Thursday, September 20, 2007

BALLS OF DEATH

Once upon a time I decided that I wasn't nearly throwing enough money at my weight-loss efforts.

(Scroll down for more illustrations, btw. They are tres artistique!)

Sure, I thought, I am donating huge sums of money to my gym every month, but what I want to know is: how can I spend even MORE money to get exactly NO results? Surely there must be a way to keep my ass and boobs inflating at a frightening rate!



And then it occurred to me.

I KNOW! I did not exclaim, because I was totally doing this at work and people would have stared at me. I could hire a personal trainer!

And lo, one of the most disastrous work-outs of my life ensued. (And this is really saying something. See historic reference.)

To put this in perspective, you need to understand that I am a single, thirtysomething chick who is cute but also overweight because shutup. That is not the point. The point IS, by this phase in my life, I know a thing or two about diet and exercise.

(Note: KNOWING them does not mean I APPLY them, but if I applied them I wouldn't be writing this, and you would totally be missing out.)

Anyway.

I decided to troll Craigslist to find myself a trainer since it is a rule that everything in San Francisco must come from Craigslist. (Duh.)

My criteria were that the trainer needed to be at least somewhat affordable, somewhat local, and somewhat...how do you say?...articulate. (Hey, I do not need my trainer to be a literary marvel; I simply want my trainer to use things like both nouns and verbs, which was surprisingly hard to find. Well, especially because I also sought the occasional punctuation mark. Example of non-effective advertising: "I will u in ur home or office make u hotter then u ever been b4!")

So after wading through the ninetyhundred ULTIMATE POWER DIESEL EXTREME ROCKHARD KICKASS FEEL THE BURN WORKOUT OF YOUR LIFE EXPERIENCE ads, I found a guy who was all like, "Hey, I can help you." So I contacted him.

We spoke.

He was nice.

We agreed to meet for a "consultation."

Let me just say right here that the "consultation" was fantastic. The trainer was cute and sweet and seemed all genuinely concerned about me and my goals and my out-of-shapeness. He seemed to want the same things for me that I wanted. And when we got to the stickier subjects, the ones I was afraid would be nightmarish, he eased my fears completely.

"So, uh, do I have to like, weigh in?" I asked, resigned.

"Oh, no! We don't do weigh-ins! Or fat calculations! Or BMI measurements! Most of those metrics are arbitrary!" he replied.

(He didn't actually say those all in exclamations, but for how good it sounded, he may as well have. I all but swooned.)

And then he went in for the kill --
"The best judge of progress is how you feel in your clothes. You'll know how you're coming along."

WOW! HOW FANASTIC! I was totally sold. And then I asked the next question, just to be sure I wasn't dreaming.

"What about diet and nutrition?"

"Let's not worry about that just yet," he said. "What's most important right now is that we get you more active and feeling better," he said.

Uh huh. So I went back the next night for our first session.

It happened in two parts.

PART ONE: THE NUTRITION DISCUSSION

Remember how just like, three lines ago my sweet trainer was all, let's not worry about diet? Yeah. So imagine my surprise when the first thing he said was "Here, have a seat. LET'S DISCUSS DIET."

"Uh...okay...?"

And then he did this thing that was straight out of a textbook. Or Kindergarten. He basically asked me to name fruits and vegetables. (I am not kidding.) He wrote them down.

APPLE! He wrote it down.

GRAPEFRUIT! He wrote it down.

Then he asked me to name lean meats, and wrote those down, too. Then we discussed skim dairy and additional lean proteins such as legumes. When we got to grains, he got a very concerned look on his face. "We try and stay away from starches and carbs as much as possible. The occasional whole grain is okay sometimes." Then he added the words "SOME whole grains" to the piece of paper.

Then, handing the paper to me, he said, completely seriously, "So if you just stick to eating only what's on here, you will be fine."

Um.

I must have stared at him blankly. Perhaps sensing my lack of shared enthusiasm, he then pointed to the column with fruits and veggies and said, "But you can eat as MUCH of these as you want! YOU COULD EAT BROCCOLI ALL DAY LONG!!!"

I did not laugh in his face, although I wanted to. Because really? OH IS THAT ALL? JUST EAT ONLY HEALTHY FOODS??? WHY DIDN'T I KNOW THIS???

I looked him straight in the eye and said, "I notice that 'wine' is not a food group."

He did not seem to think this was funny, although maybe he was laughing on the inside. I certainly was. Instead, he explained to me that while a glass of wine is probably okay sometimes, alcohol is not really a standard part of a healthy living plan.

