Me, My Shovel, and My Trainer Bob: Attempting Bob’s Workout Plan
After reviewing Bob Harper’s new DVD collection, I found on his website (free to join) his 4-week exercise plan. Well, technically, my wife found it, and she talked me into trying it in that roundabout way she has (“I was thinking about trying this” – when Lady Aravan is thinking about something, that generally means it’s what she wants, but she doesn’t like asserting herself all the time). I agreed. After looking at it, we decided to start on Week 3, since we currently work out 6 days a week, and that mirrors the Week 3 plan. Full on vinegar and bravado, we decided that we’d start Tuesday – which is today.
This is the background paragraph: If you don’t care, click the Read More button and skip it, but I think it’s helpful info. My wife and I are not young 20-somethings, marathon runners, or fitness nuts (or, at least, we weren’t, but we seem to be becoming that). I’m 38, she’s 39. I smoked over a pack a day for 10 years or so, from 18 to 28, and still occasionally do when I’mma gettin’ ma drink on. I only run when my life is in peril, and since I live in the suburbs, my life hasn’t ever really been on the line. I started lifting weights regularly a couple of years ago, but hated cardio so much that I avoided it like brussels sprouts. In April of this year, Lady Aravan and I were at our heaviest weights ever and not happy. We decided to do something about it, since I came to the painful realization that the government is not currently working on a top-secret cyborg that my brain will be implanted into, thereby gaining me eternal life, so I’d have to increase my lifespan the hard way. We started with Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred, built some endurance, mixed in some of her The Biggest Winner exercise DVDs, and moved to her latest (Banish Fat and Boost Metabolism, No More Trouble Zones, and Yoga Something Or Other) DVD collection. Over the last 4 months, we’ve dropped weight, gained strength and endurance, and were ready for a new challenge. Bob Harper’s DVD set looked interesting, so we decided to give it a whirl. Enough background: this is the story of Day 1 of Bob’s workout plan.
Up at 4:30 am. Anyone who knows me is now currently laughing themselves into a coma. I am not a morning person. I’m barely an early afternoon person. But I find that I will not workout when I get home from my sedentary job, so it has to be in the morning. Lady Aravan needs to be at work at 7 am, and I have to leave the house by then. If we want to work out for an hour, have breakfast, and shower before work, 4:30 it is. Believe it or not, you get used to it. So do the dogs, and they now expect to be fed by 5 am, so everyone’s up. Water glasses filled, protein shake drunk, heart rate monitors attached (and soon to be flung across the room in irritation: more on the ePulse another day), DVD in. Bob looks intense, pacing back and forth, psyching himself up. I am feeling apprehensive.
Bob starts talking. What is the most important muscle in your body? After 3 times through, I know the answer. He asks me if I’m taking care of it. Am I eating right? YES! Am I drinking? YES! Am I smoking? YES! 3 for 3! (Hmm, wait….) He gestures to the side, and Roxie, Becky, and Zack take their places. “They have no idea what’s in store for them”, he says, but I do, and I’m still standing there anyway. Warmups start. I got this. Shoulder rolls. Side squats. OK. Punches. Heart rate coming up.
At some point, the warmup just blends into the actual workout. Heavy weight picked up. I’m using a 15 pound dumbbell, because I am stupid. He recommends that you use 8 to 12 pound dumbbells for a reason, but Lady Aravan has the 10s, and if she’s doing 10, I can’t do 10, because I am dumb and “macho”. I don’t own 12s because I can’t find them. Thus, 15s. Deadlifts become double arm swings. Hamstrings and glutes afire. Double arm swings become singles. Heart racing, and the monitor goes from 140 to 78 in the span of one minute. I adjust it savagely. It goes to 70. I can barely breathe and my heart is hammering. Snarl and toss faulty equipment onto the floor.
Agony. Breathing hard. Look at the little timer in the bottom right hand corner of the TV that helpfully tells me that I’m only 10 minutes in. Wish I had the ability to murder computer-generated graphics. Handwalks. Sweat is literally dripping and spotting the floor. Pushups. Handwalks and pushups. Deadlifts again, back into swings, back into handwalks. At some point in there, Becky makes us all do an additional 30 seconds of jumping jacks because she says she doesn’t feel it in her legs. At that moment, I hate Becky. Roxie is a machine, goading me faster. I can do this. Bob is laughing at the concept of a ten minute workout. “10 minute abs, 6 minute whatever, I don’t even know that means.” He says to do something a little longer and he’ll give us a break. He reneges. “You can have a break when the DVD is over. It’s only an hour.” His upraised shrug and dismissive glance makes me laugh. I’m out of water anyway.
Blur. I no longer remember the exercise order or notice what I’m doing. I do remember some names, helpfully displayed on the screen. Jump Squats. Scorpion Push-Ups. Overhead Presses. Weighted Jacks. I am tired, but Lady Aravan and I are going strong. We’re doing more than we did before. Both of us are hoping that our ice cubes melt enough for a sip of dear sweet water. Mosh Pit Jumps. One hand in the air, hopping in the air. Other hand. Then both hands. Finally: Tuck Jumps. Two four-letter words that become one four-letter word in my mind. Jump in the air, pulling knees to your chest. Zack on the TV, and I in my basement: we both go for broke. Jump jump jump, breath savage and raw in my throat. Done. “Zack pulled it OUT at the last minute!” exclaims Bob, and I’m proud of both of us.
Standing ab work. Stitch in my side from Tuck Jumps makes them harder. Get through it. I find myself on the ground, but I’m supposed to be, so that’s something. Side Plank Raises. I hate them, but rejoice inside. Last exercise. Thanks to Jillian, I can do these now, but they are hard. Ugh. Other side. Holding the last one up in the air as long as I can, pushing back up when I falter. Done. Stretching. Dear, beautiful stretching. Sweat is dripping onto my knees, which I am closer to reaching with my forehead than at any point in my life. A dog is licking my back. I am the Human Salt Lick, apparently. Finish stretching. Bob congratulates us. Lady Aravan and I slap hands. We are proud of ourselves. I feel good, like amazingly good. I have accomplished something important today, and it isn’t even 6 am. Tomorrow is strength, but today is over. Day 1 is in the books. Time for breakfast.