Friday, June 12

Charlie's Sweaty Balls and the YMCA

On Monday, May 18th, I wrote you all about the issues I have had with losing weight, how I was losing motivation, and needed to step things up a bit. I posted it at 3:15. By 3:25, my sister in law Nikki’s ring tone (What’s New Pussycat by Tom Jones) was crooning away on my cell.

“Hey, are you really serious about losing your weight and going hardcore?”

I swallowed hard. It was a moment of truth- do I really want this enough to work for it, or do I just SAY I want this?

I replied, “Yes. I want this more than anything.”

Nikki answered back, “Good, because I have an idea.”

Now, let me side step for a moment and tell you a bit about Nikki. She is an Army wife of my middle brother, Jason, and I set them up. My other brother Todd is married to my best friend, Julia, so when Jason became available, I set him up with my other "bestie" since I enjoyed the arrangement so much the first time around. Their first date was the day after Thanksgiving, and by Christmas they were engaged. And they both are happy as larks, besides the occasional deployment. They have 4 kids, Nikki runs a daycare, and she is one of the most resourceful women I have ever met. Seriously. Wanna pull America out of a recession? Let Nikki figure stuff out. Hence, she has earned her nickname “Tricky Nikki” because she is always scheming. Back to her idea.

“So here’s the plan. There is this exercise class I want to take at the YMCA. It sounds really good, and I can do it while Jason is still home and can watch the kids.”

OK, a live exercise class. That could be good!

“Sure, sounds like fun! When is it?”

“Well, that’s the only problem. It’s a bit early.”

“HOW EARLY?” (I am not a morning person at all.)

“Um, uh, don’t freak out, OK? It’s at 5:45. AM.”

I did in fact freak out, but I got over it. It worked out the best because I could go to class, and still get the kids to school on time. Plus, Matt was home getting ready for work, so I didn’t have to worry about where to put the kids. It really was a good fit. Added bonus- Nikki promised that she would call me at 5:30 to make sure I was awake. I need a wake up call. I really am not a morning person.

So we started attending the class. We have yet to make it 3 times a week, but even twice a week is still serious commitment to the two of us. Now, this class is called “Wake Up With Fitness.” It is a cross between step aerobics, calisthenics, and torture. But the funny thing is, I am addicted to this class. And although I have been sore many days, it’s pretty much gone off without a hitch.

Until today.

Our teacher Karen is really skinny, really nice, and I like her a lot, except I am a little concerned about her knowledge. She seems to think that Nikki and I are capable of far more than we really are. OK, maybe Nikki can do it. She’s much smaller than me and exercises all the time, even when she isn’t on a diet. But me? I am uncoordinated, ungraceful, lack any upper body strength, and I can’t see the stupid step for the step aerobics because of my boobs. I have to step in blind faith.

In spite of my physical shortcomings, Karen seems determined to help me lose the inches. After all, that’s what she gets paid to do. And she is earning her money with a student like me. Nikki and I call her “Danville’s Jillian Michaels” (the trainer from Biggest Loser) which is a complement in the highest form, because we NEED her torture, and we are grateful to her for pushing us. We really are.

On Friday, she mixes things up a little. Today, she had us pull out a huge exercise ball, a “band” (you have all seen Billy bands, right? They have handles on both ends, and the middle is what nurses tie on your arm when getting blood drawn), a step, hand weights, and a mat. By the time class started, I was already tired! But with Tricky Nikki faithfully by my side, the class began and we were on our way. I heard someone say “I HATE the bands!” but I was too focused on waking up and trying to give 100% of the 80% energy I had. I make up the other 20% later on with coffee.

So we are stretching, getting our heart rate up, and working our thighs and butts. Which is good, because as you may recall, I am trying to shrink that butt. I’d like it to look pretty when it disappears eventually, and that means toning all the muscle underneath the fries and ice cream I was holding on to. After getting us nice and sweaty, Karen/Jillian had us get the big exercise ball and get our legs/thighs/tummies on them and do pushups on the floor while elevated. This is the first time I have been able to do a decent pushup in years. Normally I boob-bounce right back up after barely heading down. But on the ball, it put serious space between the girls and the floor, and those pushups hurt. And made me even more sweaty. Which made the ball sweaty. Yuck.

Then, she told us to get the bands out. We laced the band under our aerobic step, hooked them on our feet, and a new level of agony began. As we lay on top of the step in a pseudo crunch position, our legs were up in the air (with the bands trying to pull them back down) and we had to kick, cycle, and extend our legs. After the first 10 seconds my legs, especially the tops of my thighs were on fire. Not like, “oh, this is a bit uncomfortable to do” type of heat. It was more like “Sweet Jesus, I am coming home to you momentarily, and I’m gonna need you to carry me through the gate because I can’t walk” kind of fire. Either that or the rubber band in the middle was going to melt when it touched the side of my leg, and I’d have to walk around smelling like burnt rubber. At least the sweat pouring off of me extinguished any sparks.

