Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Conversations in the free weight area

So I'm at the gym this evening and my "regular" bench in the free weight area nearest the lighter of the free weights is taken by some gargantuan guy with an impressive beer gut.

A few other guys have laid claim to the bench in the middle section of the free weight area.

So, I grab my three sets of weights (8 lbs, 10 lbs and 12 lbs) and appropriate a bench near the heaviest of the free weights where the really huge guys usually work out.

I'm about to do my first set of chest presses, when another gargantuan guy grabs his weights and sits on the next bench over from me. Unlike the gargantuan guy who is on "my" regular bench, this guy next to me is all muscle and no gut:  neck almost as big as my thigh, shoulders so ridiculously broad they're bordering on body builder shoulders, "guns" that are straining against his long sleeve shirt...you get the picture.

He has selected a set of 70 lb free weights and lays back to do a set of chest presses, straining against the weights, but making no sound. Just grits his teeth and sweats. He sits up to recover, balancing the weights on his rock solid thigh muscles.

I look at his 70 lb weights.

And then at my 12 lb weights.

And then back at his 70 lb weights.



They look positively GIGANTIC compared to my teeny, tiny, puny little 12 pounders

I don't know what possesses me, but suddenly I find myself speaking to him. Here's our conversation:

ME: That looks just horrific.

HIM: Excuse me?

ME: [I gesture to the weights balanced on his legs] That - those - look just horrific.

HIM: [smiling] Actually I'm pretty out of shape.

ME: Ummmm...I'm pretty sure you can't be out of shape and lift THOSE crazy heavy weights the way you are.

HIM: [gesturing with his chin toward to 100 pound weights and smiling ruefully] There are guys a lot smaller than me who can lift those. I'm outta shape.

Ummm...yeah...not. But if this guy thinks that he's out of shape, who am I to tell him otherwise?

Wonder if someday I'll even be able to lift just one of those weights using both of my hands and not actually hurt myself...

Anatomy of a Crash

So, on Sunday after the Kickball game (which, despite my anxiety about being the fat uncoordinated leftover, was great fun) and a trip to the gym afterwards, I come back to the house with the great intentions of cleaning the house.

Yeah...ummm...not so much.

I go to sit down on the couch to review the eating plan for the week...and wake up three hours later.


And this morning, I have every great intention of getting up to hit the gym for upper body strength training.

Yeah...ummm...not so much.

I know I set my alarm, but have no recollection of it going off. And dear husband tries to wake me up as he's heading to the gym...I vaguely remember that.


Apparently my body is taking a little time to adjust to the Fitness Challenge exercise requirements...

I keep kind of crashing when I don't mean to.

In fact, I could probably go back to bed right now for another round of sleep. And I would LOVE to do that. But, alas, I cannot because I have to head off to work...and then to the gym this evening.


Sunday, September 26, 2010


I was always the fat kid that was chosen last for teams in grade school.

There is something especially humiliating about being chosen last.

Every single time.

Standing there by myself with all those kids looking at me. Knowing that I'm not really even being chosen. That I'm actually just the fat, uncoordinated kid that one team inevitably gets stuck with because the teacher says we all get to play.

That no one actually wants me.

"I guess we get Jennifer," is what one of the team captains always says, resigned, but thoroughly annoyed, to the fate of having the worst kickball player on his team.

That's what I am: A leftover. A remainder.

And once on the team, I inevitably get tagged out because I am too slow to properly run the bases even if I give that kickball a good whack from home base.

"Jennifer's out AGAIN," my teammates will moan...followed by angry looks my way as I, indeed tagged out and red-faced and ashamed, make my way back to the bench.

This is painful in the 6th grade.

Painful today remembering it.

Today for our Team Challenge we're playing kickball.  Something I haven't done since the 6th grade.

Luckily we aren't choosing teams. We're already assigned to teams. But part of me is still anxious that once we start playing, my team will realize that I am still the fat uncoordinated kid that I've always been. That they won't want me. That I will once again make my way, red-faced and ashamed back to the bench because I am too slow to properly run the bases.

