Monday, November 30, 2009

Halfway Through...

Halfway through – I’m kinda, sorta, maybe, perhaps liking it a wee bit. It’s harder for me to blog about something I like…

A couple of notes on numbers


Taken three times throughout the six-week process. One of my measurements was quite shocking—yet not.

My calf measured 15 inches. That’s not a calf, that’s a COW!

This could explain why boots don’t fit me well. I pulled on my black leather suede boots—suede stretches a little—and could not zip them all the way. There wasn’t enough hide to hide the expanse. One of my calves is almost as big as Scarlett O’Hara’s waist.

What I need are COWboots—not cowboy boots. Boots for women who have calves that qualify for first prize in the state fair and could be sold by the pound. Let me know if you see any.


Tonnage lost so far: .0025

That’s a hard number to wrap your mind around, here is a visual:

5 lbs lost. It doesn’t sound like a lot until you visualize packing this butter around. (Oh man, I just visualized it thoroughly mixed into cookie dough with chocolate chips, and I had to wrestle myself to pry that butter from my grasping fingers as they also groped for sugar and flour—It was hard, I noticed I’m stronger than I used to be)

I did get a prize tonight!

In case you can’t read it, it says “Boot Camp With Jess Survivor.” I was pretty excited as they only give them to people who actually survive HADES week. At least, I think they only give them to the survivors. Nobody has admitted where the bodies are actually buried…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 14 - Happy Thanksgiving

This morning I dragged my carcass out of bed, put the turkey in the roaster oven, and hauled myself over to BootcampwithJess.

On. Thanksgiving.

I was quite excited to see Instructor C would be teaching the class. She is a lovely blonde woman—almost angelic looking. Here is her picture:

She taught a true circuit class, which was quite refreshing—at first.

Then I caught a glimpse of her true personality—the woman is a machine. I now believe the “C” in Instructor C stands for “Cyborg”

Here is the glimpse I caught of her true character:

I, too, was shocked!

However, it was a great workout—I actually felt the ENDORPHIN rush. I’m glad I went.

It seems that Cyborgs have a purpose, other than terminating people.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 13 - HELP is always lurking...

Day 13 – Words cannot adequately describe the workout.

If exercise balls are cut in half, they should deflate like normal balls do.

I got a better look at this one tonight—several times. I have named it.

The HELP Ball - Help Exterminate Living Persons
Sounds innocent, HELPful even…Just what they want you to think.

Bicep curls are tough. Bicep curls on the HELP ball are tougher. I am afraid of what’s next.

Squats burn. Squats on the HELP ball make you wobble, spasm, flail, as your Instructor barks, “Lower Ferran!” “Don’t lean forward Ferran!” “Stick your [butt] out Ferran!” Finally, he steps away, shakes his head, and says, “I don’t know what to tell you Ferran.”

How about – “That looks really hard on your spasming lower back, Ferran, as I just made you do 20 reverse sit-up thingies. Sit over there and enjoy a nice, cold Diet Coke.” Near-death experiences can make you think crazy thoughts, okay?

I had to say, “Instructor R, I need to stop.” Humiliating, but necessary and life-preserving.

Next circuit though, I did much—or a little—better.

Sometimes commanding you to do more helps you push through it. Tonight, it was the shaking of the head, which I interpreted as, “You are beyond any help I can give you.” To which I thought, “Oh no you di’int say that to ME. I’ll prove I can do it.” And I did. Right after I admitted I needed to stop.

Two good lessons. Me and the HELP ball—I’m afraid our relationship will never be one of friendship.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 12 BootcampwithJess - A tribute to Dr. Seuss

Butts & Guts - Those were the targets of tonight’s torture.

I will illustrate the Exercise That Must Not Be Named—

To suitably describe it, I have ripped off the cadence from the immortal Dr. Seuss’s Cat In The Hat:

“Look at me, look at me, look at me now!
Insanity’s easy, you just have to know how
I can lift up these weights as I stand on the ball,
I might break a hip if I happen to fall.
My jelly thighs shake as I rock back and forth
My butt has gone South and my brain has gone North
That’s what Ferran said, as she fell on her head
Certain that this time, she would wake up dead.”

R.I.P. – tomorrow comes mighty early

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day Eleven - (un)Justly Accused

My sister-in-law (who is an exercise freak—you know you are, M) has more than broadly hinted that I may actually like this punishment known as BootcampwithJess. It borderlines on accusation even.

