Friday, March 29, 2013


There comes a time when you have to buck up and face your problems head on and that day is today. After my horrendous performance on Saturday, the last thing I want to do is walk in to the gym and have to suffer through the lecture that I'm expecting and completely deserve. Thank goodness Fit Andrew decides to go at the same time that I do and that I have someone to distract me on the drive over. Believe it or not, the five minute drive is plenty of time to psych myself out with thoughts of the horror of what tonight could bring.

The nice thing about under performing last time (if there could possibly be a silver lining to it) is that I am incredibly motivated to kick-butt. This means I go faster on the cross trainer. I lip-synch in an outrageously animated way to the new Fall Out Boy single. I become unnecessarily outraged over the design decisions being made on HGTV. This is SPARTA!

When I'm finished, Justin and I head in to the weight room and conveniently enter a state of denial, each refusing to reference the awful Saturday. I start by alternating single leg presses and push-ups; 60 presses on each leg, 20 push ups, 50 presses on each leg, 20 pushups, all the way down to 10 leg presses per leg. I only have to do five sets of push ups because I don't know the reason why. Maybe it's generosity, maybe the workout was always designed that way. Maybe my arms would fall off if I did any more. 

I do take the down time while Justin is counting my leg presses as an opportunity to apologize to him for Saturday. He's receptive but claims it's unnecessary. I just want to make sure he knows that I value what he's doing for me and even though I know he's getting paid, he wants to see me succeed. I'm really quite eloquent and Justin get's slightly teary-eyed. Just kidding, I babble like an idiot and no crying happens. Except by my legs because 420 leg presses is a lot of leg presses.

Then we move on to the core exercises, which will need to be somewhat self motivated because my half hour is almost up. Justin shows me the two exercises and watches me do a set of each, all the while telling me to stop stalling and just keep going. Then he's gone and the challenge becomes forcing myself to keep up with the same pacing when the only person I have to answer to is my own inner coach. And my own inner coach seems to think it would be better to stop and rest for a while. But that coach is ignored by my own personal desire to succeed and I consider the remaining sets that I do to be an incredible victory. Am I back to where I was or where I should be? No. But I worked and pushed myself. Only good can come out of this.

It's taken me six, almost seven months to fully grasp the idea that I can push myself and survive. It's supposed to be a struggle. Similar to playing against an opponent who is better than you to really improve your game. People, it's possible to make a change in your life and most of us need to somewhere. For me, it's exercise. For you, it may be eating healthy or not stealing the punchline of someone else's joke.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I have failed you. I had a particularly challenging day at the gym on Saturday and it has forced me to face the reality that I have not fully committed to the process. My intention and focus has slowly wavered. I also can't help but feel that I have been somewhat deceiving and causing you, the reader (however devoted you may be) to believe that I was doing significantly better that I was in reality and for that I apologize. The truth is, it's been hard.

I have been a fat person for practically twenty five years. The process of attempting to lose weight is terrifying because it is exactly that: an attempt. I could fail and based on my motivation as of late it's a more real possibility. That's what I find so terrifying. If I fail after this point, it's because I am a failure. It's easy to cope with being fat when you're not trying to get fit, but when you are trying and it's not working it becomes almost unbearable. 

In truth, I don't know why my motivation is not here. I am being 100% honest when I say I am sick of being fat because I feel like I'm missing out on the more enjoyable parts of life. Why doesn't that make me want to change?

Here's a great plus, though. I not only found my headphones, but I found my old pair of headphones, too. As daunting as it is to get back on the cross trainer after over a week of not working out, the promise of Demi Lovato makes it a little easier. After eight minutes, Justin finds me and we start with some exercises in the gym. He lays out a rope ladder, much like you see football players train with. Side note: if I had played football in high school, I probably could have played in college, maybe been drafted third or fourth string, sat on a bench and made $500,000 a year. This is evidenced by the fact that I actually am really good at the exercises that require the coordination that Justin has me do with this rope ladder. I think it's also helpful that I'm like a really good dancer.

