Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Personal Trainer

The muscles across my back, from shoulder to shoulder are buzzing this morning. Shucking the winter coat off, my shoulders reminded me as well, of their activity the evening before. I print off a form and rising from my chair to retrieve it from the printer, my quads rebel against the activity. So it is fitting that this morning I should see Hal featured in this morning’s edition of the Telegraph.

Hal Mahar was, and still is an inspiration to me and a number of former colleagues. Hal was our leader in 2001 at a Weight Watchers at Work program. He has a way of delivering a message with humor that helps us remember the message and at the same time treats all with human dignity. Because of Hal’s encouragement, I shed 68 pounds and began to workout at the gym.

Never having exercised before, I chose a circuit-training center for women, where I felt I could ease my way into understanding gym equipment and receive instructions on how to use these strange machines. Over the course of time, this proved to be inadequate to my needs, and a friend offered to introduce me in the ways of weight lifting. Here is where I would like to offer a caveat to anyone thinking of taking up such an offer. Look your workout guru over very well. Does he look like a bulldog across the chest? Do the biceps threaten to pull the seams as they ripple beneath the surface doing simple tasks? If so, and you still accept the offer, be ready to workout in serious fashion. This is the avenue I needed to step up my routine. I have never regretted accepting the offer for instruction.

The opportunity for such personal attention is rare these days, and last evening was one of those few occasions. Curiosity about my “new” gym was the catalyst for this excursion. We took advantage of every machine, free weights and cardio equipment available. I let myself be encouraged into more sets than usual, realizing that I have been slipping instead of progressing.

I feel privileged to have such a friend who will spend time showing me the ropes, while never making me feel self conscious or incapable, never asking for anything in return. As for Hal, yes, he is paid to do what he does, but he himself will tell you he feels like a disciple leading us to a healthier life style.

We all have many such “personal trainers” in our lives and so often we fail to recognize or appreciate them. Who is your personal trainer? These two people alone have helped my self-esteem in ways that are hard to express, but manifest itself in so much of what makes me successful in my daily life. I have moved from making such statements as “I can’t do that!” to “let me try that!”

Over-time I’ve added more personal trainers to my list, such as writers, consultants and advisors. Each gives selflessly of their time and talent. It is how I came to enjoy motorcycling, and believe my writing has merit. They help me believe no dream is ever out of reach. Look around and recognize the personal trainers in your own life. The highest honor we can give them is to practice the lessons they teach, and pay it forward.

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