Several posts ago I discussed my decision to take action about my weight and fitness levels after a near-disaster from taking Celebrex to manage my osteoarthritis pain. After two years of diet and exercise I lost 86 pounds, and then hit the dreaded plateau. My digital scale hung in limbo for about six months with no downward movement.
In Quality Management, there’s a technique called the “Kaizen Event”, which is taking apart the current process and putting it back together in a better way. Staring at approximately the same number in the readout of my scale every day, Kaizen looked like a positive next step. I joined a new gym and took the option of a 4-series of sessions with a personal trainer for a promotional price. It didn’t take long for me to decide that time with a trainer was the key to this particular Kaizen event. So…I put my money down and bought more sessions.
Thought I’d update…this went out to my friends a couple of Mondays ago:
I've been working out with Irish Mike for over a month and yes, the scale has moved down five more pounds. I've also improved my fitness levels and range of motion to an incredible extent.
Last Saturday when we got together for our session we took 15-pound kettlebells, one of the big bouncy balls, an 8-pound medicine ball and a workout mat all the way to the back of the gym. I was warmed up because I got there an hour before my session and did 45 minutes of cardio, 2 sets of leg presses (60 pounds), rows on the big weight multi-stack (40 pounds) and --unbelievably enough-- I climbed on the dreaded assisted pull up machine and did a set of ten with the weight set at 200 pounds. Now, before you shrug and say, "so what", know that this machine is tough. It looks like circus equipment and turned me into a hyperventilating puddle my first time on it. So, for me to climb up there voluntarily says a lot.
Oh. That was foreshadowing. Keep reading.
When we slogged all the stuff to the back of the gym, Mike asked me to sit down. Then, he pulled out a deck of poker cards and asked me to shuffle them. Simple game, two players. Face cards: Kings, I slam the medicine ball for a minute. Queens, a v-sit on the bench for thirty seconds. Jacks, 30-second plank on the floor (toes and elbows) with just a thin exercise mat for company. Aces, one and a half minutes on the Stairmaster at level 60. I don't know what level 60 translates to (floors/hour or steps/minute) but I knew it wouldn’t be easy.
Regular suit cards were repetitions according to the number on the card. Diamonds: overhead presses holding the kettlebells. Clubs: reverse lunges holding on to the Stairmaster. Hearts: rolling squats keeping the big bouncy ball against the wall.
Spades...uh crap. Pull-ups on the assisted pull-up machine. Couldn’t get credit for the ten I did before the session because Mike didn’t see them. Yup. I asked.
Jokers were cool. Mike had to do 20 pushups. I got to count. :-)
I never knew that there were 30 or 40 spade cards in a standard deck of cards. Just kidding, but we drew every spade card in the deck. I climbed up and down that assisted pull-up machine for what seemed forever. Never knew that I could do that many reps and at one point Mike sneaked an adjustment on me and set it at 190 pounds so I was working harder. The weight on that machine is counter-intuitive; the more weight you set the easier the pull-ups are.
The game went on and on, more than once I wondered if Mike stacked the deck when I was trying to keep myself from falling off the pull-up machine and there was a moment when I thought he may have added more cards. At one point during the March of Death to do more pull-ups, we encountered one of Mike’s new clients. I warned her, “Don’t play cards with this man!”
The good news was that we drew both jokers and true to his word, Mike dropped and gave me 20. Twice. :-)
It was the hardest workout I have ever done. After Mike stretched me, I could barely make it off the massage table and walk to the locker room. He told me to text him Monday morning and let him know how I was doing. I was afraid I’d have to take the day off work because my muscles started cramping up on the way to the car.
I went straight home and got in the shower because I was RANK, drenched in sweat and could barely peel off my sports bra. Not just because it was wet, but because I had trouble lifting my arms over my head.
The next day, I was in my storage area going through old clothes. My Size 14 red wool blazer, which has not been on this girl’s body since I moved here from Chicago in 1994, slid on. With little effort. It almost buttons.
Blink! Sore? Who’s sore?
At this point, it's irrelevant if I ever see another donut, biscuit, pancake, waffle, etc. ever again. They don't exist for me anymore.