Work it Girl!

Today was my eighth and final workout with Johan, my Swedish trainer. I was looking forward to our workout at lunch today and reflected on our previous seven sessions. I am happy about the progress I have made. As I entered the basement-level locker room (which is no fun to climb out of post-workout) I opened my locker in horror! I had forgotten my workout pants! Crap. I looked down at my jeans (Friday is jeans day in honor of Solid Orange Day) and thought to myself, do I skip the last workout? Do I ask to reschedule? Or do I just push through and work out in jeans.?

I knew Johan would not be able to fit me in next week since my month was up and he didn’t roll over sessions. So I figured I had to choose the latter.

I went to the workout space and started warming up in my jeans and T-shirt. Thankfully I had the right shoes and sports bra but still, I was an interesting juxtaposition next to those college girls in their barely-there leggings and sports bras that double as shirts. Here I was in an XL T-shirt and jeans, of all things, working out. Could I stick out any more?

Johan stared for a second at my denim option and said, “interesting,” and I gave him a look of “don’t ask.” “Guess we’ll do upper body again?” he asked. We had just completed a rigorous upper body set on Wednesday and I was kind of looking forward to resting my arms for at least three or four days. But that was not in the cards.

Thankfully my jeans had somewhat of a decent range of motion and I was able to do the warm up. We went over to the BOSU ball and I can hardly remember what transpired next. But somehow I was lifting more weight than I’d ever done in my life and my triceps were bulging. Take that skinny college girls! Johan recorded my weight amt on his 4-week-old paper. “Great job!” he said. Then we spent the next 45 minutes torturing my upper body. I was sure my triceps and shoulders would pop out of my skin at any minute. At one point my arms and brain just could not work together anymore and they fell down. “Mind over matter,” Johan said. We did 10 more reps. “Hold it 15 seconds on my count,” he said AFTER the 10 reps. Then he said if I fell off the BOSU I had to do 10 more reps. I thought to myself, “Work it girl!” Somehow my core was able to hold me up there bc every other body part was melting into one.

We finished off with some abs and core and planking work. The first day I held the plank for 23 seconds and today was about 80 seconds. The first day I was using 7.5 lb dumbbells for hammer curls and today did 12.5 weight for 45 reps. In a short time I could see the improvement.

But the best part was that our workouts did exactly what I set out to do, which was fall in love with the gym all over again. I could tell I missed working out on the days we weren’t doing it. I liked the way I felt even when it was sheer exhaustion. I like feeling strong and powerful, even if I am wearing jeans. Two of our sessions were at 6:45 in the morning. This was after I drove 30 minutes to get to the gym, meaning I was up before 6 a.m. This made me realized how committed I am. I’m hoping these workouts really did ignite something in me again. From now on, I will hear Johan in my ear everytime I think about not wanting to workout. He was polite but firm, encouraging but tough. Now, let’s just hope I can lift my toddler up tomorrow morning!

Do What Makes You Happy

Today I got on the scale. I was hoping for a big number. I completely obeyed my Weight Watchers plan. Stayed within my points. Got extra activity points for Zumba, Spin Class, Swimming, Jogging/Walking and Weight training. I had three beers all week. I cooked things like grilled chicken caprese with very little cheese and zucchini oven-baked chips instead of fries. I went to the farmers’ market and bought fresh produce. I ate bulgur, black beans, quinoa and lots and lots of lettuce. I ate protein, drank lots and lots of water. Ate lots and lots of veggies. Are we seeing at theme here?

I entered my WW class where people where every week we clap for the people in the class to acknowledge their accomplishments. Each week I keep thinking they will hopefully clap for me. After all, I’m making healthy changes each week and trying to be more active. Just this past week alone I did five completely different workouts. My son found it particularly interesting to see me do the Zumba Wii game and giggled with delight at my attempts of Latin dancing. If it were American Idol or the Gong show I would have been booted off immediately. But I kept on dancing. My calf is bruised to hell from the spin bike episode where my bike was the wrong size (see earlier post) and apparently I was still not even riding it correctly. To think I’ve done triathlons yet can’t even ride a stationery bike without injuring myself in some way. And I swam, which was sheer delight, even though my 800 yards were not quite the time I would have liked. But hopefully tomorrow I’ll swim 1000!

So today, I thought, this would be my big week. Maybe 2 pounds lost? “you’ve maintained your weight from last week” She said. MAINTAINED? As in, did not even lose an ounce? Which yes, they count the ounces. I wanted to scream W-T-F at the bubbly teacher but decided against it. I sulked privately, sat down in the back of the room and listened as we celebrated so and so’s 5 percent loss, so and so’s 10 percent loss and one girl even reached her goal weight!

