Exercise is…

sometimes like corporal punishment. We brutalize our poor little muscles mercilessly in hopes  they’ll shape up as fast as possible. We stress and strain them, often times beyond their capacity, and then wonder why they seek revenge the day after or the day after that. They’re smart little buggers. They can tie you up like a pretzel on crack.

Yes, they’re sneaky little bastards.

My last trainer’s favorite phrase was, “Do twenty more”.

I’d look at him with my best ‘fuck you’ glare.

Twenty more and they’ll be picking out a pine box for me. Twenty more and I might be picking out a pine box for him.

“My fat does not want to do twenty more” I’d tell him.

He’d glance at my gut knowing this would hit home. I’d cuss him under my breath but start counting.

“One, two, three…”


By the twelfth curl I’d feel that little candle like flame burning sensation building itself up to bonfire status.

“Why are we using such big weights,” I’d ask while trying desperately to suck in a breath.

“They’re only two pounds,” he’d say.

“Oh.” I’d say.

The thing about trainers is that they’ve already done all the work they need to on themselves so they’re well aware of the pain they’re inflicting. Do they emote any sympathy towards you as you struggle through each exercise? Hell no!

What I hated most about my trainer was, when I’d start moaning and grunting like a pig during our weight lifting sessions, he’d take his fingers and strum the fat on the underside of my upper arm like a virtuoso harp player just to make his point.

I’d try desperately to ignore his mockery of my fat flags and his snarky little grin. The whole time I’d be thinking, with very little effort I could probably make contact with the side of his head with the ‘two-pound’ dumb bell clenched in my sweaty palm.

Oh yeah, I’d picture him slowly melting towards the ground shortly after impact completely unconscious, in which time I could pour water over my head and down the front of my shirt then sit down next to him. When he’d come to all I’d have to say is ‘wow, that was a good workout, see you next week’. Unfortunately, I could never actually go through with it because we worked out at a public park. There would be witnesses. I had to force myself to stay in control and out of trouble.

Of course by this time he’d gotten that underarm fat moving so fast it was actually creating a nice little breeze that kept me cool.

“…eighteen, nineteen, twenty.”

At that point I’d feign exhaustion then let the weights drop from my hands hoping one of them would meet with his foot, but he was too fast. He knew me too well. He’d step back, smile, then bark out what was next.

“Squats,” he’d say.

“How many?” I ask.

“Fifteen,” he’d say.

I hate squats. I like what they do for my butt, and I like what they do for my legs, but I fucking hate doing them but not for the reason you might be thinking. The word ‘squat’ and the menopausal gastrointestinal system do not go together.

Once that word left his lips all I could think about was whether or not I’d taken my Gas X that morning.

He’d tap his watch and wait for me to spread my legs, square my shoulders, then raise my arms out in front of my body hoping to keep some semblance of balance. I’d start to lower my body ever so slowly. One inch, two inches, three inches. It’s then I’d remember that I DIDN’T take that little green pill. I’d meant to–I really did. I’d popped it out of its little vacuum sealed package but then I’d set it down on the kitchen counter while I went to retrieve a bottle of water.

OH NO!  I knew right away this was not going to be good.

“Go deeper,” he’d say.

I’d feel my stomach starting to gurgle. It wanted to purge itself in a big way.

“NOW,” he’d say as he put his hands on my shoulders pushing me towards the failure position.

I’d close my eyes and put all my concentration on keeping my sphincter muscle clamped tight. This is where all those kagel exercises you learned during pregnancy come in handy.

I’d go down a few more inches as requested and as always I’d feel my knees starting to shake. I could also feel one of those humongous gas  bubbles traversing around in my gut like a slalom racer looking for the gate.


I knew I could only do about two or three more of these dips before this situation reached the ‘Houston, we’ve got a problem’ stage. I knew my limit.

“Two,” he says out loud as though I’ve lost my ability to count.

I suck in my lower belly as I rise hoping somehow to push this gaseous troublemaker back up to where it started. No dice my body tells me. This puppies gonna blow pretty damn soon.

My mind would be racing by this time. Maybe it’d be one of those polite silent ones, and if there is a God, it wouldn’t be one of those Chernobyl stinker’s that are bad enough to take out an entire neighborhood.

He’d move in closer to better control the depth of the squat and all I could do was concentrate on keeping my butt cheeks together.

As you can imagine, this is nearly impossible in this position.

Then it would occur to me that this strategy would eliminate the possibility of silence.

If the gas left my butt during the tightening of the cheeks it would likely come out sounding like one of those canned air horns. I’d  have to think on my feet and make some kind of decision. Let her rip and take my chances it would just blow out like a soft gentle breeze or publicly acknowledge that I had a rip-roaring case of gas.

But wait, I’d say to myself. If I let mother nature take its course and let it blow in its full glory, the sound ringing out like a proud duck quacking with a cold, this might put an end to this particular exercise. Maybe he’d see that it was not in his best interest or mine to force my body into this ridiculous position.


Too late. My bad!

Half way down on the second squat my body took control, my sphincter relaxed and justice was served. It was not polite, nor was it quite. As a matter of fact a few people passing by us during this assault actually looked up in the sky searching for the flock of ducks they’d just heard.

“Jesus Christ,” he’d say looking down at his legs to make sure I hadn’t left skid marks on his tight white workout pants.

“What are you talking about?” I say pointing to the people looking up into the sky. “Didn’t you see them, the ducks?”

He’d follow their gaze searching the clear blue sky for any sign of birds.

Then it would hit him.

The air surrounding us was so toxic it rippled the same way hot summer sun does over cool asphalt.   It smelled so bad the end of his nose actually curled in such a way as to close itself off from the foulness.

Distraction is the best defense so I began to squat one more time.

“NOOOOOO,” he’d manage to squeak out while trying to hold his breath. “We’re done with those.”

“Oh, okay,” I’d say. “What do you want to do now?”

“Shower,” he’d say.

“Oh, okay. I’ll see you next week.”

“No…I think I’m busy next week.”

As I stood there digesting his comment I realized that we were done–forever–so I bent over to pick up my towel and delivered a parting prize.

I guess I should be grateful he dumped me. All the money I’d been spending on getting in shape has now been diverted to purchasing the big box of Gas X from Costco. My entire family is grateful to him now I work out at home.