Is it Fear? IS IT??


If you were puttering happily down the road in a rusted AMC Pacer (remember that car? Fat-bottomed and proud of it?), and the passenger next to you reached over and flipped a bright red switch you’d never noticed before…

…and if a nitrous oxide engine boost alarmingly kicked on and rocket flames burst from your tailpipe and you were suddenly screaming down the road like a Fast and Furious movie…

…you’d freak out, right?

You’d feel a huge loss of control. There might be screaming.

I’ve spent the last three years attempting to become one with my glutes. Mind you, I didn’t KNOW that’s what I was doing when I started out – but you can be very sure that Barbara and Grace and Gwynn and Chip and all the experts at Falls Church’s Body Dynamics knew.

Barbara had me sussed in about five minutes. I use my back and thigh muscles where I should be using my abs and butt muscles. And frankly, it’s a lot easier (although not easy) to help a client find her abs. I’ve spent my life uselessly sucking in my stomach, so I at least knew those muscles were there.

But I’ve always been … let’s call it butt-blind. I knew those muscles were back there, wrapped for a long winter’s nap under ample downy blankets. I even THOUGHT I was using them. But I wasn’t.

Early on, magnificent trainer Barbara hooked me up to a strap like Farmer Ted plowing the back pasture. She’d put the strap around my hips and get behind me. “Now run across the room,” she’d say.

Barbara – nothing but lean muscle and intelligence and x-ray vision – is a slip of a woman. If I fell down on her, she’d be Barbara-jam. So dragging her across the room wasn’t actually THAT hard. Not easy – she was back behind me, digging in and dragging me back with all her might. But I made it back and forth a few times, giggling and panting. You really have to lean in, but it’s doable.

And it’s the leaning in that is the trick – because that’s when the glutes wake up and start getting involved.

Then she’d drop the strap. “NOW run across the room.”

And I’d go flying across the room like I was shot from a gun, glutes doing what they were supposed to have been doing all along. Like someone just flipped a switch on the nitrous burner. “Eeeee!” I’d shriek, horror and excitement warring in me as the wall grew in my vision like a cartoon disaster. “What the hell!”

She doesn’t do that any more. Now we actually run – on the streets or on a treadmill. She’s got Gwynn the masseuse unlocking fuzzed fibers and educating me about the three muscles that make up the mighty, mighty ass. Grace and now Chip are brightening up the stabilizing muscles.

So now when I walk, I have this slight unease. What the HELL is going on back there?

And just as the AMC Pacer owner always admired the Ferrari, I don’t know what the hell to do with this power. I thought I wanted it, but now that maybe I have it, I am … well … a little scared of it. I’m all off-center. That is NOT where power usually comes from. It’s like walking while someone behind you is continually pushing you off-balance.

You mean those muscles have been there all along and I just never noticed? That’s weird. No – don’t flip that on. I’m not used to that. We can just putter along in the Pacer. We’ll get there. We don’t have to go like a missile.


I’m thinking – maybe it’s fear that’s my biggest obstacle. This is going to take some getting used to.

I know that pro-5K people will immediately decide that it’s my “horror glutei” (fear of ass muscles) that is holding me back from running a joyous 5K, but SHUT UP. I just have no desire to run a 5K and still haven’t heard (even from the most eloquent) any benefit to group agony that persuades me this is something to be desired. THIS post is simply about accessing unsuspected (and terrifyingly powerful) muscles, so let’s let the 5K thing go, ‘kay?!

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The AMC Pacer inevitably makes it to any list of “The World’s Ugliest Cars,” but I always liked it. It didn’t look like every other car on the road. It was proudly plain. Boastfully humble. And it never set a speed record. Yes, a Ferrari would look prettier as my image for this post – but as noted, I’m a little afraid of the implied speed. I’m poking along, working up my courage. Ferrari later.

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