Resistance or Resilience?

March 15, 2021

I had a tiff with my workout trainer.  He was 25 minutes late starting a session.  Always ready for a reprieve when it comes to exercise, I texted to pass.  Shortly thereafter, he cancelled another session with no reason—just that “I can’t make it.”  I felt I merited an explanation and asked at the end of our next full session. 

He uses Skype to do virtual workout sessions.  In response to my question, he explained that some people have technical difficulties connecting with him and that this delays ending some sessions on time and causing subsequent ones to start late…

And, then he added forcefully, “If you are unhappy with this, I will happily refund you the remainder of your payment.  You can find another trainer.”  I persisted and asked what happened when he cancelled in the morning a couple days later our subsequent afternoon session.  He responded, “I couldn’t make it.”  And repeated, “I will happily refund the remainder of your payment.”  This all occurred within two minutes. 

I was stunned.  He was quick to escalate my questioning to ending our relationship.  I asked for an explanation, not a severing of our client-trainer connection.  He has been my trainer for more than two years, and he does a great job knowing what I am capable of doing and not doing, what diverse exercises are best for me, and what proper form enhances the benefits of an exercise.  He is an essential component of my weekly life, not to mention my health and wellbeing. 

I ended the conversation asking him to understand that I have a schedule, too, and to be sensitive to that.  We agreed that we would see each other in a couple of days for my next workout. 

The Aftermath

Initially I was pissed.  And then I concluded, my angry feelings were not helping me.  His skill, time and attention were what I wanted and superseded the emotional fallout of this momentary shutdown.  I still wanted them in spite of the occasional cancellation or inability to meet.

I’ll admit I am always seeking to forge closer relationships with the individuals I have enlisted for help.  This trainer will have none of that.  His most recent behavior has helped me to see things in a different way.  For example, after particularly difficult exercises, I have told him that that was demanding, painful or I just didn’t like it.  In fact, on one occasion, I said, “I extremely disliked that one.”  He responded by labeling my comments as complaints.  I said they weren’t complaints, just observations. 

Well, that exchange popped into my thoughts after our most recent tiff.  In conversing with myself, I discovered he might have a point.  Am I resisting his expertise?  What if I didn’t comment?  What if I stopped telling myself it was hard, painful, and I can’t wait until it’s over?  What if I just focused on the exercise?  It takes energy to think those thoughts and even more to articulate them.  And even more if I am waiting for a response.  I might be able to master the exercise more easily if I held my comments.  I might be able to enjoy the workout just a little more. 

So, I made a decision.  Quit resisting.  Go with his directions.  See how resilient I can be.