Month: August, 2016


At the end of a workout I am stretching next to a very limber girl.


Effortlessly, she inverts herself into a perfect yoga wheel pose, palms and feet flat on the floor with her body arched in an impossible backbend.


The lady on the other side of me on the mats sighs wistfully, “I used to be able to do that.”


I laugh.


This other woman is 78 years old and works out everyday.


We all adore her.


Her consistent determination is inspiring, but even more valuable than that is her incredible source of knowledge.


If there is a rehabilitation issue with a joint or a sprain, this is the woman we all go see about corrective exercises.


I laugh because she doesn’t need to bend over backwards anymore.


And I hope that when I become a big boy, I won’t have to either.



While planning an independent leg day this week, my coach suggested 6 working sets each of squats, dead lifts and leg presses – an unusual and new scheme for me.


It already sounded like a lot.


But the gold star A grade Asian in me piped up.


“What about calves?”


He said I wouldn’t need to do that for this particular workout because it was already so taxing.


And because I pouted and whined about needing everything to look pretty, he finally conceded.


“If you really want to do them, add 4 sets of whatever calf exercise you want, at the end. And text me when you get done working out tomorrow.”


It’s not news that the text I sent read, “Next time I decide to add extra stuff, you can tell me to shut it.”


The real news to me is that having enough is the blessing in and of itself. Anything extra sometimes turns that blessing into a real bitch.


On the back of his entire left hand is the tattoo of a heart with the simple inscription of “Jeremiah 29:11.”


The whole time I’ve been training with him, I’ve never asked my coach what that specific bible verse reads, even though I see it always nearby, ready to spot, steady and correct me through every set and repetition.


This week, as we make the appropriate adjustments in meal and workout plans for the upcoming month, and as he writes down the changes in my logbook, it suddenly occurs to me to ask.


The verse is:


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


A woman I’ve gotten to know recently is working out next to me with her trainer, while I am with my competition coach.


We happen to be doing the same exercise – a dumb bell row.


I am ready for my next set, but she is struggling to finish hers.


So in an effort to be kind, and to be encouraging, I say, “Come on, I’ll wait for you and we can do it together.”


At which point my coach discreetly whispers into my ear, “What are you doing? You go when you’re ready. Do. Not. Wait.”


After I finish, he quietly explains, “Your purpose here is different than hers. She is trying to loose weight. You are training to build muscle. Don’t forget that. You two have very different goals.”


I’m going to still wave, smile and say hello to people.


But having purpose makes everything a lot more meaningful.