That my teammates will realize they've been stuck with a leftover. A remainder.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

FFC Day 12 re-cap...and Day 13

Last night I actually RAN for the first time in 25 years..

Granted I don't run very far. Or particularly fast.

But I am RUNNING on the treadmill.

Well, actually compared to other folks in the team training session we had last night I am doing a pretty slow jog, but to me it feels like running.

So we're on the treadmills and our task is to do interval training to try to increase our ability/capacity to run a mile 20% faster over the course of the 10 weeks of the Challenge. OK. Yeah. Right. So, personal trainer W gives me my "number"...my number being the high-intensity interval that I am supposed to run for a quarter of a mile after I've walked or jogged a low-intensity quarter mile interval. For a total of 8 intervals.

Let me do the math for you - that's 2 miles.


So...low-intensity interval for me is 3.9 mph (please note that this my normal high-intensity walk when I hop on the treadmill on my own) and I'm doing pretty well (please also note that I have already done 5 miles on the bike just before these intervals...) My breathing is good. Soon I can see the numbers creeping up to that .25 quarter mile mark.


And at the quarter mile mark I bump up the speed to my assigned target number: 4.9 mph.

I've never gone this fast on a treadmill before. Ever. It feels crazy fast to me. There's no way for me to speed walk this so I start running (jogging...whatever) and my breathing immediately turns to huffing and puffing. Surprisingly, my gate doesn't feel nearly as awkward as I thought it would. I can't say that it feels natural, but I don't feel weird or klutzy or like I have lead weights in my feet (how I used to feel when asked to run.)

My legs actually feel like they have a little spring in them.  Amazing.

Guess all of this working out I've been doing this year is actually paying off!

I'm supposed to run for a quarter mile, but by the time I hit .44 miles I feel completely out of breath, so I slow it back down to 3.9 m.p.h. Personal trainer A checks in with me a few times to see how I'm doing. He's supportive, but it seems to me that he's a little disappointed that I couldn't make the whole interval.

The gal on the treadmill next to me, D, is running at a faster pace than I am. She says she feels nauseous, but she keeps going and she finishes the entire quarter mile. Personal trainer A urges her on.

I don't actually manage to complete any of my high-intensity intervals. During the next one I manage to make it from .75 to .84 miles and the next is even shorter. Personal trainer A says to me, "You can just do a little bit each time and then finish with everyone else. This is really hard what we're asking you to do today."

I end up walking/jogging (mostly walking) a total of 1.8 miles.

Pretty disappointed that I couldn't do the full 2 miles and couldn't complete the intervals, but I find myself surprisingly determined to make a better showing the next time around.

So, my plan is to start trying to do intervals on the treadmill each time I hit the gym.

I don't today - FFC Day 13 - because I last evening was wearing not the best shoes for our training. As a result, my ankles feel a little floppy and sore today. However, I pull out some older, better shoes today and once I get some heel pads for them will put them back on and hit the treadmill again. I'm going to try to work myself up to being able to run a few quarter mile intervals without feeling like I am going to pass out. 

Running may never be my "thing," but for once I don't want to give up at something physical just because I'm really, really bad at it.

Today's work out: 1 mile on the elliptical trainer to give my ankles a rest, 35 minutes of upper body lifting with free weights, 50 crunches, 30 bicycle crunches and lots of stretching. All in all, pretty satisfying.

Hope y'all are having a wonderful weekend. Let's be healthy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

An award??? For me???

This is my very first blog award. Thank you SOOOO much Tammy! You totally made my day!

Apparently, as a condition of the award, I now I have to sum up my blogging philosophy, motivation and experience in five words and pay it forward by nominating 10 Bloggers for the award.

Five words???


Omigod...that's so not me. (And, no, that's not my philosophy in five words...)

So, philosophy, motivation, experience, five words....ummmmm....yeah....whew...here goes:
  • Integrity
  • Humor
  • Honesty
  • Accountability
  • Mindfulness
No, idea if that makes any sense to anyone else, but it makes sense to me so I'll leave it at that.

