Stories from the last 6 months…

Here is a collection of incidents from the last 6 months… I’m trying to put them together into an article/essay for a competition run by ‘Fit Bottomed Girls’ on FaceBook about ‘My Fitness Journey.’ It’s not going so well, so far I have made 4 completely different versions… Deadline is this Friday… I hope that I can find my voice and message/story this week… until then, here are a bunch of stories featuring Trainer Guy and Mr Music…

7 Oct 2015: You know it’s been a hard training session, full of lunges, squats, box jumps, push-ups, planks…, when you are standing outside your apartment block whimpering and sniveling because the idea of climbing a couple of flights of stairs is too horrendous. I had dragged myself around the supermarket after training, and so I thought about cracking open the cereal and camping at the front door for the night, but then it started to rain…

23 Oct 2015: I post this for me. After 9 weeks of small changes and focusing on fitness for fun (yes it is possible), and feeling heaps stronger and changing shape and NO weighing machine, I succumbed to the temptation to ‘just check’ the dreaded number on the scales. It told me I have managed to lose 5kg of fat and gain 3kg of muscle for a net loss of 2kg. Cue disappointment, frustration and tailspin into self loathing. It’s crazy that one number can have so much power. Especially in amongst so many other positive numbers, and good results…

12 Nov 2015: So I had personal trainer day today. As part of a new program (Que? a new program? I just got the last one sorted) I was instructed to do pressups, lots of them in total, but spread over a few sets, and I should do them correctly, no more talking and no cheating (who me? Cheat? No way. Look over there, at that interesting thing flying past the window. hey! I’ve already done 5! no you haven’t Frances. Pushups Now! Man, He’s tough this bloke.) He wanted me to complete them with speed and power, to imagine I was a Ford Mustang! Speed and Power Frances! He then said quietly that we were really working with something more like a Fiat Panda, but he smiled sweetly and said I was to think Ford Mustang! Go!

13 Nov 2015: Continuing the theme of push-ups from yesterday… Apparently I wasn’t getting my nose close enough to the floor ‘lower Frances, lower!’ So on the next push-up my helpful trainer bloke, wanting me to experience exactly how low I should go, casually put his hand in the middle of my back and pushed. My arms collapsed with the end result: my nose planted firmly in the gym mat, to which he commented surprised ‘what are you doing down there?’ I confess that I thought to myself ‘a somewhat vindictive, hyperactive individual pushed me!’ But I got back up and finished the set. Can’t keep this Ford Mustang down!.

17 Nov 2015: I watched a bloke lead his bike down some stairs yeaterday. He had the front wheel under control, but the back wheel bounced around all over the place. Baboing, Bading, Bagang. It reminded me that my rearend used to act in a similar manner. I had control of most of the front section of my chasis, but the rear section would jig about with a mind of its own. It was relentless in exercise classes – Although I was always glad that at least one part of me had so much energy. It’s almost gone now. Just the odd wobble bobble, definitely no Baboing, Bading, Bagang going on back there.

29 Nov 2015: Big news in my life: I have tried on and purchased a pair of size 44 jeans (size 16)! I have never been able to squeeze into something so dainty in my whole life! I got the zip to the its zenith in the try on room and said ‘done deal!, we’re goin home!’ I’m glad that I waited to do the sit-down test on my bed at home. I could bend into the correct conformation and actually sit, but the tension was too much for my stomach muscles and I uncoiled into the straight conformation with quite some force. Getting back to standing position required a roll onto the floor and a undignified downward dog style climb up some furniture, but the zip stayed up and no seams popped. BooYah!

1 Dec 2015: When tripping over something at the gym, most people try to stop the fall with their hands. Not me! I used me teeth and my chin! To connect with a window ledge… Not such a great idea. Lots of blood… We (i.e. me and trainer bloke) had to unhook my lower lip from my bottom front teeth…! Wish I’d taken a photo cos that was gross! Trainer bloke wanted to help with some kitchen utensils. I said no, breathed deeply, and did it myself. There were a few tears when I got home, lots of ice, but should be good as gold in a day or two. Two fat lips, one chipped tooth, and broken skin on my chin. Trainer bloke reckons that it’s not so bad given that big lips are fashionable at the moment. He also told me that I was still just as beautiful as always…? Que? Thankyou? I think?… Actually he was very kind and helpful, but oh dear, he’s a bit cheeky sometimes.

