Friday, 29 March 2013





I just finished working out, which I do now six days a week (insert well-muscled, slightly-too-forceful fist pump here), and my most heartfelt wish is not to be fit, or ripped, or built.

I just want the nausea to pass.

As many of you already know, I have recently joined a 3 Month Meltdown Challenge group, and am 21 days (and very, very, VERY close to 20 pounds) into my journey to getting naked on a beach this summer. (Which will come as a complete surprise to my husband and best friends, who are unaware that we're going to a nude beach. Also unaware are the owners of the beach and the rest of the beachgoers. Fun with surprises!!!!).

It's a self guided program, with workout DVD's, meal replacement shakes, and a ton of online support, courtesy of my newest Facebook stalkee, Coach Rosa Friesen.

Because I am the type of person who requires ABSOLUTE IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION, lest five minutes go by and I lose interest, when I picked a workout series, I went straight for the hard stuff. No ab toners or Richard Simmons or pretty jazzercise outfits here.

I'm not screwing around.

I went on the website, and this is the first thing I saw.

Are you ready for the ultimate challenge? You can transform your body in 60 days with this total body conditioning program. And you won't need equipment or weights—just the desire to dig deep and push past your limits.

In INSANITY®, Shaun T uses a method called Max Interval Training. It's not your typical interval workout. You'll do cardio and plyometric drills with intervals of strength, power, resistance, and core training. It all happens in long bursts of maximum-intensity exercises with short periods of rest so you can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour.
Here is what I read...
Are you ready for the ultimate challenge? We don't think so, either. But this is a magic DVD, guaranteed to transform your body in 60 days. And you won't need equipment or weights— you don't even need to sweat. Just sit back, relax, and watch the fat fall off your ass.

In INSANITY®, Shaun T uses a method called Max Interval Training. You don't need to know what that means. There's a lot of nonsense about cardio and plyometric drills with intervals of strength, power, resistance, and core training and blah de blah de blah de blah blah blah..... short periods of rest so you can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour.
Piece of cake. I am WICKED good at short periods of rest. It's stopping them that I have issues with.
The first workout is actually a 'Fit Test', comprised of a bunch of timed exercises. You do as many as you can in one minute, write them down, and compare your results every two weeks.
I don't claim to be the most coordinated person I've ever met, so I studied the pictures of each exercise on the progress chart in order to have a reference point to start with. The black and white sketch lady explained everything, and looked reasonably good in the process, so I hit 'Play' and away I went.
I watched the disclaimer at the beginning of the DVD, chuckling to myself that anyone would be so stupid as to try this workout without already being reasonably fit. I mean hell, I push a fully loaded quadruple stroller back and forth to a school four times a day, and that's 200 pounds right there! And uphill, to boot (only in the one direction, though)!
I started the first exercise, and merrily (somewhat) high kicked my way to glory. At the end of the minute, as I wrote down my number, I noticed it was a good 10 reps HIGHER than the skinny girl in the video. Holy crap! I was amazing! I was a machine! I was... Wait a sec... I was probably wrong. I know I felt reasonably fit, but that girl was like a piece of beef jerky- not a single ounce of fat on her. Then I realized that one rep equaled one kick PER LEG, and my joy deflated like a fat kid's seat cushion. I reduced my number by half.
The next exercise was a little harder, and I noticed that I was beginning to sweat profusely, which struck me as odd, as the black and white sketch lady on the progress chart still looked as fresh as a daisy.
I jumping jacked. I push-upped. I obliqued. I even finally found out what the hell 'planking' was.
And at the end of the last exercise, I found myself laying on my face, sucking in gasps of oxygen and copious amounts of dust, glitter, and the odd salt and vinegar chip from the carpet in the downstairs playroom, thinking about vomiting.
I say I was THINKING about vomiting, because when I decided I was going to, I couldn't stand up. I eyeballed the drain in the floor in front of the washing machine, and seriously thought about crawling over there, but the effort required simply to lift my head indicated to me that a ten foot trip across a cement floor would be an impossibility.
By the time I was able to stand, the urge to vomit had passed.
I went to bed.
I went into the following day's workout with a little more apprehension and a little less clothing. My eyes aren't overly great, and I didn't want to work out with my glasses on, but I figured as long as I could see what Shaun "Obviously a Cyborg" T was doing, it didn't matter how fuzzy the edges were. 
After three rounds of incredibly hard and fast jogging, jumping, kneeing and contracting, with sweat literally POURING off my face, I took my well-deserved water break when Shaun instructed me to. He led us (see how quickly you want to drink the Kool-Aid? I was already identifying with his sinewey band of workout buddies) through our stretches. We slowed down, we checked our heart rates, and we inhaled and we exhaled. When the stretches ended, as I threw myself backwards onto the couch and poured water on my face from a Gatorade squeeze bottle, I listened for Shaun's final words of encouragement for the day.
"OK, " he says, "now that we're warmed up, you have nine seconds left, then we're really going to do some work, and we're really going to get into it. This one is going to push you, so remember to DIG DEEPER!!!!!!!!!!!"
I had failed to see the countdown timer at the bottom of the screen.
As I inched my way closer, squinting for all I was worth, I could see that we had gotten all of 18 minutes into the 40 minute workout. We had warmed up. My leg muscles were shaking so bad I could HEAR THEM, you could play water polo in the sweat in my sports bra, my ears were ringing, and we had warmed up. Oh, sweet mother of pearl. We had warmed up.
I have been Googling inspirational words and phrases to keep myself motivated, and I keep coming up with mildly helpful crap like "Pain is Just Weakness Leaving Your Body", and "Suck It Up, Don't Suck It In", and "You Earn Your Scars". These are all great, but I'm thinking of having my own workout shirt made.
It will say "Just Don't Puke on the Carpet."

