I’ve been going to the gym for decades, but never made real progress until I made a commitment to work with a personal trainer.
About a year ago, I made a decision to cross off one of the items on my bucket list. Not something huge, like sit with wild gorillas in the Congo rainforest, but something I could do right here in Los Angeles. It would, however, require a commitment (yes, single people can make commitments), some money and the willingness to show up three times a week for a workout session with a personal trainer.
I’d seen the guys and girls at the gym who do this for a living, but didn’t have a clue as to how to select the right one for me. Well, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Step in pro trainer Paolo Nana, one of our SingularCity members.
I met Paolo when he volunteered to lead free workout sessions in the park for our SingularCity community. I thought no sweat I can do this. After all, I’d been going to the gym for decades. I do 50 minutes on a stationary bike or stair machine, do some stretching, and at one time, did some weight training following a book I found on the discount table at Barnes & Noble. I ended up with bicep tendinitis and an inflamed shoulder joint, so that part stopped.
Nonetheless, I considered myself fit, despite having a rear-end that was a bit bigger than I’d like (for more on that see The Junk in the Trunk). So you can imagine my surprise when I couldn’t do a lot of the exercises Paolo demonstrated in the park, like balancing on one of those half balls while doing squats. What’s up with that? Definitely time for some personal training sessions. Maybe then I’d finally fit into a pair of size 5 jeans.
Well, a year later, I’m still not wearing size 5 jeans and there’s no way you’ll ever see me in a swimsuit at the beach. But what I got from my self-improvement training sessions was even better: unexpected life improvement that will have a big impact on my ability to live independently in the future. After all, what’s the point of living longer if you spend the last 20 years barely able to get out of a chair, tottering around on a walker, or needing someone to help you tie your shoes because you’re too “locked up” to reach the laces?
So even though I still don’t have a super model’s body (thanks to my love of good food and unwillingness to suffer super model starvation) my personal training sessions have had a huge impact on my quality of life.
Here are just a few examples:
On a recent flight to Denver, with a very heavy carry-on bag that needed to go into the overhead luggage compartment, my usual method is to look around fervently for someone to help. I was astounded when I lifted it up and in all by myself.
Attending the 16th birthday party of my friend’s daughter, I ventured out on the dance floor with the other “kids.” Instead of feeling awkward and clumsy, I enjoyed an unexpected sense of balance, coordination and limber strength. I was living comfortably in my body and it was a wonderful sensation.
Going out on a date and at the goodnight hug and kiss, having him remark, “Wow, your shoulders feel amazing.”
Inspired to do some spring-cleaning that involved sweeping, vacuuming and floor moping, instead of ending up with a thrown-out back at the end of the day, I was able to go out that night feeling as if I’d spent the day lounging in a hammock.
Bottom line, the process of strength training with Paolo didn’t qualify me for dramatic before and after photos — but it did make a big impact on how I move, how I feel, and ultimately on my ability to maintain and enjoy the singular lifestyle I love, well into my golden years.
One of the joys of being single is our freedom and independence. We start losing muscle and bone mass at around age 40. Don’t wait until you’re 50 or even older to start your plan to stay strong and live long. Do it now and discover the feeling of well-being, balance and strength that will keep you enjoying your singular life for decades to come.