14 Dec 2015: So, trainer bloke has started greeting me thus (verbatim): ‘Frances! You looks beautiful today.’ Isn’t he adorable?!!!! He’s Danish, they don’t move any muscles in their faces when they talk, there is no facial expression at all, so I can’t figure out if he’s being sarcastic or not. I choose to believe he’s being sweet… He could also be missing something in translating from Danish… Ah, well, doesn’t matter, it puts a big smile on my face!

18 Jan 2016: Post-holiday blues are setting in… Maybe a session with trainer guy will help. I can feign memory loss and he will helpfully demonstrate the exercises I’m having issues remembering. So I get to watch while a rather fit young bloke shows me how to do burpees and push-ups! That puts a smile on my face! ?The down side is that eventually he will say ‘your turn’, and I will attempt to emulate his very competent performance. Maybe that will put a smile on his face? More likely he’ll shake his head and sigh. I will finish with an air punch and exclaim at the improvement in my execution! He will reply with something wildly encouraging like ‘well…, let’s just say that it’s going in the right direction…’ ? high fives all round! Money well spent! Post holiday blues burpeed into next week!

21 Feb 2016: I am really looking forward to personal trainer day this week! There is one exercise in particular where I’m supposed to hold my elbows at my waist, and rotate my hands from in front of me to the side. Apparently I don’t hold my elbows close enough to my body… Nek minute, trainer guy is standing right behind me (full body contact! Well hello there!), his arms around me (quite a feat considering he is not such a big bloke and I still have a reasonable girth), his elbows holding my elbows in place and his hands on my arms pulling them into the correct motion, and he was saying something in my ear about correct position of … Good god, I can’t remember! To be honest I was just trying to remember to breathe. And then the instruction was over and I had to continue on my own, with weak knees and some deep breathing. As far as surprises go, this one was not unpleasant  . Suffice to say, I’m pretty certain that I will need lots of instruction in that particular exercise for many weeks to come…

4 March 2016: After certain kettle bell exercises at the gym, I like to place the offending article in its place on the rack and address it with a little dance that I call ‘take that, mister KB, I just OWNED you!’ This dance involves hand pistols, a Billy Idol White wedding smirk AND a hippy hippy shake shake. I do this with reckless abandon partly because I have believed that, as a person of round proportions, I am basically invisible and unnoticed in the sea of beautiful people, and therefore nobody wold notice me gyrating in the corner. Anyhow, one of the fit young ladies, whose prowess in squats and pull-ups and ALL other crossfit stuff is something I envy, came up to me after my workout tonight and said that she had been watching my progress over the last few months, and that she was really impressed with the hard workouts (credit to Trainer guy, he’s always challenging me), that I had made massive improvements (more credit to Trainer guy, he’s not satisfied unless it’s right), and that she was inspired to do better because of seeing me improve! I was bowled over! and quietly appalled at the same time. She didn’t mention my little dances. Perhaps I should holster the hand pistols, and restrain the hippy shake shake in the future. Nahhh. Victory over the KB should be celebrated! Spread the joy!

18 March 2016: Amongst other things, Trainer guy demanded a heap of burpees at training this week (56 of the sodding things, full body contact with the floor or they aren’t counted!) At one point a drop of sweat rolled passed the corner of my eye and down my cheek, much like a tear. He said, ‘no, Frances! no crying until you’ve finished! Even better, no crying till you get home!’ My eloquent reply went something like ‘Grrrrrrrr’, and he said, ‘I’m lucky I’m cute aren’t I?’ Yup.

19 March 2016: So I had half a glass of port tonight and then did some piano practice – BINGO! The uptight perfectionist in me was paralysed and the feel good groover was cut loose and I had the Forrest Gump theme rocking! Another dose of this marvelous elixir did not correlate to further improvement, nor even a repeat performance. And I’m not sure if this is an appropriate therapy to help me concentrate while the lovely young piano teacher sits close and holds my hands, I might find the feel good groover saying things like, ‘you’re so pretty… I’m gonna call you Dreamy McMusic.’ Alas, we don’t have music for 2 whole weeks! So I will have to be content with burpees and young mister Cutie-pie McHardbody… Sometimes it feels like a T1000 (Terminater 2 reference) coaching Bender (Futurama reference), both musically and physically, but we persevere! Cheers!