Ten other bloggers that inspire me:

Debbie@Always and Forever Family
Susie Book @ Endure for a Night
Rebekah @ Finding my Skinny
Gitana @ Metta Mind
Dawn @ This Woman's Work
Kendra @ Kendra Through The Looking Glass 
Stephen @ Who Ate My Blog?
Chris @ Walks in the Marsh
Teesha @ Teesha's Circus

Thursday, September 23, 2010

FFC Day 11...part 2

Victory! Victory!

Ha ha!

So, as you all know by now...I loathe going to the gym in the evening. After 5 p.m. is my low energy time. It's all I can do sometimes to just get myself home and collapse on the couch. But today I knew I had to get myself to the gym.

And I did.

AND once there...I did THREE MILES on the elliptical trainer! In 40 minutes! A total personal best for me!!!

Someday soon I hope to be able to complete those three miles on the elliptical trainer without huffing and puffing and becoming drenched in sweat (soooo very attractive), but for today I don't care. I made it through the 40 minutes.

And I'm determined to do it again.

And then to push through to 45 minutes and eventually get myself up to doing an hour.

Victory is mine today!!

FFC Day 11...Argh!



Didn't make it to the gym this a.m.!

Now I have to hit the gym after work this evening!


If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'll know that I haaaaate going to the gym in the evenings. But if I don't go this evening then I won't get enough cardio workouts in to satisfy the demands of the Challenge.


Guess that's why this is called a "challenge."


[Our heroine knows that in a moment she'll have to drag herself to the bedroom to pack her gym bag to endure the torture of an evening workout...Oh, if only she hadn't overslept! Curses!]

So, pray for me this evening as I drag my tired, moderately fat butt to the gym and put it on the elliptical trainer for - gulp! - 45 minutes. Pray for me, people.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FFC Day 10

I did push ups today.

OK, not like on the ground, real, awful push-ups like you see military guys and super in shape people do at the gym.

But I did do two sets of push-ups involving a stability ball. And they were hard! And I did a bunch!

OK, well, a "bunch" being like two sets of 8, which is about 15 more than I've ever done before in my entire life. 

Basically, personal trainer E really kicked my butt today using that stability ball.

And what did we discover today as I did push-ups and other stability ball work?

Yeah...ummm...that I am SUPER UNCOORDINATED.

This is nothing that I didn't know about myself, but I E was kind of looking at me funny and I'm sure she was thinking something along the lines of, "You poor pitiful thing" as I tried desperately not to fall off the stability ball (and failed several times at the not-falling-off-the-stability-ball part of my personal training session.)

Still, I survived my second personal training session. That's a victory right there.

Only 8 more to go.

Dear God. Please help me.

Monday, September 20, 2010


OK, so I have to cop to the fact that I had a meltdown yesterday.

My lovely husband went out and bought us each a heart rate monitor.

The problem - the one that I received seems to me to be ridiculously complicated with 8 million different options.  After 20 minutes of trying to get the damn thing to work while sitting at our kitchen table I give up and throw a really childish hissy fit. Poor husband makes numerous and very reasonable suggestions of how I could still go with him to the track so we can do our 1 mile walk/run to see how much progress we've made this week, but no go.

I refuse all suggestions and help.

Too frustrated.

I'm so aggravated and frustrated by the stupid heart rate monitor that I throw the damn thing back in its plastic package and then tell my poor upset husband to go without me...that I'm just going to the gym since it's pointless to go to the track without the heart rate monitor.

(Please note...I have since apologized to poor husband several times for my rather overblown response. Hopefully he's forgiven me by now...)

Despite my rather ridiculous meltdown I have a good workout on the elliptical trainer yesterday - my best yet, in fact.

2.5 miles in 35 minutes (previous best = 2.02 miles in 33 minutes)

And today at weigh-in...drum roll please...

Down another 8 sticks of butter!

