I think in a sense that's what I wanted when I went to the trainer. I can admit now that even before I set the appointment I was pretty sure I couldn't afford it, but "personal training" is one of the few avenues to this goal that I haven't ever tried -- largely because of the cost, and I think in my mind because I'd never had a chance at it I was starting to think of it as some sort of "magic bullet."
In other words, the only path I hadn't really tried yet (short of surgery or finding a magic lamp) is having some skinny person standing next to me encouraging me, correcting me, keeping at me, and furrowing their brow and kicking me in the ass when I try to slack.
So even though I can fully attest that the Jacksonville HIT Center is full of cool gadgets and alternate workout tools (the impression I get is that it's a program built off professional sports cross-training techniques) -- like huge boat mooring ropes you're supposed to whip around for a full-body workout, sand pits, trapeze wires that suspend you from the wall, speed skating simulators, huge tank-tread sized treadmills that you tethered yourself to with a rope so that as it moved forward for your feet it actually pulled backwards on you to increase resistance, full body scanners and diagnostic equipment, yada yada yada --
The real reason I went was to see what it would be like to have a trainer.
I mean when you think about it, even though the equipment in the place is sort of non-traditional, if there was no one there telling you what to do or checking your form -- it wouldn't really be any different from a regular gym, where there's all sorts of tools and machines available -- but only your own personal sense of motivation and understanding to get any use out of them at all.
Most gyms just throw you out to the wolves. I specifically quit the last place I paid a membership too because it became apparent to me about a month in that all the fat people were on one side of the place huffing away pointlessly on treadmills, while all the fit people were on the other side using equipment that my "one free session with a trainer" person had never, ever shown me how to use.
Put me in a sandpit or load me down with boat ropes without any help at all and I'm pretty sure I'd get nowhere fast (which is pretty much how I tend to feel with most nautilus machines and the like). What I really wanted was that skinny bitch in the $300 Reeboks who looks like she's never even seen a chili dog in her life telling me exactly why fucking around with ropes was helpful in the first place and how to do the exercise correctly.
The girl who gave me the tour/sales pitch seemed nice enough, but the more I saw (the place is 3 times bigger than it looks from the outside) the more I knew the inevitable truth, which came almost instantly the moment she opened the pricing book.
To take part in this program would cost more a month that I'm currently paying in rent.
It was crushing. Even though I expected sticker shock, what I wasn't expecting was to see the place literally full of people, many of them kids and teenagers -- and then have it made clear that I couldn't afford to be one of them. That this sort of dedicated "guaranteed to work" system was simply not for people like me.
I went in there thinking I'd confirm that the whole thing was a luxury that might be nice to have, but was just out of my reach, especially with the holidays coming around the corner.
What I got was a room full of people confirming beyond a doubt that I was poor.
And I know that when you get down to it all you need is a pair of running shoes and a belly full of fire. I know that all you really need is the right sort of motivation, and you can turn anything into an effective workout. I know that I can get exercise equipment cheap and used, I can go to the gym at my apartment, all that stuff.
That's not the point.
..That's not the point at all.
It was this feeling I got from the look in the trainer/salesgirl's eyes that made me feel like I was the first person she'd ever met who didn't simply reach into their wallet and say "Well hell if it's that cheap, maybe I should get the bonus plan too."
Who has this kind of money to throw on a gym membership/training package?
..Not me, that's who.
It was a moment that passed pretty quickly (it's not like I don't already know that I'm living check to check) but it's one of those slap in the face type feelings you don't expect, especially when you walk into a place looking for help.
About an hour after all that -- I stopped at a store near my house and bought a $7 jump rope.
..Still haven't used it yet.