After hours of this band (probably only 3 minutes, really, but it FELT like hours) my legs were beyond the jello stage. And Karen/Jillian was just getting us warmed up. I was WAY ahead of her.

She had us lay on our mats, and hold the exercise ball between our legs as we did crunches. Normally, I sail through the crunches as well as can be expected, although I am still not able to touch my elbows to my knees, because my tummy is so large. But I’m getting closer as the weeks go by. Today, however, with the ball between our legs, crunches turned into explosions as I tried to keep my already jello-ey legs in the air and work the abs. It hurt worse than labor, and you can’t even scream for drugs. You can either give up, or put on your big girl panites with the control top and push.

So I pushed as hard as I could. Laying in a pool of my own sweat, hanging on to a sweaty ball with my perspiring legs in a half spread eagle (we won’t even discuss the problem of crotch sweat. That is another story entirely), clinging to the ball with all my might and trying to enjoy the view of stars I had before me. I started to lose my grip on the ball, so I squeezed even harder. As hard as I could, in fact. That was when physics stepped in.

Now, have you ever tried to hold onto a beach ball under water? It keeps wanting to rise to the top, so you hold on harder? Eventually, your handle on the circumference will be a little off, and the ball shoots up to the surface.

My legs lost the circumference on the ball above my head. The fact that I had been squeezing the ball with all my might made the situation worse. It shot off like a rocket. I would have been more successful holding a greased pig.

Everything happened in slow motion for the next 10 seconds. I saw the ball rising high above me, and veering to the east ever so slightly, heading straight for Nikki’s head. Perhaps the gallons of sweat covering the ball 30 feet in the air changed its course, or perhaps the hasty prayer of “Dear God NO!” reached my Master’s ears, but the ball fell short of Nikki by mere inches. It then began to roll on the floor, blowing every whichaway because of the industrial floor fans blowing, making a sideways rain of the remains of sweat that hadn’t showered on me while the ball was in flight. Nikki realized what had happened and started to break into fits of giggles.

Now, at this point my legs are still up in the air, too cramped to pull them back down, and I am watching the ball roll toward the front of the room, not too far from Karen/Jillian, who was still working the room like the fitness machine she is. After my ball rolled into her view, she did a quick but discrete look around the gym, saw who had lost her ball, and if I could have read her mind, I bet she was thinking that it’s about time she asked a raise. A big fat raise.

Karen/Jillian then hopped off her own ball, got a drink, and began to set up for the next phase. I think that was perhaps for my benefit. I shamefully rolled over on my side to a sideways L, because the legs refused to come down, and was able to finally pull myself to a sitting position, then almost standing. I limped to retrieve my lost ball, now in the VERY front of the gym where everyone could see me. I wondered if anyone else would notice, till I heard my Tricky Nikki sidekick say in a giggly voice, “I am so glad that happened to you, because I was afraid it was going to happen to me too!” So much for anonymity!

Now sitting at home in the comfort of my computer chair that reclines, and feeling the cooling sensation of advil, I feel a bit better. I’m still going to go back on Monday morning, and will give it all I’ve got. But for right now, I’m quite happy to sit here and massage the legs and the ego. I did learn something important today about friendship and exercise. First of all, misery demands company. I wouldn’t be doing nearly as well without Nikki and her encouragement. Thanks Nik.

And Karen/Jillian? I will say thank you by faithfully attending your class. When I am wearing a bikini for the first time in my adult life, I will sing your praises of how you helped mold my skinny body into shape. But for now, please know that we need you and don't give up on us. On me. I can't do that around the world step you do, but my gratitude for what you are putting me through is being broadcast around the world. And next time, warn me about the bands ahead of time. I might be sick that day.

Over all, I realized that friends who sweat together and band together truly have a ball!


Anonymous said...

you are just way too funny! I bet working out with you is a blast!

Sophie Mae said...

Charlie, you are a RIOT! I think I hurt something from laughing so hard. Reading your blog really helps to motivate me in my weight loss.

Keep up the good work! And keep posting!

Anonymous said...

I have NEVER laughed at a blog... until today!

Rockin - thank God you have your own personal Jillian!

- Kathy S in Mpls

Anonymous said...

I burned mucho calories laughing at this post! Who need crunches when you can just lose it laughing to Charlie's stuff! :D

megaptera1969 said...

I am so glad you linked to this post today. A second good laugh feels so good. Thank you for sharing the horrors of your exercise experiences. I feel less alone in the world knowing I am not the only one afraid to work out on my own and that I am not the lone person with total lack of coordination. Your blog gives me hope. THANK YOU Charlie!

Laryssa Herbert said...

Thanks for the giggles...I needed that today!

Lori said...

Hi! I loved this post - it totally woke me up from my mid-afternoon slump and made me laugh. :) Way to go on your weight loss and thanks for stopping by my blog! Have a great night!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sending me this link. I can understand how one would wet themselves reading it. I can almost imagine the same thing happening to me, but then I remember NOTHING can drag my butt out of bed before 6 am

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