WEEK 1, day 1

Yes, I (woman 66 years) said it about myself !!! And so Pascal is at the door on the last Monday of 2020. Ready to give my first private workout.

I had asked for that myself in an overconfident mood. "I have an idea," he wrote on the neighborhood app, "shall we go for a workout in a group or privately?" After a phone call it was settled. For three months, twice a week from today I exercise with Pascal. The goal is to become more flexible and, while I am busy, to lose a few kilos.

Beforehand I wish Pascal the best of luck with me. After all: I am 66 years old, I have always played sports, ran 4 half marathons, but hardly anything in recent years. Running, tennis, aerobics, Zumba and so on was the end of a broken ankle, a whiplash and osteoarthritis. One thing I can tell you…. You don't get better from sitting and not moving. That call from Pascal made me feel like it again, but now the big question is whether Pascal himself is up for it.

But he does not get cold or warm from my joys and sorrows, from my stories about what is impossible, what is no longer possible and what is no longer wanted. “We're going to build it up slowly,” he says and we're going to get to work. In my house without sports equipment and in my living room. We make some space there.

The father of the now 5 month old Michael has everything with him to do a workout. "A mat at home?" "No, I don't have either". No problem! Ill get it out of the car.

We start and Pascal does that very calmly. I am quite tense myself. Can I still do something? We do exercises on the mat. Lying on the floor with both knees bend I move side to side. Then lying on the ground; legs up and head up. Also make a hip bridge and back again.

It feels like I haven't done it for years; that's right too! But Pascal shows it well and explains it calmly. In between I get suggestions on how to do it better. Then a double ribbon is hung over the door (TRX), on which I have to pull myself up and sit down again. Not 12x, not 24x, but 36x !!

He asks a few times if it feels right. “I work with my heart and my mind,” says Pascal. He knows how to assess my level well; takes notes and already lets you know that there is a little extra next time. Multiple exercises follow and are repeated.

For the last exercise, I get a weight of 1.25 kg in my hands. "First bend down and then stretch with your arms behind your ears", I get the instruction. And that is also going well.

I feel good when we stop after an hour. Not completely broken, but the nice feeling that I have exercised again. Pascal's advice is to repeat the exercises every day. I'm going for it and looking forward to the second time this week.




Week 1, Day 2

"We have to get the rust off," says Pascal when after a few exercises in session 2 I start to sigh and groan. “Yes”, I think, “That's it. The rust has to come off ”.

After the holidays and the many ZOOM and TEAM sessions before that, my body is stuck. It has to be lubricated and that takes energy and strength, but above all perseverance.

Pascal is patient and in particular very attentive. He follows my movements closely. ”No, slightly forward” and “By the knees”. A little later I feel that things are getting better and immediately I hear: “Yes, it is going well. Hold on".

I can use the encouragement. It's not too much, it's not over the top, but just right to keep going. Pascal makes up for those considerations.

It's really nice that he leaves some sports equipment behind to keep practicing between this second workout and the third one we just planned. The weights and a barbell are waiting for me in my room. For a moment I only after the intensive, but good exercises, which I have just completed.

Tomorrow…. Then I will continue. The advice is to build up slowly and I will. I can now do that with these materials too. Awesome!!!




Week 2 Pascal the physiotherapist

It's been a week in many ways. The Washington DC Capitol has been stormed and the whole world is holding its breath. Fortunately, it will not be a civil war.

The weather is bad in NL and I have not trained for a minute between appointments. My back is completely tight, as are my muscles in my thighs, around my hips. Everything hurts. I cannot sit, I cannot lie, I cannot stand. And then Pascal comes in for the second time this week.

On Wednesday we did a lot of exercises with stretching, weights, balance and making the muscles flexible. Has that had a negative effect and can I hardly move as a result? I don't know and neither does Pascal of course. He asks by "Does it hurt there?", "What happens if you do this or that?" "When you stand up, do you feel these muscles contract?" He demonstrates and shows what movement I make and how the muscles respond to it. He writes something down, he thinks about it and asks himself how to proceed. "The muscles have to be stretched," is his conclusion and as soon as he has determined that for himself, I am already lying on my stomach on a mat.

I still think, "Let's take it on gently?", But he grabs my legs one by one and pushes them towards the lower back. I'm not going to tell you what I said then. Only a moment's silence, a break, because that still hurt me ……… Pain, pain, pain and even more pain.

Did I mention it hurt?

Well, my muscles are so stuck and because one thing has to do with the other, my lower back also stiffens. But Pascal knows what he is doing. I am not meeting the personal trainer now, but for the first time I see and feel the physiotherapist at work. Slowly but surely I feel a little bit less pain, I feel a little bit more space. Self-assured and considered, Pascal does more exercises with me. On the mat, on the chair, next to the chair to learn to stretch those muscles in as many ways as possible.

We also do balance exercises. Without even realizing it, an hour has passed and it feels good. It feels really good. Pascal motivates me to resume my intermediate training sessions, in which stretching the muscles is especially crucial. I am fully aware of that now that I have felt how I can walk again without pain in my back and legs. I am relieved. Again he leaves the equipment for training for me. “You can't practice otherwise,” he says


Week 3

Practicing every day is a lot. The muscles must be stretched. And again. And again. That is not nice; that hurts. Then I soon give up, because "after all, tomorrow is another day". Then I don't want to anymore and I think it's worthless that Pascal comes again the next day.

He makes sure that I do my stretching exercises every time. And of course I know I have to. Otherwise I won't be able to walk at all in a few years. Pascal becomes the motivator behind my back. What is nice is that he does the most difficult exercises with me at the beginning of each training. I lie on my stomach and he pulls my legs towards my back as far as possible. After a while (in my feeling my muscles feel longer) he puts the leg back and then I feel that that leg is longer than the other. So much stretch is added and so much can be added !! That motivates to keep going.

Pascal also has a second pep talk this week and it is about what we are training and what is important now and will only have priority later. Now it is about flexibility for me. This ensures more mobility, which we also practice separately. The technique of the exercises is a third starting point, but is of course reflected in everything. We now always practice these three and also the muscle strength.

Later on, the improvement of the condition and the work on the explosiveness are added. This list goes from 1 to 6, but actually every training has something in it. It is really a matter of where the focus lies in the lesson and it is already building ahead for the next.

I don't have to do anything about that. I don't have to remember anything. And that's a good thing, because I have to focus so strongly on what each exercise requires of me and how I should perform it best that I write everything down in my notebook. But still, when Pascal has just gotten into the car, I almost lost how to do it really well.

Don't worry, Pascal has another idea. He makes a short video of me while I am doing the exercise. He guides the exercise with words and sends the video to me. So handy !! Just look and listen and go… .. I can do my daily exercises in the knowledge that I am doing well.