When You Got It, You Got It

Tuesday was the first time The Tortoise and I went to the gym to do more than lay poolside with a good book.

I have always been the Queen of Cardio. My favorite apparatus at the gym is typically an elliptical, although the stair-stepper comes a close second. It has been a couple of years since I have been in a gym, but since this was my daughter’s first experience, I wanted to make sure it was enjoyable and productive. I’m counting on her to be my exercise buddy this summer. Even though she swims for two hours every morning for swim team, The Tortoise still wants to commit 3 days a week to cardio outside the pool, plus two days of strength training.

Smelling like armpit or stale Fritos in public typically doesn’t bother me, and yet I felt inclined to take a shower. And shave my legs. I was also excited to put on my brand new tennis shoes, recently gifted workout shorts and sassy top. Apparently I wanted to make a good impression on the fellow gym patrons.

Confidently I stepped on the elliptical, explaining to The Tortoise how important it is to pace yourself. We adjusted our earphones and settings. Made sure our water bottles were reachable. Our goal was 30 minutes.

“Now don’t get too discouraged if you can’t make it the whole 30 minutes, ” I said, “This is only your first time.”

Swiftly my legs and arms started pumping. The music pounded out each beat, step by step, breath by breath. Breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. Soon my arms started to ache. Air couldn’t fill my lungs fast enough. My thighs felt like logs. Surely we were almost done. I glanced at the time.

10 minutes.

The Tortoise was gazelle-like, focused on the TV screens on the wall. Not a bead of sweat on her brow, while I could feel pools of sweat running down my face and collecting under my bra.

“You okay?” she asked, turning her head to face me, “Your face is really red, and blotchy.”

“Oh, yeah, ” I said, ” It’s just hot in here.”

I took a huge gulp of water and kept going. My daughter’s pace was dramatically faster than mine as I dug as hard as I could with each motion. It felt like hours before the clock changed.

11 minutes

12 minutes

Pain shot through my sides.

13 minutes

14 minutes

Breathing became labored and shallow.

15 minutes

I stopped the machine and hopped off, thighs quivering, and swallowed as much air and water as humanly possible.

“It’s all right Mom,” The Tortoise said, “You’ll do better next time.”

I smiled weakly, pointed to the treadmills on the other side of the room, and did my walk of shame.

“MOM!” The Tortoise exclaimed, 15 minutes later, smiling, “I finished 3.4 miles in only 32 minutes!”

“That’s really awesome, honey!” I said, still trying to catch my breath.

“How far have you done total?”

“Um…total?” I repeated the question, “Like only 2 miles.”

The Tortoise handed me a cleaning towelette as I stepped off the treadmill.

“At least you finished your goal of 30 minutes of cardio.”

Yeah, at least there’s that.

I’d like to say the weight room went more smoothly. If  having to read every instruction out loud while squinting to read the ridiculously small print, comparing my body to the unrecognizable drawing on the machine, and constantly changing the pin to a lighter weight is considered smooth, then I was rockin’ it baby.

About halfway through our arm rotation, I couldn’t help but notice a young man watching us. He was lifting some pretty hefty weights across the room, and every once in a while he would pause to look. At us.

No, definitely at me. He was looking at me.

I smiled politely, but then he got up and started to walk across the room. Towards us. I really didn’t mean for my smile to be an invitation. Surely he noticed I was here with my daughter. Although I was flattered, this was going to be embarrassing for him.

“Um…Ma’m,” he said quietly.


“Your using this machine backwards.”


“The machine, you’re using it backwards, it’s supposed to be working your triceps, not your biceps, ” he said, turning the handles over and handing them to me correctly.

I thanked him quietly as he left.

“Well, that was awful nice of him, ” said The Tortoise, “And I don’t even think he noticed all of your boob sweat either.”

We meet with a Personal Trainer on the 11th for a weight machine consultation.

Can you put deodorant on under your boobs?