Thursday, 21 March 2013

I'll Be Slipping Down Sewer Grates in No Time...

So, for those of you who have read my blog before, specifically 'Body Mass and Shame', you know that for me, the road to fitness is paved with both good intentions, and the mutilated corpses of my former selves who have given up and died rather than face one more day trying to change.

This time, it's different. (I can hear you. Stop laughing.)

This time, I mean it.

This time, I bought running shoes.

With my usual iron clad logic, I recently turned to Facebook for guidance in my constant struggle to lose weight. Nothing says 'really getting out there and making an effort to get skinny' like sitting on your ass in front of the computer, I know, but it seems that the fates were on my side.

Through a post from a cousin of a friend of the friend of a high school acquaintance who married a girl who had a kid in the same band as my eldest daughter (or something); I discovered a woman named Rosa Friesen. Rosa is a coach for Team Beachbody, the company that puts out the P90X and Slim in Six workouts. (Incidentally, the name 'Team Beachbody' offers a multitude of opportunities for size-inspired hilarity. More on that later). I have seen these ads before, and have mentally filed them in the same place I file the emails about my giant inheritance from the pastor in Nigeria.

This time, I bit. Not only because the woman behind the profile was an actual human located in the same province as myself, but because the signup fee was considerably less than the cost of a two year membership to yet another gym. Also, there are no more gyms in the neighbourhood, and I don't want to have to add 'not driving somewhere' to the 'not working out' portion of my exercise regime.

Basically, what I've done is joined her three month challenge group, which offers me a monthly supply of a great vegan meal replacement shake (although 'great' and 'vegan' are words that should stay in separate bedrooms, this one is actually less offensive than most), nutritional and exercisual (whatever- it SHOULD be a word) support from Rosa the coach, and a copy of the workout series of my choice. All for what is actually a really reasonable price. And I wheedled two friends into doing it, too, which reduces my misery by at least half.