I checked a couple of facts:

FACT: I asked my instructor to give me a list of exercises I can work on while I am out of town next week—in a hotel without a workout room.

FACT: I actually checked the hotel amenities to see if they had a workout room.

FACT: I pushed myself on Friday to do pushups after my 55-minute elliptical workout.

FACT: Tonight I saw a signup sheet for a THANKSGIVING DAY workout—and I hurried and signed up because there was only one spot left.

FACT: Something is seriously wrong with me.

I need my head examined. A copy of the brain scan:

This clearly indicates that the lack of Diet Coke over the last two weeks has resulted in a severe shortage of chemicals to my brain and I am suffering from serious mental incapacity. Yes, you guessed it:


Intervention is needed! Anyone…anyone? Hurry, before it’s too late!

On the other hand, I have lost 3 lbs. since I started…

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day Ten - AWOL

Day 10 = AWOL (absent with out leave)

To be more exact: Day 10 = AWL (absent with leave)

I asked Instructor R last night if I could bypass the beating in the park at 0600 this morning, due to a client meeting I had this morning that I needed time to prep for.

He made me do 10 pushups.

Just kidding. He actually exhibited humanoid characteristics and said it was no problem—just make sure I did 45-60 minutes of cardio on my own.

“Don’t cheat yourself, Ferran. Push yourself hard,” were his parting words.

I don’t cheat. I fabricate sometimes, for literary or humorous purposes, but I don’t cheat.

The day started to wane and I realized I hadn’t worked out yet. At 8:45, my husband started watching a show that showed fat, hair, and blood being cleaned from dead deer hides to make Fine Corinthian Leather. Nauseated, I realized it was time to hop on my elliptical cross-trainer.

55 minutes and 555 calories later--although sweatier than a pig in a sauna, I didn’t feel half bad. I took a self-portrait so I could have evidence of the sweat.

(Sure makes my usual drawings look better, doesn't it?)

I looked entirely too happy, so I made myself do 10 pushups.

Ahhh, pain—that’s more like it.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day Nine - BootcampwithJess

I was so exhausted and drained after work today that I seriously wondered if I could make it through tonight’s bootcampwithjess session.

I called my daughter for encouragement and told her:

1) I’m exhausted and have no energy

2) My chest is congested

3) I have consumed four quarts of water and only one pint has passed through (Where is it going—my brain?)

4) I am suffering constant "occasional bouts of irregularity" (i.e. constipation. I know—TMI. I just want you to know that I was feeling pretty bad—physically)

5) My feet are swollen, threatening to burst forth from my cute little Payless flats with the criss-cross strap

My daughter said:

“Go and workout anyway. Maybe you will pass out and they’ll call the paramedics and you’ll wake up in the hospital.”

…or maybe I could just wake up dead…

I went.

I was the only trainee tonight. Yep. The only victim. Maybe the others were already in the hospital.

The instructor asked me if I was okay working out alone. Silly me, I thought maybe he was going to leave me to direct my own workout, and I was already planning on rolling out a mat and taking a nap. Lulled by my own water-logged thoughts, I said yes.

Started out the warm up on the treadmill, stretched, back on the treadmill again at a higher speed, and something amazing happened. (Sit down for this one, Em.) I actually started to feel BETTER once I started working out. What was happening to me?

It lasted through the first 15 minutes.

As the recipient of Instructor R’s full attention, he gave me twice the workout at the same price. We—meaning me—worked on legs and abs.

I knew I had legs. I use them all the time. But I had only read about abdominal muscles, never believing that I might possess some of them myself. The pain now tells me they are there, somewhere beneath the soft muffin top I fondly refer to as my “keg” (as opposed to a six-pack).

The most tortuous exercise of all—I’ll call it “Just Kill Me Now”—was something I thought only Chuck Norris could do. Instructions:

1) Stand on a step

2) Insert arms (all the way to your armpits) through two black slings hanging by carribeaners from a high pole

3) Bend elbows, grasp carribeaners with hands

4) Remove feet from step

5) Pull legs (or knees) up to your waist level whilst dangling like Jabba the Hut

6) Repeat 20 times

If I could have laughed I would have. Here is the diagram for your viewing pleasure:

If the paramedics don't come soon, maybe the coroner will.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day Eight - BootcampwithJess

This hurts me to say it, but I almost liked BootcampwithJess tonight. Almost.

1) No infractionary push-ups (yeah, I know it’s not a real word, but it is very descriptive).

2) I remembered my shirt and all other clothing bits and tents.

