rushed by on their way to other places. He did receive about 32 dollars in donations during that 45 minute performance.
It turns out that the violinist had played six Bach pieces on a 3.5 million dollar violin. The violinist was Joshua Bell, possibly the best violinist in modern times. When he stopped and silence took over no applauds rang out nor did the rush in the station change.
Two days prior to the performance in the subway he had played to a sold out audience in Boston where seats had cost 100 dollars a piece.
This is a fascinating experiment and says a lot about the appreciation of the moment.
We as a people are always in a hurry to get to the next moment and frequently ignore the present moment. This is a paradox since the only real moment that we have is the one we are in. The one in the past is gone and the one in the future may never get here.
Would I have stopped to listen to a violinist in the Metro? I like to think I would have.
I have stopped on the street of cities, listened to guitarists, watched break dancers, listened to singers and watched outdoor theater but I was not in a hurry.
These are the people willing to make the world and each moment more fascinating and just maybe we shouldn't rush by.
We need to understand that each moment is unique and affords us instances of remarkable perspectives. We need to make a real effort to appreciate the environment of each moment and see all of the infinity and beauty contained within.

So People what seems to be our problem today

Seems the next big “craze” changing the practice of medicine is the shared medical appointment.
A physician sees a group of people with diverse medical problems and spends more or less of 90 minutes with a group while charging each person for a “regular” appointment.

The Cincinnati Enquirer today examines the increasingly common practice of shared medical appointments, noting that the format can be efficient and profitable for physicians, because they can see more patients in less time and bill insurers the amount for a traditional appointment. While shared appointments—which patients join by choice—have been used in mental health treatment for decades, the model is relatively new for patients with disparate medical concerns. Under the model, a physician may see a dozen or more patients in a 90-minute appointment, consulting with each individual amid the group and privately in exam rooms as needed. Patients—who pay a traditional office visit copayment for a group appointment—must sign a form agreeing to keep information about other patients’ conditions private.

Boy, this is great. While I talk about the difficulty of “my stream” and the other patients silently giggle into the back of their hands, the doc counts his stable and growing income “stream” due to this new arrangement.

This is like the priest being short on time so everyone stands up and yells out their sins and a group penance is given. But what if someone doesn’t do his/her part of the penance, is the whole group then condemned? What if the doc gives the wrong advice to Sally because he forgot it was Dan who initially reported the problem.
What next, Group surgery? Group exams (we did some of that in college) and were raided by the vice squad.

No thanks, I think I will keep my symptoms to myself or find an old time doc who wants to wade through a typical history and physical and come forth with a good treatment plan or I will just try to treat myself.
Maybe I will go back into the practice of medicine and begin Mega-Group visits with 20% off for groups greater than 30.

I find it unbelievable that Americans won’t carpool but they will sign up for group medical visits.

Maybe a good group electroshock treatment would get us all back on the better path.

Everyone grab that live wire and hold on while I get the switch.