It was a Saturday, which usually means a more relaxed environment at work, and I clipped along at a leisurely pace. It was easy to chat up my clients that day because I was trying not to think about what was to come later that afternoon.
This 6 Weeks To 6 Pack challenge had started more like a dare, but now facing my fitness assessment with Terry Sullivan of liveRightnow, it felt like I was setting myself up for failure, or at least a bit of ridicule.
You see, I've never been the active type. I've exercised sporadically over my forty years and lied about doing so even more. Back in college, I'd paid for a membership at Gold's Gym, but stopped going when the trainer laughed because I could only bench-press the bar. When it comes to running, I'd joked that a masked serial killer would have to be chasing me. Now, after measurements and a few strength tests, which included the staggering revelation that a push-up is more painful than childbirth, Terry announces it's time to run a mile.
"Like, an actual mile?" I ask sheepishly. "Can't we start off with something like a Green Mile?"
He barely laughed, then said something about "finding my pace" which made me think of pacing myself while drinking. Naturally I found myself thinking about vodka. And so, desperately in search of that mythical pace, I put one foot in front of the other, breathing like an expectant father in Lamaze class, and tried to forget about my jostling love handles and man-teets.
Here's where people get it wrong. "Oh, you're so slender!" they say. "You don't need to lose weight!" Weight loss isn't the goal here. The short-term objective is to be ripped like a seventeen year old underwear model that can actually do a complete pull-up.
I stand, when sober, at six-foot-two and weigh one hundred seventy eight pounds. Terry tells me this is an acceptable weight, but our focus is converting the "jiggly bits" - my words- to muscle. Later in the week, an email informs me that my body fat content is 21.30%. This makes me sad and gives me a headache when considering the math involved.
So, back to the dreaded first run. Somewhere near the quarter mile mark, oddly craving a cigarette, I whine that I need to stop. Terry won't let me. After a few paces, feeling the chunks rising up, I beg to slow down.
"Find your pace, just pull back a little." he responds supportively. So, looking like a mall-walker, I continue my slow-motion run until I veer off into a newly budding privet of azaleas.
"Alrighty. Let's walk it out." He says more out of concern than embarrassment for me. "I'll see you on Monday."
I left thinking Monday would be way too soon.
"Jiggly Bits" - I got 'em.