After the rope ladder, we do alternating squats with an exercise ball that I have to throw in the air and pushing basically weighted punching bag down the length of the gym and back twice. I'm fine for the squats, but when I start pushing that bag, I start to feel nauseated. Really bad nauseated. I can make it through another rotation of squats and pushing before I need to stop because I feel like I'm going to puke.

It's really easy to feel awful about yourself when things get difficult and that's exactly what happens. I get mad because I think that I should be able to do this without a problem. I expect to sweat but I don't expect to feel so sick that I have to stop. That's not fun. It's awful when your mind can handle the idea of something but your body simply won't perform. I have to excuse myself not only to get a drink, but because I'm on the verge of tears. After six months at the gym, I expect to be better than this and I'm not and that's depressing.

I think Justin can tell that I'm having a really hard time because when I come back he asks to make sure I'm okay and let's me do things kind of slow. We stop with the punching bag and substitute wall sits instead. He's incredibly nice but he's not going to let me give up, for which I am grateful (don't end a sentence with a preposition yo!). He also becomes incredibly encouraging. This isn't to say he isn't usually encouraging, but instead of the usual "push", "keep going", and "don't stop", it becomes "you got this" and "you're doing great". 

We move into the cardio room for the last exercise, which is a chest and core exercise I've done before, but the nausea comes back and it takes me longer than it should to finish two sets of ten.We make plans for Tuesday and he tells me good job, but it doesn't feel deserved. I did and have done a horrible job. The truth is I could be better and the only thing that has prevented me from making progress is me.

Any person will tell you that when you try to make a lifestyle change, there are ups and downs and I would agree and say the same thing. Based on my experience I have days when I feel like I'm awful and days when I feel like I'm amazing. This was one of the lows, but it's not the end. Who knows how long this is going to take, but I'd like to think I'm in it for the long haul. I always appreciate encouragement, so if you feel so inclined. Either way, I have training tonight so look for another post tomorrow.

Friday, March 15, 2013


My entire family is out for a visit and I couldn't be happier. Mom came out at the end of last week and Dad and Miriam finally joined on Wednesday. Good thing, too, because I need someone to drag along to my training session as a companion in suffering. And that lucky individual is Miriam. I swing by Alice's to pick her up when I'm done with work. After the obligatory baby talk to my adorable nearly three month old nephew, we drive back to my apartment so I can get my clothes together.

Upon our arrival, Mir has to fill out a waiver because she's not a regular member and so I pop over and say hi to Justin. He gives me a little flack for simply telling him that I was bringing her (all in fun because I did have a disclaimer of 'if it's okay with you'). He then informs me that because it's going to be too time consuming to teach her how to use various machines that what we're going to end up doing is 'Tabouli'. Or something like that. Ciabatta maybe? I can never remember. Regardless, it's the whole twenty seconds of intensity followed by ten seconds of nothing. Sister Miriam better appreciate what I'm about to go through in the name of inclusion.

We change and begin with our warm up on the cross trainer and she tells me all about her upcoming school work and her life and all that. We both do ten minutes and she makes a comment about how the cross trainer is weird because she should be able to go farther than half a mile in ten minutes. Justin appears and we start. First up is squats. Twenty seconds of as many squats as we can, then ten seconds of nothing. Eight times. Kill me now. The last time I did something remotely like this was with a pair of officers at Gordon College Public Safety and I could hardly move for four days.

Sister Miriam and I both hold our own. I think she technically does more squats than I do, but who says we're competing? Next we alternate bicep curls and wall sits. Awful, awful wall sits. At one point Miriam says she loses feeling in her legs. I am not so blessed and I can feel each and every strain of my muscles. Bicep curls are a little easier, but by the end of the four sets (four of each) my arms are exhausted. But we're not done. We have crunches and tricep something or others. I rock the triceps and insist on more weight. Mir kicks my butt at the crunches. But her arms are shorter so I technically have a greater distance to travel. That's my excuse, anyways.

In our second to last set of exercises we do hovers and side lunges. This is where both of us struggle. I hate hovers and constantly stand up too fast and get a little dizzy. Mir feels like she may pass out. But you know what? We finish because we can. It may be at a slower pace than normal, but we finish. Our final exercise is to alternate side-hovers. At the conclusion of everything, both of us feel pretty great. I'll give the victory to Mir because I want to be nice. Also because she probably actually did beat me.    

