Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Me

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”  You In?

I returned to the gym after a seven-year absence excited and nervous. After five years of dutiful physical therapy exercises, I was free.  

The gym, as you may have read in My Back-story! is my first love.  Being reunited is as sweet as it gets.

My new playground was clearly not for sissies: Humvees dominated the entrance, tubs of protein powder lined the front desk, and a former NFL player muscled in behind me, avoiding check-in.  Bad-ass!

For a New York minute, ‘lightweight me’ felt like a bit of a fraud. Poser perhaps, but also pretty scrappy.

After signing my membership contract with the owner, Joe, I mentioned I would only be using a few pieces of equipment due to some ‘limitations.’ Joe was kind and accepting right off the bat; and gave me a thumbs up after I left less than fifteen minutes later.

While in the gym days later, I was approached by a large man wearing a Master Trainer T-Shirt.  He noticed my cautiousness and recommended a few spine exercises that he adapted several times until I felt comfortable doing them. He believed in me from the start.

When he introduced himself as ‘Smoke,’ I knew we would be fast friends. I requested a nickname too.  “You are Rain,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. Perfect!

Smoke showed me his office with a mirrored posing room for body builders, dozens of trophies, and glossy pics of chiseled men and women on the wall, competing…winning!  He trained many of them.

Several weeks later Joe and Smoke commented on my progress.

Smoke: “You were so scared when you first came in, afraid you would break … I’m so proud of you.”

Joe: “Girl, you are a warrior, I see that fight in you.”

Joe also said he was ‘nervous for me’ in the beginning until he saw me walking in the snow outside the gym early one morning before it opened. He knew then I was not ‘playing around.’

Smoke honored my reluctance, yet challenged me; and Joe tapped into my tenacious nature, further motivating me. Their support and recognition and my will moved me forward rather quickly.

My encouragers. Joe (R)

While walking in the door was a bit intimidating, the staff put me at ease immediately.

Can’t always judge a book by it’s cover.


I visualized my comeback for years from the confines of my medical bed: seeing myself in a 90’s hot pink workout jumper, climbing the StairMaster, legs strong and defined. I have long since retired the catsuit, but my body is remembering.

Join the club

  • Ever felt like a fraud but pushed through to success anyway?
  • What is your outlet for stress, or a special passion you have or want to get back too?  






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