3 April 2016: Me!!! Transformation happening!! Slowly…guns

10 April 2016: This week’s gym training had me jumping onto a half bubble! The thing is about 50 cm in diameter, one side is hard and flat, and faced the floor; the other side is a half bubble of air-containing, pliable plastic. I was supposed to jump from one foot onto the bubble, land on both feet, and then jump back off again. It was placed about 3 meters from a heap of windows. ‘Jump! … Frances, I said JUMP! … Why aren’t you jumping?’… ‘Actually, I’m afraid that I will bounce across the room, out through the window and into the carpark…’ With a cheeky grin, trainer guy (my height, HALF my mass, standing on the other side of the bubble, in front of the windows) extended his arms in front of himself, and declared, ‘I’ll catch you Frances! You just jump!’ Gotta admire the committment of the guy. What a good bloke! and what a very sweet offer; however, cute as he is, he would make a very boney cushion. He was a bit put out by this observation and thought he was up to the task if necessary, but then I jumped on and off the bubble a heap of times without incident and we both exhaled a sigh of relief.

11 April 2016: Last week at piano lesson, I was getting a bit frustrated with myself for not getting everything, or anything, right. It turns out that when this happens, I start using expletives like an Irish sailor! (I am guilty of doing this with trainer guy as well, but he just looks at me straight and tells me to breathe, I think he is also secretly impressed with the vehement vocabulary) Mr Music tends to hover behind me and point out the things I’m doing wrong, which is not really helpful… Last week he tried something new: he put his hands on my shoulders and then he massaged my neck muscles and gently stroked my shoulders, while quietly asking me to play him some beautiful music… and he didn’t stop with my shoulders till I had finished that page… Oh my word. I forgot all the swear words, heck, I almost forgot my own name, and those notes were swimming on the page so there were still lots of mistakes, but I definitely have a more pleasant memory association with that particular piece of music! Severe case of Warm fuzzies! And there was a repeat performance this week!

13 April 2016: Trainer guy out did himself tonight! It was weighing day and I have made progress! He reinforced that for me it must be slow and steady, it’s about life style change, being able to continue with new habits for the rest of my life, and it’s happening! He commented that it would actually go faster if… And then he said the three little words that I’ve waited my whole life to hear… YOU ATE MORE!!! I switched directly into dream state… Finally something I’m good at! This is better than any vacuum cleaner guy, or shoulder rubs from Mr Music. Trainer guy just found the express lane to the deepest part of my heart! (which I believe is actually shaped like a chocolate muffin) ? I absolutely adored him, for the count of 30 seconds and then the shine of my new found, chocolate flavoured love was tarnished to a dark shade of puke green when he felt the need to clarify that I should be eating more VEGETABLES. A bitter pill to swallow. But I steeled my resolve to establish new habits, and I have already packed my mid afternoon, carrot and hummus snack for tomorrow, and I’m just a little bit excited

16 April 2016: So the other day trainer guy recommended more vegetables, and he recommended one type in particular. He actually rubbed his six-pack (there is nothing about his abdominal region that suggests ‘tummy’) smiled dreamily and said, ‘mmmmm, agurkene er lækert!’ (mmmmm, cucumbers are delicious!’), in much the same way that I would talk about chocolate self saucing pudding, or shoulder rubs at music lesson. I was confused. I have obviously missed something in life. The cucumbers here in europe must be a different breed to any that I’ve tasted before. Needless to say, I have purchased one! It is sitting in the fridge keeping the 2 month old cabbage company. I might just crack the little beast open tomorrow…vegies

17 April 2016: Me and my new friends: carrots, cucumber and pepper! Considering the suggestive aesthetic of this snack plate pre-preparation, and the rather sensual
recommendation, I’m expecting an almost orgasmic experience! Here goes! Wish me luck!!!

