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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

I think my trainer is trying to kill me!

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Alex, Master of the Iron Maiden.

After 20 years of on and off medical treatment and a high stress/long hours job, my body is a wreck! I have been through kick-my-ass chemotherapy 3 times with interim maintenance therapy for the last 10 years. As if that weren't enough, this life-saving chemotherapy that kept the tumors at bay wrought so much havoc on my coronary arteries that I needed two angioplasties. To top it off, the steroids I took to prevent nausea put on 20 pounds without even the enjoyment of tasting anything I ate! Cancer is not a disease for the lily-livered!

I began retirement with the top priority (as per my Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologist) to get stronger so that I am in good shape for the next round of treatment I inevitably will face down the road. Not exactly the motivation I am looking for.... Quite honestly, I preferred the motivation of 30 years ago when I was single and dating and did not want to disappoint a future partner. Somehow the rewards don't quite compare!

That brings me to the new health club I joined back in the fall. It came complete with classes, tennis, and trainers. I figured that I should hire one of the trainers for a month to help me get started and reacquainted with the machines of torture. I thought, after a few weeks I could handle an hour class. After all, 30 years ago, I was a gym rat of sorts, 20 pounds lighter and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound - at least in my mind. I even had a good head of hair back then too!

Back to my trainer - did I mention his name is Alex, is my son's age and grew up on the mean streets of bucolic Morris County, NJ. He once was pretty scary looking - a head of braids and dreadlocks, 40+ pounds heavier with huge "guns" (bicep muscles - see how cool I'm getting?!). He calls those his 'big boy' days. Now, lean and mean with a 12 pack for abs (yes, he did show me the picture and would not give it to me for the blog), he takes no prisoners nor excuses for not giving it your all. He has expressions for everything - none that I can remember, but all are supposed to motivate me to work harder and focus. I'm not sure he ever expected such a rebellious, talking-back client. So he just pushes harder and harder until I tell him that he's killing me! After all, doesn't he know he should be pitying me - an aging, overweight, out-of-shape 'Bad Barbie'. If that isn't enough, he should show a preference for me as we are probably the only minority liberals at this gym. The morning crowd is strictly from the red states. And, in spite of all of this tension, Alex and I have bonded. I love that he hasn't given up on me. Because I had.

So, four months later, I am 5 pounds lighter (a pound a month - not bad - LOL), not quite in the frame of mind for classes or tennis, but beginning to take 2 + mile walks with my neighbors. I plan to continue with Alex as long as he doesn't develop an Oedipal complex and begin tattooing my name on his body. I may even start cooking for him.

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