Body Confidence… with Help from a Trainer


I never considered myself a true athlete but I did compete in sports throughout my childhood. I was on at least six different swim teams from childhood until high school graduation and trained year-round. I was on the crew (rowing) team, competed in two relay triathlons in high school and ran a half marathon in college. But still, I don’t know if I would label myself an athlete. I’ve been athletic in the past, sure, but I still didn’t necessarily build my identity around that.

All that considered I tried to stay active after college and once I had an office job. Sitting for about 45 hours a week doesn’t always lend well to being super active so I, naturally, got a standing desk. I was never able to get into a solid routine and seemed to stop and start in terms of fitness – a lot. ClassPass didn’t work so I stopped. Boutique yoga classes stuck for a while but eventually got too expensive. Going on walks in the neighborhood made me feel like a suburban stereotype.

Only recently did I sign up for a gym through a corporate wellness program at my work and with it came a free session with a personal trainer. I jumped at it, thinking, “no big deal, they’ll just correct my form and asses how in shape I am.” I went… and was surprised. I found myself getting surprisingly candid with my assigned trainer, telling him that I felt out of shape and in a way, out of touch with my body. I explained having an athletic upbringing, I didn’t always “try” in terms of being active and wasn’t used to not having that accountability and goal setting. I shared that I liked intense workouts, the kind that would potentially leave you with calluses, red-faced and sweating.

After that session, we got to talking about continuing with a program and I decided to do it and become one of those people that has a personal trainer. I’m still wrapping my head around what that means in terms of myself and how I see my body. Do I not trust myself enough to stay active? Do I have so little supervision skills for signing up to have someone watch me work out? What does it say about my relationship with my body and how I feel about it?

And I’ve come around to thinking that, maybe I care enough, in my own way, about my body to invest the time, energy, and resources into having a partner in some way. I don’t know if this is me rationalizing my decision and believe me, I recognize the privilege in having access to this sort of fitness program. But I also don’t want to feel embarrassed by it because I will tell you, lifting weights and throwing around medicine balls and running weighted sleds with my trainer feels fucking great. I’m starting to feel excited by what my body can accomplish in an hour and how it will feel in the hours after. And I like walking away knowing I, to use my trainer’s words, “crushed it”.

Confidence in my body is connected to what I can do physically, that I know is fact. I feel satisfaction when I finish a set or push myself with heavier weights. I almost think I’m starting to understand why people are so into Crossfit – but let’s be real, I’m not going to join on principle. I’m grasping that feeling of power that comes over you when you complete something that is also exhausting you. I like the rush of endorphins it brings and gathering myself with a few breaths, coming back from the brink of breathing just a little too hard. And I want to gain more – I want more of that feeling. I’ll talk to my trainer about it.

Katharine Donohoe : lives and works in Virginia. She (sometimes) has very little chill but enjoys the simple things like GChat, Trader Joe’s frozen snacks, and listening to a healthy amount of podcasts.