Editor-in-Training: Sore but Improving


When I began my personal training at Equinox earlier this summer, I had a few vague ideas of what may happen. I expected to see improvements in my running. I expected to develop strength, and maybe even tone. More than anything, though, I expected personal training to feel easier as marathon season wore on. After all, in my years of sports participation and exercising, I’ve seen time and time again that while the first day or two of a new program may leave me waddling with soreness, the longer I stuck with something, the less post-workout pain I felt.

In what should come as a surprise to no one, least of all myself, I was wrong.

As I write this, my arms still hurt from my most recent personal training session two days ago. Slow pushups are no joke. Neither are split squats, nor medicine ball slams, nor anything that involves TRX, ViPRs or any of the other equipment in Equinox’s arsenal of training tools.

I can’t say I enjoy post-workout soreness, but I do think it reveals several benefits to regular personal training sessions. As I mentioned, in the past I’ve felt soreness when starting a new routine that dissipated as I stuck with it. While improved conditioning certainly played a part in this, I imagine I also experienced less soreness due to the fact that I often continued to do the same thing over and over again. My muscles knew what to expect, and though that may have helped me feel more comfortable the following day, it also didn’t do much to continue to build my overall fitness. In the 12 weeks I’ve spent working with my trainer Greg, every session has featured different exercises, which has kept me from mindlessly going through the hour and helped me build overall strength.

Working with a trainer also introduced me to equipment I normally wouldn’t use, either out of ignorance, fear or a combination of the two. Had I walked into the gym on my own to strength train, I likely would have stuck to free weights or weight machines. You absolutely can develop strength using these tools, but knowing how to use everything available effectively and safely gives me significantly more options.

In a similar vein, having Greg create and supervise my workouts pushes me farther than I likely would have pushed myself. On more than one occasion, Greg has set a machine or handed me a weight far heavier than I would have chosen if I had strength trained by myself. Though I usually don’t enjoy it in the moment, I can’t deny that this has helped me see gains I likely wouldn’t have had training on my own.

My arms may hurt, but the benefits I’ve seen from my personal training are worth the temporary discomfort. Keep following along with my journey at www.mychicagoathlete.com to see how things improve over the last three build weeks of marathon season!

— Bethany Stripp