18 April 2016: At music lesson tonight, my duet partner got ALL of the shoulder rubs and gentle counting taps, she even got a hand massage and helpful arm guidance to help her with the musicality of our piece. All I got was a poke in my shoulder with one pointy finger and, ‘What ARE you doing to the music?!?’ Hurumph

ensemble19 April 2016: This little ensemble got an outing today! It’s so anti-Danish aesthetic that it is probably illegal, but no one seemed to even notice. Those pants helped me warm up with 2 km on the rowing machine in 7:56 min! Trainer guy said, ‘New pants?’ I said, ‘yup.’ He said, ‘they look like a party’ I said, ‘yup, there’s a party in my pants…’ We both giggled. I said, ‘sorry, that was a bit rude’ he said, ‘yup, gonna cost you 5 extra KB swings. GO!’ Oh maaan.

24 April 2016: Tempting fate by sitting in the window of Emmeries in my saturday morning outfit (because everything else is in the wash), and munching hindbærsnitter and cafe latte (not exactly healthy choices), I wonder who will catch me…? I don’t really care at this point, it tastes bloody good!!!

8 May 2016: Trainer guy greeted me this week with a big wave and, ‘FRANCES! Hva’ sa?’ (What’s up) and I replied, ‘BONJOUR!’. Both he and the chick behind the desk, Maren, looked a bit confused, and while trainer guy shrugged his shoulders and grabbed his jersey and stop watch from below the desk (oh, how I hate that stop watch, 30 seconds on that thing feels like 5 minutes), I explained to Maren that I was being posh because I’m a lady, with an added hand flourish for emphasis, much like Audrey Hepburn. Trainer guy sprung up from behind the desk to say, ‘No you’re not. You’re a beast. Kom sa (come on), we’re off to lift heavy stuff today.’ As he marched off to the free weights area, I galloped and skipped along behind him exclaiming, ‘I am SO a lady! Ohhhh, how much are we going to lift today? I really AM a lady. I CAN be very sophisticated… YEAH! Back squats! (Small jump in the air with little hand claps) ohhhh, 60 kg to start with, so like a warm up then?’ (Accompanied by a hulk impression) Trainer guy looked at me flatly and shook his head, ‘yup, a lady.’

18 May 2016: I had my mid morning banana snack this morning, chatting to the guys in the office about random stuff. When I had finished I wandered around the office to dispose of the remnants in the food bin, chatting with people all the time. I do like to chat. About 40 min later I visited the rest room and as I passed the mirror I noticed a 7cm piece of banana string stuff stuck in my hair, hanging at the side of my face!!! As I frantically removed the offensive appendage and checked for other unwanted fruity adornments, I wondered perplexedly – How on earth did THAT get there?! I didn’t recall brushing the banana through or near my hair?! I did remember picking some of those string things off the banana body though, so I must have casually wiped it into my coiffure. But mostly: Why did nobody tell me it was there?!?!? Horror! Did they really not notice? They are all blokes, but come on! THERE WAS BANANA STRING STUFF IN MY HAIR! For a long time!

24 May 2016: One of the blokes rushed into the office from the lab the other day and asked me, ‘Frances! Do you have nail polish with you?’
Ah, no. I carry many things, but not nail polish.
‘What about hair removal strips?’
Que? Ah, no. I think it’s safe to say that no woman carries hair removal strips for that emergency hair removal situation. And what exactly are you doing in the lab?…

25 May 2016: I was listening to Pink sing ‘F@*cking perfect’ this morning, brilliant song! Absolutely want EVERYONE to know that in their inner core! And then I walked passed a window and saw myself just as I was singing along to the end of the chorus ‘You’re @>€%* perfect to me!’ It was powerful. I told me that I’m not just barely acceptable, I’m absolutely perfect the way I am! And no one else’s opinion mattered for that one moment. I want to figure out how to live in more of those moments.dress

28 May 2016: All the squats are working! Party animal ready for town!!! Dress from Barcelona, jewelry from Paris, makeup from Sydney… It was an international effort.


22 June 2016: A day to remember – I made it into the healthy %fat range!!! Just under 34%.

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