gym

‘Im Sexy and I know it’

Good morning 2012,
This year, I will set realistic health and fitness goals. I will not be stupid and say “Im going to lose 40 pounds and have washboard abs that are SO amazing that I will be able to replace Ezra Taylor on the cover of my Telesa book.” No. I’m setting goals that can actually be achieved. This year, I will work out on my new fitness machine, the AbCirclePro for 30min every morning and eat enough carrots to qualify me for admission to bunny rabbit sainthood.  See? Totally do-able goals. First weekday of 2012 and I am eager and enthusiastic.
Before using any exercise equipment, it’s essential to read the instruction manual. 
                            Instructions for using the Ab Circle Pro.
1. Lock the door. Essential. (Do you know how dumb you look on the AbCircle Pro? The Hot Man videotaped me working out on it the other day, and it’s a horrifying sight.  Nothing like the TV demo ad – which actually looks like an ad for a porn movie with a boosty beautiful Jennifer getting down and happy on her very sexy machine. Liar, liar.)
2. Put on workout gym clothes.  Super flash ones. Because of course everybody knows that color-co-ordination and sporting accessorization is 80% of the fitness battle won.
3.Put on earphones and start the iPod.  Possible sound tracks – ‘I’m Sexy and I know it. You’ve got a big butt and you know it.’ 

4. Get on Ab Circle Pro machine.  Begin swinging motion of lower body. Stick out chest like fitness celebrity Jennifer Nicole Lee. Smile.
5. Work that body. Work it, work it. Smile.  Yeah, you can feel that JLo hip movement really starting to burn. You know you’ve probably lost five pounds already. At least.
6. Swing faster. Because you’re sexy and you know it.
This is where the manual is revealed as a piece of useless, misleading crap. Because it’s missing this next vital piece of information. 
*Watch out that your knee doesn’t slip out of the machine support. Because if it does, you will be dislodged off the AbCirclePro and your knee will slam into the metal leg of the machine base and then onto the wood floor, your body weight will tilt the machine to one side dislodging your sexy self, your face will slam into the central metal piece, and then you will fall on the floor.
Yes, that key point is missing in the instruction manual.  So what happened?
Crash, thump, yelp, agonized scream, semi-muffled curse curse curse words.
I lay there in a crumpled heap on floor. Trying not to cry. Trying not to curse too loud. Trying not to kick the machine because dammnit I got it on 30 day trial and I really want to be able to send the stupid thing back.  Trying to ignore the fiery pain in my left knee.
My children have heard the scream. Or maybe the very loud crash. They are concerned and knocking on the locked door. ‘Are you ok?! What happened?’
‘Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.’ Comes to mind. But they can’t help me because the door is locked.  Drag myself over, unlock door. Family pours in with concern, confusion and compassion.  Sade bosses Little Son to bring ice for the knee that is swelling alarmingly. Bella kicks the AbCirclePro  vengefully. ‘You bad machine!’  The Princess pats my arm soothingly, ‘It’s alright Mum. You’ll be fine.’ Big Son just shakes his head, ‘that’s what happens when you go too fast on it.’ (Remind me to cut him out of my will.)
Two hours later and my knee is swollen in a freakishly frightening fashion. And I haven’t eaten any carrots either. Clearly, I will not be doing any more AbCirclePro anytime soon because not only does the knee hurt, but it also can’t fit into the knee support. 
I think this is a pain and a disappointment that only donuts can fix.
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It’s NOT a ‘happy place’. Why you shouldnt go to the gym.

Mean Matt’s Twin Brother

The other day, someone called the gym their ” happy place.” I couldnt see how that could be possible. Unless they’ve started serving Diet Coke and Doritos at the gym. And Ryan Reynolds is doing the serving. So I went to my gym to check.

My usual nice personal trainer Steve was on holiday. He had been replaced by Mean Matt who is a handsome hunk from Turkey. Mean Matt speaks with a captivating accent, kind of like Arnold the Terminator. Except there was nothing captivating about him once we started our training session.  When I couldnt pedal furiously on the cardio bike for ten straight minutes, he told me to “stop being lazy woman.” I told him very politely that I’d only just started coming to the gym ( A lie. Alright, alright, I tell lies sometimes. So shoot me.) I said “Im not lazy, Im tired. I have 5 children and thats really hard work you know.”

He was suitably astounded. “No. You lie. How you have five children?!” He even went so far as to threaten me. “I no like when people lie to me! Tell me truth. Speak truth now.You too young to have five children.”

I assured him, yes its true. I (am dumb enough) to have five children. He persisted. “Maybe some of them are from  husband and another woman?”

Oh honey, hell no. “Excuse me, all those (demon) children are mine thank you very much.” Ain’t no other woman taking credit for this lot.

With that truth firmly established, I mistakenly thought that Mean Matt was my friend. On my side. The workout continued. We moved on to the weights machines. I happily worked out on the leg thingamajig machine. And the shoulder thingamajig machine. Mean Matt seemed almost chatty. “What job you do?”

“Oh, I’m a writer.”

 He grunted. “How much exercise you do every week?”

I blathered on like the trusting fool I am. “Oh I used to run 5 days a week. Last year I did a 105 km relay with a team of six women. It was so much fun!” (Ok, ‘fun’ an exageration. What am I going to do – tell people that I wanted to puke and die for most of those kilometers?)

