Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Well, I did not make it to boot camp on Tuesday, nor did I make it to work on Tuesday, because I was in the bed all day with some terrible (but thankfully short-lived) virus. I had a fever, aches, painful stabby skin, headache; the whole works. It was like a mini-flu.

I didn't make it this morning, either. In all honesty, I probably could have gone this morning; but I convinced myself that I still needed the rest after being so sick on Tuesday. I am going this evening to a boot camp class at the gym where I'm still a member. It won't be the same, but I figure I'll get out of it what I put into it, so I'll just have to push myself. If I like this class tonight, I might make Wednesday a double-up day and start going regularly. We'll see.

What I really need to do is start running regularly again. I think this weekend I will introduce Ted to Bernard Hill (since I missed the boot camp running day again). Any of my fellow boot campers who want to fill me in on what y'all did on Tuesday, feel free to tell me in the comments!

Monday, March 28, 2011

In Other News...

I may seriously not be at boot camp in the morning. I am pretty sick.

Just a heads-up so you know I'm not skipping. If I feel better after a good night of sleep, I'll be there. If I'm still aching and weak, there's no way. Right now, walking from the bathroom to my bed is exhausting.

Voices in My Head

This morning there were very loud, very pushy voices in my head.
You need to skip today. You're sick. You need the rest.
No, you know that getting up and going will make you feel better.
But you didn't sleep well. You won't perform at your best this morning.
You'll feel better when you get there and get your blood going. You know you will. Just go.
Your knee hurts so much this morning; you don’t want to make it worse.
No. You know that you can modify whatever you need to for your knees; strengthening your muscles is the best thing for them.
Hey, you shut up. She worked hard this weekend and she doesn’t feel good; cut her some slack.
No, you shut up. This is good for her and she needs to go do what she can do. She’s strong enough to make it through this morning.
You’re stupid.
You’re lazy.
Your mom’s lazy.
Um, we have the same mom.
Yeah, well, she likes me more.

Does not.
Does too.

I finally just got up and brushed my teeth so they would shut the hell up.

Turns out, both blue voice and red voice were a little bit right. I did wake up this morning with a scratchy throat, runny nose, and achy muscles. I can’t tell whether this is springtime allergies or a late-season cold, but I feel rough. I also have a very painful and inflamed left knee. I had all kinds of justification for skipping this morning.

Then again, once I got up and started moving, gave my nose a good saline rinse (too much information? Sorry), and hydrated a bit, I realized that I would be able to make it through the class, even if my performance suffered a bit from my puniness.

Today was total body muscle failure day. Those are always fun. And by fun, of course I mean nearly unbearable torture. I had a really rough time with the lower body work today because of my knee, but I plowed through. And the little voice in blue was right; getting my heart pumping and some sweat going did make my throat and sinuses feel better, at least for a while.

After the workout was over and my heart rate slowed, though, I started to feel really drained and weak. I may have done a bit too much for being under the weather. And my left knee felt like it had been shattered with a steel mallet. I will be icing it intensely tonight.

All in all, I’m glad I got up and went to boot camp this morning. There were lots of new faces in class, and of course the seasoned recruits were there to motivate. My intention is to take a dose of NyQuil, get to bed early, and try to be well-rested for running day tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

700? Really?

I doubt it.

But Sgt. Ken told us today that during the course of our hour workout this morning, the average recruit will have done around 700 push-ups. He said that we are now part of his "700 Club." It's a lot like the other 700 Club, except nothing at all like that.

I'm thinking that I'm significantly below the average recruit, but I did do many, many push-ups today. Some were proper military-style; some were with elevated feet; some were modified from-the-knees. But I did a bunch. And I gave it my all.

To be honest, a lot of the morning is a blur to me. I remember that we worked with partners. I remember thinking Of course we're working with partners; I haven't shaved my legs. I remember that I partnered with Madison, who just finished up her first week at START. She did awesome.

To be quite honest, keeping these blog posts humorous is becoming a challenge. All my life, I've used humor as a tool to make me feel less vulnerable. I make jokes about being the fatgirl so people think I have a good attitude about it and don't feel sorry for me. I make jokes about how painful something is because it helps take the sting off the pain. I make jokes about how terrifying something is so it seems like the fear is only superficial, and not actually eating through to my soul. I make jokes about puking and wanting to punch people because...well, okay, I make those jokes just because they are funny.

