So, for about 8 years I’ve been working out with various trainers and at several different gyms. I’ve always done some form of “superset” workout, where you work your upper body, lower body, upper body then repeat two times, and the inverse.

I’d been having a really hard time breathing during my workouts with Ana that followed this format. Several times we had to cut the workout short because I thought I was going to vomit, and had the full flop sweat/metallic taste thing going on. Since you know I’m dead embarrassed to puke at the gym (or anywhere), I tried to figure out what it was.

Narrowed it down to two things: anxiety leaching itself into the gym; and the supersetting. One of these two was not letting me get enough air into my lungs, causing my heart to beat erratically, lightheadedness, and nausea. The confusing thing is this: it’s virtually impossible to tell which it is.

This week, Ana and I switched from supersets to a lower body/stretching/upper body three workout stint. At the same time I hooked up with a psychologist and started getting help with my plan to be able to return to the workforce as a productive AND happy person.

So, there’s no real way to figure out what’s causing the difference, but I will say this about that… I’m sailing through these workouts, kids. Sailing. Okay, not sailing. Maybe putting along with a very small, very old outboard motor, but at least I’m not worried about passing out or vomiting on my shoes. Know what I’m saying?

Anyway, today’s workout was upper body and it was tough. We started with: slams (12lb medicine ball behind your head, slammed down onto the floor in front of you, repeated 20 times); lat pulldowns (uh, 60 pounds is heavy people, and really hard on the forearms which I totally was not expecting); and assisted pullups. No joke on that last one, I’m only pulling up like 50 pounds, but man it hurts. This set of three lovely exercises was repeated three times. Woot.

Our next set of three fun and thrilling (!) exercises were: shoulder presses while seated on a stability ball (10 pounds in each hand… heavy!); cross body cable pulls (the guy on the machine after me could not stop laughing when I told him I’d left the heavy weight on just for him. I guess he doesn’t think 15 pounds is heavy. Hmph.); and pushups.

You know I love me some pushups. Snort. I hate pushups. I really do. After my first day of disaster, Ana decided to only torture me with pushups every once in a while, and only on an incline, which makes it easier. Today we dropped the incline by half. HALF!! It’s a wussy incline now. Next thing you know she’s gonna have me do the real thing. On the ground! By the third set of pushups I was in full negotiation mode, wondering what I could do to get out of it. Ana was having none of that, but did volunteer to do them with me. I negotiated a much harsher punishment: she’d have to do guy-style pushups, slowly, with a clap at the top of each up. In exchange, I’d do my 12, also slowly.

Every trainer in the gym stopped to watch Ana. It was pretty impressive. She really gutted it out on 12, that’s for sure. For a woman who’s always saying how much she likes pushups, she didn’t look too in love with them. So on the 12th (really the 36th) one, I yelled out (while exhaling on my way up, as I’m supposed to do) “how do you like them pushups now, Trainer Ana?”. Yeah. I got high fives all around for that one.

She got her own though. She decided we should end with the dead bug exercise, on the frakking bosu ball. Uh, yeah. Look at that photo people. I was falling off the ball every which way but onto my head. Oh man, that was ugly.

Lesson learned: don’t mock the trainer. She might be a tiny little thing, but she’s got a mean streak in her a mile wide. Enough said.