I Hired A Virtual Personal Trainer

(And I'm Pushing 60!)





How crazy is it to consider hiring a personal trainer who lives 1,500 or so miles away?

Who would have thought it to be a feasible way to start a regiment that brought results that were not only welcomed, but a bit surprising?

It all began when I made a visit to my son and his family back in late September of last year.  Both my son and his wife had been meeting regularly with Jose’ and it so happened, my daughter in law had a session with him while I was visiting.  He allowed me to tag along and initiated an evaluation workout alongside my daughter in law.  I knew I was not in great condition, but have always been moderately active so felt I would be able to handle the hour session.  The warm-ups proved to be a nice challenge; and then there came the primals.  I was grateful I am not a quick learner when it comes to getting the routine down as it gave me a few extra minutes to catch my breath!  

I was warned that I would be sore the following few days, but was encouraged to do a lot of stretching, which I did.  

That was where it all began.

I recall writing down very minimal goals for Jose at that first meeting.  My primary issue and concern was how very stiff my body had become.  It was painful to get out of bed every morning, or even in the middle of the night.  I knew my flexibility, which was never considered great, was getting lesser and lesser.  I had conversations with my mother, who was nearing 80, and all that she was physically struggling with seemed to parallel where I was, and I am 21 years younger.  Something had to change.

Still not certain the long distance would produce good results, I opted for a small contract of sessions.  With FaceTime technology, Jose guided me through some grueling workouts, all the while considering my physical limitations and corrections needed.  Not only am I a diabetic, but continued to deal with the results of having had a frozen shoulder.  I believed I had seen the best level of movement I could yet attain with that right arm as it had been several years since I had had therapy and healing.  Jose was not convinced, even though I worked at trying to get him to understand my limitations and my acceptance of where I was with it.  

We worked (and still do) those shoulders….painful!  We kept doing the warm-ups and primals….more pain!  He gave me homework, which I did not shirk as I knew my sessions with him would be so much more difficult if I did not keep on working outside of those 2 days a week.  It was not easy, but as he claims,

“It is not supposed to be easy.  It is supposed to be effective.”   

Gradually, he brought in my eating habits and as he understands the role of diet and exercise together, especially for me with diabetes, he encouraged a low carb meal plan.  I balked.  (Like he hasn’t gotten that from anyone before!)  It took me quite some time to appreciate how much better eating less carbs would benefit my strength and stamina.  As my son was already eating this way, I knew I should at least attempt moving in that direction.  Somewhere in all that process, I was dropping some pounds…although I had convinced myself it was not about losing weight.  

I remember getting out of bed about 6 months into the whole process, realizing, “Hey.  I don’t hurt anymore!”  That moment was huge, and serves as the best incentive to keep on working out.  

The accountability of having a session with Jose keeps me aware that I cannot take the lazy route, ever.  He can see and hear all that he needs to see and hear to keep me moving in the right direction as I continue to grow older.  I have had conversations with several friends and family members about not being able to quit.  You cannot just step off the train and get back on a few months later resuming where you left off.  It would not be a favorite thing of mine to struggle with a one minute plank or returning to the ache in my thighs when I finished a 4 minute primal routine.  

Jose knows what to provide in each session.  He asks questions, works with the answers, and modifies as is necessary.  Do I believe he pushes me hard?  Yes!  Do I question him in the moment of pushing me hard?  Of course.  Does it change the course he has in mind for me?  Not really.

He asked for a before and after picture (so far), and the before picture was hard to come by.  I do recall looking at this picture and a few others taken at the same time, thinking I looked a bit heavier than usual and it must have been because of the extra layers of clothing I had taken along to ward off the cold.  Then I saw the picture of me with no layers.  No hiding behind that excuse.

I feel so much better in less than a year.  I like having lost some weight even though I was convinced I did not need it.  I like being able to go upstairs and not get winded.  I like doing outdoor chores and still have energy to move after those chores are done.  I still sometimes dread my session with Jose, because I know it will require a lot of effort; but, here’s my regular quote to my husband—“I feel so good when I am done!”

I thank Jose for imparting time, knowledge and a bit of patience as he has worked with me long distance to condition my body to be better.  I do not see any value in ever quitting working out; I see loads of value in paying attention to what I eat, how I feel, and when I need to exercise.  I hope others figure it out, and I would encourage you to consider checking out a few sessions with Jose.  

I don’t believe it was a crazy plan to do long distance training…not in this day and age!  

Give it a go—it will show!

-Jean Dahnke