But in the five weeks I have been doing START fitness, I have lost a pants size; I've increased my endurance and strength significantly; I have developed an attitude of excitement for what challenge I get to attempt to conquer next; and I've only puked a few times, and never actually punched anyone. There really isn't a lot of humor there.

But there is a TON of awesome.

Closed Circuit

I'm behind with my posting. Sorry. There will be two posts today.

I missed Tuesday's workout because my friend Arwen and I had an audition on Monday night, and I didn't get home from it until very late. I had to have the sleep, or I would not have been able to function at work at all. (We did get the gig, though, so it was worth it!)

Upon walking into the studio on Wednesday morning, I was informed that I had missed the single most grueling workout so far. I do feel a bit guilty. But only a little. Mostly I feel fortunate.

On Wednesday we did a circuit with Amber. It was a tough one, made up mostly of stations we had done in circuits before. Today's post will be a comparison of how I felt when we did these stations the first time, and how I felt on Wednesday.

Station 1: Squat Shuffle with Medicine Ball
First time: Burning legs; gasping for air; heart felt like it was out of control and couldn't go any more; moved very slowly; had to rest for extended periods between laps.

Wednesday: Burning legs; breathing hard; heart felt like it was working hard, but strong; moved at an acceptable rate; required minimal rest between laps.

Station 2: Up-down Planks
First time: Really, really hated them; could barely do any; brought sobs to my throat; actually cried; hurt so badly that I couldn't even tell where on my body the pain was; felt like a complete failure and weakling; very depressing.

Wednesday: Started strong; moved slowly but with determination; hurt in a good way; very empowering because I could really tell I had improved like crazy.

Station 3: Abdominal Bicycles
First time: Actually felt like I did okay on these, but really had to rest often and for extended periods of time; had considerable lower back pain; knees were very painful with the motion.

Wednesday: Surprised myself with how long I could go before going to the rest position; lower back became tired near the end, but not painful; knees moved fluidly and were only slightly stiff; felt very proud of my core strength improvement.

Station 4: Inchworms
First time: Did every push-up from my knees; felt very shaky, awkward, and weak throughout entire exercise; had to step outside for fear of puking after each leg; hated them.

Wednesday: Still hated them; did most of the push-ups from my toes; felt strong but still awkward throughout exercise; did not have the urge to puke, but still had the urge to punch someone.

Station 5: 2X1s (2 push-ups, 1 explosion; 4 push-ups, 2 explosions; etc. to 8X4)
First time: I don't think we've done these before...if we did, I was blacked out or in clinical shock, because I don't remember.

Wednesday: Tired, but strong; did mixture of proper and modified push-ups; explosions are still weak, only because I can't get low because of my knees, and also can't bend my knees on the jump. I'm still really hoping for knee improvement, but I don't know whether they will ever get better.

We repeated the circuit five times, with the last set being abbreviated a bit so we would finish on time. It was a great workout, and I felt fantastic. I saw so much improvement in my endurance from early in the program.

This has truly, truly been hard; but it has absolutely been worth it. I have never in my life been this strong, or felt this good about anything I've done for myself. I can honestly see myself continuing to do this for life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dancing Fool

On Friday night, Ted and I went to an 80s and 90s dance club with a group of friends of ours. It was a “Generation X” meetup, so we were all 36 and up. Not exactly folks with a foot in the grave, but not exactly coeds, either. We had a blast; we had drinks and danced for hours. We stayed out until 3:00 AM. It’s been years since I’ve done that.

There is a boot camp point to my telling of my Friday night shenanigans; on Saturday morning, all our friends were posting messages about how sore they were from dancing. Sore legs, sore feet, sore upper bodies; but guess what? I wasn’t sore at all. Apparently, five hours of goofy dancing is no match for regular attendance at boot camp. How’s that for an unanticipated bonus?

(I may not have had sore muscles, but that isn’t to say I didn’t suffer. I had a headache from the deepest chasms of Hell, and bruises. Don’t ask about the bruises. There was alcohol involved.)

This morning was a definite challenge on the getting-out-of-bed front. Some last-minute rescheduling caused me to have to stay up way later than I had planned. So when my alarm went off, I had the fleeting idea that I may skip today. Then I thought about how good it felt this weekend when my daughter saw my arm and mentioned that she was starting to see some muscle definition. I thought about how good it felt to put on the jeans I wore Friday night and not have to girdle myself down to prevent a muffin-top. I thought about putting on a tank top this summer, and having the only hesitation about whether I should wear it be whether the color looked good on me, instead of whether I actually wanted my shoulders to show. So I went.

