When my girls were little, my older one would complain to me that the younger one would follow her around and do whatever she did, went wherever she went.
I told her it’s a sign of love and she should be flattered that her little sister wants to be just like her and be with her all the time.
She would still complain that it was so annoying and I would just dismiss it as cute.
They soon outgrew that stage as now, although still close as can be, they are complete opposites- one is a girly girl, the other; a tom boy (which unfortunately for me- someone who hates to shop- makes it impossible for them to share clothes).
Flash forward to the past few months ……
There’s a woman at the gym that follows ME around and does whatever I do, goes wherever I go.
For example, if I were working on the leg machine she suddenly would be working on the leg machine in between my sets – and would adjust the weight stack each time. So I would go over to the Lat machine and sure enough she would stop the leg machine and follow me to the LATs…again, adjusting the weight in between my sets.
I would just dismiss it as me thinking she was doing a similar routine as me.
But as time went on, she would start to make comments about my workouts – not compliments either- but more like passive aggressive commentary in a very competitive way. It became pretty clear that she was in fact trailing my workouts and yet oddly enough, would simultaneously criticize them.
Don’t get me wrong; I have done my share of following trainers around the gym over the years.
When I was first licensed as a fitness trainer so many years ago, I spent my workout time watching different trainers techniques with different types of clients. I was lucky enough to be living in NYC where it was common for celebrities to work out at the same gym as I did so I would follow them around…not because they were famous but because they were guaranteed to afford the best trainers.
I watched countless videos and read as many books as I could get my hands on. This was before the time of the internet- and fitness was not the multibillion dollar behemoth it has now become. There were no Jillian Michaels videos or P90X apps and all I had available were some old issues of SHAPE magazine and cable reruns of Gilad’s Bodies in Motion. (Those nude pantyhose were so hot weren’t they? So not kidding.)
But watching others who were more experienced really helped give me ideas on how to create a workout routine that worked best for me. I would adjust and modify what I saw to accommodate my own body and fitness goals.
I learned that exercise is personal and not all workouts fit all people.
My friend would make fun of me that I was like the ‘Will and Grace’ episode where Grace follows the trainer and his client around the gym because she’s too cheap to pay for one herself only to discover that the other woman’s goals were to reduce her boobs and enlarge her ass.
Yup, Workouts are personal.
For instance, I have a friend who loves to run.
She’s fast, dedicated and runs every morning even in the freezing cold NYC winters. I have another friend who only does Yoga.
Both women have beautiful bodies and both swear they would never do the others workout no matter what you paid them. And you know what?… Both women are right!
Over the years I’ve figured out what works for me.
I believe you should enjoy exercise and you should never push yourself to do something you don’t like.
I personally don’t enjoy running so I bike, lift weights and swim instead.
So when this woman started following me around the gym I could not help myself from messing with her just a little.
I began my set with the leg machine and sure enough she would soon follow. I then immediately moved to the other side of the gym and did some triceps – which of course, she soon followed.
Then I hit the floor and did a set of burpees (when it comes to burpees I do exactly 9…. Simply because 8 is not enough and 10 is just showing off).
Then I dove into skaters (a plyo move) and immediately ran back to the other side of the gym and did a superset of squats and lunges. Then one minute of jump ropes only to run back to the leg machine again and did the whole routine over again without stopping.
After about 20 minutes of this I had to admit I was wiped and my heart was racing!
I looked around and she was gone- she had gone off to use the cardio machine.
Success! But my thumping heart rate made me stop and think (and catch my breath);
I hadn’t felt this pumped in a long time.
My workouts had become somewhat stagnant lately and for the first time in weeks I had changed it up ….. and loved it!!
Sometimes all it takes is the attempt to shake something or someone off to make you shake things up a bit and actually be productive! If Imitation is the best form of flattery than at least make sure it increases your heart rate at the same time.
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