Having been at “an advanced maternal age” when I gave birth to my two kids, there are certain laws of gravity that my body stopped obeying a while ago. But when I took a long hard look in the mirror at age 40 and realized my love handles had turned into grocery bags I knew it was time for a change. And so I signed up for fitness classes.
I’m from England: we don’t go to the gym, we go to the pub. So every single aspect of “working out” was new for me. I didn’t own any sneakers, I didn’t have a mat, I had no clue what “step touch” meant. But that was 12 months ago. I’m happy to report that since then I look much better and have trimmed off most of my excess “flabbage”.
The keystone of my routine is the three hours of fitness classes I do at my local gym. It’s pretty hard core: my fitness instructor is part Rachel Ray, part drill sergeant. She’s sweet and friendly, but just when you think she’s going to break out the bruschetta she yells “Lucy! Pelvis up! Higher! Higher! Don’t make me bring you a 25lb weight for each hand!” And her own incredibly trim body is a constant reminder that we all have a lot of work to do.
At first these routines were impossible for me, and I would wither in the background and stagger home embarrassed and sore. But I enjoyed the challenge, and noticed the muscle building up, so I kept at it. We do cardio, weight lifting, fitness ball routines, kick boxing, and what seems like hours of crunches and push-ups. You name it and I’ve done it.
I go to my fitness classes at noon, when my kids are still at school. Many other people in my class are giving up their lunch break to take this class, which makes me work twice as hard, ashamed in the knowledge that I’m pumping iron alongside people who would rather work out than eat.
In addition to my three hours of cardio, core strengthening, and abdominals, I do 30 minutes at home on my elliptical machine five days a week. This was actually the hardest part! Because once you’re at home there are so many distractions and excuses to persuade you not to make the effort.
So I moved my stereo and my elliptical machine into the guest bedroom, I lock the door when I’m in there, pump up the volume, and go for it. I never look at the screen monitor to see how hard I’m working or how many calories I’m losing. I just pump away, drip sweat, and weigh myself the next morning.
The results so far of this regimen? I’ve lost (and kept off!!) 10 pounds since February, feel healthier and stronger, don’t get winded playing tag with my kids, and have learned to appreciate the consequences of mindless snacking.