Today was one of those all-over-cardio-and-strength days. It’s difficult for me to judge how well I’ve done on these days, because it’s such a continuous flow from one exercise to the next. With accumulators, there is counting of reps, so I know whether I did every repetition of every exercise; on circuit days, I know whether I repeated each circuit the required number of times; on running days, I know whether I made the entire distance and completed all the drills, and what my time/speed was. I have a frame of reference on those days; but on days like today, I never feel sure whether I took too many rest breaks, or did enough repetitions, or worked fast enough and pushed hard enough. I know that it hurt; I know that I exhausted myself; but I don’t really know whether I could have actually pushed harder. I guess time will tell.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Sorry I missed posting on Thursday, but my arms are just now working again.

I honestly have no idea how to even begin to write about Thursday morning.

We did accumulators again. This set of exercises was by far the most difficult of any of the accumulator workouts so far. It added up to: 20 minutes speed skate drill, 100 push-ups, 180 burpees, 270 explosions, 560 bicep curls, 28 hopping lunges, 30 double-arm bent over rows, 30 bouncing planks, 28 hopping squats, 24 triceps extensions, 18 V-ups, and 20 jump ups.

Every single time we got to the burpees I thought I was going to have to quit. Every time we got to the bicep curls, I thought the pain was going to kill me. The language in my head during the workout was rated NC-17. But I made it. Again. It really does continue to surprise me when I don’t just disintegrate into a pile of dust around fifteen minutes into the workout.

I actually felt shockingly good on Friday. My biceps were already sore on Thursday when we did the unreasonably difficult accumulator set; and apparently, overworking sore muscles actually makes them feel better. Who knew?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's All Good

I have a feeling there isn't going to be a lot of humor in tonight's post because I'm in hyper-analyzing mode. That's not to say it isn't going to be positive; just very introspective. I'm putting an addendum at the end about something positively hilarious that happened at work today to make up for it. I'll warn you, it's a little on the salty side, but it's really, really funny.

Today we did partner work. I partnered with Missi, one of our newest recruits. She's awesome. As usual, there were some exercises that I felt like I totally rocked, and some that I failed miserably. But man, when I talk about failing today, I don't mean just not doing them with good form or not being able to do many reps; I mean not being able to even begin to do the movement. Pretty much anything where Missi had to hold up my legs and I had to support my weight on my arms was a dead fail (I was able to do one of them; I did a few of the straight push-ups with Missi holding my legs up). On the other side of the coin, Missi was rocking it.

I've thought a lot about this morning's class. I've been going to boot camp for almost five weeks now; I should have been able to be a better example to our new recruit. I should have been able to do at least a few of everything. I should have lost more weight by now. I should be watching what I eat more carefully. I should be doing runs in the evening more often. I should be progressing faster than I am...

(See how quickly I can spiral into complete self-loathing? It's amazing.)

Thankfully, my manic-analysis didn't stop there. I was able to come up with a counter for every negative point. It occurred to me that I am a good example, because even though I am fighting all these inner demons and suffering over my individual failures, I'm not quitting; I keep coming back. I may not have been able to successfully do even a single rep of some of the exercises, but I damn sure made an effort at every single one of them, even when I knew it would be humiliating. I may not have lost a huge amount of weight, but I'm down a pants-size. My eating habits aren't perfect, they may not even be great yet, but they're better. I'm not doing runs during the week on boot camp days, but I am doing at least two on the weekends. And my progress is just fine.

I do look forward to the day when I don't weigh so much, and I'm strong enough to support the weight of my own body with my arms. If I stick with this, that day will come.

Okay, now for the funny.

At work today, I was creating dummy applications for system testing, and in order to keep myself amused, I was using funny names. One of my coworkers was going through a test packet using an applicant I had created. She was having some system issues, and when our boss asked her which applicant she was working, she said without reading it first in her head...

"Hugh G. Reckshin."

Our boss burst with laughter before my coworker realized what she had said. When it dawned on her, she completely lost it, too.

So, if I get fired, will you guys help subsidize my boot camp cost so I can keep going?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hey! Sgt. Ken and Amber! Look Over There --->

...because I'm afraid of what might happen if they read what I'm about to say next.

I actually enjoyed today's class.