What a very excellent way to start the week.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

FFC Day 7...Saturation

I have reached saturation today.

Not only with the Fitness Challenge, but with life in general.

Between FFC, my insane job and LIFE, there hasn't been much down time at all this week. Yesterday we were at an all day family event which, while fun, was also...well...all day. Had to be social and charming and on all day.

And we're getting together with dear friends later today.  More on time.

But before seeing our friends at 4:00 p.m. we need to: walk and/or run 1 mile on the track per our personal trainer to see where we are time-wise after Week 1 of the Challenge, go to the gym to get in some more exercise, plan meals for the week, grocery shop, food prep, laundry, and some work related to our adoption that has to be done by tomorrow and that will take a good chunk of the afternoon.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and in need of some time to just  s.t.o.p.

So, of course, the thing that I most want to skip is the exercise, but I know that I cannot. That's the piece that has to stay consistent and since I took this past Wednesday off from exercise, taking today off is simply not an option. (And, of course, at the all day event yesterday I ate a lot...nothing outrageous, but I grazed throughout the day and did not track my food so god only knows how many calories I ingested...so some exercise is necessary since tomorrow is a weigh-in day...sigh.)

So, I'll guess stop my whining and bitching now and go throw on my gym clothes.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fall Fitness Challenge...Day 6

OK...so, re-cap of Day 5 = team training (which turns out to be spinning) at 7:00 p.m. on a Friday night.

Please just kill me now.

Actually, I survive even though the class is being held at my absolute lowest energy time of the day. I even manage to do some of the standing positions on the bike. Now, if you've never done a spin class (which, until last evening, I hadn't) you add resistance to the bike and from time to time ride in a vertical standing position.

For an old, plump chick like me...this is very hard. Very, very hard.

However, because the seats on the spin bikes are SOOOOOOOOOO uncomfortable, at some point during the class you are forced to stand just to give your backside and other - er - tender parts - a break from the torture of the seat.

Those spin instructors are sneaky like that.

Thankfully, my tender parts seem to have recovered from the torturous seats.

So, fast forward 11.5 hours to 8:00 a.m. today. I'm at the gym AGAIN to get in a class this week. Urgh. More "Low and Loaded" with instructor D (different "D" than personal trainer "D".) She's in her traffic-cone-colored tank again this week and has just as much if not more energy than last week.

Today I still find myself unable to sustain many of the moves, but I feel as though there is some improvement over last week. I'm still huffing and puffing and panting through most of the class. Am hoping that my cardiovascular system will eventually get with the program and my lungs will shape up along with everything else so I don't resemble a radish by the end of the class. D is very sweet and tells me that I'm doing great.

Food intake good this week with the exception of a mini-bag of microwave popcorn yesterday when the rumbling in my stomach became too much at work and I had already consumed my planned snacks for the day. I did, however, not consume any of the cupcakes or ice cream served for a colleague's birthday.

And that ice cream looked GOOD. I mean REALLY GOOD.

But I didn't want to see it on the scale today, so...no ice cream.

Official weigh-in for the Challenge is on Monday morning so I'm going to hold off reporting out today the results so far...

And now off to a family gathering where there is going to be a ton of food. Chris and I are packing some healthy snacks in a cooler to bring with us just in case there aren't any healthy options.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall Fitness Challenge...Day 5

I really dislike exercising in the evenings after work.

Really dislike it.

One might even go so far as to say that I hate it.

But tonight...no choice.

Because tonight is our first required Team Training Session.

There are 4 gyms in my gym network and each gym is supposed to have its own team for the FFC. However, my husband and I are the only two people to have signed up from our gym (one of the other gyms also had an issue with low sign ups.) So, Chris and I are now actually part of one of the other gym's teams (luckily not too far from our house) and we'll be heading there tonight for the Team Training.

Not only is this training after work at 7:00 p.m. - which is absolutely positively my lowest energy time of the day - but the training will also last for 90 minutes.


90 minutes???

Please shoot me now.

