Monday, January 1, 2007


After coverage for physical therapy ended a couple months after the car accident in 2003, I decided that I wasn't done recovering my physical self. I could see that my left leg was smaller than my right, and that wasn't good enough. Before starting to dance, it would have been; I don't think I would have pursued more physical recovery. However, I was starting to understand that my body was more than just something to carry my mind around, which was due to dance. Dance is a sport, and I had unconciously started thinking of myself as a sort of athlete.

I took my cane with me when I went to the 24 Hour Fitness down the street to learn about membership plans. I expected to receive some fierce sales pressure, but I knew that if I waved my cane in their faces they would back off - if for no other reason than the company would require a doctor's clearance form before they could sign me up. Utimately I got the doctor's clearance and I signed up. I signed up with a trainer because I knew that I didn't know anything about weight training and I didn't want to hurt myself anymore than I already was. The trainer recommended was a man who has sustained several injuries over the years, someone, I was assured, who would be able to understand where I was coming from when trying to get my body back to doing things it had been able to do before the wreck (and, as it turned out, more).

Each time I've re-signed with a trainer he or she and I go through the nutrition explanation and I politely remind them that I don't care about losing weight. I want to build muscle so I can balance better, carry heavier, survive longer. My father's mother just turned 104, so I expect to be here for a long time - and I do not intend to break a hip someday.

One of the things that Adonis - nor any of the trainers I've worked with there - hasn't really been able to understand was that I was interested only in becoming stronger. I came through the accident, injured relatively lightly because I was in good health to start. I think that if I had been stronger, I would have gotten through injured even less. I do not mean to make light of how serious my injuries were, I'm just very clear that they so easily could have been much much worse if... The big IF of any car accident.

I've been recovering from this accident for a long time. My leg injury is healed, but when the weather is about to change to rain, I usually know. Unlike before the wreck, I have to act as if my back is a fragile thing - even though it's probably stronger, and better supported, now than it ever has been. I've worked with all of the long-term trainers at that gym and noted their different styles; now I combine Adonis' and Smiley's localized muscle training, the Skater's back strength techniques, and the whole-body sets taught me by The Guy Who Looks Like My Brother into my own workout routines.

I like having biceps I can see and muscles in my (matching) legs I can feel, but the best compliment I've received was one day recently when Adonis poked me in the stomach. Because we were laughing, my abs were tightened, and he said, "Damn, girl!"

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