Tuesday, April 30, 2013


To be completely honest, I have found it very difficult to get back into the swing of things ever since my personal training sessions ended. Maybe it's because I have no obligatory appointment to make and it now rests solely on my shoulders to make it to the gym, but I just haven't been as thrilled about exercise, lately. And this makes what I am about to tell you that much more amazing.

This morning I randomly began the day with $20 in my pocket. I never carry cash because it's so easy for me to spend. I know the whatever I do with the cash I have on hand won't directly affect my bank account and so I often make foolish decisions with that cash. This morning is no exception. On my way out the door I decide to go to the convenience store that is next door to my house and purchase two $10 scratch cards. What did I tell you? I make foolish decisions with my cash.

I drive to work with these tickets sitting in my front seat, listening to the radio and contemplating the day I have ahead of me. I tend to get very reflective when I'm driving by myself. I pull in to the parking lot and enter the office, tickets in hand. I spend a few minutes busying myself with checking voicemails and emails, sorting through some paperwork, and wishing I was still back in bed asleep before I finally decide to see what I didn't win. And this is what I find:

That's ten $50 wins, baby

I am so stunned, I can hardly believe it. Please note that I am in NO WAY ADVOCATING lottery tickets. They are a huge waste of money and you will rarely win anything. That being said, occasionally luck is on your side and you win $500. Oh what I could do with this money! And then I realize what I must do. I must purchase additional personal training sessions. And that's exactly what I do. After work I go to the gym and use that $500 towards the purchase of sixteen additional personal training sessions with Justin. And then I go to Target and edit my availability so that I always have Tuesdays and Thursdays off to do my personal training for the next eight weeks, because I am not going to do what I did last time and not take full advantage of this opportunity to be trained. I can't have a blog about losing weight and working out if I only work out once a week.

I also do yoga when I get home, because now that I'm re-committing myself to exercise (for what seems like the eighth or ninth time) I'm going to recommit myself in every facet of my life. It's an exciting twenty minute yoga workout because: I do my 'runner's lunge' without my knee on the ground,  I do my planks on my toes instead of my knees, and I am actually able to lower myself to the ground slowly instead of simply dropping face down to the floor like a buttered piece of toast.

I even grocery shop and buy Tupperware so that I can make myself some salads to bring to work instead of eating unhealthy food off of the food truck, and I buy new gym shoes. Guys, life is awesome. I'm so excited about what will happen during the next two months, provided I can keep this motivation up. I hope you'll enjoy reading about it as much as I'll enjoy telling you about it. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Let me begin by saying I did not forget about you, nor did I fall off the wagon. Though, if I did fall off, my hope is that my family would press on because heaven's knows I'd end up getting diphtheria or typhoid fever and we wouldn't make it to Oregon. At any rate, the past several days have been incredibly busy and my blogging about my experiences took a back seat. But I'm back up and ready to go.

My not so triumphant return to Pilates was Thursday the 11th. Having not been to Pilates since January, I expected things to be completely miserable the entire time. I was surprised to find that it was only about half the time. We begin with planking and are shown a four minute routine that is really easy to do at home. Honestly, it's only four minutes long and I think I can convince myself to suffer through four minutes a day. Maybe I'll actually do it. It's fun to see some people I haven't seen in a while, almost like a Pilates homecoming. 

The joy stops there. I'm instantly thrown back into the hectic Pilates workout and this particular workout features many moves that are incredibly difficult. And many of these moves feature the dreaded Pilates ring. That resistance ring that is placed either between your thighs or your ankles and makes the world seem like an awful place. The tragedy of the whole situation is that a lot of the moves we do with the ring are the same move we normally do. The ring simply makes them more difficult (which is the point, I guess). That doesn't make it any easier.

After Pilates class on Thursday, I have Saturday Pilates to look forward to. Ashley, a friend of mine I met while in college (she designed costumes for two shows that I was in) will be joining me and I am really excited. I have also decided that I will be attending the spin class at 7:30 on Saturday. Surprisingly, when my alarm goes off at 6:45, I'm ready to go and enthusiastically get my stuff together. I have mildly forced Fit Andrew to come with me to spin class I'm excited to have someone to suffer through class with me. Friends make it easier.

Spin is tough, but good. It's a class that I definitely enjoy more each time I go. Andrew isn't all to jazzed about it, but what can I do about that? I have to run him home before Pilates class starts (because carpooling seemed to be a great idea). I get the start time of Pilates wrong and end up having to waste some time doing nothing but playing games on my iPhone for twenty minutes.