If I haven't keeled over after the training tonight I'll try to report back.

(Chances are I'll probably come home, shower, nibble at dinner and then collapse...because tomorrow I have an 8:00 a.m. low impact class to attend!!! What the heck have I gotten myself into here???)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

FFC Day 5 and BMI

Fall Fitness Challenge - Day 5

So, I hate Zumba, but I really like working with the personal trainer, D. She's very young, very sweet and she just about killed me with the stuff she was having me do this morning...but she did it in such a nice, sweet way. 

Much of our time together this morning is devoted to "core" work...basically, trying to tone up and get rid of Bernice (y'all remember Bernice, right? That entity who inhabits my middle - the stomach that at one point was so big I couldn't actually see past her to see my toes...) Lots of different kinds of crunches (ugh!) and planks and mat work that works my middle section.

A few times poor D wants me to do 10 reps of something and....ummmm....yeah...not so much. I collapse after 3 reps! But D says cheerfully, "OK, take a quick rest and we'll try 5 more." Very nice - she's working me hard, but also willing to meet me at my level and work from there.

Bernice's opinion of personal trainer D?

Yeah, Bernice is not liking her too much.

Well, screw you, Bernice! You're goin' dooowwwwnnnn!


Anyone out there not familiar with the term "BMI"?  It stands for "Body Mass Index." According to the "Diet and Fitness Today" website:
The Body Mass Index or BMI is a method of classifying whether an individual is overweight, underweight, obese or normal weight based only on their height and weight and does not use gender specific information.
The BMI values correspond to the following body analysis:
  • Underweight, BMI = <18.5
  • Normal weight, BMI = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight, BMI = 25-29.9
  • Obesity, BMI = 30 or greater
The website has a BMI calculator for anyone who wants to know their BMI.

My stats so far:

Starting BMI (at my heaviest weight ever): 35.14
BMI now: 30.86

While I'm still in the "Obesity" camp - it's not for much longer. I just have to shed another 36 sticks of butter to get me in the 25-29.9 Overweight range. And, eventually, when I shed a total of 164 sticks of butter that will put me in the "Normal weight" category!

So, still a ways to go to get to normal and healthy, but I'm on my way!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FFC Day 3 (part 2)...and Day 4

Fall Fitness Challenge - Day 3 (part 2)


Yeah...ummm...hate it.

I take a spot at the back of the class. It's crowded. The music is really fast. The instructor, a bouncy blonde with a perky smile, doesn't really tell the class what to do she just does it and seems to expect everyone to just catch on. By the time I figure out what the hell she is doing and I get my feet sort of doing the steps...she's already moved on to another step!


So, not only am I frustrated, I'm also not sweating or getting any kind of cardio work out because I'm not moving very much.

Screw this.

I walk out after just 10 minutes and head to my trusty treadmill for a two mile hill-interval walk.

Fall Fitness Challenge - Day 4

Not much to report out today. A day of rest from the gym. I ate responsibly.

Tomorrow...my first session with the personal trainer.

Hopefully this will be a better experience than Zumba...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Fitness Challenge...Day 3

The Challenge is not starting off so well today.


Because our f@#%ing cat, Cecil, decides that we need to be up at 5:05 this morning when we are not actually planning to be up until just after 6:00.

She rattles the closet doors, knocks stuff over, whines and basically makes a complete nuisance of herself while we are trying to sleep. Chris squirts her a few times with the squirt bottle, but this does not deter the little wretch. She runs out of the room. However, within minutes...she's baaaack...and up to her same noise making aggravation.


Finally, at 5:40 I hop out of bed to chase her all over the house with the squirt bottle. Squirting her repeatedly hardly makes me feel any better. And worse, of course, this course of action only really succeeds in waking me fully and making me feel even more annoyed than when I was laying in bed being annoyed by all of the noise.


So, now I'm feeling grumpy.

Super grumpy.

But, oh well...gotta suck it up and get over it. Long day ahead of me.

