A rainy Monday (at least it is here in NYC) makes it that much harder to start the week, so in an effort to get you all moving at your best I’m going to tell you a story about my client M.
M. is 64 years young and works out with me 5 days a week. Being one of 16 children has made her a huge giver and caretaker of anyone who needs help. Her favorite color for now is purple and she’s a real fire cracker. She’s always telling me amazing stories about how she used to party all night long, how she once told her boss off, but still managed to keep her job, or how she could climb and swing herself around a telephone pole better than any stripper you’ve ever seen. Her hair is styled in an adorable pixie cut, which is just perfect for her, but she wouldn’t agree with me on that one, because before the chemo she said it was much thicker. M. is a more than a fire cracker, she is a fighter, surviving a traumatic experience with breast cancer, which left her without a breast, never-ending pain in her legs, and anxiety and depression that many times wouldn’t allow her to sleep. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that her father drowned when she was 7, she lost a brother in 9/11 and then another one that same year. Then, on September 11th, 2007, after having a fabulous pregnancy, her daughter gave birth to a boy with Cerebral Palsy. So, to say the least M. is one of the strongest people I know.
I met M. almost 2 years ago when she came into the gym where I worked. What I remember from those first few months is that M. was just a shadow of who she is now. We had plans to work out twice a week, which we did some of the time, but most of the time there were cancellations, because she was too tired to come in. Too many thoughts reeling through her mind created an unescapable anxiety that kept her up at night. When we did work out together though I could tell that her mind was somewhere else. She couldn’t remember things that I just showed her and I would have to constantly repeat myself. Yet, she never once got too frustrated and never once gave up. Persistence really paid off, because little by little I would catch a glimpse of the person hiding behind all that heaviness inside of her. 2 times a week became 3 times a week and one day she came into me and said, “Dani, if I’m going to do this I better stop half-assing it. I think I’m going to come in to see you 5 days a week”.
And that is when everything changed. She put her foot down and decided that she wasn’t going to live like this anymore. Every day she was going to get dressed, get out of the house, and make sure that she took care of herself. She realized that none of her feelings were going to go away on their own and that she would have to do something about it if she was ever going to feel better.
That was a year and a half ago. Almost nothing keeps her from a session anymore. Not even the food poisoning that she had last Thursday. Seriously, she had food poisoning all night on Thursday and showed up at my door on Friday morning, with absolutely no sleep or food in her stomach. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.
At 10am this morning, M. came in with a fabulous green raincoat on, a chic purple purse, and her make-up just perfect. But the thing that stood out the most was her smile. For the entire 60 minutes of our workout she had me laughing, she never complained, never once said she couldn’t do something, and mentioned that she slept through the entire night last night in her bed. If you ask her why she works out now, the weight she wants to take off is secondary. The real reason is because of how good she feels. She works out because there was a time when she couldn’t and she never ever wants to be back there again. She has strength not just in her body, but in her conviction to do this every day. If you ask her now if she likes working out, the answer will most likely be no. But does she like the results, hell yes, you bet ya!
Every single time I see M. I’m inspired. She is what it means to conquer yourself. When I’m having difficulty mustering up the energy to work out I think of her. My being tired or not in the mood is nothing compared to what she’s overcome. Not even my soreness should hold me back. So, I tell you this story, because if you’re not feeling up to it, if you’re feeling weak, if you have hang- ups that keep you from walking into the gym, or if you ever say “I can’t”, remember M., because oh yes you can! Find a way and conquer yourself.