"You should probably just not drink," I believe he said.

Uh huh. So apparently, if I eat only super healthy foods, stop drinking, and work out regularly, I will probably get healthy.



How enlightening.

So armed with this new, earth-shattering information, we headed to the workout.


PART TWO: THE WORK-OUT

We immediately started by walking over to the part of the gym where they have the balls.

You know those balls.

The ones that are always pictured with women who are light and bendy and inordinately happy to be rolling around the floor on a BALL defying gravity and building muscles or some shit like that.


But see, I am not built like super gymnast lady above. I am with the cushy, top-heavy/bottom-heavy-ness. I have to take things like GRAVITY into account. In fact, I have stayed away from the balls up until now for this very reason.

So when the trainer was like, "OKAY! Let's get on the ball!" I just stared at him, thinking, um, I cannot get on the ball.

So I said, "I cannot get on the ball."

"But the ball is so good for your CORE."

And immediately I thought that I do not care if the ball can give me a total body workout or build my CORE because for all the amazing research that the world has done lately about building one's CORE for long-term wellness, my more immediate concern is still NOT ROLLING FACE FIRST ONTO THE FLOOR.

And, given my familiarity with things like the size of my butt, the size of the ball, and PHYSICS, I was confused.



My trainer did not understand my apprehension. (My trainer has also never had boobs the size of bowling balls, either, so there you go.) But I? I could see the whole thing happen in my head.





But. He was my trainer. And he was insistent. So after a great face-off (a la "I can't" "You can." Repeat.) I gave in. I got on the damn ball.

I did not fall over. At first.

Actually, I did okay, because I even managed to get myself into the horrid, horrid position called "bridging" where your back is on the ball and your feet are out in front, supporting your trunk, and that is when I realized that getting my ass on the ball was the least of my troubles. Once in a "bridge," I was sure I was going to die. Either my legs would give out or my ass would or I'd forget to balance and roll right off (see above).

Yet unfortunately nothing gave way quick enough, so the trainer made me start doing crunches.

Invisible Internet friends reading this, I do not know how many crunches I did, but it was at least thirty thousand. Maybe two million. With a couple breaks between sets. He -- that wretched man -- just kept saying, okay, do more.

Unhg.

And then, when we finally, FINALLY ended that torture, he said, "Let's try this machine now."

Which is when I discovered a few key things.

1. I hated my trainer.

2. I would do anything to stop crunching on the ball, even if it involved some as-yet unseen machine.

3. I was stuck.

Yeah. See, while HE had already leapt over to the next torture device, I had not yet managed to get up. Because I couldn't. I was so unsure of myself and so scared of GRAVITY and my abs were so sore that I literally could not move.



"How do you get up?" I asked, from my prone position.

"What do you mean?" my stupid trainer asked.

"I can't get up," I offered.

"What do you mean?" he asked again.

"I don't know how to get off the ball," I answered, trying not to sound panicky while I watched my life flashing before my eyes, picturing myself suffering death-by-CORE-ball-inertia, promising myself that if I ever managed to somehow get upright again, I would celebrate with a glass of wine or 12. And no broccoli.

Eventually the trainer figured out that I could not get myself off the ball without help, so he hoisted me back onto my feet. And rather than check in with me about my near-death CORE ball experience, he bounded over to the next machine and demonstrated the most awful exercise I have ever seen in my entire life. Worse than the CORE ball of death.

He climbed into this...this...torture chamber, I guess, resting his torso against a padded bar, and then folded himself over it.

Shwoop!


Then he used his CORE strength to pull himself right back up again.

Shwoop!


And then looked at me and said the most ridiculous words that have ever been said to me in my whole entire 32 years of being alive (and trust me, there have been many).

He said: Now you do it.

Now I do it?

NOW I DO IT??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. SURELY YOU JEST!

But he wasn't jesting. Mr. YouCanHaveAllTheBroccoliYouWant, WhatDoYouMeanYouCan'tGetOffTheBall seemed to have zero idea of my physical and mental limitations. I was scared of a BALL. Was I really going to climb into a hang-upside-down-till-you-fall-over-and-hit-your-head-and-die machine? REALLY???

So I said, "REALLY?"

"Yeah," he said. "Just try it."

And then he said the next most ridiculous thing that has ever been uttered to me.

He said:
"YOU MIGHT LIKE IT."