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


My life has been hectic and outrageously busy, lately. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it certainly has felt that way. I have had no spare time and my fitness habits have suffered. Take Sunday, for example. I just bought the new Tomb Raider game and I had to tear myself away from the TV so that I could get my workout in before I had to go to the movies (where I bought a grossly unhealthy amount of candy). I will say, however, that I had great success at the gym.

Fit Andrew and I decide that if we are going to reward ourselves with a movie that we had better punish ourselves for an unknown crime by going to the gym. My gym clothes are dirty and currently in the wash so my only option is to swim. The only horrible possibility is that I am going during family swim and there exists a strong possibility that the pool will be infested with children splashing around and laughing. Keep your joy to yourself you bratty kids. Thankfully I arrive to a near-empty pool and only have to deal with two children who don't seem to be enjoying themselves.

After my swim on Thursday I'm feeling incredibly motivated to perform well and try to shave my time down. After my one warm up lap, I shoot for intervals of 50 seconds instead of the minute I had last time. I have to say I am amazing during this swim. 50 second intervals are fine and I'm able to go consecutively from lap to lap with no periods of rest in between. My time probably fluctuates and I don't pay as close attention as I should, but I'm able to maintain exertion, which is more than I've ever been able to do.

This is what I have found (are you ready to be hit with a profound realization?): If I push past the point where I think I can't continue anymore, I can do significantly more than I would have thought possible. Eventually the laps become easy (I use that loosely. It does still require work). My body gets used to the amount of energy I need to complete each lap and I fall into a rhythm. This is truly fascinating to me. Do other people experience this too? I think of how many times I quit something because I thought I was too tired to go on and realize I probably could have kept going and been better off for it.

In no time, I swim a full half mile and it feels great to be a success. I go the rest of the day feeling skinny (which is super weird) and energetic for the week ahead. But that energy is zapped incredibly quickly because I hate daylight savings time. The next morning I wake up groggy and out of it and I feel hazy all day. The haze lingers through to the following day when I have personal training and I am not happy about it. On top of that, I lose my headphones AGAIN.

I get to the gym and warm up and when Justin finds me, I give him what I consider to be fair warning. 'I'm grumpy and I hate everything.' His response? He laughs because he's a jerk. But my animosity softens because he's actually a really nice and encouraging gentleman. Honestly, hire him as your trainer and he will make you think you're awesome. Today he teaches me deadlifts (sad that I have to be taught something that I think I should already know). I do that and the cursed rope for four sets, during which Justin tells me that I'm doing a great job with a rope that was heavier than when I first did the rope six months ago.

After my sets, we go to the cardio room and he teaches me some exercise with the dumbbells and an inclined weight bench that works my chest. I basically clapped like a dolphin or a seal with twenty-pound weights in my hands. Then he has me do thirty sit ups.

Now, I never really understood the concept of a group of muscles being on fire and I have to say I still don't. Justin makes a comment during my sit ups and if my abs aren't on fire that I'm doing something wrong. They don't feel like they are on fire. I feel like I am being stabbed repeatedly in the midsection. It's painful and not like when I touch a hot pan or something. Like literal stabbing. It's one of the worst feeling I have ever felt.

I forgo the post-strength training cardio workout, instead opting to head home and shower and spend the remainder of my night playing video games because that's how I roll. And may be why I have rolls. I'm just now making that connection. Hm. Curious. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Over the past few days I've been watching Julie & Julia for some blog inspiration and I have to say, I now feel like I'm unstoppable. How this inspiration will affect my posts, I'm not entirely sure. I'm not nearly as cute and endearing as Amy Adams, but I give Julia Child a run for her money in terms of personality. Plus I did bake box brownies with her in a dream, once.

Ever since my circus training on Saturday, two parts of my body have been sore. First are my biceps. Sore to the point where full extension of my arm proved to be painful because my muscles were tight and completely opposed to being used in any way. I almost couldn't shower. The second group of muscles are my obliques. If, perchance, you don't know what obliques are, I've included this amazing image which I got from the internet.
By the way, this is totally me. Look at my amazing progress!

