My Nemesis

I walked in to workout with my trainer, Monique, eager to see what she had planned for us. My stomach plummeted when I saw what she had us doing first (since she was going to work out with me).

My nemesis…..the plyometric jump box.  Ugh.  I hate them.


Evil jump boxes of exercise hell.

She had the tallest one and the middle one set out to be used.  The shortest one was nestled cozily in its corner.  Traitor

“Ok. Five jumps onto the box then 10 push ups.”  Monique proceeded to effortlessly jump from the floor, landing with both feet in the center of the tallest box’s platform.  He made it look so easy.

I looked at the medium box. I HATED this thing.  HATED it.  I can do step ups on it forever, but to jump on it with both feet?  At the same time?  I had never been able to do it.

“Come on, you can do it.”  But I couldn’t.  I tried and tried.  I got both feet up onto the edge once – after trying about 10 times. “Ok, jump up with just one foot.”  I proceeded to do just that with ease.

Monique took mercy on me after 10 minutes of trying to perform 5 jumps and allowed me to do my 10 push ups, which I did for real.  No modified push ups on the knees for me. After 12 deadlifts, it was a break of 60 seconds before the jumps were to take place again.

“You can do it with both feet.  You’ve done it before.  Keep trying.  This is all in your head.”  I tried and was able to always get at least the left foot up onto the edge of the box.  “You need to tilt forward.  You’re tilting backwards which will cause you to fall onto your butt if you miss.”  She stood on the opposite side of the box, facing me.  “Lean forward when you jump. ”

I stood there and took some attempts at jumping, either just jumping straight into the air or balking, overthinking how to work my arms and legs together.   “Are you afraid of falling backwards or forwards?”

“Forward,” I responded, wiping my nose on my t-shirt up near my right shoulder.

“I’m right here.  If you fall forward you’ll fall on me.  So don’t fear falling forward.  If you fall backward you’re more likely to hurt yourself.”

My heart was pounding, my breathing quick, like I had just been running.  Here I was standing, staring down the Box of Doom, and breathing as hard as if I were actually doing the workout.

I took her next advice and jumped, bending my knees, bringing my feet up higher behind me, instead of leaving my legs straight upon release from the floor.  I did this several times before attempting the real jump, again balking.

“Give me your hands.”  She stood there, reaching her hands out to me.  I accepted the balancing lifeline and attempted the jump. “Nope, you’re leaning back.  You’re pulling me back with you!” she laughed.  I grasped more tightly to her hands and jumped, struggling to get both feet onto at least the edge of the box the required 5 times.

“See?  You can do it.  Now, push ups.”  I performed my 10 push ups while she easily did her 5 jumps before moving on to her push ups, getting much closer to the floor than I did.  Twelve more deadlifts, a little rest and it was back to my nemesis once more….luckily for the last time this workout hopefully.

The third set started off as ugly as the last two.  Monique pulled the traitorous small box over.  “Ok, jump on this one.  If you can do this, you can do the next size up.”  Well, that was easier said than done.  I performed five jumps onto the shorter box, easy peasy.  “See?  Look at this.  This is all mental.  You are letting your fear rule you.  I know you can do this.  I’ve seen you do this. You’ve even done it tonight.  You can do it.  Don’t allow your fear to control you.”

I attempted some more jumps, again, not getting the necessary height to land on top of the box.  I made another attempt, my feet barely making the edge of the platform.  However, I was leaning too far back and lost my balance, falling backwards onto my butt, the momentum of the fall causing me to roll onto my back.

I stood up and approached the box once again.  Monique came to stand next to me, again, extending a hand to me.  “Ok, hold my hand.  You did it before, but you can do it with one hand.  You can beat the fear.”  She noticed the beads of sweat rolling down my forehead. “You’re sweating, so at least we know you’re getting a workout!”  She and I laughed together.  “Don’t let the fear beat you.  You’re one of the strongest of my clients.  You can do this when others can’t.  Once you realize there is no reason to be afraid, and that you can do this, you will have the confidence to do ANYTHING.”

I reached out for her hand yet again, feeling the frustration build.  I tried hard to fight the tears, but they wouldn’t be stopped.  I had to do it.  I held onto Monique’s hand and jumped…..and made both feet onto the edge.  The next jump, I balked.  The third I made. Two more to go.  Monique’s hand gave me the balance I needed, enough to finish the last two jumps….finally.  It had only taken me a good 30 minutes to do something that should have taken half the time.

I wiped my tears onto my left sleeve and moved on to the push ups and deadlifts before moving on to the next two circuits Monique had planned for us.

After our workout we stretched and Monique said to me, “let’s go up here to the office and talk.”  I sat on the leather couch, glad it was leather as sweaty as I was.  “I wanted you to see that you could do it.  You were letting the fear take control.  And once you were able to do it, you performed the rest of the workout like nothing could stop you.  Keep working at it.”

This workout was another exercise in just how much the mental affects the physical.  How what we can do physically is usually ruled by what we and how we think.  I never thought I would ever want to, let alone actually, run a half marathon.  I’ve done that.  I ran the 13.1 miles, so why can’t I jump onto a damn box?

It’s much like so many other aspects in my life.  I haven’t done things because I’m scared. I was too scared to travel for years.  I am too scared for people to read my writing, because I’m afraid of the criticism and rejection.  I’m afraid to step out there and take a chance at making a change in my life which will allow me to help me reach my goals and deeply hidden dreams.  Am I going to let my fear rule me?  The only thing I will have if I do that will be regret.  And I do NOT want regrets.

Mind over matter.  Once one gets into the correct mindset, one can do anything.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." -Lou Holtz regrets.

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4 Responses to My Nemesis

  1. mersguy says:

    Oh god, you know my fear of steps! The tallest one would make my knees buckle.

  2. Servetus says:

    Can I say I still find this story horrifying (despite your read of it as inspiring?)

    • triski says:

      LOL Absolutely! I’m dreading the time when I go back to the gym and it’s there waiting for me. I know she’s going to make me do this all over again….

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