“Oi!” you say, in your comedically thick British accent, “let me just slip on me trainers and we’ll go for a run.”

Because to the English, “trainers” means “sneakers.” Aren’t they adorable? (The British, not the shoes.)

If you say “trainers” in the US, we’ve all been conditioned by John Hughes movies to immediately envision not sneakers but the coach of the high school football team, who wears double-knit shorts and a whistle around his neck; he’s given to saying “Hustle up, ladies” to the varsity football players.

But there’s a third definition – and I finally perceived it when I was having lunch with a friend.

We were on my porch – outside; fresh air; low Covid transmission – having socially-distanced pasta salad (made by my adorable son; he’s such a good kid) and talking about how much we each valued working with Body Dynamics in Falls Church.

My friend was dealing with some pretty serious issues, and had been told by her doctors that the pain she was in was just the way it was going to be from now on. She was updating me on the remarkable degree to which her pain had receded. It’s not gone – but it’s rarely debilitating, thanks to the combined efforts of Body Dynamics physical therapists and personal trainers.

“I had no idea,” she said, “that anyone could have – that anyone would need – a trainer if they weren’t – you know… an athlete.”

She said it, and BAM, I realized that I had never really tackled that realization before. She’s right. Instinctively, I believe trainers are only for serious competitors. They make you go to boot camp and do burpees and wind sprints. They push protein powder in everything you eat. They live in cinderblock hallways redolent with the faint smell of sweat and pool chlorine.

But NO!

We’ve been deceived by “Weird Science” and “Sixteen Candles.” We ALL need a personal trainer, ESPECIALLY if we are not particularly athletic – for, as previously discussed, doctors really don’t have the time or the training to help you safeguard your health. It’s up to you, and what the hell do you know?? If you had control over everything, you wouldn’t be in the shape you’re in now!

But you know what happens when I begin any Body Dynamics appointment? From a massage with Gwynn to a workout with Chip or Barbara? They say “What’s going on with your body today? How do you feel? What’s going on in your life?” And for a few minutes (maybe longer) we talk about it. From “my left calf feels sore” to “I can’t sleep longer than four hours to save my life.” They listen – and then they work with me to improve my daily condition and my long-term outlook for a healthy old age.

Is that something most people need? Is it a better definition of “trainer” than some track shoes from Great Britain or a barrel-chested whistle-blower?

I say it IS!

So I’m out and out advising you: Get yourself a trainer. “It’s too expensive.” “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t WANNA.” I hear you – I do. But the choices you make now will determine your future… and if you think changing for the better is hard today, imagine how tough it’s going to be tomorrow. You can do it – more, you deserve to do it.

Body Dynamics is doing online sessions; you don’t have to long for Barbara or Chip. You can WORK with Barbara and Chip. Or find someone else. But know that you don’t have to struggle alone; there are people who really do know how to help.


Isn’t Barbara adorable? I’m just madly in love with her. And Chip, too. And Gwynn. I’m so lucky!





Well, it’s finally happened. The kid’s brain seems to have expanded; while the overwhelming majority of his time, attentions, and desires continue to rest firmly in the video game world, there is now JUST enough brain left over for him to realize that after nearly four months at home with his mother, he’s bored.

So if he’s not actively blowing up other teams or armored reptiles or space aliens (a practice that requires extremely loud screams with his online buds in which he rags on them mercilessly – and one assumes they rag on him – and then everyone howls with laughter), he is wandering the house in search of something.

He doesn’t know what he’s looking for, but I’ll tell you: I kind of dig it. Because mostly what he ends up doing is throwing himself down on the chair in my office to see if I can entertain him at all. We end up talking, which seems otherwise unlikely, given that he’s going to be a senior in college in the fall. We talk cars. We talk about book publishing. We talk (and I stay focused, mostly) about video games.

But what my son loves most is to argue.

How we got on the subject, I can no longer remember – but I found myself in a heated debate with him about the role of doctors in society. This is, as I’m sure you understand, a topic upon which NEITHER of us has even the slightest experience or wisdom – but his eyes began to shine and he sat up straighter. Conflict? Debate? I can call you an idiot? This is Rusty’s mental playground. I hope to hell he ends up in law school.

The premise: Is it a doctor’s responsibility to safeguard, maintain, or regain general health?

I took the positive. Hell, yes – my doctor ought to be the first person I turn to in the low-priority, endless quest to be healthy.

Rusty took the negative. Hell no – a doctor should be able to identify life-threatening conditions and that’s it. If you want to improve your health, you go to Barbara at Body Dynamics. (Rusty’s heard me shout Barbara’s praises ALMOST as often as you have.) You go see a trainer.

“What?! That’s absurd! You think a doctor plays no role in HEALTH??”

“A doctor plays a role in CANCER. Beyond that, get out of my office.”

Oh, a battle for the ages was joined. We hammered at each other like titans at the forge; the valleys rang with the echoes from our volleys. He with mighty Mjolnir balanced on his shoulder, me with Excalibur making tiny, threatening circles in the air above his skull.

It was the best gift I could have given him.

But eventually I wore out. I’m so much older than he is. “Now you’re just making me tired. Go away.”

“Hah! That’s because you know I’m right!”

“You’re absolutely not right. I’m just done with this. Go play a video game.”

“Oh, come on – you think a doctor has time to care about your general health? They get minutes – MINUTES – with a patient. How are they supposed to help you with anything as hard to define as improved health?”

“Get out. Get out of my office. I’m begging you.”

“Well, this is the most fun I’ve had in weeks. Bye, Mom.”

Sigh. The worst thing is, I sort of wonder if he isn’t right – and that makes me EVEN MORE tired.

You don’t want to weigh in on this, do you? Do you expect your doctor to safeguard (or restore) your health? Or do you only expect the doctor to stop you from dying? Tell me in the comments. If you agree with me, I’ll tell the kid. If not, he can slaughter digital bad guys in happy ignorance.


Born to argue. Is it time for him to go back to college yet??