I started working out with a personal trainer a few weeks ago. His name is Travis, and he’s into martial arts, brown rice, chicken, drinking a lot of water, and keeping up with the latest advancements in interrogation techniques. If you find yourself in the greater metropolitan Los Angeles area and are in the market for either a personal trainer or an interrogation specialist, then you should definitely give Travis a call, by the way. Because he’s extraordinarily gifted in the skill sets of both of those professions, especially for somebody who is only like seventeen or something.
I have been working out with Travis twice a week — though to be honest, that description is a little misleading, because what really happens is that I go to the gym, and Travis stands there with a clipboard, tells me the stuff I have to do, and doesn’t break a sweat. For instance, he’ll say, “Here, let’s put this oversized rubber band around your ankles, and then I want you to walk sideways across the weight-lifting section of the gym, stretching the rubber band as you go, and squatting down after every step.” I mean, I’m pretty sure that Travis works out, but he doesn’t do it when I’m around, because he does not want anything to get in the way of supervising me running a sideways three-legged race at an imaginary company picnic. Meanwhile, I’m unemployed, my legs are tied to each other, so there’s really only one leg instead of three, oh and by the way, where the fuck is the potato salad, Travis?
Still, I do it, and when I’m done I’ll ask him what else he has in his bag of tricks, because if making me pretend to take a dump in the middle of Equinox with a bungee cord around my ankles is the best he can do . . . well, he’s going to have to find some other sucker to reveal the location of the sleeper cell.
So yesterday, Travis gleefully announces, “It’s time for Steppers!” as if 1) I should know what that means, because 2) Steppers! are only the fucking greatest thing in the world. The way he said it, all sing-songy and enthusiastic like, I was envisioning Steppers! as the exercise adaptation of a circa 1970 upbeat musical based on a Dickens novel, perhaps something calling for an ensemble cast with mutton chops. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that Steppers! is just an inappropriately festive name for another really annoying cardio exercise that will wear me down in between strength training sessions. Yeah. “It’s time for Steppers!” just means it’s time for Anna to run/jump onto a stool like it’s a stadium step, and then run/jump backwards off the stool, and then back up again, and so on, for forty-five seconds. And during that forty five seconds, Travis will tell me, “You’re going too fast,” or “You’re going too slow,” in turns, because whatever it is, I’m almost always doing it wrong, because there’s usually some way of making it more painful that I haven’t anticipated.
I’ve lost eight pounds so far.
Travis doesn’t get credit for all eight of those pounds though, because it’s not just the exercise I’ve been doing. I’ve been starving myself also. And who is the one not eating Red Velvet Cake despite the numerous situations over the past few weeks in the face of which Red Velvet Cake would have been 100% justified? I’ll tell you who it’s not — it’s not Travis. In fact, I don’t even think Travis knows what sugar is, or maybe he’s heard of sugar before but it’s not something he would ever bother with, because whenever the topic comes up, it’s like he gets that glassy eyed look like, “Your lips are moving but you might as well be speaking Martian, because sugar? You actually like that stuff? Does not compute.”
The other day Travis had the audacity to suggest to me that I should not drink so much Diet Coke. So I told him, “Look here, whippersnapper, I’m eating like almost no food, I’m not eating cake, I’m going to the gym five times a week, including twice with you and your fucking Steppers!, and now you want me to give up Diet Coke? Are you insane?” And he’s like, “Oh you don’t have to give it up, you should just drink less of it. Like when I go out and order something to drink, I’ll still have a Diet Coke.” And then I repeated, “And now you want me to give up Diet Coke?” And then he’s like, “It’s time for more Steppers!“
We pretty much understand each other.