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

But convinced of his powers of persuasion, he jumped back in the machine to demonstrate just how EASY it was. Erm, sort of like so:





Uh huh. Just down and up. Down and up.

Except he forgot the other, SECRET step that I knew awaited me, wherein my neck would snap in two as my entire body, propelled downward by my massive rack's gravitational pull, would collapse on top of it.



But.

Because I am stupid, or more likely because I was delirious from the first set of 50 billion crunches on the damn ball, I climbed in. I gave it a go.

And you know? I didn't topple over. Wonders never cease.

Yet instead of my trainer praising God that I did not hurtle off the machine to my neck-snapping doom, he simply had me go another 104 trillion sets or so, going down and up like normal, and then down and up from my left side and then my right. Like it was a perfectly normal thing for me to be doing.

Well, until I couldn't get up again.

Yes. I got stuck. Again.

There I was. Just me and my boobs, hanging sideways off the Godforsaken Fall-Over Machine with my entire CORE having given up the fight. My core was done. Gravity won.

"I need to stop now," I told my trainer. And I think when he realized that I literally could not move from the bent-over position, he finally, finally understood. He helped me out of the death contraption and once again, I was grateful to be upright.

"So that's about it!" he said, our hour completed. "When would you like to come back and do this again?" he asked, I think in earnest.

I told him I'd have to get back to him.

I left.

And I did not return.

But I did stop at the liquor store on my walk home.




* * * *
Sadly, most of this story is true. No, I'm not actually THAT out of shape, and yes, I do know that wine is not a food group, but ultimately I think that is a failing on the part of the food pyramid.

Also, Ish was with me for this whole thing. He can verify.

45 comments:

  1. I've desperately needed a laugh or days now and this has got to be the funniest shit I've read for such a long time.... the little illustration are currently the best thing on the interwebimajik and I'm wiping tears from my eyes....

    I've joined a gym and my first session is on Saturday and I'm telling you if they have any balls or bendyovertomakemybobsfallintomyface machines or anyone resembling Mr. YouCanHaveAllTheBroccoliYouWant, WhatDoYouMeanYouCan'tGetOffTheBall I'm turning round and walking my fat ass out of there....

    Thanks again for the laugh... and the killer illustrations....

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  2. Finally (the personal trainer story) and hilarious!

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  3. My big boobs and I feel for you. Really. I hate when people (like nutritionists and trainers) have a pre-packaged schtick they give EVERYONE and don't stop to account for things like personality, allergies, likes and dislikes.

    Umm... there are a couple of easy ways to get off the ball if there's noone there to grab your hands and hoist you up.

    1. Slowly roll so the ball goes from ass to back towards neck and your ass goes closer and closer to the edge near your feet, then squat towards the floor (the ball will slowly roll away).

    2. Only use ball right in front of pole, beam holding up ceiling, edge of wall, or chair. Then when you need to get up, pull on those with hands to get you upright.

    Practice both in private. Your drawings are hilarious. Thank you.

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  4. See, I'm thinking that at least you didn't get the wine on the way home at the drive through liquor store. At least you walked.

    But I guess my glass (of wine) is half full.

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  5. Man, that lil drunk stick figure is about the cutest thing I have ever seen in my entire adult life. If I steal it I will give you credit and an email confirming the theft and use of the stolen goods, but man, SHE IS SO FANTASTIC.

    Also, where's my wine?

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  6. Oh I am so glad you shared this...because as a top heavy bottom heavy woman with well the same breast issues...I was naive and thought the ball looked like fun...so I got one. Exercise for me! Fun for my then toddlers...yeah, they are in middle school now but shush. Anyhow, I peered briefly at the enclosed with ball instructions, set aside the video for later. Who had time? SO uh, I got on the ball. Did a lovely bridge. I knew I was good at that part...I had had 3 kids in 5 years, I always did a bridge for the scoot up and down the table at the gyn. But, of course, the ball is different. And I got stuck after a few lousy crunches. But I didn't know how to get off the ball. So, I ended up sort of rolling, plopping off and bruising major parts of my body. Bad.

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  7. Ahhhh... the old Kristy is back :)

    Love the graphics :)

    Maybe this weekend I'll actually put air in MY workout ball. And gaze at it with wonder. But get on it? Nah.. I think not. ::laughing::

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  8. holy shit, ish was there! you are one hell of a brave woman. my big boob and big assed self could never bring myself to work out in front of the man. whew, i'm so proud of you!

    loved your mad drawing skillz, by the way. great work. especially that last one. i hope to look like that in a few hours.

    great post, k!

