For the most part, I feel like I’m in tune with my body. As such, my body communicates back to me pretty well.
I know I’m fat. I know I need to lose weight.
That is why I joined a gym last month.
Granted due to my scatter-shot work schedule while juggling two jobs, I’ve only been able to get to the gym on two occasions since I’ve joined, but that’s more on me than anything.
As the Little River Band said, I need to, “Take time to make time; Make time to be there.”
So at 10 this morning I trudged into my local Crunch Fitness for a free one-hour welcome-to-the-club appointment with a trainer.
As I said, I know my body.
I also know the trainers are in the gym to book training time and make money.
But, I went into this session with one goal in mind — to find exercises to help strengthen and gain flexibility in my ailing shoulders. I told the trainer straight up that’s all I wanted to do because I know I need/want to drop 30 pounds before I even considered raising my training goals at all.
My shoulders, however, are an issue I need to address sooner than later.
Playing golf more than 15 years ago, I injured my right shoulder. I don’t remember the moment, or the shot, but I remember the burning pain and sensation that followed. I was working as a freelance writer at the time and had no insurance, so with Obama-care still a decade-plus away, I never got it fixed.
The pain subsided over time, but the mobility in that shoulder has been limited since and has gotten worse with age.
I haven’t played golf since, but it’s an old injury that crops up far too often these days. In short, it now affects my day-to-day living.
My trainer, Lionel, was a nice-enough guy. Twenty six years old and in shape, he was a fan of the Boston Celtics and the New England Patriots. For a Maine native like me, living so close to New York, City, I could live with that.
He weighed me (too high, but down three pounds from when I last weighed myself), took my BMI (off-the-chart high, albeit it barely) and as we warmed up for five minutes on the treadmill we talked nutrition.
We did two sets of one minute on this rope-climb machine, including one on the hardest level.
We moved to a machine that worked my shoulders in a couple of different positions — first facing the “weights”, then facing away. Three sets of 12s and he told me how good I was doing. (Butter me up, yeah, I get it).
We worked with some free weights, doing this two-pronged exercise that was part curl, part overhead lift. Again, three sets of 12.
I was feeling the burn in my shoulders, but it was nothing too bad.
In the past, I’ve known the feeling of giving 110 percent and running until I puked.
This was kid’s stuff.
Until it wasn’t.
Then my body reminded me, I’m not a kid.
I had just done my second set using some sort of rope that provides stress and tension when the world started to go fuzzy.
My left shoulder — which is my good shoulder — started screaming at me. I asked for a moment before starting the third set.
I didn’t get full-blown dizzy, but I did get fuzzy headed. My vision didn’t get blurry, but it was hard to focus. The ears felt filled with cotton as the music that was blasting through the gym sounded as though it was suddenly being played behind a brick wall.
I never went down, but I did sit. I had to sit.
The trainer was talking and I tried to listen, but my body wouldn’t let me focus. He was almost doing his imitation of Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah wah wha wha … wah wah wah wha.”
The worst was over quickly, but the symptoms didn’t disappear with any speed.
As I sat, I tried to regain my wits. I told him I had eaten breakfast earlier that morning. He said it could be dehydration, though I had been drinking water through the workout. He got me a second bottle and handed it to me.
He asked if I usually worked out in a hoodie. Normally, I don’t … just a t-shirt.
“You could have just overheated,” he said. “It came on fast.”
Just like a car, I thought. One minute you’re chugging down at highway at 55 miles per hour, the next you’re parked on the side of the road swearing.
I took off the gray Hampden Academy Basketball sweatshirt I was wearing, pulling it over my head, letting the cool gym air waft over me.
I started feeling better quickly after that.
I told the trainer I was shutting myself down for the day and he understood, again telling me how good I was doing and he had no concerns over it at all. He seemed surprised how quickly it struck.
Him? Try being me.
I wasn’t pushing too hard, at least it didn’t feel like it when I was doing the exercises. It all seemed pretty tame … though my muscles were feeling it.
Feel the pain? Feel the burn?
For the record, the heart felt fine. No chest pain, no numbness or tingling, or anything out of the norm.
It’s odd that this workout and, hence, this post comes just days after I posted about the loss of a coach who died following a workout back in my home state of Maine.
It’s been almost an hour and a half since the “crash” happened I’m sitting here writing with fatigued shoulders, but everything else feels fine.
I’ll try to get back to the gym tomorrow for a nice leisurely 5K walk. The next day, I’ll try another mile or two and throw in a few of those shoulder exercises.
My body tells me to go slow into this new routine and I know I need to listen.
We have that kind of relationship.
Today, I pushed it even when it felt like I wasn’t.
But I’m listening now.