I was working out on the machines at the gym recently, trying to count my reps when a young woman with a kind smile approached, asking, “What’re you working out today?”  There are no less than three reasons why this question flustered me: 1) She could plainly see what I was doing; 2) She interrupted my reps and I lost count; and 3) I had only a short time before I had to pick up my kids.

You see, I count just showing up at the gym as a major accomplishment.  I wrote it on my calendar.  I put on my gym clothes (which are actually the yoga pants I live in around the house…but with a pair of tennis shoes, they’re totally gym-worthy).  I gathered my brood of kids who were none-too-excited to go (again) to the gym this week.  (We’re still trying to get across the idea that mom has to work out more than once a week…we’ll get there, I’m sure of it.)

On our way out of the house, I untangled a necklace for my daughter and Googled a Spanish word for my son, all while throwing my things in a bag and getting us in the car and buckled.  All morning, my head had been full of plans: dishwasher emptied first, then making breakfast, hitting the homeschool books and intentionally taking a few minutes to breathe and read a chapter in a novel (for the sake of my sanity).

Often, when I get to the gym, I show up thinking: 20-30 minutes of weights and 20-30 minutes of cardio. That’s it.  My whole plan, right there.  I’ve been thinking and planning all morning, so I don’t always go in with a super-specific plan at the gym.  I go to have an hour’s break as an introverted homeschooling mama while I burn some calories, lower my blood sugar, and tone some muscles.  I go to the machines I feel like using.  I do the cardio I’m in the mood for (if such a thing is possible).

So, when sweet trainer-girl comes over, asking me what I’m doing and if I’d like a free training session right now, I just think no.  For some reason, I feel like I have to justify my answer: “I don’t have the 20 minutes you need because I have to get my kids soon.”  Or, “I have Type 1 diabetes and have to be very particular about the types of exercises I do.” And, you know what?  That’s all true!  But it doesn’t matter. My saying “no” is enough.

I think I felt like my answer required a justification for a few reasons: the feeling like I had to prove myself, especially in a place that is not my spot of expertise.  Since I went all glassy-eyed when she used the phrase “circuit training”, I felt like an idiot who had something to prove.  When, in reality, my mind just wasn’t where hers was.  My mind was counting reps, enjoying being alone, keeping an eye on the clock and that deadline to get my kiddos.

She looked at me like I was some poor woman who hadn’t a clue what I was doing. But, just because my mind wasn’t spot on where hers was at that exact instant doesn’t speak any less of the work I have done or the things I do know. Honestly, the biggest reason I said no (aside from my personality quirk that doesn’t like to change my plans on the spur of the moment) is that she doesn’t know my body like I do.  I bear the scars on my fingers of more than 12,000 finger pricks to test my blood sugar.  I know about my weak spots and my strong areas.  I know what my current trouble spots are, even if I can’t articulate them on the turn of a dime.

If I was planning to create a relationship with a trainer, I’d probably jump at the opportunity to get a feel for her training style. But I’m not. I may not remember most of the terms used in training, but I’ve been blessed with years of various experiences and training to try out many things and figure out what I like and what I hate.  From having a typical personal-trainer experience, to CrossFit, to Beachbody, to yoga, and more, I’ve tried a bunch of things and am a believer that people need to do what they love (or at least what they like). Every personality is different. Every body is different. Just get up and do something…just move. And keep going.

That’s my grand plan for now: put on gym clothes, show up, pick something and move my body. That’s it. And that’s okay. Especially in a season where I can’t find many opportunities to shut my mind down during the day, just going and moving in some way is perfectly wonderful!

Here’s the beautiful thing: we all know things! There are areas you are an expert in that I haven’t a clue. And, perhaps, vice versa. There are also areas where I know what I need to know for now…and it’s not a time where I’m ready to learn more. That’s okay too. I know where to look if I have questions. And I’m learning, albeit slowly, that ultimately I don’t have to prove myself to others. Whether they’re trying to sell me on something or trying to get me to commit to just. one. more. thing…I don’t have to prove myself or justify my answer to them. I can live without performing for the vast audience of the world and live for just an audience of One.


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