3) The instructor took my measurements today (needed the big measuring tape) but that cut about five minutes off my treadmill time which provided me with much-needed oxygen.

4) The instructor asked me if I was staying away from the 4 forbidden foods…

a. Pasta
b. Bread
c. Dairy
d. Soda

…and I could answer YES! (except for 1.75 of Grandma Litster’s homemade rolls on Sunday—I’m not a machine). No pushups for my confession, rather a “Good job, Ferran. Keep it up and the pounds will start dropping.”

A compliment! Combined with the other positive points enumerated above, it was almost good. Almost.

A picture of me tonight:

I know—I’m looking livelier, although my nose still seems to be missing…

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day Seven Bootcampwith Jess

I had to work at a client’s today and was very uptight about making it to HELK (a.k.a bootcampwithjess) on time. It would normally take 30 minutes to drive there, but I allowed 45 minutes because…

For every minute you’re late, you do 10 pushups. Big. Surprise.

Guess what?

If you guessed late—you were wrong. I got there at 4:55, ran inside to the bathroom to put on my workout clothes at the speed of light—or at least within 3 minutes.

Pants - present
Sports bra – present
Sport shorts – present
Socks – present
Shoes – present
Shirt – absent. Conspicuously absent.

Dilemma: Do I workout in my business/work blouse that is sort of silky blue?

Or Do I workout in just my sports bra?

I had to decide fast. I checked to mirror to see just how bad I looked with only the sports bra as my top. Eeeeeeeewwwww! Bleeccchhhh! Jes’ plain nasty!


I put my business top back on. As I tried to not stand out in my non-workout clothes, I spied a couple of t-shirts on display. I asked Instructor Richins (who is NOT an Inspector) if they would sell me one. Ten bucks later, I am properly clothed and standing at attention at 5:00 sharp.

It’s a spiffy camo shirt that says “I survived boot camp w/Jess. P.T. with a purpose!”

Now several things about that shirt are debatable, such as the “I survived” part.

The good thing is – nobody sicked up at having to look at the doughy white midsection of a middle-aged HAGgish woman.

I like the shirt.

I like the fact that I did ZERO pushups for infractions.

I don’t like the actual torture by workout thing—it hurts

But I sure saved money…

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day Six - BootcampwithJess

This is for my daughter’s 13-year old friend who told her “Your mom SWEARS on her blog!” (and Brielle, you know who you are  )

“Dam” is not a swear word

“Dumb bass” is not a swear word

“Hell” is a place (where I’ve been for six days now!) and even if you consider it a swear word, I used it while quoting someone else who may have used it as a swear word, so therefore it does not count as a swear word.

“Rationalization” is what I just did in the preceding paragraph – but that’s how I roll!

Day 6 – my arms are like cooked noodles (BIG noodles; maybe dumplings)—limp and white.

We worked out arms tonight and now I am typing with my toes. There will be no drawings to illustrate the fun tonight (I’m not that good with my toes).

I did not have the 30-pound vest!

I did have to do 10 pushups for “eyeballing” the instructor.

I had to do that Dead Cockroach thing again. It was HELK! (that word was for the two Bri’s—Brielle & Brianna)

I survived the ordeal, then walked outside, slipped and fell on the ice and caused a small tremor to rock the Salt Lake Valley.

No Diet Coke for 8 days (Diet Coke is not a swear word either, Brielle)

The cover of my latest book

I just got the proof for the cover of my latest book, Life's Alphabet Soup: When your children make you eat your words

I like it a lot! Here is your sneak preview:

It's scheduled for release in February 2010 which will put it in stores right around March/April--Just in time for Mother's Day gifting! Start your list now!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day Five - BootcampwithJess

Today was Cinco de Hades presented by the letter S


I had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn which, by itself, was enough to ruin my day.

We met at a park, and for once I was thankful for the 30-pound vest. For about a minute. As long as it took us to stop marching and start “shuffling”—another word for jogging. While we jogged, we sang/chanted in cadence (in my case I gasped in cadence). It became evident that I was slowing down my column and was told to drop back—so I did.

Of course when they say “drop back” they mean “stagger and gasp at the back of the column while an instructor pokes your back and tells you to keep running.” Two problems with that:

1) If I could keep running, I wouldn’t have dropped back in the first place

2) He didn’t have a cattle prod—which may have helped

That leap of faith thing I mentioned yesterday? Well, we did something like it today, only modified.

