Thoughts on the Swing


So my new trainer, we can call her Naome, is a nice young lady who obviously can keep count and hold a conversation at the same time. This is a good thing when it keeps me from doing more reps of a particularly excruciating workout but, it is a bad thing because, as clever as I can be, I can’t seem to distract her enough to cut them short. So I guess I end up doing what I’m supposed to do with a distinct sense of mixed satisfaction; So be it.

Now Naome is young and fit – of course she is – about 5’ 4” – maybe – and she has a very distinct sharpness of tone in her voice; Slavic I would suspect. Despite her youth she must have studied up on back pain because she is the only trainer that has asked me the right questions and given me the right warnings before attempting a particular exercise. Don’t get me wrong, the other trainers I’ve had have been fine and asked me the pertinent questions you would find in the “Liability” sections of their training manuals but this young lady has described the actual pain I should look out for. Today we found that pain.

This has been a pretty good week for me working out because I actually worked out 4 days instead of the typical 2 or 3 days. Naome seems to be in great demand because this week the only session I could schedule was Saturday morning of Memorial Day Weekend. So we walked over to the little shop of horrors they call “Work Out Stations” and proceeded to focus on my legs. By now I’ve gotten so used to pulling myself up off the toilet in the morning it seems oddly natural to turn my legs into butter for days at a time. It’s become the way of things.

“So do you have any special plans for the weekend?” she asks me…. “My warehouse is closed for the weekend and I’m planning to putter around my place; get some things done” I said.

“What’s on your schedule?” I asked in a grunt as I ground out another leg extension, dreading the next few days of morning constitutionals. “Oh, I’ve got a few classes to finish up and then tomorrow I’m going to put on a cute little dress and go wine tasting for the first time”

There was a very distinct CLUNK as I just let my legs collapse under the weight that last statement. “Wow, the first time? – that sure sounds like fun” I muttered as I untangled myself from the seat.

“Next, for your superset”, she says as she looks at me trying to wipe the sweat off my forehead before it dripped down to pool on my belly… “Have you done burpees?” she asked. “Not without beer first” I said. She laughed and scowled “NO, so you haven’t done burpees” she said matter of factually. “No, I think I would have remembered that word for sure.” I quipped.

So she demonstrated a burpee and a light went off in my head. “Yes… we used to call those ‘up downs” in football… long, long, ago… in a galaxy far away”. She laughed a quick efficient laugh and said “Yes, well that’s the other half of your superset”


So I stepped out into the middle of the torture chamber, surrounded by, what seemed to be nothing but old men straining and stretching themselves into oblivion, on machines that were designed to make them look like extras in a medieval scene. A little less sunlight through the windows and some torches on the walls; I’m just sayin, it would have been complete… They gazed upon me as I stood in front of this tiny (but fit) young woman with her hands on her hips; chirping instructions in sharp, measured, instructions… telling me to get with it and do… burpees.


So I raised my hands into the air, noting that it’s much easier when you don’t have shoulder pads and a helmet on… and then I kicked my feet back from under myself in an attempt to fall, yes, fall into a nice neat push up position and crack out a crisp pushup for the demanding, but nice, young lady.


Actually, what that first one looked like was a clumsy, bordering on geriatric – one leg back – and then the other leg back – and then – one arm down – and then the other arm down – Ok, I’m here now – Puuuush up. Then I sucked my legs back under me to stand up.


“Wow, that was… great!” Naome said… “Galaxy far away right?”


I didn’t say anything other than make a noise that involve my lips buzzing some incoherent stanzas of my “glory days”. I went down for another… “burpee”


But this time I was foolish enough to try and do it right. I snapped my legs back (both of them) and… Plopped down into a pushup position. BUT… this time, gravity and my belly took over and pulled my ass down to the floor. As my back hyperextended the pain that I have come to dread visited me with a vengeance. Pulsating from my lower back down my left leg like an electric shock… a bolt of lightning with no place to go but back up my spine.


I had to stop for a moment and gather myself. Naome immediately showed the proper concern and asked me the right questions to confirm the type of pain I felt. She pronounced “No more burpees for you” and we vectored into another series of workouts. Yes, tomorrow I’m still going to have a hard time getting up of the toilet.


It’s all about the core they say… and that’s true. It’s been nearly a year since my last cortisone injection in my lower spine. Before I started working out and swimming I would get them every 8-10 months. I’m not sure how much longer I can go before I need another. It’s been a little harder to “work” the pain off but I’ll do what I can. I will admit there is a part of me that is disappointed I could not do a burpee, even though, I was unfairly distracted by the thoughts of a young lady, in a cute dress, on her first wine tasting adventure… but now that I know… a burpee is an “Up Down”…


I’ll get over it soon.

© 2016 Darrel Boyd

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