Rediscovering my Body: Personal Training (Guest Post)

dumbellI am enrolled in a personal training program since January and I am loving it! I am literally rediscovering my body and learning all kinds of things about my relation to exercise, things I had forgotten, stopped paying attention to or never thought about. I will tell you what I have learned but first, some background.

Since I stopped smoking in 1997, I have picked up regular exercising. The goal, of course, was to lose the weight I had suddenly gained. I started going to a gym early 1999 and kept up with this until I was on teaching release and then on sabbatical leave, starting in 2012. When I was regularly training, I would do aerobics classes, cardio training on ellipticals, bikes, steppers, and weight lifting. During the summer, I would jog and bike (I have written about some biking experience here). Whatever I knew about training and weight lifting I had learned from the non-certified staff at the gym where I went from 1999 to 2003. I kept doing what they taught me for years.

Returning from sabbatical with a broken training routine – which had been thrown off by all the travelling I did over 1.5 years – I wanted to resume regular training and wanted to challenge myself. Even before the break in my routine I had felt that I was on a plateau and that my body was no longer responding to training, or at least not as much as it used to.

I had long been intrigued by personal trainers and what they can do for one who already “knows” how to train. I found out about a course here at Brock which was looking for volunteer clients to work with students learning to become personal trainers: PEKN 4P22 “Therapeutic Applications of Physical Activity.” I immediately signed up and have been very happy with this decision!

I have been paired with a team of 5 students in their fourth year of their Kinesiology degree, 2 young women, Al. and S., and 3 young men, An., K. and J. Their task is to design a training program that works for me and allows me to improve and reach my goals. At first, Al. and S. met with me to collect information on my health, goals, and exercising habits. I then met with An., K. and J. and they assessed and measured my strength, flexibility, cardio capacity and balance. After that, we started meeting regularly, twice a week. Other times I just go in the gym and do my cardio on my own.

Here are things I have learned about my body and exercising so far:

We are creatures of habit. When we exercise on our own, it is easy to fall into a rut and do the same thing, over and over again. I used to think that my summer 50 minutes jogs were the best thing I could do. I now think differently. Same thing for the extended bike rides at a regular pace. Will I stop doing those? No, I enjoy them and it is better to do things one enjoys. But I will continue to challenge myself to do different things and pick up new things. I have now learned I can enjoy other things because I have learned I am able to do them. I am literally rediscovering my body and its strength and ability, thanks to my personal trainers and the challenges they have in stock for me.

The term is not over. I still have to meet with them a few more times and I hope to learn a few more new things. But one thing I know: I will continue to be having fun!


Christine is a feminist continental philosopher who lives with spouse and cat in the Niagara Region. Biking and training are favorite activities as is gourmet cooking and reading gore thrillers when she travels to conferences, taking a break from writing her monograph on Nietzsche.

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