I know - it sounds like crazy talk. Especially if you were there; if you were there, you'd know that we did hill repeats for our running drills (not on the monster hill that makes me think I'm going to shit my pants; but a killer hill nonetheless), then we returned to the studio to do circuits. They weren't cool-down circuits, either. They were tough. But it was fun. I felt good; I didn't feel sick or get that weird spontaneous sobbing sensation one single time. I got winded and fatigued; I had pain; I was exhausted. But I didn't feel the total misery that I've grown accustomed to having during class. I'm hoping this is a sign that I'm actually getting more fit and stronger, rather than a sign that I'm in shock. Or dead. Maybe I'm dead. But I'd expect Heaven to be a lot more pleasant, and Hell to be a lot worse, so that's not it. Probably.

We did two sets of three up & down on the hill repeats. When Sarah (our incredibly awesome running coach) said that we would do that many, I was really hoping I had misunderstood her. I thought There is no flipping way I'm going to be able to run that hill six times. My legs will spontaneously combust. But, as has happened so many times in this program, I surprised myself. I ran that hill five times without stopping to walk on the way up (we were instructed that walking for a bit to cool down on the way down was acceptable), and I only stopped to walk briefly the sixth time. Now, I was doing a S-L-O-W run. But I was running. It hurt; but at the same time, it felt great. Sarah is a spectacular running coach, and she has given us tips and instruction that has improved my endurance immensely. I was relaxed and focused the entire run. I kept my arms loose, made sure to lean forward from the ankle, and when I needed an extra push, I used my arms to pump some extra momentum into each step. Most of all, I made a point to observe the tip she gave us that has helped me more than anything ever: I didn't lift my feet any higher than absolutely necessary in order to clear the ground when going uphill. That has saved me so much energy, I can't even begin to illustrate with words. Sarah is my hero. I can freaking run hillz, bitchez!

The circuit in the studio was tough, but the only station that really kind of made me want to weep was the crab-walk. I didn't want to cry because it hurt, or because it was so draining on my body; I wanted to cry a little because I was so clumsy, and looked like such a freak doing it. It felt like everyone else was so much more graceful than me...though no one can be truly graceful doing a crab-walk. Awkwardness is just the nature of the movement. Regardless, it sucked for me. That position, belly-up with my hands behind me and all my muscles focused solely on keeping my butt off the ground, left me absolutely no muscle control to suck in my big gut. I had more rolls than an O'Charley's delivery truck. It was gross. Seriously, y'all.

On a positive note, all three of our new recruits returned for their second day, and they positively KILLED IT! They were superstars. If we keep getting new people who have as much heart and determination as we've seen so far, we are going to take over the world. And how TOTALLY COOL IS THAT GOING TO BE?

Monday, March 14, 2011

So Many Ways to Help

Yes, today's post is ultimately about boot camp; but I want to start with something more important.

I make a lot of jokes here about pain, sobbing, misery, and how hard this is. But in reality I am a very fortunate person who is in a safe place, with a dry home, and not under immediate threat of a nuclear power plant meltdown. The people of Japan can't say that right now. The situation far east of us is very serious, and there are many very real people in very real danger. I know that times are difficult for many of us financially right now, but if you can, please make a donation to the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders, or another reputible charity that is working to help.

One of the easiest ways to donate is to text the word REDCROSS to 90999, and your $10 donation will just show up on your cell phone bill, which probably has so many mystery charges on it every month anyway that you won't even notice.

Okay, now back to boot camp.

Today we had new recruits, which is awesome and exciting! I love our team and I love seeing familiar faces every day, but I also really love seeing the team grow. This has been one of the best things I've ever done for myself; I want to see it be one of the best things lots of other people do for themselves, too!

Talking to today's first-timers, I heard many of the same fears and concerns I had. These other people look so in shape...can I do this? How sore am I going to be? Is Sgt. Ken going to be really mean?

The class vetrans were awesome about gathering around the newbies and reassuring them, motivating them, and sharing their enthusiasm about the class. I think they were relaxed and ready to go when the clock struck 5:30...

...and it ran through my head, Oh, God, somebody needs to WARN THEM!!

We started our warm-up, which is a workout in itself. I recognized the look in the eyes of the new recruits behind me. This is a warm-up??

As I walked back to get a drink of water, I assured them that every single person in the class had that exact thought on their first day. And pretty much every day after that, too.

Today's workout was fast and exhausting. It was one of those that gave me that false sense of relief as we changed exercises, only to have that relief dashed when my brain caught up with my body and realized that the next exercise was going to be just as painful...

