At the beginning of this year, I quickly realized my metabolism was no longer that of a 20-years-old college athlete, but my sweet tooth that could make Willy Wonka cringe still controlled me. Not only was I stressing about work, being single, and my love handles that seemed to get more love than necessary, I was losing myself and my confidence. As fate would have it, that work would send me to Atlanta for work for a few days and lucky for me, my old college friend, turned trainer said he would meet me for drinks.
We brought college moments that should never be shared with anyone else except for the ones who experienced it with us. We talked about life as we know it now, current events, thirsty souls on Insta, and everything in between. We brought up our time as college athletes and our mutual respect for one another when it came to our sports. We were just being college friends in our late-20s in a hotel bar.
Eventually I asked him to be my trainer and help me get it right, get it tight again. I told him I wanted to look like a boxer or at least get bikini-ready – we should always be ready for summer anyway. He agreed to make build a program for me, not only as a trainer, but as a friend. We never looked back.
The lines quickly blurred between our friendship as he became my personal trainer, and eventually my life coach. He learned to loathe my sugar addiction just as much as I hated his initial meal plan of less sugar and more vegetables (sometimes, when I eat salad, I would still rather have love handles). He helped me deal with my cravings and he learned how to coach women and speak to them about their bodies. We kept growing together as better individuals.
Because of my trainer or friend, the titles are pretty interchangeable at this point, I can now say I finished a five mile race (and he was the first one I called). I fought in my first boxing bout, and who did I call for a pep talk that day? My trainer, who spoke to me like a friend: “I’m proud of you, no matter what happens.” And just like that, I relaxed. When I expressed my frustration via email because I couldn’t do the suggested weight for an exercise, his response and encouragement almost brought tears to my eyes, “You’re the strongest woman I know. You got this.” So much was said in so few words.
We started off as friends, the way so many relationships do. We were kids, merely freshmen in college. Looking back on it now, we were just babies. He was on the football team and I was on the volleyball team – we respected one another as athletes, but most of all, as people. Nine years later, he became my trainer, my life-coach, my reason to push myself harder. Above everything else, he made me believe in myself again and for that, I’d do a million more pushups just to appease him. My sugar addiction is still in full effect, but some habits aren’t worth losing- just like good friends.