I walked across campus back to my office (2 activity points) and found an email waiting for me. It said, Do one thing every day that makes you happy. I started thinking about this and realized how much I love it. I think it’s easy to get caught up in all the fast-paced, millions of things we must do every day. If I want to drink a glass of wine because it makes me happy, so be it (just need to log my points in my Weight Watchers queue). If it makes me happy to let my son stay up 15 minutes later, and probably makes him happy too, so be it. We are not guaranteed another day on this planet and while I am trying very hard to make myself healthier, I need to make sure I am happy too.

I think I forget sometimes to do something just for the sake of pure enjoyment. It’s so hard to get into a routine, esp during the week, that maybe I forget to get off of auto-pilot and do something like drive the long way round or stop to smell the proverbial flowers. To me, rolling down the windows and singing at the top of my lungs makes me happy. It doesn’t add any calories nor hurt anyone else, except maybe the passenger in my car or the person I drive by who crashes from laughing so hard.

But mostly I thought about the email and how I don’t need to beat myself up for not being a certain number on the scale. If I know I am eating healthy and being active more days than not, then that’s the best I can ask of myself right now. But life will sure be a lot happier if I take one moment a day to do something that makes me happy. Thankfully, food does not make me happy but rather a long phone call with a friend does. Playing my guitar for 20 minutes and going through old photo albums. These are things that maybe I forget to do because I’m so focused on other activities. But now on, I will try to do at least one thing a day that makes me happy. I’m guessing some of the other struggles will come much easier.

Yoga Pants = Love?

I was recently asked to marry two friends, V & N. While I can’t say I’ve known them for a long time, I feel very connected to them, the bride in particular. When asked to be their officiant, I was quite surprised yet flattered. Although I will not be legally marrying them (bc God has not asked me to be an Ordained minister), I will be leading the ceremony in front of their 300 closest friends. This is quite a task. I’ve been taking notes here and there and thinking about my own wedding. Thinking about how so many people are so happy to get to the reception that I wonder how many actually listen to the words that others (and dare i say the bride and groom themselves) recite. Perhaps this will be good for my nerves if no one is actually listening. But for the couple’s sake, I hope they are at least 🙂

In trying to plan for this wedding I am thinking about the word love and how it has so many meanings. As a wordsmith and fan of all the nuances found in the English language, I am a sucker for homonyms and words with multiple meanings. Love doesn’t really fall into those two categories but it is probably one of the most subjective words we have. It can mean something different to all of us. I feel love when I look at my son every day. And I love being a wife, mother, daughter, friend and sister. We can say we love our job or we love our home. Those are feelings we have toward something, almost like an adjective. But how does one define love? How do you define love?

I remember the first time my husband told me he loved me. We were at a bar, listening to jazz music with friends in Tennessee. I had taken him WAY out of his comfort zone (he hates jazz) and drug him to Tennessee with me to see Trey Anastasio (he wasn’t a huge fan at the time) in concert. The next day, he went with me to a Tennessee football game (also a first) and on Sunday, went to meet my ENTIRE extended family. Somewhere in between all of the action-packed weekend events, he found love in those “firsts” with me. Without a doubt I can say he is the love of my life. I knew early on that our relationship was something special. Not one to jinx things, I cannot say i knew right away I would marry him. But i knew we had a love worth fighting for and figuring out.

To me, love is when you go from being in lust, you see someone’s faults and imperfections and you are okay with them because the good outweighs the bad. Love is unconditional in its realest form and sustains time and generations. Love is when you can wear your  yoga pants and a T-shirt and feel sweaty from the gym, hair a mess, and your husband tells you how beautiful you are. Love is your father playing on the ground with your son in a hilarious game of peekaboo. Love is two friends drinking wine, laughing so hard it comes out of their noses when retelling a hilarious story from their past. To me, love is all around in even the simplest of tasks.

I hope I will be able to find the words to make my two friends proud to have me unite them in matrimony. I hope to define love in a way that will resonate solely with them and make their day special. They probably didn’t know just how much I felt loved when they asked me to marry them, but I do. It is something I feel truly honored with and cannot wait to be a part of. Even if i don’t have a clue what I’m doing. Maybe I should recite the things I just wrote. Hmm…I wonder if V wears yoga pants?