We all made it through. Missi, one of our newbies, asked me at the end, "Did you do as badly on your first day as I did today?"

First of all, I want to say to Missi and both of our other first-timers, do not sell yourself short for what you did today. You all did awesome. This is hard; it is supposed to be hard. It is designed to push you further than you think you can go, and as you get stronger, you will be able to do more and more every time. You were rockstars today, and don't you forget that.

Second, hell yes, I did as badly on my first day as you. Worse, in fact. I know how you felt today. I was very weak, very out of shape, and not prepared for this at all. No one's first day has ever been as ugly as mine. But I did the only thing that would fix that: I came back.

And today, I am rocking a brand new pair of size 12 jeans. That's down a size from when I started. And they fit great.

Non-boot camp related: I got to play music yesterday with my friend Arwen. We have a couple of gigs coming up in the next few months so we got together to read through some stuff. It was my first time playing with a harp player, and it was so much fun!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Too Sore for a Clever Title

Yesterday's PT was super rough on the upper body, particularly the chest, triceps, and abs. So, naturally, today we got an upper body break.


No. Today we did Accumulators again. Very upper-body heavy on the first half (which is deceptive, because the "first half" is repeated way, way more than the "second half"). It was damn near impossible. I made it through, with many rest breaks during the mountain-climbers. Other than those, though, I did every repetition of every exercise (with the exception of the UFCs, because my knees will not cooperate with those; I substituted resistance-band squats). In spite of my soreness and fatigue, I felt really strong and really good today. Sure, I was plotting my revenge against Amber throughout the entire workout; but that was just to keep my mind off the pain. Honest.

Seriously, though, here is why START Fitness works for me and other things like P90X, 30 Day Shred, and working the machines/freeweights at the gym don't. Let's take P90X as an example. That's a darn tough workout; the instructor uses the same methods and concepts as Sgt. Ken (muscle failure, working multiple muscle groups at once, super-sets, etc.). If done properly, one can get into incredible shape with that program. Why won't it work for me? Because when I get tired during a P90X workout, I stop. I have no motivation to push past my perceived limits; but every single time we have done Accumulators in boot camp, about half way through the first round, I have thought "I'm not going to be able to finish this - there is no way." And if I were at home doing the workout on my own, I wouldn't finish. I'd quit, and think "I'll do more of it next time." Then eventually, there isn't a next time and the DVDs are sitting on my entertainment center collecting dust.

But in boot camp, I'm motivated by the energy, encouragement, inspiration, and peer-pressure of the class and the instructors. That pushes me to keep going. Yes, I have to rest sometimes, but I always push through a few extra reps, or a few extra seconds, before I do. Because I want to really, really do the best my body will do. And I feel like everyone else in there wants me to as well. It is exactly what I need.

Subject change.

I had a very yummy breakfast this morning and I wanted to share. I'm calling it "Bananas Foster Oatmeal."

1 serving old-fashioned oats
Pinch salt
1 packet Splenda
1/2 banana, diced
1 Tbsp. International Delights Caramel Macchiato creamer (yes, it adds 40 empty calories; It is worth it)

Make the oatmeal according to directions, and mix everything in. It is super delish, and oatmeal and banana is a great post-workout breakfast.

One final note: I will not be at boot camp in the morning. I have to take my daughter to a doctor appointment, and I won't be able to get my 8 hours in at the office unless I get there early. Amber and Sgt. Ken, if you'll assign me a workout that I can do at the gym, I promise I will do it either tomorrow after her appointment, or Friday if it's too late tomorrow.

Non-boot camp readers: Today's Groupon is a crazy awesome deal for START Fitness. Go get it now and join me in my awesomeness.

What are you doing still reading this? GO NOW!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Today we had a surprise PT (Physical Testing). I loved PT when I took karate years ago; it's rewarding to see quantifiable improvement.

Today's PT consisted of push-ups (as many as you can in 2 minutes), crunches (as many as you can in 2 minutes), and a one mile run. I was looking forward to it.

Then Sgt. Ken explained the push-up rules. Military style. From your toes. Drop to your knees, and you are DQ'd.

And with those words, all of the confidence and pride I've been building up over the last three weeks was gone. That frightened, weak little fat girl immediately took over my head, and I was terrified. I couldn't do a single push-up from my toes; I just knew it. I had tried before, and I've never been able to lift myself at all.

