He is otherwise a decent guy. Fair in his complexion and smooth in communication. Intriguingly, he is aware of some areas of quantum physics, theology, few other random subjects and also Hindu religion. This man – if there is anything called destiny, became my personal trainer in the gym.
I was going to the gym repeatedly and continuously to do fairly strong work out, but there was no visible result. At that point, I thought that I might need a professional trainer and asked the receptionist in the gym if she could recommend any personal trainer.
“Yes, of course”, the Receptionist said and added, “that baby-faced man”.
It was a bit strange expression – baby-faced man, I thought.
The Trainer, when I was introduced, behaved absolutely adult-like in terms of the training programme and his remuneration. I was kind of frustrated that he did not behave like a baby and reduce his remuneration or even give some discount. So, at a later date, I told the receptionist that the trainer she referred to was anything but baby-faced!
We started our journey one evening when the Trainer asked me what my goal from the training session was.
I have been wearing the same size of trousers for over two decades, but it was almost never that I was fitting in those pants – out by an inch or two due to my waist meat. So, I told him that I wanted to shape up my waist line. He said that I should rather focus on my food habit because according to him, waistline would better be managed 70% by food and the rest by physical exercise. Ummmm …… that didn’t sound good at all!
My golf trainer told me that the power of a golf shot was generated from the hip and the core muscles. So, I told my gym Trainer that I wanted to build up some muscles in my bum and the core areas. He listened intently. And, I realized later that it was another mistake I unwittingly committed because in order to gain something – as everyone says, I would have to lose a lot.
Well, thus, reduction in the front line and ‘more the merrier’ at the back – my goal was declared and registered to be worked upon.
** ** **
The training session in the gym started with a routine – 5 PM, twice a week. It was interesting first few weeks. A new feeling, a sense of being part of a larger goal and finally, though I had pushed hard to keep away from this feeling, it was a style statement – hundreds of gym goers are not attached to a personal trainer!
Weight training began with a bang. I could not believe that I was doing – though a miniature replica, what other big and musclemen used to do with real thuds. Barbell, dumbbell, deep squat, deadlift – different poses, awesome variations. The same gym kept staring at me dancingly with the melody of the heart and brain. It was nice – those few weeks.
However, the shock came when the Trainer gave me a page on the customized app with the details of the food I would need to consume. It was protein and more protein with some fats and no carb. Disturbingly rogue instruction – No Carb!
My rice, sweetie from my childhood, is gone. Even the bread – white and soft and fluffy like a pillow, with lots of butter and strawberry jam on the top – became a distant reality.
I hated the food chart and it was written all over my face. Perhaps to convince me on the good effect of such different food regime, the Trainer took me to the locker room and showed his chiselled body and quipped – “muscle is built in the gym and the stomach is built in the pantry”.
That is how I fell from the heaven of tasty food made of and surrounded by carbs.
At the same time, as we started growing closer, or most likely that is what it was to be, the Trainer started increasing the kilograms of the weights. It was ceasing to be the fun of the initial periods. The strain of lifting heavy weights brought creases to my forehead. The muscles on my body, in the eyes and touches of the Trainer, were gearing themselves up to build up in nice curvatures. The Trainer told me “the ladies will soon fall flat on your feet” and I wondered if it was a sexist comment or motivational and thereby doubly sexist.
My life already started losing its natural taste due to the stringent food regime. The raw greens and sautéed veggies and lots of grilled meat kept on assaulting my mouth and the taste buds. One night I dreamt in my sleep – heaps of warm Basmati rice sprinkled lavishly with Australian butter are ready along with crispy fried potato chips. I told my Trainer of the dream. He laughed and declared that it was but normal to dream that way. Ridiculous comment – I thought.
** ** ** ** **
It was just another day of the training. Only difference was that it was early in the morning for a change, and not the usual time of the evening, because I would be travelling in the afternoon. “Oh…. the new dress”, the Trainer winked, and I gave him one of my pure smiles unblemished in the morning softness.
That was the toughest day of my life. For an ordinary person like me, with usual daily chores of life including morning-to-afternoon office work, it was more to do with tying the loose ends of the life rather than undertaking the rigorous physical trainings that a soldier would perhaps have to undergo. But the Trainer had other views in mind. He wanted me to lift weights of one and a half times more than my own body weight. So, he wanted me to do the dead-lift of One Hundred Kilogram – a Full Quintal!
Nervous, I did a few warm-up rounds and finally did lift 100 KGs. It was unbelievable. That I could gather such brute strength to lift one hundred kilogram was not even in my dream ever. But the Trainer did not stop there. Standing behind me and watching that I was following correct posture of the exercise, he was pepping up – one more, one more time. It was already the Third time I lifted the bloody heavy weight when he said animatedly – “one more time and the last one”.
That last lift – I will not forget for a long time. From the very first lift, I was thinking that it was over, but the Trainer was not impressed. When I completed lifting the weight the third time, I was almost completely exhausted and would fall on the floor. Therefore, his sermon to do it ‘one more time, the last one’ sent a shiver in my brain. I thought as if I was standing in the firing squad – a wall on which I was leaning with my head tilted down and two of my hands stretched and lifted up touching the concrete bricks while fourteen gunmen were standing aiming at me to throw their bullets.
I still lifted the weight – one last time that morning, but it was definitely in my trance. When I was lifting the barbell with those hugely heavy weights, the time for those few seconds stopped to tick by. The world ceased to exist for me. At the very top of the lift, I almost lost consciousness with the feeling that this heavy strain in my body and the mind would end after this very position.
I threw the barbell and the weights down on the floor with a big bang. All the pent up emotions that were kept in solid state thus far suddenly found an easy escape route. Water flowed down my nose and eyes. I had the sweat towel – a fresh one.
My Trainer was happy – sincerely, and gave me good amount of pep talk. Few solid minutes later, I recovered from the bruise of the strain. It was time to celebrate. I offered my Trainer to join me for breakfast.
** ** **
The restaurant was just on the upper level. Beautiful aroma of coffee filled the entire space in the front side of the cute restaurant. I asked for a black coffee and the Trainer opted a flat white. For food, the Trainer wanted to order a 3-egg omelette with cheese, tomato and bacon but I decisively declared that I was much more experienced in ordering good food – almost as good as the Trainer was in training.
I told the waiter – “this is my treat to him and therefore, I will order for both of us”. “Sure sir”, the waiter said. “Please get me your fresh large croissant filled with fried eggs in hollandaise sauce and a piece of strawberry cheese cake”. “Sure sir” – the waiter.
My Trainer looked up from the screen of his cell phone and raised a finger at me, but I did not let him even speak his first word. I said to the Trainer – “inside the gym I listened to you and follow. When it is food business, you would be good to reciprocate”. The Trainer dropped his hand in despair. “And for him, sir?” – the waiter asked me. “A scone with a big pot of cream, one piece of lemon cheese cake, and French toast on white bread with lot of honey” – I ordered for the trainer.
** ** **
Astonishment, disbelief, desperation and finally submission – I have seen all this and a few more expressions in the Trainer’s eyes. When my black coffee arrived, the morning was still crisp. Crossing beyond the Flat-White, I looked up at my Trainer – he looks cute, indeed, in his baby-face!