I’m in training. Not for a marathon or anything. Just for strength and better health and a toned body. This decision comes after repeated frustrations about when and where to best reach my exercise goals. I have always been driven to achieve these goals — mostly through walking a few miles as many times per week as possible — but there have been too many instances of canceled plans. My kids may have been too demanding. Dinner may have gotten in the way. I may have been too tired. It’s easy to give up when I am the only one in charge. But there’s something about committing to someone else. About being watched and evaluated. About not appearing weak to the one who is observing. About being taught and instructed and motivated.

I started working out with a personal trainer who lives in my neighborhood and has transformed her garage into a gym. Yesterday was my fourth workout and while my trainer thinks I will be an easy client and will soon see results, I find that I am a bit of a whiny client and I only hope I will be able rework my shape into a hard body. I am struggling right now — I feel weak and sometimes dizzy while working out and I lack a certain bounce in my step. So when I had to do this jumping resistance thing yesterday, my body felt heavy and my head felt light. And when I did an inner thigh exercise, I considered that childbirth may not really be all that painful after all. This stuff is hard. But I guess it’s meant to be. And if hard work and struggle is what builds muscle, maybe I will see results soon.

This much is true: I like how I feel after I accomplish my workout. I like the soreness I feel the next day — even if it prevents me from easily sitting down and standing up. I know this new routine is working because I physically feel it. It feels good.

Another truth: I have a definite workout schedule now. I have to show up. I have to work. I won’t give up.

I wanted my own exercise time. Now I have it. Ouch.

Jacki Donaldson