A Detailed Account of My First Training Session at Hard Pressed

asweatlife_A detailed account of my first training session at Hard Pressed


(Image courtesy of Hard Pressed)

Sunday, February 8th:

9 am: Convince myself into buying a hangover donut because I’m going to go to Hard Pressed within 24 hours, so it’s fine.

6:40 pm: I’m winded 10 minutes into an intramural basketball game. I should be looking to sub back in soon but I figure I should just wait it out another minute or two. I’m going to Hard Pressed tomorrow, so it’s fine.

9 pm: Shoot, this is really going to happen. I should get ready for bed. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that pizza for dinner. Disregard that absurd thought; there’s no reason to regret eating pizza.

10 pm: Okay, I really need to get to bed.

11 pm: Finally in bed. I need to resist looking at the Tinder app. Ok, I can briefly look at the Tinder app. I tell people that “I can’t talk anyways because I have a workout in the morning” (impressed?) and “I need to get to bed.” Question my life choices for downloading the Tinder app last week.

Monday, February 9th:

2 am: Wake up in the middle of the night, for the third time, because I am subconsciously nervous that I am not going to wake up to my alarm/run late/miss my session.

3:15 am: Wake up from a very realistic dream in which I woke up and it was 6:25 am and missed my session. Wonder if I am relieved that it was just a dream or if I secretly wanted it to be real; remain undecided.

5 am: Wake up to my alarm clock. Promise myself for the umpteenth time that I am going to change my alarm tone because it is truly the worst.

5:15 am: Get mad at myself for setting my alarm clock for 5 am when I totally could have gotten away with waking up at 5:25.

5:20 am: Stare at myself in the mirror and contemplate how my skin color is actually somehow 3 shades paler before 6 am. Try not to think about the fact that my friends have said all the Hard Pressed trainers are good looking. Give myself a half-assed mental pep talk about how I’m good looking even when I’m tired and pale.

5:25 am: Remember that Kristen advised me to eat something before I go to my first session. Kick myself for not setting something out last night to eat this morning. Question myself for choosing Tinder (non-priority) over food (priority).

5:26 am: Find a Larabar in my cabinet. This will do.

5:30 am: Remember Kristen also mentioned grabbing a Gatorade or something similar for post-workout recovery. Grab a packet of MeStrength on my way out the door and mentally remind myself to research what creatine actually is.

5:35 am: Put on quasi-embarrassing pop music in my headphones to keep myself awake as I walk to the L. Almost wipe out on ice 5-7 times en route to the L. Consider if falling on the ice and injuring myself could be a valid excuse to get out of this workout.

5:40 am: Look around at other people on the L at 5:40 am in amazement. Wonder what they are doing awake right now. Feel guilty for not being as motivated as they seem to be.

5:45 am: Re-check the address of Hard Pressed on my phone for the third time this morning. Thankfully, the location of the brick-and-mortar gym hasn’t moved in the past 45 minutes. It is much more reliable than the Doughnut Vault truck.

5:55 am: Arrive before 6 am and take a brief moment to congratulate myself. Go into the random building that has “Hard Pressed” signage on the outside and get into the elevator. Lose almost all certainty that I am going the right way.

5:56 am: Become worried that I am not in the right place at all. Though I have never, ever been stuck in an elevator, start believing it is highly likely that this elevator will get stuck and I will somehow miss my first session after all of this effort.

5:56:05 am: Hear grunting and assume I’m probably in the right place.

5:56:10 am: Know that I’m in the right place and become slightly terrified about what is going to happen to my body over the course of the next 45 minutes.

5:58 am: Check-in for my session and sign my life away on a waiver that I don’t actually read because it would probably make me really nervous if I knew exactly what I was agreeing to.

5:59 am: Allow the nice girl at the check-in area to take my picture even though my skin is still 3 shades paler than it normally is. I am told nobody really looks at it anyways. I know that somebody probably sees it, and it’s probably those good looking trainers, but I soldier on and flash a smile.

6 am: Walk past an array of extremely motivated people to go to the locker room. Thank myself for wearing my workout clothes to bed last night so I didn’t have to mess with getting spandex on my body in the morning. Water bottle: check, gym shoes: check, mental mindset: _.

6:05 am: Briefly stare at myself in the mirror. Consider slapping my cheeks so they look like they have some color in them. Avoid slapping my cheeks because that’d be weird. Stop looking at myself and get back out there already.

6:06 am: Try not to think about that fact that my workout is going to begin in 9 short minutes. Distract myself with people watching.