If Only I Got Paid to Look Good

We joined Life Time Fitness this week. Partly because it is literally 4 minutes from The Hare’s gym, and partly because my 20th high school reunion is in October. I’m freaking out a bit. The big selling point was finding out that age 13 is considered an “adult” and The Tortoise can take classes with me, as well as use the machines and weights. She was pretty excited about that since she has set some fitness goals for herself this summer.

The Tortoise and I had an appointment yesterday with one of the head Personal Trainers to get a complimentary body health assessment and talk about our personal goals.

“I wonder what they’ll look like, ” said The Tortoise.

“Probably someone super young and looks like they should be on the cover of Shape Magazine or something.”

We scanned the floor waiting.

“Well, you were right,” chuckled The Tortoise as we were approached by our Personal Trainer.

My eyes locked with theirs. I couldn’t help but notice how firm their butt and thighs were, and those chiseled arms and shoulders were just breathtaking. I was crushing just a bit.

She was amazing.

And only 7 years younger than I am.

And only an inch taller.

I felt even older and more out of shape.

Our health assessment took about an hour. It was determined that my daughter has much more flexibility than I do, but I have more upper body strength. We both have a fair amount of weight to lose. Overall, we are average.

But I don’t want to be average. I want to be amazing, and svelte, and a petite supermodel. My daughter wants to be able to not tire out so easily while swimming laps and feel better in her clothes. We need a plan. We need support. We need to work with a nutritionist and have an accountability partner. We need a Personal Trainer.

“I’m sorry, ” I gulped, “How much did you say that would cost?”

I had been staring blindly into her face, absorbing her incredibly aggressive plan of action for us, a strong mix of  strength training and light cardio, assuring us that with her help we could quickly reach our weight loss and health goals.

“About $300-$400 a month,” she said again.

Visions of string bikinis melted into thoughts of gauzy beach cover-ups. Having a gym membership is already a luxury for our family. Adding personal training is just not an option at that price tag. And if I had felt that crushing blow, then how was The Tortoise feeling?

We wrapped up our session with an agreement that we would go ahead and use our complimentary personal training session in two weeks before we make any final decisions. The Tortoise and I got on ellipticals for a few minutes.

“So what do you think?” I asked cautiously.

“I think we have a lot of work to do,” said The Tortoise pumping her arms and legs gracefully.

“Are you worried we might struggle to reach our goals if we don’t have a personal trainer pushing us?”

“Naw, ” she said, “because we have each other.”

Some of my anxiety dissipated. If only I had some of her optimism.

“Besides, ” The Tortoise added with a smile, ” she gets paid to look like that.”

Lady GaGa Makes Me Hot

Lady GaGa performing
Image via Wikipedia

I was going at it okay for a while listening to Fall Out Boy, at least my pace was steady. A little slow, but consistent. My breathing hadn’t broken into a pant yet. But then, Lady GaGa’s rhythmic pulse started pounding in my ears. You just can’t help but want to get nasty when you hear lyrics like:

I won’t tell you that I love you
Kiss or hug you
Cause I’m bluffin’ with my muffin
I’m not lying, I’m just stunnin’ with my love-glue- gunning

So I punched it up, decided it was worth the burn and did my best to run a hard 12 minute mile. Now stop laughing. I have short legs, and a string of 12 minute miles would be fantastic. My feet matched the drum beats of Lady Gaga’s sexy song as the sweat started to drip down my cheek. What is it about sassy songs and pulsating beats that make you work-out harder? You’d never find me racking up the miles listening to Morrissey for goodness sake. Maybe it’s picturing myself svelte on some dance floor kickin’ it with my gal pals. It was like that in Zumba class the other night – instead of feeling like I had just worked-out, I felt like I had just been hittin’ it at a club all night. Of course the round of margaritas and chips with salsa afterward at Chili’s probably helped that fantasy.

Who knows what kind of drug filters through my ears, but I like it. So even though Ms. GaGa, you are not welcome on my children’s Ipods, I foresee you as a regular on mine.