Thanks to my sore obliques I took a rather disturbing interest in flexing them because I could actually feel them and know that I was flexing correctly. It was very weird to enjoy the feeling of soreness that comes after serious muscle usage. But the soreness comes from my muscles getting stronger and that's a really cool thought.

When I go to the gym tonight, there is a mixture of joy and absolute terror because it's a measurement day. I've been steadily working out and therefore have no idea why I should be worried, but I am. Justin is there to greet me as soon as I walk in and tells me to go change quickly so that we can get the measuring done and so that I have time to warm up. Apparently twenty minutes early isn't good enough. He is so mean.

I head back upstairs and we walk down the hallway towards the scale. A walk that simultaneously takes forever and that is over way too quickly. Off come the shoes and I step up on to the scale. Why is weighing one's self one of the most terrifying experiences ever? I imagine I would have an easier time hurling myself out of a jet at 25,000 feet than I would stepping on a scale of my own free will. I have a scale at home that I bought at Target that I have stepped on a total of twice in the year that I've owned it. This weigh in doesn't count, as I consider Justin to be the catalyst of this particular scale experience and therefore I am not acting of my own free will. 

Thankfully, I have not put on weight since I was last weighed. Unfortunately, I have not lost any weight, either. '378' stares unforgivingly right back up at me, cackling rudely. Get some manners 378 and leave when you are asked. We still have to measure body fat and diameter of various parts of my body. Goody, more opportunity for disappointment.

After measurements are taken, joy finds its way into my heart and I will tell you why. My body fat has gone down by three percent, my bicep has gone down an inch, and my waist has gone down five inches. So yes, my weight hasn't changed, but what comprises my weight has shifted. Not surprising when I've been hitting the weights more frequently than in recent memory.

For my workout today I do mostly non-equipment exercises. push-ups, squats, abs that aren't quite sit-ups but aren't quite laying on the floor doing nothing. I also do presses and side hovers. For my final exercise of the evening I have to do the squat slams from yesteryear. It's honestly been a long time since I've done these and I am instantly reminded about how much I hate them. If you need a refresher, the squat slams are done with a twenty pound ball that I have to raise over my head and slam down with a squat. Because Justin is SO INCREDIBLY MEAN, he makes me do twenty seconds with ten seconds of rest eight times. I honestly think I might pass out, but I don't. Why can't anything exciting happen to me?

To finish my workout for the day, I swim. I have been getting so much better at swimming lately. I do have to ask how I bring up the intensity in order to make it worthwhile. I have a minute per lap and whatever is left over I get to use as rest time. It's advantageous to finish each lap as quickly as possible in order to get rest time. I fairly consistently do a lap in forty-five seconds, which I think is pretty decent. For me anyways. Will I be beating Michael Phelps at the 2016 Olympics? Probably not.

Now, I may be murdered for what I'm about to do next and if I do end up dead, everyone should know that it was Justin who did it. But every time I tell any woman that I'm doing personal training, the first question they ask is 'Is he hot?' Judge for yourselves, everyone. And he does have a girlfriend.

For the record, Justin picked the picture

Sunday, March 3, 2013


You'd think after going to bed at 8:45 it would be easy to wake up after ten hours of sleep. But when my alarm goes off at 7:00, all I want is more sleep. So I reset it for 7:15 and wake up at 7:45 because awful things happen to me constantly. So I rush to pack my gym bag and walk open the front door of the club right at 8:00. No time to warm up whatsoever. Wow, what an ideal situation!

I guess Justin has some sympathy because we seem to start a little slower, today, first with some stretching and then some squats and side stepping. And then things get interesting. Apparently I'm training to be a trapeze artist because Justin pulls out these handles and anchors them to a bar about eight feet in the air. The handles themselves hang about four feet from the ground and I'm supposed to lean back and do a squat and then pull the handles to my chest. Kind of like a reverse push-up, if you will. This paired with standing on the ball and I almost have a full circus show. I'm supposed to do this for a minute, then do a minute of jumping jacks, and fifteen bicep curls.