And that was when Mean Matt revealed his true self. Mean as meanie.  He upped the weights on the ab machine. Started counting reps faster. Told me off for pausing too long in between sets.  I whined. “But you dont understand, I dont have any ab muscles. Maybe I did when i was like 12…”

He didnt care. “Hurry up, keep going, why you stop for? If you can run 105km relay, you can do abs workout faster.”

“But I can’t. I’ve had three c-section deliveries. Do you know what that means? They literally SLICE through your abdominal wall and Im sure they sewed my abs back up wrong because they just dont work anymore. There’s something wrong with them, I just know it. And my youngest kid is practically a BABY and I still havent recovered my full strength…” (So the kid is three. Practically a walking, talking adult, but what the hell…)

Mean Matt interrupted me. “What, now you are writing book here? Telling me your whole life story? Stop doing writer job here and do workout.” In other words – shut up Lani and do this.

I shut up. Seethed. And worked out harder, fantasizing about (one day) having a kick-butt awesome body so I could come back to the gym and kick Mean Matt’s ass. I’ll be back.

Maybe that was Mean Matt’s secret personal trainer technique for getting his clients to push themselves to the limit. When we were done, he smiled ( meanly) and said, “All clients tell me they hate me. But when  finish workout, they thank me for pushing them hard.” I smiled. (Weakly) And said thank you. But inside? I was hearing my inner Arnold Predator movie voice, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

I knew I hated the gym. News-flash for those of you who havent been there in a while? They arent serving snacks. And Ryan Reynolds is definitely not there. But Mean Matt is. Hasta la vista, baby.

The Gym Journey Begins. With Chocolate Chip Cookies.

My crystal ball future self?

So yesterday I joined a gym. Not only that, I paid to have three sessions with a personal trainer – who would gaze into a crystal ball and tell me my future. ‘I see a tall, dark, super toned, kickbutt, beautiful woman running towards me. She looks like a light-brown version of Serena Williams…ohmigosh its you! Six months and 60 pounds from now!‘ Yeah, now we’re talking. Give this seer some more money.

To be perfectly honest, I dont know why I dished out money for training and nutrition advice. My husband is an elite athlete and I have done so much research on the topics of exercise/diet/motivation/coaching on his behalf – that I could write a PhD thesis on How to Lose Weight and How to Get Fit. But I’ve lived in NZ for 6 months now and spent most of that time eating, so its time to get desperate. I dragged my sorry splodgy self to the gym and pasted on my earnest, I-will-listen-to-every-word-you-say-and-promise-to-obey-because-Im-a-fat-loser face.

A nice man called Steve asked me what my goals were. Duh, I want to be skinny. Because then I will be prettier than all of HRH’s ex-girlfriends put together. And I just might catch SBW’s eye next time he’s fighting ACC beneficiaries at the Trust Stadium up the road from my house. Because SKINNY equals Nirvana-bliss. But you cant say stuff like that. Thats far too superficial. You have to say some of the PC stuff from their handout. Stuff like “I want to have more energy, greater self confidence. I want to be fit so I can realise my dreams of feeding starving children in the mountains of Afghanistan, building wells in Somalia so entire villages can have clean water…be a role model for my lazyas children and my fat community…” Stuff like that. You know, noble inspiring stuff.

Steve nodded empathetically. Yes, I could see he was convinced of my sincere comittment to becoming a gymbunny. He then proceeded to give me somse nutrition guidelines.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We should all eat a big, healthy breakfast. So tell me, do you eat breakfast Lani?” Oh Steve, do I?!.

I smiled. “I never skip breakfast. NEVER. Let me see, I have weetbix and toast with scrambled eggs, and yogurt, and some fruit, and frenchtoast with a sprinkle of cinnamon and then I probably warm up some pasta leftovers from dinner. Yessir, I eat breakfast.”

Steve tried to keep a neutral expression. (Such a nice man.) “Well those are all healthy options! And we do need to eat a big breakfast.”

“Yeah, but then I eat a big morning tea too. Choc chip cookies, fruit, doritos, a muesli bar, leftover french toast from breakfast. Oh yeah – AND a Diet Coke, because Im trying to be healthy you know.”

Steve’s face is looking a little strained now. “Right, well there’s certainly some room for improvement here. Now this may sound odd, but the best way to eat for weightloss is to eat 6 to 8 times a day. And its important to PLAN our meals. For many people, this can be a difficult thing.” Oh Steve – if you only knew.

I smiled again. I couldnt help it. “I have no problem eating 6 times a day Steve. No problem at all – just look at me. And planning? Steve, the minute I wake up in the morning, I think, what am I going to eat today? and if there’s yummy things already in the fridge then I get out of bed a happy and positive person. I always plan ahead because if there’s nothing in the house thats good to eat, then right away I know my day is gonna suck. I’m a wonderful meal planner.”

Steve stopped taking notes, closed his folder and stood. “Right. Well I think thats probably enough about nutrition. Let’s move on to the weights room shall we?”

Yes, lets.

What an auspicious start to my journey to realizing my Serena Williams inner self. I can see that Steve and I are going to make beautiful gym music together – because he has given up on getting me to change my eating habits. Hmm he does look a little grumpy though.

I think I might bake Steve some oatmeal choc-chip cookies. They always make ME happy. He looks like he could use a little bit of choc-chip happiness in his day.