Not unlike many Americans, I over-indulged this holiday season. It’s not hard to do. It seems everywhere you go someone is offering you something amazing to shove in your face. To refuse would be rude, right? Right. I should also mention that my holidays officially started in October when we took a family trip to Hawaii. I’ve been on the highway to hell ever since then. I’ve always been a taller-than-average girl and hated it during my growing-up years. It wasn’t until later in life that I began to appreciate my height for what it really was—a license to pack on a few more pounds before it’s noticed too much. Blessing or curse? Hmm. Before I knew it, here we are, January 1st and I’m no fool, I KNOW how time flies. Next it will be spring and I’ll look like a busted can of biscuits in my spring clothes Alright, alright, FINE! UGH! I’m never one to usually jump on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon and I didn’t officially make one this year but I did do something that I have never done before. I signed up for a fitness boot camp. What the hell was I thinking anyway? This is stepping so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t even see my comfort zone anymore. You feelin’ me? I don’t do this type of exercise because I just don’t enjoy it—not in the least. It’s a mental game with me. I know it. I admit it. I’m WEAK. My name is Heather. I’m mentally weak. There, I said it. This is also why I don’t run. There is a reason why I never joined the military people! Boot camp? *sigh*
Here’s the thing, I work at a computer 6 hours a day. The fact is that if I don’t get up and do something—move my body—I just don’t feel good. This goes far beyond what my clothes fit like or what the scale says. I just feel awful, I sleep poorly and I’m sluggish. Normally I prefer Zumba because it isn’t mental for me, it’s FUN! Partaaay—woop woop! The first time I walked into Kariny Sander’s class, I left a changed person. As corny as it sounds, I did. I got into my car after her class and screamed WOOHOO out loud and stuff. My hand to God, I did and I almost cried (bless my heart, right?). It was 60+ minutes of jammin’ to some fun music in a darkened, disco-lit room and feeling like I’m at a club minus the hassle. I just let everything go. Before I knew it, I’m a sweaty mess and I’ve burned 800+ calories away and released my stress—win, win! When all my fun morning Zumba classes switched to evening classes I was left to find some other way of getting my butt out of the office chair and into some sort of exercise routine. Enter Carla Milton. Carla is a friend of mine that I actually met through Zumba. I’ve watched her over the years transform her body into a chiseled machine. Behold, her story!: http://www.bodybycarla.com/#!about-carla/c219o It’s not hard to be inspired by her journey. There was also some personal, deep-seeded desire to stretch myself beyond what I’m used to. I’ve probably read too many ‘Yes you can’ motivational Pinterest quotes but for whatever reason, I found myself at fitness boot camp, getting my butt handed to me by one Mrs. Carla Milton. I thought it might be fun to document my first few times at boot camp for this blog. Ha ha ha ha. Fun, she said…
Day 1: The first day landed right smack in the middle of our subzero freezing temperatures and only 3 suckers—um students—showed up. Carla told me she wanted me to wear a pair of shorts for a “before” picture. Um, I don’t wear shorts. I don’t even own a pair of shorts and haven’t for years. Why? I hate my legs from the knee up, that’s why. They’re just an ugly mess of cellulite and well, ugly. But I’m trying people, I’m really trying here, so in essence, before I even got out of my house I was doing something out of my comfort zone when I borrowed a pair of my husband’s shorts and went on in. Because there were only 3 of us at boot camp, we did TRX. TRX was invented by a Navy Seal. FML. That’s really all I need to say about that. Straps + Resistance + Core = SORE is exactly what it is. It wasn’t the most horrible thing I’ve ever done but it wasn’t without muscle failure, shaking and feeling like I was a damn fool for stepping out of my warm house that morning. Can I just stop for a second and say that my upper body is SO weak it’s pa-thet-ic. I thought that with all the years of powerlifting multiple grocery bags, carrying 2 gallons of milk in 1 hand while holding a 25-pound toddler in the other that I had more strength in my upper body—HA! At the end of the day, a hot shower and ibuprofen were beckoning me, only I’ll just need to ask my 11-year-old son to open the bottle for me first, a proud, proud moment. Soon thereafter I did a soldier crawl up the stairs to the shower and lay there thinking about what had just happened to me. One day at boot camp and look at me doing a soldier crawl already. That’s precious. O_O What had just happened to me?