I have to do this a total of three times and I am not in a very compliant mood because I hate having to rush things. I didn't feel prepared to come in and work out because I didn't get the time to warm up. I didn't realize how important that ritual has become for me. Plus, I feel incredibly unstable every time I'm on the trapeze (at least that's what I'm calling it) because my hands slip and I feel like at any moment I'll fall backwards and become severely injured.

I voice this concern to Justin who assures me that I will not fall and that I'll keep myself up almost solely with willpower. And you know what? I believe him. And I don't fall. I wouldn't say I particularly excel, but I made myself finish and a little seed of pride is planted. 

I desperately hold on to that seed because if there's one thing I hate more than planking, its jumping jacks. Every time I jump, all I notice is my belly and boobs bouncing. It makes me mad. Even though I have the sense of accomplishment that comes with losing 35 pounds, I still have many to go. It's easy to be mad about how difficult exercises are and blame the fact that I didn't start this earlier. It's easy to think that I'll never get better at it and that this is the best I can do. 

But that would be stupid because it's amazing what I've accomplished all because I was determined to do it. Plus I'm getting remeasured on Tuesday and I want to see results! At the conclusion of my session, I opt for the treadmill and sweat through twenty minutes before I'm ready to go home and collapse. But first I stop and say hi to Skinny Matt because I haven't seen him in a while. It's weird to have friends I only know through the gym. I never thought I'd be one of those people.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Thank goodness it's Friday because it has been a long week. I am so tired. Tired enough to skip the gym. But thankfully none of my friends are free and so instead of sitting home bored for the night, I decide to go to the gym. Interesting how things work out that way. But please, don't intentionally not hang out with me on a Friday because you think I won't go to the gym. Some days I'm happy to go to the gym before hang out time.

I get to the gym and the butterflies are hopping around. I have to be entirely self motivating tonight. I know I've done it before, but for some reason it seems incredibly intense tonight. Truth be told I'm not good at personal motivation. Why do you think I spent the first twenty five years of my life as a fat person? It's because I didn't have the motivation to do anything about it. Often times the only reason I complete the reps that Just has me do is because he's there yelling at me the whole time. And suddenly I find that I'm the only person responsible for myself, today.

One step at a time. The first thing I have to do is warm up and I constantly do this by myself, so why on earth would I not be able to do it this time? (I'll tell you why: it's because I can be incredibly lazy). But what do you know? Boom. I finish it. And then I move on to the thrusts. This is where I know I'm going to have a hard time forcing myself to keep going. I'm supposed to do four sets of fifteen with a minute of rest in between sets. At six, my arms are tired so I stop. But only for a few seconds.

I do nine more. And when it's time to start a new set, I force my self to do all fifteen at once. This is what determination does to you. For my third set, I stop at ten, rest for about thirty seconds, do ten more, rest for thirty seconds and end with another ten. I hope slight modifications are okay because I just modified. Like a boss.

Despite it being fairly empty, inevitably two fit people find it necessary to do their exercises next to where I am. Thanks, thanks a bunch for making me feel weak. I move on to my leg presses and then on into the weight room for chest presses. This time I have to select a bench that's next to some other guy who is also doing chest presses, only with significantly heavier weights. Congrats you can do presses with 80 pound dumbbells!

I hate feeling insecure or inadequate. Not that I know anyone who enjoys that feeling but it is a feeling that can really make it hard to keep pushing yourself. I don't want to look like I'm struggling with thirty pound dumbbells while you are doing presses with nearly three times as much weight. I do want to punch you, though, so by all means, keep doing what you're doing. But prepare to suffer the consequences.

Thankfully I have self control and don't end up spending the night in prison for aggravated assault. Instead after my reps I go to the pool for a swim. It's been a while since I've been in the pool and it appears that they want it to have a little more of a tropical feel. They now have a ton of plants and dolphin shower curtains. Fancy. I do about a half mile before I'm ready to leave. And then, because I can, I come home and go to bed at 8:45 on a Friday night. Seriously. I'm that lame.