So as I sat there, on my knees, waiting for Sgt. Ken to give the ready command, I choked back tears (y'all are really getting tired of what a crybaby I am, aren't you?), and told myself that I just had to do what I could; my best was all I had to offer. My teammates obviously saw my terror (I'm imagining that my face was pasty white with red-rimmed, bloodshot eyes ready to go at any second), and they encouraged and reassured me that I was going to do fine. I felt like I was kneeling there waiting for a baseball bat to the back of the head. Sgt. Ken must have seen how afraid I was as well, because he came over and reassured me that I didn't have to do very many to pass. Still, I was sure it was more than none.

Time to go. I got into position, lowered my arms to 90°, and to my astonishment, pushed myself up. I did one.

Then I did another. And another...and another. Twenty-three in all. That might have been the lowest number in the class (I don't know), but it was enough for me to pass that portion of the test. And it was 23 more than I thought I could do.

Next were crunches. There's no real story there; I passed with them, but I didn't do as many as I'd like (109). I'm going to really try to focus on my ab work and improve that number next time.

Then we did a one mile run. My normal running pace is a 10:00 to 11:00 mile. I've never really tried to push myself any faster than that. Well, today we were expected to push ourselves, so I did. I told myself it's just a mile; I can walk it in at the end if I have to. So I ran beyond my comfort zone. I had to walk twice, but then I got right back into my pace. It was a tough mile. I finished in 8:32. That's the fastest mile I have ever done.

The entire class nailed it. Everyone in the class is amazing, from the most elite of the athletes to the greenest beginner. We all have heart, determination, and drive. It is an INCREDIBLE team and I am proud to be a part of it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

When Failure is a Good Thing

Muscle failure, that is.

That was pretty much today's theme. Just work a muscle group until it just doesn't work anymore. Then move to another, and repeat. It was brutal. Sgt. Ken was back from his vacation, and he wanted to make sure he was just as tough as Amber had been while he was gone.

I figured out today that regular strenuous exercise doesn't actually make you live longer; it just makes it seem like you do.

I can just see me in my sixties, getting up at 4:30 to go to boot camp, thinking "Christ, this is miserable. Why can't I just DIE already? I need the rest..."

Then I'll think, "No, I don't want to die just yet; that muddy buddy race is next weekend and I think I can take my age group no sweat. Probably the next age group down, too..."

I cried during about 30% of the class this morning. Partly out of frustration (my dive-bomber push-ups don't even remotely resemble dive-bomber push-ups), but mostly it's just a weird physical reaction my body has to intense strain. It happened to me when I ran the Country Music Half Marathon, too. I don't know whether people can see that I'm crying or if it just all blends in with the pain-contorted, sweat-dripping faces of the rest of the class. I've ceased to be terribly concerned about it, except that I don't want newbies seeing me break down and be frightened off. I need a tee-shirt that says, "The tears don't matter; the results DO." I might have to make myself that shirt this weekend...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Three Weeks

Today concluded my third week of boot camp. I am amazed that I have been able to do this. I'm not only sticking with it, I feel like I'm really putting in the effort, really getting the most out of it. Yes, there are still things that I have to modify or do with less-than-perfect form. Yes, I still have to take a breather several times during the hour. But I know that I'm stronger; that I've improved; that I'm going to continue to improve.

This is an amazing program. You don't have to be an elite athlete to do it; but if you are an elite athlete, you can still get a workout that will push you to your limits. Really, that is the only requirement for this program to work for you. You have to be willing to let it push you to your limits.

My official weekly weigh-in this morning was 184. I've lost six pounds in three weeks. I've also started to see a reshaping of my body. Pants are fitting me better. I'm beginning to take more pride in what I eat (I passed up cake today at work). I'm feeling very good all around.

We did circuits today in class. Circuits are always a bitch; but the way Amber had them structured today could make Superman go cry to his mama. The stations that were super-energy draining and aerobic were together, and then the stations that set your legs on fire were together. So basically they were super-sets (maybe not by the strict definition, I don't know; but that's what they seemed like to me). I had to go outside three times because I was sure I was going to be sick or start sobbing. All I can say is that I'd better look pretty fucking awesome in that Wonder Woman costume in September.

The highlight of the workout was that I had awesome teammates, and when I said that we had to make sure to be the most absurd group at the Sumo Squats station (yelling "One, Two, Three, SUMO!!), they all heartily agreed. And if I must say so myself, we were pretty awesome Sumo Squatters.

