As fall approached, I was debating whether or not to join a gym. I thought maybe I could try spin classes seeing that I had been biking all summer with relative ease. I was a little bit intimidated with going to a gym in my “condition.” It’s not that I was self conscious about my appearance; I appear fit. It’s just that I was feeling self conscious about going to a gym while having MS. I had always been a regular participant in group fitness classes such as step aerobics and Zumba, but I was used to being in the front row. I now felt as though I needed to be relegated to the back of the room, perhaps near the exit, or at least the rest room, should I suddenly need to step out. I didn’t want to be the kind of person who “steps out.” In researching my options, I came across what looked to be just the thing for me; Pilates with a personal trainer. It sounded expensive because, well, it was expensive. But I found the least expensive of the expensive trainers and boldly made an appointment. I was very excited at the prospect of exercising like the stars! Core fitness sounded very appealing. Maybe I could wear a bikini this summer. I figured that this might be the last opportunity to really get a Jennifer Aniston body, not just because of my MS, but also because of my age.
I loved Pilates and the personal trainer immediately. I could do this. I wasn’t the strongest I had ever been when I started, but everyone has to start somewhere. The Pilates machine looked like a torture device, with all it’s pulleys and straps, but it wasn’t torturous at all. Having a personal trainer was great too, because she encouraged me to keep going when I may have otherwise wanted to stop. At the same time, she was always mindful of my personal abilities, to be sure I wouldn’t injure myself.
On my first day I scheduled twice weekly appointments straight through the next three months and I kept them all. I would prepay for both days on Mondays (my idea, not hers) so that I would feel obligated not to blow off my next scheduled appointment. It was all my own personal strategy to stay the course and it seemed to work. I stuck with it for the full three months, and felt really strong and energized. Sadly, as December approached, the well was running dry and I felt compelled to take a break. It’s February and I still haven’t gone back, but maybe that wasn’t my last opportunity.