“Hi, I’m Mo, what’s your name?” says a short and extremely sculpted tree trunk of a man, diamonds studding each ear.
Hmm, this could be OK, I think. “I’m Diane, I’m new here.” I need to work on that witty repartee.
“Oh, great, how do you like it so far?” asks handsome man.
“I hate it. Every minute of it.”
Mo laughs a loud, deep, taken by surprise but let-me-show-you-my-dazzling-smile laugh.
“Points for honesty,” he says. “Let’s see if we can change that.”
Despite customs regulations prohibiting unpackaged food entering the country, I managed to bring back scones, fish and chips, and pints of Guinness, carefully concealed on my body. My hips and belly specifically.
The extra pounds laughed at the 30 days in a row of yoga that I thought would help. And they encouraged me to create companions for them with all the comfort food I’d consumed to assuage my own loneliness during the transition back home.
I considered joining my old gym. It doesn’t cost very much, and I could fall back into a very comfortable routine. But a comfortable routine wouldn’t scare these fat cells to release their captive contents.
I needed my butt kicked. I interviewed a personal trainer who could certainly do that for me. But at a price that would require me to eat more comfort food to quell the anxiety over spending it.
“Come do Orange Theory with me,” said a good friend.
“What?” it sounded like a tanning salon from which the president I won’t name develops and tweets policy.
“It’s a great work out. Try it.”
So I bought the cool splat-emblazoned heart monitor (splats are good globs that mean you’re working out hard enough to make miracles happen), and signed up for 20 classes to, well, kick my butt back into fighting shape.
And I hate it. Every minute of it. Every minute of the treadmill, rower, and weight routines that vary with every class. Every minute of Mo or any of the other professional and courteous coaches encouraging me to deliver maximum effort for an hour. Every drop of sweat that soaks me through several times over.
But boy, do I love how I feel afterwards. Like I did something. Treated my body and mind (it’s hard for the latter to wander when it’s concentrating on survival) to a mega dose of health. I feel better all day, and into the next. And while I’m far from svelte and buff, I can see small changes for the better. I’m also less inclined to overeat on OT days because I don’t want to sabotage the glow of blood, sweat, and tears.
I have to be careful not to push myself – not to watch others’ monitors’ readouts on the big screen, or their treadmills’ inclines, or the number on the weights they use. As I tell my yoga students, everybody’s experience differs every day, and only each body’s occupant knows what feels best. So I ignore the runners and just walk, and feel proud instead of ashamed of the eight-pound weights I use for bicep curls. A girl has to start somewhere.
I don’t know how long I’ll last. I hope long enough to get back into my skinny jeans comfortably. I don’t know if I’ll grow to love it. I doubt it. But I do know that I want to keep the whole system in good working order, and OT is just the tune up I need right now.
Photo by Diane Lowman