Ashley arrives and I, being the wonderful person that I am, make her sit in the very front row. She's a trooper during the entire class (which somehow seems more difficult than Thursday's). More than once we laugh about the things we have to do, which I choose to take as a sign that she's enjoying herself. There are also two other gentlemen taking the class and it's a nice change of pace to not be the only male in class.

After class (which Ashley totally did enjoy) I head home because I have plans to go into Boston and see Jurassic Park in 3D. Which is amazing. I spend the rest of the day feeling really awesome because I not only spent some time with friends seeing an awesome movie, but I went to two classes in one day. I am a machine.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I guess everything ends at some point. Whether it's good or bad, nothing lasts forever, unless it's a Nokia phone. And I'd like to think that I'm pretty good at dealing with change. Sure I cried like a baby when I "graduated" from middle school, but that sadness lasted for only 15 minutes post ceremony. For some reason, the knowledge that I'm headed to my last personal training session feels equal parts terrifying and sad. Will I be able to push myself now that I won't have Justin encouraging me throughout the entire workout? Will I even feel the need to go to the gym without a scheduled appointment making me go?

I guess these are questions that only time can answer. Right now, I have to change and warm up. It's kind of busy tonight, and I'm forced to warm up next to a young woman who is really booking it on that cross trainer. My only hope is that I look half as intense as she does. While I'm confident that I have graduated beyond being somebody that people are amused to watch on any exercise machine, I'm a far cry from being someone that people look at with admiration. Seven and a half minutes, one Rihanna song and one Imagine Dragons song later, I am warmed up and ready for whatever Justin has to throw at me.

Or so I think. Instead of heading to any of our usual zones to workout, we go right back to the cardio machines and hop on a treadmill. Tabata has returned. For those of you who are unaware, Tabata is apparently one of the most effective ways to burn fat. It's a method of training that is comprised of longer high-intensity intervals with short periods of rest in between. For example, we start on the treadmill with the incline at max (15) and the speed at 3.5 mph. Twenty seconds on, ten seconds standing still. I repeat this eight times. In case you were wondering, yes, my life is awful.

After the treadmill (keep in mind, I've just been walking and I am already really sweaty) we move on to squat thrusts. The thrusting part is surprisingly challenging, even with only ten or fifteen pound weights. Truthfully I have no idea how heavy they are. All I can think about is how I would like to punch Justin in the face. My arms are the worst and all the while I'm on the verge of tears, all Justin says is, 'Don't stop, no resting. Get ready. Don't quit. You can't quit." There's a difference between quitting and feeling like my arms will fall off if I do one more thrust.

But maybe his goal was to make me mad because my rage fuels my muscles and I go through the whole way. It may be slow, but I make it through all eight sets. Then we move on to rowing. Twenty seconds on, ten off. My shirt keeps getting caught on the back of the row machine while I row, and it's really obnoxious. My lower back starts to feel it on the second set, and I have six more sets that I have to do. Awesome.

I make it through (truth be told, I kind of enjoy rowing) and we move on to the bike. The stupid exercise bike. I notice that I am sporting a sweat bra in the mirror. I have sweated through in apparently all the right places to perfectly outline my breasts. Yippee. 

See it? Terrible.

I have to decide not to care because I have this biking thing to do. I am on the bike simulator that has an actual course that mandates that I steer while I ride. I've heard the expression about muscles screaming but this is the first time I have actually experienced it. My thighs hurt so badly. Each pedal motion feels like it could be my last. I don't want to die on an exercise bike with a sweat bra. What an unglamorous way to go. Once again, I want gifts at my feet. Thankfully, I finish the mile long course in seven sets instead of eight and don't have to do another one.

For the final exercise of the evening, we head to the training room to do the ropes. I've never done eight sets on the ropes before and every time I've done the ropes it hasn't been after twenty five minutes of intense working out. This could be bad. Every set is comprised of slamming both arms at the same time. I feel it in my back, I feel it in my arms, I feel it in my legs, I feel it everywhere. I'm not personally bothered by cursing, but the amount of expletives going through my head seem excessive, even to me. Thanks Justin. Way to make my last session completely awful.

Sixteen sessions have been completed. I now have experience with personal training. Would I do it again? Absolutely. However awful I feel during a workout pales in comparison to the way I feel afterwards. The sense of accomplishment and the feeling of sore muscles are totally worth whatever pain or frustration I feel in the moment. I'm going to do more sessions and if you feel like you're lacking motivation, I highly recommend it. I have to resume finding and maintaining my motivation outside of these mandatory training sessions if I want to succeed (which, to be clear, I do).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


The expiration of my training sessions is drawing closer and closer. It's been quite an experience, let me tell you. Full of ups and downs and experiences and knowledge. Much like life. Earth shattering comparison, I know. For my second to last training session, I'm as pumped as ever. Justin is running a little bit behind schedule, but I have no where super important to be, so I'm not bothered. And let me take this opportunity to say that Justin is amazingly punctual. This is the first time I have had to wait in my entire 16 sessions. I really appreciate a person who is respectful enough to be on time.

