Daily Life, SDR

A New Kind Of PT

Following all COVID-related protocols, I recently started personal training, a key component of my rehab from surgery. I’ve done a bit of personal training in the past and loved it. Was super excited to start up again. Well, happy to report that so far, so good. Thought I’d go into a little bit about my experience and what it’s been like to try something different than physical therapy.

After meeting with my personal trainer for the first time to discuss my fitness goals, we had our first session. My trainer wasted no time and said he wanted to see me walk without crutches. Talk about going from zero to sixty.

Let me back up. I showed up at my local gym using a new pair of forearm crutches. I upgraded from my last pair. These new ones have a different grip on the handles because they’re made of foam. Translation: they’re soft and comfy. So far I haven’t gotten any blisters on my hands and fingers like I used to. Not to mention, the new crutches are red, my favorite color. Pretty awesome. I know, I know. Should’ve upgraded to better crutches a long time ago.

In my defense, I thought I’d mostly be using a single point cane outside as well as inside. At least, that’s what I was working on in physical therapy, among other things. Just wanna say, it’s not that I abandoned that goal or anything. Don’t wanna think about it that way. Instead, I try to focus on the reality that using crutches outside is 1) safer and 2) gives me way more independence. I just couldn’t stand waiting around for somebody to take me on errands or just for a walk or something because I couldn’t use the single point cane outside unaccompanied. Yep, you guessed it, it was incredibly frustrating. I was so used to bringing my crutches outside and just going. Alone. Taking my time, walking, exercising, getting my steps in for that day. Or even just letting the sunshine and fresh air clear my head if I was stressed out about whatever.

Yes, I think I took my crutches for granted. Never thought I’d say that. I wanna stress that using crutches for going out alone isn’t going backwards, as I might’ve thought once upon a time. I’m not regressing in any way. In fact, I feel better than I ever have and I don’t say that lightly. Guess you could say I’m a huge proponent of using whatever assistive device/mobility aid that is most comfortable.

Ok. Now you know why I showed up at the gym with crutches. Imagine my surprise when my trainer wanted me to walk without them. On the first day. “Alone?” I asked.

“I’ll be right next to you. I just wanna see what you can do.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a new challenge…but, like, I barely knew the guy at that point. Walking without crutches with someone new nearby takes Trust. That’s right, with a capital T. How’d I know he wasn’t gonna drop the ball and let me fall? How’d I know he wasn’t just gonna stop and let me keep walking in front of him, like when you learn how to ride a bike? Well, I never learned to ride a two-wheeler. Images of falling over and bikes kept flashing in my head. “Ok. Let’s do it.”

We picked a secluded spot in the gym with minimal foot traffic, next to a row of treadmills. He set down a cool looking blue exercise block where I could sit and put down my water bottle. “Ready?”

No. “Sure.” I placed my crutches down gently and turned to see my trainer holding out his arm, like I was still in high school and he was taking me to prom. Instead of taking his arm, I let my right hand hover over it, and we began walking some distance to the wall. Absolutely terrifying. My movements were stiff. My left arm was trembling and shaking really hard.

“Right here with you.” Tried to keep my eyes trained on the wall, my destination, my ending point, instead of the floor. Somehow, by some miracle, I made it to the wall and back to the blue exercise block without falling or holding onto my trainer for dear life. That’s our walk, and that’s how we begin every training session.

The rest of the session varies depending on what my trainer wants to work on. We’ve done core exercises, lower body and upper body workouts. I’d say the most consistent exercises are on the leg adduction and abduction machines. My upper body workout includes machines like the seated row machine, other machines whose names I can’t recall right now, and the chest press, which I love.

When I went to the gym on my own one Wednesday, I used the chest press but accidentally pushed fifteen pounds instead of ten because I couldn’t remember what weight we were at. My arms were so sore the next two days that it really hurt to just lift my mug to take a sip of my morning coffee. Oops.

So far, personal training has done so much for my confidence, not to mention the workouts give me so much energy and make me feel great! I’ve enjoyed getting to know my trainer and sharing this journey with him. Also, feel like I accomplish more in personal training than I did in physical therapy. Not saying I didn’t accomplish anything before…just that I like the strengthening aspect much more in personal training, as well as the more personalized attention. I’ve done physical therapy all my life, I knew it was time for something different. Personal training is a welcome breath of fresh air.