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  9. Thank you for this. You're drawings are hilarious! I actually joined a body ball class (what was I thinking?) and learned that the floor is only 2 feet away and that it indeed does come up to meet you when you go over. It is a hard floor...
    Red wine is nutritious, right?

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  10. wine comes from grapes. grapes are fruit. fruit has vitamins and fiber.

    see? healthy!

    -el snarkster

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  11. Hysterical!! Thanks for the laugh!

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  12. Thanks for coming back, Kiki! Ever since your Fireman post was nominated for Best Of, I have been a faithful reader. And since you have been busy what with all of the living your hectic life and having friends and other engagements and NOT POSTING ENOUGH FUNNY SHIT, I have been rolling my eyes at you everytime I check shewalks for a new and titillating post.

    So glad to see this one. Hil-fucking-larious, darling! And to bring your man to the workout session, well you have much more gusto that I ever would or could.

    Love you long time. *SMOOCH!*

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  13. love, love LOVE the drawings, and the post, and you...you are mahvelous dahlink! Thanks for the giggles!

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  14. With that post, you just became my new favorite blogger. I have been miserable for the past few days and that post made me laugh so hard that I started to cry. Right here at my desk in my office, tears, running down my face.

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  15. ha. i think the fireman post was how i originally found you as well, so i highly enjoyed this is delightful return to illustrated workout sessions. gracias ;-)

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  16. LOVE your illustrations.

    Don't get me started on people who think that because you are overweight, you don't KNOW about nutrition. I've been avoiding writing about a run-in I had with a nutritionist last year during cancer treatment because I'm not sure I can be my funny self while writing about. I might start hissing and clawing at the air at the way people arrogantly assume they know all about you just because you are overweight.

    Anyway, thank you for the most entertaining tale, made all the more perfect for the illustrations.

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  17. Thisa is a brilliant post! And the illustrations are top-notch!

    I have a trainer. The only reason I still have a trainer is that he understands the only reason I see him is because I want to eat and drink wine. He and I swap reciped while I am doing my 19th set of step-ups.

    Here is a typical conversation between he and I (as it appeared on my blog- no that wasn't an advertisement...):

    This morning, I am dry as a bone and about to visit my personal trainer, where I will get the living shit kicked out of me. Here is a typical conversation I have with my trainer:

    Me: You’re a fucking sadist, you know that?
    Him: 5 more reps, bitch.
    Me: I’m gonna lay your bitch ass out when I am done with this.
    Him: Oh yah? Not with the girly-man shit you’re showing me now.
    Me: Fuuuuck…How many more ?
    Him: 8
    Me: You fucking kidding me? You just said 5, you cocksucker!
    Him: Good times. Good times.
    Me: I can’t believe I ever liked you.
    Him: No one likes me.

    But then he tells me he's going out to a new restaurant that night and will tell me if the Duck Confit is as good as everyone says...

    None of this Mr. YouCanHaveAllTheBroccoliYouWant shit from him.

    I have bookmarked you- a great read!

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  18. Great illustrations! I had similar ball troubles during physical therapy, but I thought I was the only awkward one. Thank God!

    I wish I could include a stick figure pic of me laughing my ass off while reading this.

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  19. this post was the funniest thing i've read. ever. and i read a lot of funny stuff. thankyou for making me LAUGH OUT LOUD at my desk. the illustrations? hilare.

    hope you don't mind, but I linked you on my blog post today, because really? it was just too, too, tooooo good not to. have a great weekend!

    xo, blogging barbie

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  20. YAY! The illustrations are back!
    Hilarious! Have a great weekend filled with red wine! I plan to!

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  21. Loved this post! And this is a perfect description for that delightful piece of equipment:
    "Godforsaken Fall-Over Machine"
    LOL!!

    The illustrations - brilliant!

    Cheers Kristy!

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  22. Agree with Christine - I want that wino stick figure blown up and hung in my kitchen! I heart it so much!

    Absolutely awesome story!

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  23. Yay!!!! Kristy is back!!! Hysterical.

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  24. Blogs are educational! Why? I have now learned that the idea I've been tossing around to donate some more moolah to the weight loss industry via a personal trainer is DOOMED. Thank you for learning this lesson for me and then posting about it on the internet so hysterically. LOVE!

