Column: Perfecting the self imageWe all have mental pictures of ourselves that are just a little bit out of touch with reality. It’s not that we’re deluded. We just have an idealized image of ourselves. Maybe we imagine we’re a little bit smarter or better looking than we actually are.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
We all have mental pictures of ourselves that are just a little bit out of touch with reality. It’s not that we’re deluded. We just have an idealized image of ourselves.
Maybe we imagine we’re a little bit smarter or better looking than we actually are.
By way of example, consider the entire cast of the Jersey Shore.
I’m not excluded in this, though I tend to go significantly lighter on the spray tan. For much of the past two years, I’ve convinced myself that I was still in pretty good physical shape. I don’t ride my bike as much as I used to, and until recently I hadn’t been in a gym since the Vikings were good and the Timberwolves were terrible. But I still went on a 60- to 80 mile bike ride each weekend last summer. I figured that meant I was still ahead of the game at least a little bit.
I continued to believe that despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Like the fact I was usually exhausted at the end of those long rides, while my dad and my brother slowed down to wait for me. Or the weight that crept up every time I bothered to step on a scale. Or the fact that more and more I was starting to see the simple good sense in those dress pants that have the hidden elastic in the waistband.
It’s getting harder to ignore the facts, though.
Last week I had my first session with a personal trainer. I figured he’d show me how to lift a couple of weights. Maybe have me run on the treadmill. I might sweat a little bit, but I wasn’t worried. I’d gone cross country skiing a minimum of two times last winter. How hard could working out with a trainer be?
Apparently, pretty hard.
The workout started with me whipping around a thick rope that was the kind of kids might use to double-Dutch at the top of Jack’s beanstalk. It was hard, but I wasn’t discouraged. The male side of my family is not known for its upper body strength, I assured myself. My arms have gotten fatigued from a vigorous session of Nintendo Wii gaming. I come from a family of bikers and soccer players, I tole myself. Once we moved away from the arms, I would be fine. And I was, at least for a little bit.
I did lunges and squats down the length of the gym, and that wasn’t too bad. Then the trainer had me do something that involved wedging my feet against the wall and hoisting my rear end into the air. I can only assume it was designed to exercise whatever muscle it is that makes you willing to look foolish in a room full of strangers.
And the quads. It really worked the quads.
It was the next step where things really got awkward. I was able, just barely, to step up onto a bench press bench as directed, but when I stepped down I gave in to the forces of gravity or inertia, or maybe just that muscle I worked out in the previous exercise and kept going all the way to the floor.
From there, it was mostly just an exercise in finishing without injury. Which I did. Barely.
I was sore the day after my training session. At least, I thought I was. It wasn’t until the day after that I figured out what sore really felt like. I considered calling someone to bring my bed down the lower level of my house. I considered staying home from work. I considered, briefly, the many stylish ways to wear elastic-waisted pants.
Ultimately, of course, it will all work out for the best. If I stick with this fitness plan I’ll eventually be just as fit as I imagine myself to be. And then I’ll be pretty much perfect.