(From my 2012 journal) Several things I know to be true: I feel much better now that I’ve become more physically active. I look better now that I’ve been doing strength training. My personal trainer, Lisa, mentioned today that I’m starting to get definition in my arms. (Starting to? I’ve been flexing in the mirror and admiring my arms for the past 6 weeks.) My legs are looking much more toned too. So now I’ve got these long, lean, toned limbs and a marshmallow torso. Kinda like Mrs. Potato Head.
Another thing I know to be true: Lisa has a personal vendetta against her clients. Sure, she’s all smiley and friendly and “supportive.” But the truth is that she enjoys inflicting great pain and agony. And a fainting spell would probably be the icing on the cake.
It became clear to me several Fridays ago. I was running late for her Friday evening group class (an excruciating mix of kickboxing, aerobics, strength training, and tortuous planks). It usually takes about 5 minutes to get all of the necessary equipment together (risers, bench, mat, various hand weights, and weighted plates) so I rushed into the room to get my equipment together. Upon entering the room, I noticed that no one had set up their equipment. Why? Because Lisa decided to make it “Boot Camp Night.” (She later referred to it as “Hell Night.”)
I’ve never been to a fitness boot camp but from what I’ve seen on TV it’s not for the faint at heart. And I’m faint at heart….and a lot of other places too. Our warm up was running around the perimeter of the room. Who the hell calls running a warm up? I haven’t run since 10th grade.
WAIT! I’ve got to back this story up a bit.
I usually don’t eat dinner until after the class so when I got home from work I had a snack. My snack choice that night? Roasted Garlic and Black Bean Tortilla chips. They were so good that I had not one, not two, but three servings. It was ok because I was going to be working out later.
Back to the story.
My pride wouldn’t allow me to quit the class after a mere warm-up although I had already reached my target number of heartbeats for the entire night. My poor little heart rate monitor was flashing my heart rate the same way the speed signs blink and announce that you are doing 103 mph in a 25 mph zone. Our next task was to line up and go across the room on our hands and feet. Yep, a semi-upside down position after 3 servings of black bean tortillas and 150 miles of running. At that point my body said to me, “Excuse me, but I’m reeeeeaaaalllly busy trying to keep you from passing out. What do you want me to do with all these tortilla chips?” Apparently the body can’t deliver extra oxygen to the muscles and digest food at the same time. I learned this via Google after the fact. So I let my body focus on bringing my oxygen level back to at least the 50% mark while I used sheer force to keep my tortilla chips in my stomach and off of the gym floor.
We did some other puke-inducing exercise that I no longer recall because all the focusing on oxygen and digestion sapped my brain powers. All I know is that I started having stomach contractions. Not the kind you have when having a baby but a sort of warm up to what we call “reverse deglutition.” This occurred in the middle of an activity in which we were supposed to reach the other side of the room before standing up. Others before me gave up and started standing up and walking back to the starting point. Lisa made them go back and finish the exercise in the contorted position. I, on the other hand, stood up at the half way point and half walked-half stumbled to the starting point. She started to tell me to go back and finish the right way. I’m not sure what look I gave her, but to this day she refers to it as my “stink eye.” I did not go back and do it the “right way” and she was ok with it.
At this point my pride had completely left. (Did I mention that I half walked-half stumbled across the floor?) So I decided to focus my attention on digesting the tortillas. I didn’t do the next couple of exercises. I vaguely recall Lisa’s look of concern when she asked me if I was ok. (Probably concerned that she hadn’t gotten enough torture in prior to my cardiac arrest.) I told her that I’d be ok but that I’d be taking a little break. After a few minutes, the stomach contractions ceased, my heart rate went from “code” to “I’m tired. Can we go now?” and my breathing became more controlled (i.e., I no longer looked like an asthmatic- which I’m not).
The rest of the night was filled with various painful exercises which, again, I do not recall. ( It’s marvelous how the brain protects us from traumatic events by allowing us to forget.)
05/15/14: There was more to this journal entry, but you get the picture. Like every other trainer I’ve met, Lisa reveled in kicking our butts and knowing that we wouldn’t be able to walk for a few weeks. I made it home, but instead of my usual routine of an immediate shower followed by dinner, I plopped down in a chair for about an hour, unable to move and with no desire for my usual Friday night glass (or three) of wine. For some crazy reason, though, I returned for more and more of this (and other) torture week after week. And I’m in the best shape of my life.