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  25. Ok, does this guy have a sister in Michigan named Dixie? Because I know that bee-atch and she's my personal trainer at the Y. Holy crap. At least I don't have to pay extra for her torture - it's included in the exorbitant family membership fee (includes child care - yippee!).

    If we ate all that broccoli we'd for sure never get off the ball, but our butts will be toned from trying to hold in all the gas!

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  26. I just found your blog: I'm still shaking my head from the similarities...particularly that section where you did the cross-country roadtrip with two cats to SF. Right...I'm in that situation now.

    As for the workout, awesome art. The thirties aren't the twenties, are they... :)

    Cheers to you.

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  27. hey! got to you from BloggingBarbie...and holy crap, this post was THE BEST!!! I was friggin laughing my ass off for the entire thing. I looove your blog! And I'll be back to read more!!!

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  28. i don't know which i like more - the story or the illustrations.

    simply awesome!

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  29. I love your diagrams! I, too, want to borrow (with proper credit to you of course) the drinking stick figure, except change it to have wild curly hair.

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  30. hi kids!

    i heart you all so much. thanks for sticking with me through my uh, rather extended "dry patch" of posts. and for thinking the drawings are funny. i LOVE doing them, but i mean - man, am i ever the WORST artist. EVER.

    that said, i'd be happy to do more, or provide larger/altered images. if there's anything you'd actually like, let me know.

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  31. ROFLMAO My husband and I used ot work out with a trainer together, and I would ask the trainer when it was time for the "blue balls", just to squick him out ;)

    I have a rack that looks like it should be on top of a car, too, so I feel your pain! 'Specially in the neck and shoulders ;) Thanks for the awesome belly laugh..which is also supposed to help tone, btw.

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  32. Hi Kristy!

    I just found your blog and ... wow. I ... think ... I'm ... laughing ... too ... hard ... to ... post ... Will ... be ... back!

    And, umm ... Thank You!

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  33. I just read your blog today for the first time through BlogHerAds and I LOVE IT. Thank you so much for the laugh, the stick figure is great, the story is great and I love the line "I am a single, thirtysomething chick who is cute but also overweight because shutup." That's great!

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  34. wow! I too have experience with the ball.. Love your post!

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  35. K, I am drinking one hella glass of broccoli right now girl. This one's for you...

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  36. Dear Kristy,
    I love you.
    Love,
    Karen,
    who will be thinking of this every time she goes to the gym now and laughing to herself, therefore will make no friends at the gym because they all will think she is some kind of crazy lady.

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  37. OMG.ROFLMAO.


    I don't know that I've ever laughed so hard in my entire life!

    P.S.
    Wine is so a food group!!!

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  38. I KNOW this is true. It is so perfectly funny and true. I love it.

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  39. I think that you have just proven how drinking wine is way better for you than going to the gym with a trainer. Have you ever heard of someone not drinking wine out of fear of falling over the bottle and breaking their neck?
    This is my first visit to your place and I love it!

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  40. I heart you. Your drawings made me spit on my monitor, which was really gross, so I may send you a bill for me to have someone clean them because wiping up one's own spit from one's own monitor is just not a fun thing to do. Thanks for making me die from laughter. I needed that!

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  41. I'm crying, I'm laughing so hard. Oh my god that was funny. And so like something I'd write/do/think. AHAHAHAHA!

    Thank you. :)

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  42. I have a CORE ball. It lives under my desk. I think it is very happy there. I would hate to disturb it.

    I do not belong to a gym, but I do belong to a wine of the month club. True story.

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  43. I don't think I have ever laughed as hard as I did reading this! I was told to pee first, and I should have listened. I now have a headache from laughing...I think I'll go have a drink.

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  44. This was HILARIOUS!! hahaha I liked the part about the nouns and verbs. Actually now that I think about it I really appreciate that you used both in this post. Thanks for that.

    Doesn't the gym have their own trainers? Like, who actually know what they're doing?

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  45. It's late and I just read your post, giggling all the while. This just about sums up my personal trainer experience as well. In fact, had he not been freakishly, young-Tom Cruise-like handsome, I would have bolted. He used to laugh at me because every time he demonstrated something new, my eyebrows shot up higher than my forehead as if to say you've got to be kidding me. Do they really have no concept of what it takes to just get the nerve to appear in a gym, much less contort ourselves in odd ways in front of others? I refused to run on the treadmill and finally he asked me why. I wouldn't answer him because I didn't want to say that if I ran my boobs would move faster than my legs ever could and I wasn't in the mood to provide entertainment for the entire gym.

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