Chris is at his personal training session. (Mine isn't until Thursday.) So, it's off to the shower for me and then I'll make our lunches.

More later today...after ZUMBA!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall Fitness Challenge...Day 2

So, the pinkie knuckle on my right hand...not fractured!

Whew! Big sigh of relief.

The doctor at the Medical Center says to me after reviewing my x-rays, "Well, I really thought we were going to see something awful in there, but you're all clear. And lucky. Just ice it more this week and you'll be fine."

Today's exercise - 30 minutes/2 miles on the dreaded elliptical trainer.

*wheeze wheeze*

*pant pant*

(although I must say that even with the wheezing and panting all of this cardio work is apparently paying off...today the nurse says that my blood pressure and pulse are "perfect." This is full of the awesome since earlier this year - when I was carrying around an extra 112 sticks of butter - my lifelong low to perfect blood pressure had actually started to go up! Aaaiiieeee!!!)

And today's food intake - outstanding.

(Well, 99% outstanding... there were homemade rice crispy treats at work today and I will cop to having indulged in three large bites. Scrumptious! Could have gone for more, but the three bites satisfied my desire for the taste...)

Tonight, I'm making pan seared chicken with roasted tomatillo salsa for dinner...if only that darn husband of mine would get home.


Also tonight - updating my Fall Fitness Challenge journal to record my food intake and exercise.

And tomorrow...ZUMBA!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fall Fitness Challenge...Day 1

So, I'm typing this sort of mostly with my left hand because my right hand...well, I'll get to that part of the story later.

Day 1 of The Challenge. 

What happens:
  • A lot of standing around and waiting. 
  • Filling out paperwork. 
  • Getting weighed. 
  • Getting our "Before" photos taken (which, if I'm not mistaken, will be posted for the entire gym to see...) 
  • More standing around. 
  • An orientation meeting. 
  • And then off to a high school track for the fitness test.
The interesting thing is that there are a lot of different people at various fitness levels taking part in the challenge. I'm surprised to see a wide variety of body shapes and types among the participants. Some folks don't look at all like they need to drop any weight.

"Yeah, I agree," says Chris over dinner. "It was actually nice to see people who seem kind of fit taking part because it makes this feel more like an actual 'Fitness Challenge' rather than 'Fat Camp.'"

So we get to the track - there are probably around 40-45 participants (again, all different shapes and sizes) and the head trainer of the challenge - W - gets us spread out on the track to stretch. Once that's completed it's time for our fitness test: a one-mile run (or walk for many of us) around the track.

Four laps.

Doesn't seem so bad. I usually do two miles on the treadmill.

I'm in the back of the pack with the walkers. Figure that it'll probably take me anywhere from 18 - 20 minutes to walk my mile. I start at a pretty good clip and manage to stay pretty consistent for each of my laps. I'm breathing hard, but I can still talk and don't feel like I'm going to pass out. This is good.

Although I'm definitely among the slowest of the bunch, at the end of my mile I am surprised when my trainer tells me that I completed my mile in 15 minutes and 9 seconds. Considerably faster than I had thought. Not bad. Not bad at all.

I head back to the finish line after a minute of cooling down to cheer on the last of the walkers.

"So, what happened to your hand?" you ask.

OK, so we get back home and have some lunch. Then do some house stuff and get on the computer. After a few hours it occurs to me that I've only done 15 minutes and 9 seconds of exercise today. I feel incomplete. So, I decide to head back to the gym for some more cardio figuring I'll do the treadmill or the elliptical.

But when I arrive late in the afternoon to finds the gym almost empty it occurs to me that I can grab my gloves and head back to the heavy bag area for some boxing work. Which I do.

It's a new heavy bag and, consequently, much more hard and firm than the old bag. I adjust my punches accordingly so I don't hurt my hands. Or so I think. About 15 minutes into my session I throw a right hook and - BLAMMO - intense pain in the knuckle of my right-hand pinkie.

So, I try to walk it off and shake it out.

No luck.

