The pros and cons of working out

t is 7 a.m. and I am treading on a treadmill, staring out the window at a night sky.

t is 7 a.m. and I am treading on a treadmill, staring out the window at a night sky that is just beginning to show the first faint pink traces of sunrise.

I am not sure why I am here!

It all started with the text I received a few weeks ago informing me that I had been a gym member for a year.

“Congratulations, the text said. “You get a prize.”

“Yay,” I thought to myself.

As it turned out the prize was a free assessment by a professional trainer.

“Yay,” I said again, still enthused, but slightly less so. I was thinking more along the lines of the prize being something cute and probably useless that didn’t require physical movement on my part.

The truth is I had been a binge type gym person in the past.

Sometimes I would go faithfully, almost every day, like a well-trained puppy. I would trudge dutifully on the treadmill, and then put myself through unimaginable suffering lifting these heavy things called weights, over and over again.

They call this unimaginable suffering a workout.

Really, it is no wonder I would miss a day now and then. And then my absentee record grew, until going to the gym became more the exception than the rule.

But, gym memberships are like golf memberships.

Attendance is optional. Payment is not.

Hence, the prize!

As with most free stuff, there’s always a catch.

And the catch is why I’m here today trudging on a treadmill watching the pink fingers of morning slowly spread open the inky, black curtains of night.

Since that free assessment, I’m not only going back to going to the gym faithfully like a well trained puppy, I’m working out with a trainer.

It wasn’t that the guy tried to convince me that I should, indeed, hire a trainer.

In fact, he said, “really, for your age you’re in pretty good shape.”

“You could probably lose a few pounds, but, of course, that’s mostly nutrition as well as exercise.”

I remember sitting in the chair beside this kid who barely looked old enough to shave, mentally patting myself on the back because I wasn’t in too bad of shape considering my age and all.

Then I heard the words, “lose a few pounds.”

I jerked to attention. The words were like a splash of cold water, dissolving the little warm and fuzzy bubble I had wrapped around myself.

“How much do you charge?” I heard myself mutter.

Working out with a trainer is absolutely the worst and the best thing I could do in the morning. It is the worst because I have to actually get up, get dressed and drive to the gym. It is the best because I actually have to get up, get dressed and drive to the gym.

It is the worst because this young man pushes me much harder than I push myself. It is the best because this young man pushes me much harder than I push myself.

As we train, he explains that visualization is very important when you are working out. And so I visualize being done. I visualize coffee and drinking it.

And today as I trudge along on the treadmill, I visualize being outside, the air smelling like fall, all crisp and fresh and my grandson running along beside me.

We did a three-kilometer run earlier this year, he and I. For me, it was an unexpectedly happy moment in time and one certainly worth visualizing, especially during a workout.

I decide I like this. Visualizing. And, luckily, while I visualized, I finished my workout.

And I like that, too!