February 18, 2015

It’s amazing what you can do with a rubber ball. I remember when I was young and Wham-O came out with its Super Balls. You slammed the ball on the concrete and were amazed at how high it bounced. My personal trainer, Michelle Myatt, at Total-U-Fitness, has me bounce rubber balls, too.

These aren’t Super Balls. In fact, I call them killer balls. She has several sizes of killer balls. Most are black with a color accent, such as red or blue. The largest killer ball is about the size of a basketball. That’s the blue one. The red one is about the size of a volleyball, though you’ll break your arm before you serve this ball over a net.

I call them killer balls because they’re solid rubber. In other words, these are not feather-light balls you toss around while sipping a Mai Tai on the beach. If someone dropped one off the roof, you wouldn’t want it to fall on your head. But, that’s not why I call them killer balls.

I call them killer balls because, the way Michelle has me work with them, they’re brutal. Yes, sometimes she has me bounce one of the killer balls. It’s nothing like bouncing a Super Ball though. With killer balls, Michelle has me raise my arms over my head and swing down hard to slam the ball on the floor.

Frankly, the bounce factor isn’t that great. Therefore, to ensure the ball comes up high enough to catch, I have to slam it with pretty much all my might. It can’t be done several times without raising my heart rate.

Other times, Michelle has me bounce the ball off the wall. Sometimes the bounce is chest high and sometimes higher. To make matters worse, I have to bounce the ball while skipping to the side and moving my way down the wall. The wall at Total-U-Fitness is three-football-fields long.

OK, that’s an exaggeration. However, that’s how it feels after I’ve bounced the ball down the wall and back.

On other occasions, I don’t have to bounce the ball; I merely hold the ball. Sounds better, right? Not so fast. I have to hold the ball while doing squats. With each squat, I extend my arms and hold the ball out in front of me. I’m guessing she has other unique techniques for using the balls that we haven’t gotten to yet. I’m sure I can’t wait.

The reality is that, whether I bounce the ball or hold the ball, when Michelle has me use the ball, inevitably, I work up a sweat.

I’d like to resent her for that but I can’t. The truth is, that’s what I came for – to work up a sweat. I’ve worked out on my own in the past and noticed that I had difficulty working up a sweat. I had a sense that this indicated I wasn’t getting the most out of the experience.

I’m fairly sure that, when I work up a sweat, I’m raising my heartbeat, too. Raising my heartbeat indicates, to me, that I’m exercising my heart, which I think is a very good idea. By translation, that means, working with Michelle, is good for my heart and my pores no matter how much I complain in the process.

Working out with a personal trainer means that I use my time effectively. I suspect it would take me a couple hours on my own to gain a portion of the benefits of half an hour working out under Michelle’s tutelage. It also means that I’m working out safely.

The other day, someone told me how, when they work out, they’re sore for two or three days afterwards. That fits my memory of working out on my own. I’ve noticed that, though I may feel a little sore the next day, I’m never a basket case after working out with Michelle. She knows how far to safely push me.

This doesn’t mean I’ll stop complaining when Michelle pushes me. I figure it’s her job to push me and my job to complain. Or, maybe I just like to complain when she pushes me. Don’t tell her I said that, though. She’s liable to push me harder.