Day 2: My second day was at the end of our deep freeze and the room was pretty full when I trudged in the door. This time I was 2 minutes late and 2 minutes behind everyone else. Today we had to work our way down a list Carla had prepared on a dry erase board full of an exercise shit storm. First on the list: Jump rope x100. Yes x100. I’m thinking ok. I used to do this all the time. So, I grab the jump rope and begin my cute little ‘skip jump’ just like we did in grade school. Aw, precious, right? I think I got to about 8 before Carla told me told that my legs had to remain together with no cute little hop in between the jumps either, “cause that’s harder!” Um duh? I gave her the stink eye as she walked away. Suddenly I realize I have no coordination at all. What in the hell? Have I forgotten how to jump a rope? Yes! Then I think, wait a minute…did I ever really do the “Rocky” style jump roping ever in my life? No, of course not. That wasn’t cute! Swing rope around, jump, swing rope around FAST jump again, then repeat x100. I got this…although mine kinda went: Swing rope around, jump, swing rope around, prematurely jump, rope stops dead in its tracks, swing it back around, jump ON the rope, lurch myself forward, dropping all my cool points, repeat. This went on and on. Each time I stumbled, little pieces of my dignity scattered on the floor along with my sweat. Really Heather? COME. ON. Luckily everyone else in the room was already 3 sets into their own bucket of suck and didn’t really pay attention to my ridiculous attempt at school yard exercise—at least that’s what I had to tell myself. I will spare you the horrific details of how it really went down but somehow I muscled through it and went on to the next thing. I made a mental note to go home and practice jump roping and then immediately erased it from memory until just now. Next was sit ups. Oh, yes! Laying down!! I SO got this one! So I begin: Hands behind the head, not lifting the head, just supporting it, right? Pulling myself up, but only halfway up, you know, the way we’d all been taught before. Oh, but here Carla comes again!! Do I even like her really? Hmpf! I’m cussing her in my head. “Heather, you need to come all the way up while holding these,” at which point she slaps some weights in my hand. “Come all the way up, then raise your arms straight up when you get to the top.” Just when I thought I was over the humiliation of my ill-attempted jump rope skills, enter the sit ups on steroids. So I demonstrate to see if I’m doing it right. “YES! That’s it. You’ve got 90 of those,” she says as she walks away. I may have stuck my tongue out at her at this point, I’m not sure. How are you gonna just say something like that to me and just walk away? I don’t get a reduced amount? This is, after all, only my 2nd day. Shouldn’t I be easing myself into this? No. No you shouldn’t. No is the answer. At this point I’m starting to regret every holiday slice of pie and Mai Tai I ever enjoyed on the warm sands of Oahu just 3 short months ago. It’s always easier to diet in retrospect, isn’t it? Self-discipline was never my strong suit. Why did I do this again? Oh, right, because “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans”…or some shit like that. Anyway, I somehow managed to do them and without dropping the weights that dangled precariously over my head. I flop back down on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. I managed to pull my head up long enough to read “90 squat lunges.” *gulp* In my attempt to still try to catch up with the rest of the class, I quickly ran over and grabbed my weights and begin the squat lunges. Oh, how I love to squat too! LIES. LIES. I hate them. I hate squats and lunges. They’re the devil. THE. DEVIL. I’m squatting and lunging, lunging and squatting, sweating and cussing, cussing and sweating, then I see Carla running over to me again! NOOOOO, I think. She has GOT to leave me alone already. I really DO NOT LIKE HER right now lol. Only this time she did me a favor. She traded me for 2 weights that were equal. Yes, you read that right. I am a total douche. I grabbed a 10-pound weight and an 8-pound weight. That’s me, Captain Dumbass! Don’t judge me. My eyes were crossed and sweat was pouring into one, how am I expected to pay attention to such things while blinded and disoriented? It’s come to this? I then got to see how weak my triceps were after that, 70 dips to be exact. I had to break mine down to sets of 10 so that the loud clap of my ass hitting the ground didn’t remind the entire gym of what a big loser I was. There were more squat-type thingies, 90 I think, but who’s counting? (Me) Oh they weren’t walking