I had dinner with my friend, Arlene, on my fifty-fourth birthday. We’ve been friends since seventeen.
Not for the first time did she invite me to come to her ‘Boot camp’ exercise class at 5:30 A.M. I’ve made excuses not to come before, but this time I agreed to come try one class with her.
I do have to say that she is looking wonderfully fit.
Two days later, I showed up on a Wednesday. Not being a morning person, I had a hard time convincing myself to roll my legs out of bed at 4:30. I took a shower, brushed my teeth, and dried my hair before class, so that I wouldn’t have much to do when the class was over and it was time to get ready to go to work. I know taking a shower before working out sounds funny, but heck, I was trying to conserve my time between coming home and going to work at 7:10.
I made it through one day and the next day, I signed up for their special for three months. I committed myself. Arlene encouraged and partnered with me.
I tell you, it was a struggle to get myself out of bed that early in the morning for the first three weeks and sometimes, it still is over almost two months later. If I do over-sleep and miss my morning class, then I make myself go to an afternoon class. Which by the end of the school day with ten-year olds, I’m pooped and the last thing I want to do is workout.
Boot camp is a gym class with the trainer coming up with strange exercises that I’d never think of doing at home and many I’ve never heard about. There’s equipment like weight bars, TRX straps, ropes, mats, kettleBells, sandbags, SandBells, Medicine Balls, and those dreaded gliders.
The exercises themselves have unique names. There’s SandBell Slams, Mountain Climbers, and Russian Twists.
Funniest name…Burpees. Which by the way, I can’t do. I can’t seem to jump back two-legs at once, bring them back and jump up.
Instead, I awkwardly step back one foot at a time and bring them back up, one leg at a time and forget the hop up! Mine look nothing like they are supposed to do. Arlene looks terrific doing hers!
Some mornings when I see what we are supposed to do, I want to just go walk on the treadmill to avoid doing some of those exercises. However, I’ve hung in there and participated in all the crazy moves.
The one I dread the most is pushing SandBells or Sandbags across the gym floor with our hands on the bag. I can’t get across the floor without falling two or three times banging my knees. The exercises I enjoy doing the most is using the barbells.
I thought I had done all the exercises with strange names, but one morning, I get there and we do Bear Crawls across the gym width and then do ten push-ups. Meanwhile, our partner is down on their hands and knees holding a bear Claw on tip-toes.
I showed Robbi, my friend a work, these crawls and she burst out laughing! Trust me…They are hard to do!
Nothing lasts forever, so for less than ten minutes, we do the crazy ‘whatever’ and then move on. Some days fly fast and the forty-five minutes are over. There’s a sense of accomplishment actually finishing the classes.
There are challenges and I’m thankful that Arlene is there to encourage me along. We were working on arms with free weights. We start at the end of the gym doing ten up-right rows and then move across the gym adding ten every time we stop.
At first it seems so easy, but as the repetitions grow, it feels as if raising arms is torture. After the rows, comes chest presses starting at fifteen and adding another fifteen as we stop on lines. Crossing the gym lengthwise for the third time doing first twenty overhead presses and adding twenty each time we stop on a line was our last challenge.
I’m at the last line to lift my final sixty. When we finish, we are supposed to hold the weights over our head and walk to the other end of the gym without lowering the weights and then class is over. By the time I hit thirty-five, I’m standing alone struggling to finish my overhead presses. All the other people have crossed the gym with their arms up holding the weights. I’m about to throw in the towel, when Arlene crosses the gym and stands in front of me.
At forty, she says, “You got this. Do it by five. Forty-five, roll shoulders…Fifty, roll shoulders….Fifty-five….roll shoulders.” She encourages me to finish all sixty and then do the easy part by walking the length of the gym. It felt like a ‘Rocky’ moment. The people who were still in the gym, clapped for me as I walked with the weights above my head. Heck, I felt like Rocky!
Results? Thankfully, yes! I can almost do ten complete push-ups (Still on my knees and not going as far down as I should), but my body is strengthening. I couldn’t do one on my first day. I still can’t do a complete sit-up, but I know my core is stronger.
I’ve had three full body scans. I stand on a circle stand that rotates and the computer has a camera that scans my body and measurements. Each time I get one, I cringe at my silhouette and look closely for improvements. (Heck, NO! I’m not posting a picture). I’m thankful that clothing covers my rolls. I’m the apple body type where all my weight sits at my middle, so I resemble a plump blueberry.
I have lost five inches in two months. It’s enough that I’m inspired to keep going.
More importantly than just losing weight, is to work building muscles, so as I age, I can remain strong. I hope to avoid the diseases that plague my family; high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and heart problems. To enjoy movement into my old age, and with God’s grace… live a long life here on Earth, as I age through my fifties and beyond.