Someone on facebook mentioned that name. And it stuck in my head for some reason. “Lotte Berk.” Some fandangled California exercise program that really works, according to that person. At first, when I plunked the “Lotte Berk Method” DVD into my amazon cart, I was frustrated because I couldn’t remember WHO mentioned it to me. I am all about giving credit to people who give this girl a hand. But I just couldn’t recall who mentioned the name to me or when. I just remember seeing that name and associating it with something positive that may help me work out and lose weight.
As I do with any new exercise DVD that arrives via UPS, I let the package taunt me from the entertainment center shelf for a while before cracking the cellophane open. Last night, desperate for a good and challenging workout, I finally popped it into the DVD player to preview it first.
I have found that starting a new exercise routine is a lot like a blind date. Someone says “Hey, this would be perfect for you” and then once you get some time alone with the DVD, you realize that this person has no clue what they are talking about and quite possibly hate your guts. I have a few DVDs that I should sell on Ebay because after previewing them, I know that I will never ever ever accomplish them and live to write about it.
But after previewing the Lotte Berk DVD, appropriately entitled “Burn Fat Now- Muscle Eats Fat,” for a whopping 5 minutes- I was convinced that not only could I do this short workout, but it would be a snap. I completely overestimate my own abilities. I can’t classify this program as yoga or pilates, because it has a special brand of torture all its own.
The DVD starts by having you stand up and breathing while tucking in your pelvis and slightly bending your knees. Vainly believing that I was in “pretty good shape,” I figured this wouldn’t be tough at all. And it wasn’t…for the first minute. After that, however, the tops of my thighs started to get a little warm, and the abs (if you are holding yourself in correctly) began to do this rapid pulsing, alerting me that they were uncomfortable. By this point, the DVD was exactly 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the workout, and I couldn’t believe I was in pain from STANDING and BREATHING.
Next, the instructor had me pick up some light hand weights, holding that same tucked in pelvis pose, and do slow curls with the weights in hand. At first, I was thankful that the arm part was slow, as it was taking extreme energy to keep the pelvic region where it was supposed to be. The initial round of the curls wasn’t bad either. The second one, though, was excruciating. Everytime I lifted the arm to slightly above ear level, I could feel my armpit cramping. Yeah, my armpit. I never knew I had muscles in there before. I thought it was just hair follicles and sweat glands. But apparently there ARE muscles in there, and they were being used for the first time in their life. They weren’t happy about it either. I suppose I wouldn’t appreciate being disturbed during a 32 year slumber, only to be awakened by a sucker punch. But that’s precisely what happened, and they cried out in stinky tears.
We moved onto this fantastic part of the movements that can only be described as the “faux ballerina.” My whole childhood, I wanted to be a ballerina. I could imagine standing on my toes and wooing the audience with my graceful moves and swan like appearance. But Lotte Berk totally changed my mind on that career move, as I held on to the back of my computer chair and had to stand on the balls of my feet, heels touching each other, pelvis still tucked in, and bent the knees in a deep stretch. I did not anticipate needing to cling to the back of the chair for dear life, but I had to once the earthquake hit. Problem was, there wasn’t an earth quake for the rest of the world. I was the only one trembling out of control. It was such a violent tremble that I practically laid over the back of the chair, knees locked into an unholy position, and heels begging to be released to the floor. Once they were, and had a moment, they determined that the floor is where they should stay. As the instructor encouraged us with a fake smile to repeat the whole process, my heels somehow found a tube of invisible crazy glue and remained stuck on the floor, refusing to raise up the 5 inches they should have. The knees bent to a angle of 4 degrees instead of 90, and I still had to hold onto the back of the chair while attempting this position. Meanwhile, my thighs were still stunned by the whole process and trembled in fear and the pelvis decided that a little release of tension might do some good. Thank heavens I know enough to wear a Poise Pad while exercising. Dribbling on myself, I cast aside all respectable etiquette, and let it go. There wasn’t much, but I had no hope of making it to the bathroom in an army crawl, which my thighs reminded me would have been my only mode of self-transportation. I skipped the "Knee Dancing" portion of the DVD all together. It was not going to happen. Not to mention that my faux ballerina looked more like a dying swan song, shot in the legs by a sniper named Lotte who left me hanging over my chair in extreme distress and duress.
Finally, the instructor took us down to the floor for some final torture...I mean exercises. Using my elbows and hands for support, she expected me to lift up my body into a pseudo pushup move. The impossibilities of my body performing this seemingly simple move were just staggering. Not only were the thighs quite rebellious about it, but the armpits were still unreasonable and contracted so tightly the muscles within must have crawled up inside my shoulders. Which took me from attempting to be upright to landing flat on my face. Thank heavens my boobs broke the fall. At this point, my daughter Amy, who was reading on the couch, was falling herself- into fits of laughter. She called out from the safety of the couch, “Having a little trouble there, Mom?” If I could have moved, I would have flown over to the couch and drug her onto the floor to make her experience Lotte Berk for herself. But as I was confined to a “Help- I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” situation, she was spared the agony that had so easily and quickly crippled her mother.
I laid on the floor, willing my body to breathe through the throbbing and shakes of the earthquake within, and sang a few bars of Carole King, as I could do nothing else but move my mouth. I have never known that you could numb yourself from the waist down but still feel pain. People, it is very possible to do exactly that.
At this point, I quit trying to participate in the burn fat now. Correction, I was still burning and my muscles were on fire, but I have no clue if they were burning up fat or just me as a whole. Either way, I couldn’t have done the rest of the DVD if I tried. I mentally rededicated my heart to Jesus, because I was feeling the fires of hell first hand, and it was none to pleasant.
10 minutes after the DVD ended, I was still lying on the floor, and Matt jokingly made a comment that I should get up and move before I get stuck down there. Little did he know, that had already happened. Immobile legs, upset armpits, and wet pants, Lotte Berk had broken me beyond repair. No amount of Oreos was worth what I had just experienced. I don’t care if they are triple or quadruple stuffed.
Eventually I made it up off the floor, with some assistance, and was able to bathe and change my clothes. But I kid you not- my thighs trembled uncontrollably far into the night. Only after 2 Aleve and 3 Advil did they simmer down to the occasional tremor. Whoever mentioned Lotte Berk to me, I recommend you stay anonymous. At least until my armpits are back to normal. I won’t be shaving them for a while, lest I remind them how horrific that experience was and they cramp up again. I’ll go French before tempting them to seize up again. So I guess Lotte Berk really was the pits.
Sad thing is? I’m going to do it all over again today. I just can’t walk away from a challenge! But if there is any chance at all that this will change the way my body looks, I’m willing to risk it. Sometimes the torture is exactly what we need. And after whining about the fear of pain and sweat yesterday, I know that Lotte Berk is going to push me over that hump and get me whipped into the shape I desire. I just have to remove my brain from the experience and block it out. Kinda like an exercise induced PTSD.
Which of course stands for Pitts & Thigh Shaking Disorder. Thanks Lotte.
tales of the cupcake part one
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