I live in fear of making myself look stupider than I already do, so I refuse to get all cocky and rah-rah about it, as I have a history of multiple failed attempts to slim down, but I will say this; the combination of nonstop support, diet and the ridiculously hard workouts seem to finally be doing what all the gyms couldn't. I am so glad for Facebook. I love Rosa. I need her. I need to be held accountable. I need someone who will tell me that International Delights creamers are not a drink unto themselves and that gummy fish are not protein. I have lost 13 pounds in two weeks, and I am only just beginning my journey. And I really, truly, FIRMLY believe that my success will continue (Again. I can hear you. STOP LAUGHING!). So much so that I have vowed to buy a 2 piece bathing suit and wear it all summer (which IMMEDIATELY prompted my best friend to invent the newly-patented 'shirt for the eyes', the thought of which was so funny it caused a hysterical semi-drunken laughing fit which went on for hours).

In fact, if my progress continues, and I reach my goal by July 18th (I am not telling you what the goal is, so that if I must, I can welsh on this particular bet and you will never know the difference), I will show even you, my beloved friends, family, and strangers from cyber-space, my before and after pictures. I realize July is actually FIVE months from March, not three, but I am giving myself an extra sixty days because my goals are lofty ones indeed.

The before pictures, currently only seen by myself, my daughter, a girlfriend who REALLY needed some motivation, and Jason, (who sees a version of them EVERY night, oh lucky, lucky boy), are so truly bad that Liz had to close her eyes while taking them.

Imagine, if you will, a large marine mammal. I jest about my size, but am self-aware enough to realize there are people much fatter than I, so we won't imagine a HUGE marine mammal. Not a blue whale or a humpback (besides, I had that taken care of), but a smaller whale, like a beluga, or the majestic orca, perhaps.

Take your beluga out of its natural environment. Put it in a dire situation (perhaps it has beached itself due to its massive size and inability to manoeuvre and desperately needs intervention by Greenpeace- use your imagination!). Really stress it out. Make it all flushed and sweaty.

Now put it in a red sports bra. Take your time. There's a lot of squishing involved. Adjust if you need to, and make sure the pectoral fins are firmly restrained. It's hard work, but trust me, the end result will be worth it.

Put some spandex workout shorts on it. This is a little harder and more labour intensive, but we've got some time before the weight of the giant creature crushes the life out of it. You've got to really wrestle the tail flukes in there, because those belugas can be slippery, what with all that salt water. Tuck in the last bit of blubber, take a few calming breaths, and you're ready to go.

Stand your fish up. Prop it against a wall if need be, and before it slumps over due to lack of breathable oxygen, snap a picture. Hell- take one from every angle. Really focus on those dorsal fins. Make sure you get the most coverage possible, so that when your killer whale transforms into a beautiful.... (What's a skinny, attractive fish, anyway- are there any? Cause the only ones I can think of are pretty terrifying, like the viperfish, or the moray eel...) .... skinny fish thing, the obvious improvement will win it a free tee-shirt.   

Recently, I went to a 'Passion Party', where one of the items in the catalogue was a one piece fishnet body stocking (AGAIN with the whales- why do women DO this to themselves???). I laughingly told Jason that I was going to buy it, and he, with all the finesse of Captain Ahab, offered to give me the cost of the body stocking NOT to buy the thing. If by July I have seen a reasonable improvement, I am buying it. And I am wearing it in some 'after' pictures (his, not yours).

I digress. The point is this:

If things go well, I vow to follow through and offer the appropriate before and after pictures to everyone who wants to see them. Because if I can do this, so help me God, I will show that body off (the same body, incidentally, that got me into boy trouble in high school and knocked up four times and started this whole mess) to everyone with functioning eyeballs. (If things don't go well, I will re-title this blog, file it with my previous failures, and pretend that I have no idea what you're talking about when you ask how it's going.)

Tune in next week to find out which workout program I chose, and why I wish I would just have a heart attack and be dead already.