I pull off the glove and undo the wrap to discover a very swollen knuckle already starting to turn black-n-blue.


So, back home to ice the thing for several hours with a bag of frozen edamame. (Our cat Cecil greatly enjoyed me sitting very still on the couch during this time. She claimed my lap and passed out.)

The swelling has gone down a bit. The pinkie finger of my right hand is now taped to the ring finger of my right hand in what is apparently called "buddy taping." I was able to hang our laundry with quite a bit of discomfort, but picking up the laundry basket - no go. And now here I sit clackering away awkwardly on my laptop.

My dad (a physician) told me that if the swelling goes back up overnight I should definitely get my hand x-rayed to see if there's a stress fracture.


Since I can actually use the finger and I'm not in agony, I'm going to be optimist and assume that I just bruised the crap out of the knuckle. That if I rest it, ice it and buddy tape it for the rest of the week that I'll be back in fighting form in no time.

Everybody keep your fingers crossed for me.

I'd really rather not go through my 10-week Fall Fitness Challenge with a stress fracture, thank you very much!

So, Day 1 down...sixty-nine more days to go!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Victory...kind of

So the class this morning is called "Low and Loaded."

The class is conducted in multiple intervals: a 7 minute warm-up followed by 3 minutes and 45 seconds of low-impact aerobics followed by 15 seconds of rest and then one minute of weight lifting followed by another 15 seconds of rest...over and over and over for a grand total of 60 minutes.

I do not look at the clock at all because I know that I'll probably burst into tears at how out of breath I am and it's only 10 minutes into this thing.

The instructor, D, is muscularly thin-thin-thin, her fabulous physique shown to great advantage in a traffic-cone orange colored tank top and black bike style shorts. She has enough energy to light up New York City for a week. Maybe two. D gets us going on the moves she wants us to do and then spends the interval visiting each of us to give encouragement and help us with our form. She talks the entire time. With amazing good cheer and enthusiasm.

Does this woman ever have a bad day?

Don't think so.

The nice thing about D is that she is - thankfully - kind enough to meet me at my level. There are quite a few times where she has the class doing a move that I am able to do for a little while, but just can't sustain for the entire interval - so I march in place (as per her instructions) and she comes over to me - not to yell and get me to do the move (like other aerobics instructors I've had in the past...evil drill-sergeant demons who yell and make you feel like an idiot), but simply to march with me and encourage me to get my knees up a little higher.

"You're doing great, Girl!" she says enthusiastically as I march and pant and pant and march.

She marches, but most definitely does not pant. Or look like the marching is any particular effort on her part.

A few times I think about stopping, but decide that if I'm ever going to get this weight off and keep it off that I can't bail out when things get tough. I might need to slow down a little and march in place, but I'm not giving up.

Finally and mercifully the class comes to an end.

A number of the other participants (all regular attendees) are somewhat winded and pink in the faces by the end of what seems to me to be a grueling 60 minutes. I'm the only newbie today.

It shows.

My faded purple t-shirt is soaked in sweat. My face is radish red.

How delightful.

D hasn't even broken a sweat.


And she's doing an all day spin challenge right after this class is done! Insane.

"You did great today! Keep it going!" D says to me while I'm putting away my weights. She looks as fresh now as she did before she began putting us through our paces.

So, I survive my first "Low and Loaded" class, which is a kind of victory in itself. I'm going to keep attending the class - especially now that I've signed up for the Fall Fitness Challenge (yay!) My goal is to eventually - and soon - be able to sustain all of the moves that D gives us for the entire 60 minutes.

Wish me luck.

I think that I'm going to need it.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Today...at the gym...I voluntarily choose to exercise on...the dreaded elliptical trainer!

[insert woman screaming and terrifying music here]

I think today is probably the third time in - oh, say maybe 10 years - that I've hoisted my big butt onto one these torture devices. But I am determined to reign supreme! And, lo and behold, I return from battle victorious!

Thirty-three minutes.

Two miles.

307 calories.