It ends up working for my benefit as I was a little detained doing what every body has to do at some point. At least I know I'm eating enough fiber. I take my extra time and get a full warm up in before we begin the workout. First up is a weighted squat. I've never done these before. A part of me is terrified that I'm going to collapse and be crushed by this bar that I have over my shoulders. I complete fifteen reps without much to complain about, except that my shoulders somewhat hurt from the hyperextension. I alternate with push ups.

But here's where things get a bit exciting. There is no bar involved in these push ups. No sir (or ma'am). These are on the floor girly push ups with my knees on the ground. Before we go further, yes, I understand that what I have just said is sexist. I fully believe that women can do push ups just as well as men. In fact, I complain to Justin about that fact the I'm so excited to be able to do girly push ups and he tells me that most of his male clients do them from the knees and most of his female clients do them from their toes. Slap that stereotype right in the face. It's simply a tool to describe the form that I use with my push ups. Get over it. But I do twelve of them, and it's an accomplishment that I am determined to celebrate.

Before I can finish my weighted squats, I go through two modifications so that I am as comfortable as I can be (we settle on holding a kettlebell at my sternum) while I'm doing squats. Each set of push ups is difficult, but I get it done, because I can not be stopped. After I do three sets for each, we head in to the gym for the next exercise. I'm entering the very room where I almost died the week before. And you know what I have to do? The same thing. Well, an edited version. Instead of going back and forth twice, I only have to go once. And I have 90 seconds for each time. Whatever is leftover I get to use as a break. I push that thing four times and each time I get it done in right around 15 seconds. That's 75 seconds of rest, which feels incredibly necessary.

It's very satisfying to redeem myself by succeeding at something that seemed impossible the week before. Incredibly thrilling, even. And that high remains as I do my core exercises and end with twenty solid minutes on the cross trainer. I feel successful at the end and that is a feeling that makes me want to keep going. I conquered something that was hard. I struggled but I finished. The outlook is very grim when you struggle and fail, but to finish is to keep clinging to the motivation that I have. Tomorrow I have a follow up doctor's appointment and I am excited to share my progress with my doctor. It gives me a chance to brag, which I clearly love to do.

Monday, April 8, 2013


It's measurement day. Measurement day is always an intimidating day. So there was this one time I bought a bathroom scale because I thought it would encourage me to be more healthy because I'd constantly want to weigh myself. I would like to ask if there is a single person existing in the world who wants to weigh themselves, because if there is, they are probably a body builder or a wrestler. No one enjoys forcing themselves to step on a scale; this little thing that can literally shatter someone's self confident in a matter of seconds. Curse you, scale. Curse you.

Walking in to the gym, I see Matt and stop to say hi and show off my new piercing that makes me feel super bad-ass. I literally am arriving to the gym fresh from the piercing place. Because that's how I roll. I get a needle shoved into my ear and then I go workout because pain doesn't faze me. I'm one tough dude. I also may be kind of a loser. To avoid the wrath of Justin, I keep my small talk to a minimum and change quickly, dash back upstairs and prepare myself for utter humiliation.

Tragus piercing. Like a boss.

I'm terrified to look at the results of my weigh in and insist that Justin not tell me. March has been a bad month for me. The exercise hasn't been consistent and I have been eating terribly. It sucks because this March was a full month of personal training and I should have been excited by the prospect of making real progress enough to actually monitor what I'm consuming. We move to the computer to do the rest of the measurements and he asks if I really don't want to know because he has to type in the results. I decide to suck it up and deal with it. And ladies and gentlemen, in the entire month of March, I lost one pound.

A whole pound. And I am choosing to be excited by this. That is one pound that I will never again carry. One pound can still be significant because of what it represents. And this one pound represents the direction in which I'm moving, but is also a reminder that I will only achieve what I try to achieve. It's a good motivator to push harder with what I've learned from Justin and proof that just because you exercise doesn't mean you're doing all you need to do. It really is a lifestyle change.

Most of what I do during my half hour workout involves squatting. Squats, squat rows, squat cartwheels (just kidding; as far as I know there is no such thing) and by the end of my workout, I am sufficiently exhausted.