Saturday, April 2, 2011

Drill Sergeant Jill

Last month, I joined a health club. This particular club is a wonderful place that I love. It is a women-only place, small but beautifully painted and clean. I have met so many nice women there. Everyone is friendly and happy and there to seriously work out at our own pace.

I had completed a month on a beginning program of lifting weights, cardio and toning exercises. At this particular club, you are monitored quite often. There are usually two or three trainers on the floor at all times checking your progress and form. At the end of four weeks on a program, your progress is checked, and you are taught a new program for the next month. I arrived bright and early last Thursday to go through my new program. I wasn't aware that my trainer would be Drill Sergeant Jill.

No one really calls her "Drill Sergeant". But she sure does resemble one. Jill is a no-nonsense kind of gal. I have never seen her smile. She is cordial, but she stops just short of pleasant. She will ask you a question, and when you give her the answer, she sets her jaw, narrows her eyes and changes the subject leaving you to believe that the question itself was rhetorical, and she really didn't want you to answer it at all.

So, last Thursday I arrived ready for a new program. I tried my best to follow all instructions, tried to memorize where to put my hands and the proper form for each machine. The program ends with floor work. I made the mistake of complaining about a particular exercise involving a large inflated ball. Jill walked around to stand directly in front of me. Her dark brown eyes looked like little bits of flint were shooting off of them.

"You don't like the exercises on the ball?" she asked.

"Yeah, is there an alternate because I'm going to have a hard time with it." I said and smiled.

"You just bought yourself another exercise on the ball." Jill said matter-of-factly.

There was an awkward minute where I was thinking "Did she really just say that?" She walked around me and started to demonstrate another exercise on the ball that the Flying Wallendas at the height of their career would have had a hard time doing. I started biting the skin on the inside of my lower lip. I thought about the Maya Angelou quote, "The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them."

"Is there a problem?" Jill asked. I shut up and kept my poker face on because I have met my match in this woman. She's tiny but in phenomenal shape, and she could kick my a$$. So, I said nothing more and did the exercises as instructed.

Two days later, I returned to work out and was going through my program. There was a different trainer there who is a very sweet and nice person. It crossed my mind to ask about alternative exercises to the ball, but I decided to stick it out. When I was on my second set of exercises, Jill arrived at the gym. She and the other trainer came over to where I was exercising. Jill asked the other trainer, "So, has she asked for different exercises because these are too hard?" Jill was impressed when the other trainer confirmed that I had not complained at all. Jill laughed because she had left a big post-it note for the other trainer warning her that my program was not to be changed. Guess I showed her that I'm not the princess she thought I was.

Jill was a little nicer to me the last time I was there. She correct my form on a machine. I know she's always watching - even when she isn't there. Toward the end of my workout, I saw her take issue with another woman who was there and was talking on her cell phone as she was exercising. Jill asked the woman, "What motivates you? You need to want to be here." And then Jill took her into the office for what I can only assume was a real "Come to Jesus" meeting about her attitude.

And I thought about those words "what motivates you?" I am surrounded by motivation at that gym. I see women of every shape and size working hard. I see the very fit women that I always envied because they make looking good appear to be effortless. And I see them working out with personal trainers at 6:30 am. Turns out they work hard to look like they do. I see tiny little old ladies who have never lifted a weight in their lives, and they are working hard to get back some flexibility. I see a couple young teen girls who are working to be better at competitive swimming or gymnastics. Each and every woman is an inspiration.

So, this video is for all the ladies. I saw it when I was on the treadmill at the gym, and it inspired me to run faster - who wouldn't want to run toward the guys from Duran Duran? They still look and sound great after all these years. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading this. I have to admit when I worked at an all woman's gym I was tempted to be this way. I wanted to be this way. I wanted my Ladies to work hard, get their money's worth, and be rewarded with the results that would get them excited and want to keep on working out and eventually have them walk in happy and pleased with themselves and surpassing goals. I hope Jill is this way :)