Oy! My Ab!

Way back in the day, Marty and I used to be quite fit. Marty was a regular on the triathlon circuit and won a number of provincial cycling titles in his prime, and I… well, I used to work out at the gym 5 times a week. Heh. (But let me tell you, if there was a provincial award to be given out for Most Dedicated Spin Class Attendee, it would have been on my mantle. So there!)

In the past few years (or half-decade), both of our fitness levels have dropped considerably (but mine much more so than Marty’s). We still hike quite regularly, and Marty is still very dedicated to his cycling regime, but neither of us are really at the levels of fitness we used to enjoy. Now, we make good-natured jokes about my (largely non-existent) “biceps”, and any time I find myself laughing really hard or otherwise inadvertently doing crunches, I complain that all the exertion is really working my “ab” (yes, my singular ab.)

I have great intentions when it comes to working out, but it seems that whenever I get started on a new exercise program of sorts, it never lasts for very long, no matter how much I enjoy what I’m doing. Maybe my gym is too far away from my house? Maybe I have a hard time waking up early? Maybe I need some other motivation? Maybe Marty and I need to work out together? Maybe I just need to stop making excuses and get my ass in gear?

In any case, Marty and I decided recently that it might help us to work out together at home, because then we could motivate each other to get back into shape and spend some quality time together being sweaty! (And we wouldn’t have to leave the house to go to a gym. Triple bonus!) So we purchased some home workout DVDs and rolled out our yoga mats to get started!

The program we chose is pretty easy to poke fun at, with its oft-repeated ‘hardcore’ lingo and ultra-cheesy promo videos of impossibly ripped couples playing volleyball on the beach together (their arms flexed and tanned six packs glistening). Before starting the first workout, Marty and I would imitate the promo couples in our living room– he hulking around with his massive arms protruding out to his sides and his shoulders near his ears (insert bad Austrian accent here), and me prancing around like a gazelle, so lean and flexible– before dissolving into fits of giggles on the floor. Needless to say, we didn’t take this whole regime very seriously and didn’t expect it to be very challenging, despite the warnings of how ‘extreme’ the program was. That all changed as soon as we put in Disc #1…

Our first workout was a brutal, hour-long combination of balance, core strength, and cardio. This sort of aerobics-style workout was totally out of Marty’s element, so he awkwardly jumped along to the beat, trying to master a complicated lunging step sequence. And I, who am pretty accustomed to fitness class formats, found myself letting out flustered “aaah!”s and “oy!”s in alarming frequency while I tried to balance atop my very shaky arm in a side plank position. Fifty five minutes later, we were both totally beat. Trashed. Exhausted.

The next morning, I woke up in what felt like a corset of pain and suffering, also known as ‘my ab’. Marty was most affected in his hamstrings, but neither of us could bend, twist, walk, move, breathe, or sit without discomfort. We weakly joked about how ‘extreme’ we were and about how lithe and fit our bodies had become. But we still had another workout to do in the evening…

Monday night’s workout was a shorter (45 minute) sequence of yoga interjected with jumping jacks and running on the spot. It is considered to be the easiest disc of the series, and it says right on the disc that you can substitute this workout for anything else in the series “if you feel tired”. Well, that workout killed us, too, and it sure didn’t feel anything near easy. Plus, a few abdominal exercises were thrown in at the end, and I am sorry to say I couldn’t even approximate the postures at that point. My ab flat out refused.

The next morning, I felt even more sore than I had on Monday morning. I literally had to be pushed out of the door to walk to work, and like a giant steam engine, it took me a good while to work up enough momentum to put one foot in front of the other so I could actually walk at a decent pace. Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga… My body hated me that morning, and I have to confess that I hated those bikini-clad women on the tapes who made the whole workout seem to easy, so effortless. They lied!!

Tuesday night we ripped our arm muscles with weights, bands, planks, and dips. Surprisingly, I managed OK in this workout, though my core still complained every time I tried to turn or twist. “Only 12 and a half more weeks of this!”, we declared to each other when the night was over. We collapsed into our bed, completely wiped out.

And then on Wednesday, I got sick. My body said “enough of this extreme fitness- I quit!”. I made it through the day at work alright, but by the evening, my throat was sore and I was starting to sniffle. I had to take Thursday off of work and to miss our scheduled workout that evening (Legs & Back, for shame!). I am also at home today, still battling this cold and feigning sorrow that I will not be able to tackle our martial-arts inspired workout this evening (so, so sad…)

When I feel better, (like a fool!) I will most likely attempt this hellish workout regime again, if only to get our money’s worth and/or to prove to those rippling demo couples on the videos that I can be graceful, too!! Stay tuned for a YouTube clip of Marty and I rollerblading hand in hand, bikini and/or speedo-clad, our six packs twitching delicately in the ocean breeze... (It’s already been decided: we will set the movie to Prince’s When Doves Cry. “The sweat of your body covers me/ can you, my darling/ can you picture this?”) It will be glorious.

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