Early love…

Spin Cycle

In my quest for exercising more and being healthier, I’ve recently done a 5k and then today, went to a spin class. I had done both before but it’s been at least two years since I did the cyclical torture known as a Spin Class. The 5k went well and the spin class I survived but wow did it remind me how out of shape I am.

I showed up right on time and found about 20 girls, about 20 years old, and a super-fit instructor yelling over music I’d never heard. I wonder how well I would do if they blared Phish at spin class. Knowing me I would fall off from the pseudo dancing I would find myself doing.

At first, I overlooked the fact that my bike’s seat was not adjusting and someone who was about 4’11 must have ridden it before me. My knees were giving my face black eyes and I finally realized that this would not be sustainable for the next 45 mins. So i switched to another bike, which was again broken, and tried to find a third. Meanwhile, the girls next to me were climbing the hill to oblivion and I couldn’t even get on the damn bike. Hoping the third time was the charm, I found a bike a decent height and got on, only to realize it was meant for people who wear shoes with built in clips. Hmm, I looked down at my Brooks sneaks and no top clips there. Strike three. Finally, i was now at the end of the room, the girls around me were now sprinting to some “Don’t Stop Believing” and i find a bike. I am too ready to get on the thing to even bring it up to join the rest of the class (a good thing i later realized) and decide to start spinning in the back.

I somehow make it through the class, although I will admit, I could not stand up and ride the entire time. But when i did sit down, and immediately had butt pains from the skinny-ass seat (pun intended), I pedaled as fast as I could. I looked down at the ground and focused, reminding myself that I was doing this to be a better me. ALthough i was almost twice as old as the girls around me, I kept on pedaling and was proud of myself for getting out of the comfort zone and getting back in a class. Tomorrow on the agenda is swimming and Friday, Zumba–an old fave.

Total Weight Watchers Loss= 4.6. Today’s Weigh-In= .06 down. Not very much but more than half a pound. This week i challenge myself to get in lots of cardio and healthy foods. We’ll see how next week’s weigh-in goes.


C is excited to reach the finish line

Goodbye Fat Lady

I’ve always been fat. Not just overweight, but fat. Growing up maybe not as much and in high school not nearly what I am today, but I was never the skinny girl. I was thankfully not ever one to let it get in the way of most things I wanted in life but there have been a few stings here and there that kept me in check regarding how I really looked in the mirror. Sadly those have come more from my parents than teasing classmates, which I’ve never understood. They must think I’m blind in both eyes and never look in the mirror. But I’ve never been in denial, I’ve just never let it be something that I let depress me. But I’ve also never really taken much care of the situation until a few years back.

In 2005, after a  life-altering car wreck, I decided it was time to make some changes in my life. Not just my weight but my entire outlook on things. I completely changed my diet and began exercising. It was so liberating. I changed my way of thinking and became more positive. I dubbed it, “The Year of the Bac.” I saw dramatic changes in my overall health and the scale began to move down. I completed something I’d never thought possible: a triathlon, and came in next to last. Still, I had won in my eyes by completing it and was moving in a new direction.

With the above changes came the love of my life and the next few happiest years of my life. I had a job I wanted and had dreamed of, the man of my dreams, a nice home that I owned and the knowledge and power to make myself be who I wanted to be. I never became skinny-mini but I felt and was healthy. And now looking at pictures, I know I was in the best shape I’d been in since high school.

We all know that getting married can sometimes equal weight gain and I slipped into some old habits like a comfortable shoe. Slowly, weight has crept back and I’ve found myself with no excuses for why I quit working out. I had a baby and actually Lost weight believe it or not so I can’t say it’s baby fat lurking around. And now that my husband is back on the day shift for working AND I have a free gym membership in my same building at work, I can’t really pretend there is any other reason for why I’m not working out.

The thing is, I do love working out. I love the feeling of power, I love the competition with myself and I love the results. I know nothing worth doing comes easy and I am not looking for a quick fix.

So with knowledge comes power and because I have already been down this road before, and know it is possible, I am not afraid. It is more that I HAVE to make some changes if I want to be healthy for my baby and attractive to my husband. I know he loves me no matter what but I want to feel my best for him and myself. And now, I do not.

So I’m going to make 2013 the Year of J B Clark. (Since the Year of The Bac is already over). But it will start in 2012. It just might take a few months into 2013 to really see results, hah. I’ve joined Weight Watchers at work,, which is going well. I’m getting back in the pool, on the bike and walking. And most important, I am going to do another triathlon next spring/summer. I’ll chronicle my road to my success year here. Day one in the pool begins in a few hours. Sadly, I doubt I’ll swim more than a 500. But you gotta start somewhere, right?