Despite being fairly exhausted from the day’s college courses, Natalie still made an effort to workout at the university gym. She needed it. Frankly, she was the worst player on the softball team.
Sure, she was in good shape already, but compared to the other girls on the team, she simply wasn’t good enough and it was a miracle that she even made the team at all. The team required a minimum amount of players and Natalie was that minimum.
After performing a push/pull routine with various machines, she took a breather before hitting abs. She did thirty reps in quick succession on a bench, rested for a minute, and then repeated the set two more times.
When she struggled on the last set, she looked up to see a face blocking the light. A woman randomly stood over her with a sweaty face, a messy ponytail, and a towel wrapped around her neck.
“Come on, reps, reps, reps!” the woman encouraged jokingly.
Natalie instantly recognized that it was Coach Taylor. She pushed through a few extra reps on her abdominals as if to prove her toughness, then stood to greet the coach.
“Hey there,” she smiled, taking deep breaths from the workout.
Coach Taylor smiled back. “Sorry to disturb your workout. You needed a boost.”
“Yeah, I’m trying to get in better shape.”
“I’m glad to see you’re working hard,” the coach replied.
“Speaking of which, were you here the whole time? I hadn’t seen you.”
The coach wiped her face with a towel. “I was in the sauna for the past half hour. Before that I did an hour of cardio on the treadmill.”
“Are you a runner, Natalie?” she asked. “How often do you run?”
“Not as much as I’d like. I run more often when there’s no school. Maybe 3-5 miles.”
“Obviously I don’t have results like you do,” Natalie replied, noticing the coach’s muscles ripple when breathing. “I mean, my god, your physique is amazing.”
Coach Taylor flexed a bicep. “Thanks. Plenty of hard work.”
“I mean, seriously. You have great genetics.”
“In some ways, but in all honesty, I’m smart with my routine.”
“Any secrets?” Natalie inquired. “I’d kill to have a body like yours.”
“First of all, thanks, that’s sweet. Second, be proud of the body you have. Women are too hard on themselves. I think every woman is gorgeous in her own unique way. Be yourself and rock what you’ve got.”
Natalie nodded. “Oh, I definitely agree with that sentiment. But not every girl is on a sports team. In fact, I’m on YOUR team, and our odds of winning games would exponentially increase if I was in better shape.”
For added effect, Natalie batted her eyelashes and the coach laughed.
“Tell me your typical workout routine and diet. Then I’ll give you some thoughts if I can.”
Natalie gave a quick rundown of her usual fitness regimen and nutritional plan; everything from how she liked to run and what exercises she did.
“I think I found your problem,” Coach Taylor said in a conclusory tone.
“What is it?”
“You’ve likely reached a plateau. That’s when your body is so used to the same routine that it stops adapting, thus you aren’t making gains anymore.”
Natalie pursed her lips. “Hmmm… Interesting. I’ve used the same routine for years, so you might be right.”
“Maybe lift heavier weights or try more explosive exercises. Switch things up, find something fun.”
“Personally, I like swimming,” the coach replied. “It’s low impact on my joints, high intensity, and it gives me a feeling of freedom when I’m in the water.”
“God, I used to love swimming as a kid. Less when our family moved to a different place. I haven’t gone swimming at all since moving for college.”