A Personal Fitness Trainer’s Dictionary

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Late in my high school career, I discovered Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary. I was so taken by its cynical and humorous redefining of everyday words, I started doing it on occasion. When given the freedom to be creative with one of my college papers, I used this definition format. I’ve since occasionally come up with new definitions that tickled my fancy. For instance:

Paradox: Two piers side-by-side, one of which cannot logically exist.

I recently rediscovered The Devil’s Dictionary. It inspired me, or perhaps challenged is the better word, to do another thematic list. Since I’m currently working towards an Associates of Applied Science in Personal Fitness Training, I thought I’d see what I could do with some of the concepts. Some are amusing, some are less than stellar, but it was an interesting exercise. Here are my definitions of relevance to personal trainers:

Cardiorespiratory – if blood were air, pushing this will make your heart gasp

Endurance – a partial trance state which allows you to beat up your body, and your body will thank you…much later

Exercise – Banishing fat through movement instead of bell, book, and candle

Expensive – no longer thinking

Fitness – the quality of being able to wear the clothes you want

Frustration – psychological resistance through which the mind can prove itself wrong

Group Exercise – banishing fat through movement instead of bell, book, and candle…with friends

Guilt – mistaking dross for gold and providing a reason to do better

Gym – a healthy jungle of metal and machine

Heart Rate
How fast does my heart beat for me?
Far less than it beats for you.
And yet it is sufficient
That it beats in time.

Rehabilitation – making your body livable again

Resistance – something by which achievement becomes meaningful

Spa – Special Privilege of Affluence, or less cynically, Sound Preventive Activities

Strength – the ability to bear up under pressure

Train – to do something over and over in order to pull your baggage up a hill

Weigh – something you don’t want to do after you eat too many curds

Wellness – not just the characteristic of being a hole in the ground

A Meta-Topic

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Once again, I broach the topic of “topic”. Why? A couple of reasons. It seems to be my default topic when I have no others at hand when I sit down to write. As an un-themed blog it is both very easy and very difficult to come up with a topic. Since a themed blog is, by definition, focused on a single subject, topics can be found through research and analysis. At least, this is what I see from both subject matter experts (SMEs) and those on the “outside” looking in. I have great respect for those who consistently provide excellent, focused content. It is not something I would feel comfortable attempting, at least for the mainstream audience.

My blog is an un-themed blog. It is a mix of fact and fiction, part diary, part experiment in other viewpoints, part soapbox. Those who have followed my blog from the beginning see that posts tend to fall into a few consistent themes. Which brings me to another reason that “topics” is my default…um…topic.  For un-themed blogs, topic subjects and timings are sometimes an even better clue, overall, to the person behind the keyboard, than the contents of posts. The topic of any particular post in an un-themed blog reveals what that person is thinking about (or has recently spent a lot of time pondering). When I get too wrapped up in something, I find it hard to stop obsessing over it. Because writing about “topics” is what I would call “meta-writing”, it allows me to step back and clear at least a part of my slate.

Does this mean I can immediately turn out another several blogs on various topics? Sometimes, yes. Usually, no. What it does do is allow me to be more open to potential topics as I run into them.  It gets me in the mindset of “how can I turn ____ into a topic I can write on?” A side benefit seems to be a (sometimes temporary) increase in the ability to link unusual concepts into a single category. For instance, I was playing a word association game a while back when the primary word was “astronomy”. Most of the others in the small group came up with planetary bodies or concepts, but my response was “Academy Awards”. I would group that particular linked pairing into the category “word play”. (I got a few rolled eyes when I explained the link, but it was allowed to pass.)

My main concern, as the semester comes to a close, is that there will be an increasing number of posts about “topics”.