Average Jane


I learned my lesson the hard way. Never ask your trainer for a challenge.

I had been watching this girl train at the gym for months. She has a bit of a limp, clearly some sort of affliction. Her upper body was fine. She was getting buff. “Diesel.” More than her physique, I noticed her attitude was ridiculously positive, showing up religiously to meet with her trainer, my friend, Mike.

She had seen me doing dips on the dip machine and told Mike that she could never do that. He looked her in the eye and said “maybe not now, but you will.”

Many weeks later, I returned the favor. I saw her in front of Mike doing push ups on a bar balanced on a weight bench. “Mike,” I said once she had left. “I could never do those.”

“Yes you can. Wanna try?”

“Oh, hell yeah!”

He balanced the bar, sat down, put me in position and told me to go. I did. Counting. 1…2…3… I checked the mirror. My form was right. My body was moving. 13…14…15. “Good job. Next set, ready? This time, go slow, control your movements.” “Check!”

1…2… my arms were shaking. 3…4… getting harder.

“Babe… you gotta breathe.”

It hit me. He was right. I had stopped breathing, so focused on my form, focused on completing my set, that I wasn’t breathing. It took a lot of concentration, but I could feel the air fill my lungs. Slowly. Forcefully. 13..14… My arms shaking violently, then, with all of me pushing against the weight of the world, Mike said “BREATHE!”

*Pfffffffth* Exhale. I rise. Set complete.

He tells me I’m making it harder on myself by not breathing. He told me that if I hadn’t  taken that breath, I never could have finished that last rep. I would have failed. He told me, again, that I needed to breathe.

What Mike didn’t know was that he had just summed up my life. Wrapped so tightly around the idea of success, form, never showing weakness…  so wound up in my own expectations, that I forget to breathe… to take that time to enjoy all that I work so hard to achieve.

I took my first breath that day at the gym.  My first breath in a long time. The first breath of the spring.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * I-66 says:

    Is that really the sound you make when you exhale?

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 2 months ago
  2. * Hey Pretty says:

    Pilates, my dear. All about the breathing. You might like it.

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 2 months ago
  3. Loved this post. Good for you. Now shut up and drink.

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 2 months ago
  4. * Ryane says:

    Ha. This is why I steer clear of the trainers at my gym!! =-) seriously, good post. Isn’t it amazing to think that you could forget to do something as elemental as breath?

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 2 months ago
  5. * carrie m says:

    Put your jacket back on, baby! It’s gettin’ cold again. pffft.

    Excellent post. I’m sending you an email right now, btw.

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 2 months ago

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