*wheeze wheeze*  *pant pant*

Now, I know that there's a great deal of room for improvement here. I'd like to eventually be able to get on that thing for 45 minutes without feeling like I'm going to die. And I'd actually like to add some resistance. Today I just hit "Quick Start" and off I go on the easiest of easy levels.

But, still...104 sticks of butter ago, I don't think that I could have done more than 5 minutes on the elliptical trainer. And at the end of that five minutes I probably would have felt like passing out. So, I feel pretty good about my progress.

And, strangely, I'm looking forward to my next elliptical training adventure.

Who'da thunk it?

Certainly not me.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


So, our gym is offering a 10-week "Fall Fitness Challenge" that includes:
  • 10 personal training sessions
  • 10 group training sessions
  • 6 team challenges (there will be one team from each of the 4 gyms in our gym network)
  • Fat/body-composition analysis
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Weekly weigh-ins
  • Prizes and an end of challenge banquet (with healthy food, of course...)
Apparently in past challenges participants have lost an average of 13% of their body weight during the 10 weeks.


I really want to do this.

I mean I REALLY want to do this. I've been happy with my progress to date, but I must admit that I could use a huge push when it comes to my exercise routine. I tend not to stray too far from what I usually do (treadmill, stationary bike, upper and lower body lifting.) I have yet to take a class at my gym or utilize a personal trainer. This Fall Fitness Challenge is the push that I need to get me to the "next level" of fitness and weight loss.

But my challenge is...drum roll please: my job.


I'm heading into the busiest time of year for me. Lots of client meetings and presentations all over the state so I have to be up and out crazy early to get to where I need to go. And chances are that no matter how much I say that I'm not going to work late this year... I probably will.


So, my time for anything other than work is extremely...limited.

I hate it that I have to even question whether or not I can do something like this Fall Fitness Challenge (which I know will be SOOOOO good for me) because of my job. For the last 4 years my job has been all-consuming from August through December. Recently my parents wanted to come for a visit one weekend in October and I told them not to come because I would just be too damn tired to be a good hostess.

How sad is that???

My life seems to get put on hold during the busy season and I hate that.

My fabulously motivated husband has already signed up for the challenge. Another reason that I want to do this is because it's something fun and interesting that we can do together. A continuation of the hard work we've already put in this last 6 weeks. I really want to do this with him.

But I'm afraid that I'll let him and the team down because of this crazy job of mine. Afraid that I'll miss team training sessions or team challenges or that I won't make it to the gym the required 5 times per week. I don't want to be that one team member who lets everyone else down.


Man this pisses me off!

I don't want to be afraid. I don't want to miss an opportunity to do something really good for myself, for my health, for my marriage, and for my ability to be an active, healthy mom when our Schmoopie finally arrives.

I have a few days left to figure all of this out.

I just hate that it's so challenging to sign up for this challenge.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


When I was in my early 30s I wasn't in great shape or the thinnest I've ever been, but I was exercising and eating right.

And when I sat down on the floor with my legs extended in front of me I could grab my feet and almost touch my nose to my knees. I was moderately flexible at that time.

Not anymore. Ten years and a lot of sticks of butter later...not so flexible.

Earlier this year I could barely touch my toes at all!


There was this ridiculously gigantic belly in the way.

A belly so huge that it seemed like its own entity....something vaguely alien and unwelcome... I named her "Bernice."

When it came to flexibility, Bernice didn't let my nose get even remotely close to my knees! In fact, at the beginning of this year I could barely bend over at all.  When I was "stretching" in a seated position I ended up almost completely vertical with the tips of my fingers straining to even reach my toes...that's how in the way Bernice was!

Today, I'm pleased to report that Bernice is becoming less and less of an impediment. While my nose isn't once again close friends with my knees, I can at least reach down and grab my feet without any trouble at all. And from a standing position I can bend over to place my hands almost flat on the floor.


The return of flexibility.

I know that I have a ways to go before Bernice is gone from my life, but she's definitely on the way out.

Goodbye, Bernice...