I was by far the least fit of my team; but that was okay. They were super encouraging and I'm finally starting to let go of the embarassment of being so fat and such a beginner. It's a difficult thing to get over; I've always been a bit too proud and self-conscious for my own good. I tend to gravitate away from things that are challenging for me and instead stick with things that I have a natural knack for. I'm an artsy person. I'm a musician and a writer; and I do both of those things sitting down (or standing still, at the most vigorous). I don't have a natural knack for anything athletic. So boot camp is definitely out of my comfort zone. But I'm pushing past that, and it's very rewarding so far.

I know I'm behind on my daily reasons. I'll write a daily-reasons-catch-up-post this weekend. Right now I'm going to bed, and enjoying the fact that I can sleep until 5:00 in the morning.

Here's a clip from today's workout. I'm at the far end of the Sumo line.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Accumulate This...

Accumulator workout again today. I'm not sure whether it was harder than the one last week, but it sure seemed to be at the time. There were so many times in the workout where I thought I'm not going to be able to finish. I'm going to have to quit. I'm actually going to have to quit. At one point, I really thought I was going to pass out. Not a joke; it was that demanding on my body. I had to stand for a second and make sure I had my balance before going to the next thing.

I was frighteningly close to having my mind made up that I was going to skip tomorrow. I had myself convinced that my body needed a break; that I wasn't strong enough; that missing one day wouldn't hurt...

Then I got home, and a couple of things changed my mind. First, I stepped on the scale. 186. I've lost two pounds this week. I weighed twice just to be sure. That was a nice thing to see after such hard work.

Now, I know that sometimes scale-hops can be deceiving; maybe I was dehydrated. Maybe tomorrow at my official weigh-in for the week I'll be at 187, or even back to 188. Weight fluctuates and you have to pay attention to the trend, not the daily numbers.

But the second thing that happened can't be taken away from me.

I have a pair of black jeans that I have to wear a loose shirt with, because the waist is tight and I get a muffin-top with them. This morning, I put those jeans on.

No muffin top.

That's right; I officially see a change in my body. My black jeans fit me better now. It's a small step; those jeans are still three sizes bigger than I want to be wearing. But it is a visible, notable change. And boy, did it feel good. It felt really, really good.

So this made me think of other improvements I can see in myself. My running has improved; my push-ups have improved; I don't get winded going up and down stairs anymore; and, as I mentioned before, my blood pressure is back down to the low side of normal.

So, unless I wake up tomorrow morning with a fever or my eyes swollen shut or missing a limb, I'll be at boot camp in the morning.

It's worth it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why I Love Boot Camp

Actual quotes from this morning's workout. I'm leaving names out.

"I feel like if I move, I'll poop my pants."

"I think she's just trying to make the blog."

"You should write, 'And then this one girl pooped her pants, and then yelled HOOAH!!'."

I love this group of people so much.

Today was running (so yeah, profanity ahead). It was around 35°F, so that was perfect for me. I was in a tee shirt and my compression tights. Jimmy was concerned that I would be cold. I told him that I turn into a furnace when I run. By the time we were out of the parking lot, I was wishing that I had worn something lighter. I could honestly heat a moderate sized home with what radiates from my body when I run.

So, remember that hill that made me think Shit? We ran that again today. Three fucking times. I didn't puke this time, I only retched a little. But for the love of all that is good and pure, that hill is the suck.

By the time we got to the field I was feeling better; it's generally flat and downhill from the top of hell to the field (which, of course, means that the run back is generally flat and uphill). The drills on the field were good; the sprints with squats at the end of each leg were tough, but I felt pretty strong right up to the end. The ladder drills (also known as suicides; not because they kill you, but because they make you long for the sweet release of death) turned my legs into lead. No, not lead; plutonium (it's heavier, for my non-geek friends). I honestly wasn't sure whether I was going to be able to get back to the studio. Of course, Amber knows what she's doing and I was able to make it back just fine.

As usual, I went through the whole spectrum of emotions regarding boot camp. From hating it when my alarm went off (I was dreaming about shopping, people; you just don't interrupt that), to being glad I was doing it during warm-up, to wishing I could just melt into the pavement and disappear forever during the hill, to feeling like I could conquer the world when I was through. Fortunately, the emotion that sticks is that last one.

Here's a clip of the dreaded Accumulator day. I'm the fat one. But not for long. :)