At the Top of the Mountain

Three years ago I fell while skiing, and I tore two ligaments in my knee. After two surgeries and months of tedious physical therapy – a must if I wanted to get my knee back – I treated myself to a membership at a sleek big gym club.

On my first day I was assigned a trainer so buff and so nice, so tanned and so knowledgeable that I almost ran away. His kindness and professionalism won me over. I was at the gym five times a week – Saturdays and Sundays are for French toast and newspapers.

Week after week I got used to my fixed schedule and to the equipment, and my workout became inefficient. I knew it but didn’t really want to acknowledge the fact.

Changing bad habits requires honest analysis and I was not ready.

This year I took a summer break longer than expected.

So after three months away from strenuous physical activity I felt sluggish.

Last week I decided to go back to the gym, and I asked for some advice to get me back on track. I found out that many gyms offer free training sessions when their members ask, even when they aren’t new members.

A young woman, as buff and nice, as tanned and professional as her colleague, gave me an appointment, and we met at 8 a.m. this morning.

I had to face the fact that I had often expedited my routine without much attention so I could rush back to my life. Meaning my writing. Only to find myself fatigued.

This morning I gave my full attention to the trainer’s advice. I forced myself to execute every arm curl and diagonal abs to its best. Slow and perfect. Almost.

And I left the gym energized, ready to embrace my morning. A feeling I hadn’t experienced since a while.

The blurry plot idea that brushed my mind the night before hadn’t miraculously bloomed into a clear plan when I woke up. But now a prologue that I felt could solve one of my story problems jumped to my mind, and I mentally wrote it as I drove home. I could barely wait to type it and see if it could work.

Conclusion after the hour-long session:

1-    My workouts definitely lacked focus. I didn’t use the equipment to its full potential and sometimes I misused it.

2-    Although I exercised regularly, I didn’t gain full benefit.

3-    I didn’t remember having so many muscles.

4-    While my body rediscovered them, I suffered a little bit, but I also felt great while I pushed myself.


I won’t underestimate the power of a good workout.

If only I can get a good writing idea for every set of push ups.

And  for now I feel at the top of the mountain.


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