Inferiority Complex

Jan 11, 2013 - 1:53 AM
Ella doesn't need to worry about how her physique stacks up compared to the others she works out with.

Yesterday was my first day back with a personal trainer, a Christmas gift from my family. After really enjoying running last year, I’ve decided to try my hand at some sprint-length (that’s usually 1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 3 mile run) triathlons. Training for that is going well (I have a nifty app for my iPhone that tells me what to do each day for 12 weeks), but the personal trainer thing will add resistance training, and (I hope) complement the cardio work I’m doing. 

On my way out of White Fences yesterday, en route to the gym, I was chuckling to myself as I noticed that, at EVERY barn I passed, there was someone out in the ring, passaging or piaffing. Every single barn. Some famous people’s barns – Lars Peterson and Melissa Taylor, Michael, Catherine, Pam Goodrich – and some not. But every single one had a Grand Prix-ish level horse working in the ring.

This used to intimidate the heck out of me. It doesn’t so much anymore, not because I’m any better a rider than I was a year, two years, six years ago – I am, but that’s not the point. It’s because I’ve accepted my place on the journey so much better. Of COURSE I have vastly more to learn; of COURSE I’m a guppy in the pond of Upper Level Riderdom. I have peace with that now. And I love being here, as a peon, because there are so, So, SO many opportunities to learn.

The gym, however, is another story.

I think I’m a marginally above-average athlete, though only marginally. Compared to Joe Q. Citizen, I’m in OK shape. I eat reasonably well. I carry a few extra pounds, but so do a lot of people. And though I don’t look it, I can turn out a couple of 8.5 minute miles now. 

But compared to the average person at the gym in Wellington, I’m pretty flabby. People here are shiny and svelte. They all have great tans and sun-kissed hair. Their bodies look like they would look perfectly at ease lounging poolside in stripy bikinis in Palm Beach… because they do. These are pretty people.

And then I meet Elizabeth, my trainer.

Oh man.

Elizabeth is a statuesque blonde with legs from HERE to the FLOOR. Great skin, long locks. And in five minutes, she has me gasping in a flop sweat. Outstanding.

Give me a break, I’m thinking to myself. You run, you bike, you swim. In another few weeks you will have (at least what counts for you as) a great tan and sunkissed hair. And you can bring 1200-pound beasts from a gallop to a dead halt with just your abs, for heaven’s sake. How many people here can do THAT?!

Oh, right. It’s the Wellington, Fla., gym. Probably half the people in the room.  

Self-confidence. A work in progress.


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