The tiny step sits in the middle of the room, exuding waves of innocence. “Who, me? Just a tiny little step. Maybe five inches tall. Nothing to me – I mean you no harm.”


That step is like a poltergeist. It doesn’t mean any real harm… but it’s going to mess with your mind for as long as it can. Barbara moves it from its resting place against the wall in the Body Dynamcis Fit-er-ex room and I think to myself, “They’re heeeeeeere.”

Because, you see, I don’t go up stairs right.

Since before the earth cooled, I’ve gone up stairs thinking that you put one foot on the upper step and then pushed off from the toes of the lower leg. BUT HERE’S THE THING (and it’s wild):

Barbara believes that you put one foot on the upper step and then use the glute muscle of that bent leg to pull your thigh bone back into vertical again, because – we will remember – the glute isn’t just riding around on your butt like a remora on a shark. The glute extends down your leg to end up much farther down your thigh than you thought…

…so if you grip with the glute, it’s actually drawing that thigh bone back.

This is SO confusing to me. I feel like the dog when my husband or son would make kissy noises through a tube of wrapping paper. Ears up, head cocked to the side, confusion in every inch. I know you’re making that noise, but why am I hearing it all the way over here?

I was PUSHING to go up; Barbara has at last (three years, this took!) shown me that you can PULL instead. The blind fold is off; I’m blinded by the light!

She put a belt around my hips and hooked me up to resistance and then brought out the poltergeist step – the one that has always made her grimace in the past. “Watch what your hips are doing. Keep your weigh in your heel. Pull forward onto the step – no, that’s not it. Here – watch again.”

But yesterday… she smiled.

“Yep,” she said. “That’s it.”


“Does it ever frustrate you?” I asked her. “It’s taken me three years to get to this point. How many times have you said all this stuff, and I just couldn’t understand it?”

“It’s not frustrating,” she said – “it’s fascinating.” (I’m sure. Watching a fat lady step up and down on a five-inch step can hardly be fascinating.) “What you’re doing is very hard.”

She’s not just a brilliant trainer; she’s also extremely nice.

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 9.51.15 AM

Children of the 80s will get why I used this image for a post entitled A-Ha. The rest of you will have to live in ignorance.

2 thoughts on “A-Ha

  1. so I just got up from the computer and walked up the stairs…mindfully. Think I was using my glutes. Will be interesting to experiment as I walk up hills hiking. And to see if it gets easier as I strengthen them. And the remora reference was spectacular!


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