6:07 am: People watching proves to be interesting but does not ease any nerves. Watch as a woman nearly cries to get in a final rep. Relate to that woman and secretly hope I don’t cry today. Also, the rumor about the good looking trainers? Verified.

6:10 am: Wonder if anyone has ever died of the combination of anticipation and nerves. Probably. Definitely. Try to not make eye contact with any of the trainers while attempting to figure out who I signed up to train with today. Wish I looked at the website more so I would know who’s who. Secretly make bets in my head about which trainer I signed up with. Worry that the intense guy in the corner is my trainer. Worry that the intense guy in the corner is not my trainer.

6:12 am: Begin chugging water because I notice there is no time in between work out stations to hydrate. Admire the efficiency while contemplating my likelihood of passing out.

6:15 am: “Cass? Hi, I’m your trainer for today. Nice to meet you,” says a man towering over me who looks like he can squat a mini cooper.

6:15:30 am: After realizing it is my first time here, Trainer sits me down to deliver important facts that I should know. I completely black out most of what Trainer says because my mind is exceptionally preoccupied with trying to calm my nerves. Something about hydration, urine color and hospitalization.

6:16 am: Think about asking Trainer, “Say, what was that last point about hospitalization?!” but we are moving to station 1. Here we go. This is happening.

6:17 am – 6:45 am:

  1. Look at various machines, slightly dumbfounded by what to do.
  2. Get explicit direction from Trainer on what to do.
  3. Try to look cool while getting ready to attempt lifting/pushing/pulling weight towards or away from my body.
  4. Realize 3-4 reps in that I can no longer concentrate on looking cool because I need to focus all effort on form and survival.
  5. 6-7 reps in: worry slightly about how ridiculous my face looks because I know it can’t be pretty when it is so contorted.
  6. 8-9 reps in: Trainer reminds me (again) to breathe because getting oxygen is necessary to function as a human being.
  7. Last rep: !#&@*![Explicative]#@%OMGOMGOMG
  8. Brief moment of extreme pride and happiness.
  9. Look at Trainer in hopes that he is also proud of me. Ponder if Trainer is my best friend or my nemesis.
  10. Repeat steps 1-9.

6:45 am: Try my best to disguise how truly exhausted and out of breath I am as Trainer offers me a peace bribe: a free blue Gatorade. Touché, Trainer, nobody can resist that sugary goodness.

6:46 am: Trainer sends me off (reminding me to continue with the “breathing” thing and drink an excessive amount of water) and hops right back into stride with his next client. Next Client and I make a brief eye contact of mutual empathy. I refocus all my attention on attempting to open the blue Gatorade with seemingly broken arms.

6:47 am: Head back into locker room and stand dumbfounded staring at the wall for 2-3 minutes.

6:50 am: Okay, this is getting weird.

6:51 am: Pack up my things and put my coat back on, only to notice that it hurts to lift my arms up above my shoulders. Grab my phone and compulsively check it because I am a product of my generation/modern society. Feel a little bad for myself because (a) I have received no new text messages between 6 and 7 am (weird, right?), (b) I realize my hands are shaking uncontrollably.

6:53 am: Go back to the check-in area and report to the girl there that I am, in fact, still alive. Try to hide that I’m still shaking uncontrollably. Schedule my second session for later in the week. Throw up a little bit in my mouth.

7 am: Climb back up the stairs to the L with a new soreness in my legs and a remarkably heightened sense of appreciation for strength training. Embrace the exhaustion and heavy feeling in my feet as they carry me one after the other into the day ahead. See you Friday, Trainer.

Move Studio Fitness

About Cass Gunderson

Cass hails from the southwest suburbs as a proud White Sox fan and a graduate of University of Illinois. By day, Cass is a full-time student at the University of Chicago's Booth Graduate Business School. Before deciding to throw away all her money to go back to school, Cass worked for a private equity firm that buys technology companies. Raised as the youngest in a family of older brothers, Cass grew up a tomboy and remains active in sports. To her mother’s satisfaction, Cass learned how to embrace her feminine side in college and has developed an interest for fitness activities that require spandex as opposed to knee-length basketball shorts. In her spare time, she runs a lot because it is cheaper than paying for real therapy. Cass has completed four marathons and one ultramarathon (she claims she'll never do this to herself again, but that's TBD). She can still be found on the basketball courts in Lincoln Park wearing knee-length basketball shorts.

4 thoughts on “A Detailed Account of My First Training Session at Hard Pressed

  1. Hahaha that’s great. I went to Hard Pressed for the first time too a week or two ago. It was definitely amazing and once I have more of an actual income I think I may make it a regular thing. It hurts so good!

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