squats but who cares? I did it alright. I imagined—in detail—the Carla Voodoo Doll I’d make when I got home. At this point, the class is about to do abdominal work. Wait, didn’t I just do like 800 of those already? For the love! I decided I should just join in with the rest of the class at this point because I really just want to lie down again. Somewhere…anywhere! Here is fine. Only we aren’t lying down right away because we are going into Tabata. Tabata is high intensity interval training, which in layman’s terms means alternating one high intensity exercise with another one and a brief pause between. It really is just long enough for you to come to the self-realization that you are stupid and should’ve just gone shopping. You trackin? I’m already shaking. My muscles are fatigued and tired and I just really thought we were going to lie down! No, first we are alternating jumping jacks and jogging—high knee jogging to be exact. This is where I begin to pee on myself. Oh, yes, it is true. Peed. On. Myself. It was another proud moment, I tell ya. It wasn’t a full-on bladder emptying thing, just enough to make me hate myself and wonder if I shouldn’t have just signed up for AARP instead of boot camp. It’s no secret my bladder wall isn’t really a wall anymore it’s more like a squishy, unsupportive floor that just lies there, reflecting on what it used to be. Mine serves no purpose whatsoever. In fact, I’m doing Kegel’s as I type this. Squeeeeeeeze and hold! Ok, that’s enough. Could this get any worse? I should never ask that.
The next day I was so sore that I moaned every time I got up or sat down. The cat ran across my chest at one point and I let a war whoop out of my mouth that was not human. My son asked me what was wrong and I told him I was SO sore from boot camp, to which he replies, “Well then why do you do it?” God, I love him. He thinks just like me “Evan, because—UGH—it’s good for me. Your mother—OW—is trying really hard—EESH—to push her limits and grow—#$!@! Ibuprofen, shower, bed and in that order. Good night.
Day 3: Before we get to day 3 can we just say that since the last day of boot camp, I have obsessed so much over the fact that I might have to repeat jump ropes that I completely forgot to be obsessing about the possibility of her making me run! Running is my nemesis, my Achilles heel, but there have been several times where it would have been wonderful to be told to get up and run—run my white ass right out the door. I could run off into a neighborhood and hide in the bushes! Yeahhhh that’s it!! Catch me if you can, Carla Milton! (You know she could). I’m determined to see this through to the end though. I have just about enough stubborn in me to be stupid, so I go. I was determined not to walk in late and repeat that mess that happened on the last day. Mission #1: Find the damn dry erase board! Scan, scan, scan the room aaaaaand it’s empty? Ohhhh my Lord, it’s empty! My eyes dart across the room. By this time, the rest of the students were coming in and I just sit down. I surrender and pray quietly to myself. Lord please help me get through this day with some dignity and without peeing, that’s all I ask. Amen. Random conversations begin around the room and I find that several of the ladies dread running as much as me, yet they showed up too. Hmm, maybe I’m not really as much of an outcast as I thought I was.
Somewhere after day 3 I stopped documenting my boot camp follies because changes started happening. I was jumping rope like a professional boxer. Ok, maybe more like a middle school wrestler, but bite me. The point is I was doing it and doing things I didn’t think I could ever do. Yesterday for the first time in my life I did pushups—honest to God REAL pushups, not the modified, get-on-your-knees-and-pray pushups, real ones! I don’t know what possessed me to even try but I did and I’ll be damned! Don’t get me wrong, there are times during every single class that I wish I would have stayed home, times that I still curse all those Christmas goodies and definitely times I dream of adding embellishments to the Carla Voodoo Doll but in the end, I’m growing and changing and this is the whole reason I signed up to begin with. I’ve only peed on myself a few more times. I have no shame at this point. I can tell you that, but that’s getting better too. I will always, always be a Zumba girl at heart. In fact, my favorite morning Zumba class began again on Wednesdays immediately after boot camp and even I stay for it! Yep, even after all the blood, sweat and piss, I stay because I love getting my “Jim Carrey in a tutu” on and now I can celebrate my hard-fought accomplishments of boot camp! Party on~!