1) We leaped, both feet at the same time

2) We dropped to the ground

3) We did a pushup

4) We stood up and did it again

5) Uphill

Diagram for those of you who like visual aids:

(note: we did not fall off actual cliffs—it is a representation of the dashing of our hopes as we reached the pinnacle and heard the order to do it again)

Stadium steps – or stair laps as you might want to call them. As I passed one instructor, I managed to choke out “I think I’m going to die.” She told me to raise my arms above my head (a sign of surrender, perhaps?)

I brought up the rear of most events, but I guess it wasn’t really a race—I mean there were no prizes or anything. Well I did get one prize. As the laggard of the “run down the hill and then climb up it on your hands and feet” drill, I noticed that those lucky ones who raced to finish first got to drop into the—you guessed it—Dead Cockroach position until everyone finished.

I’m not saying I was slow on purpose, but there was a little satisfaction in seeing the row of Dead Cockroaches and I only had to join them for about five seconds.

One last diagram:

Somehow I survived. And I did no pushups for infractions.

I whined. I hurt. I cried. I went without Diet Coke. I feel pretty good, in spite of the pain.

I took a self-portrait on the way home, just to make sure I was still fogging a mirror:

Don't be alarmed--the brown stuff on my face is camoflauge paint courtesy of Instructor Thomas. It is not the dreaded "Diet Coke Withdrawals that manifests as a Poo-like substance on your face"


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day Four - BootcampwithJess

Today we celebrate the letter E – The fourth letter in HADES week.

END—will it ever END?

This day was complicated by the storm front moving in and aggravating my fibromyalgia pain—My life is aggravated by my adult son moving home and continually knocking on my door as I’m trying to get some much needed sleep.

What tortures awaited me today?

The pattern has warped – My instructor did NOT perform 30 pushups for me.

I had to do 30 pushups. Three infractions – called him “Inspector” twice instead of “Instructor” and forgot to say his name entirely after speaking to him once.

If I had called him what I was thinking of calling him, I probably would have had to do 300 pushups.

New torture: Leap of Faith

A diagram:

Kind of like leap frog, hence the green massive thighs. I had to do this across the room and back. Both feet off the floor at the same time. Note the 30 lb vest. My instructor has a blue cast because his arm is broken. He said it was from a car accident (mwahhhhhh, let him THINK it was an accident). The plague of flies issuing forth from his mouth is a figment of my imagination.

Do not think that I got out of the Dead Cockroach torment tonight. NO! It was worse than ever. How? I was forced to lie in that position, twitching with searing pain, while Lady GaGa blared loudly from the stereo. I. Am. Not. A. Fan.

The longest 5 minutes of my life!

Happy to say, I am still Diet Coke free. I will prevail, if the fires of Hades don’t consume my frail, flabby body first.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day Three - BootcampwithJess

Today was brought to us by the letter D (third letter of HADES)

As in – DAM (what the one fish said to the other when they swam into the wall)
            DUMB BASS (what the dam said about the fish who ran into it)

Not really relevant, but I felt like swearing and pseudo-swearing is as close as I could get.

We worked on legs and shoulders tonight. For as big as my thighs are, you would think there were some massive quadriceps hiding in there. Apparently not, because they don’t work properly.

I was instructed to put one foot on the bench, hold the weight ball, and lift the foot remaining on the floor up to the weight ball to tap my knee on the weight ball. And REPEAT 20 TIMES. A diagram of the situation:

You don’t see the weight ball because I had no strength left and could not even do ONE rep. The instructor took the weight ball from me and told me to do 20 reps without it. When he saw my struggle to get my flaccid limb off the ground, a shred of mercy must have escaped his hardened soul – he reduced it to 15. I made it—barely.

Do you recall the Dead Cockroach from yesterday???

I do. Because I had to do it again for the third night in a row, and tonight I discovered that there are two very distinct nerve control centers in my body. The upper and the lower. From the waist up, I was a normal Dead Cockroach—not moving. From the waist down, I was twitching like my SIL given a bad nerve block—not at all normal for a Dead Cockroach. I could not control it. Another diagram:

 So if you see me laying in a gutter somewhere, twitching, these are your directions:

1) If I am face up, it means I’m stuck in the Dead Cockroach position and can’t get up. Please be a Good Samaritan and help me out.

2) If I am face down, it means I still haven’t had a Diet Coke, and you should roll me over and provide me with a 20 oz bottle immediately. Pour it down my throat if I seem unresponsive.

P.S. On a brighter note, I only had to do 10 pushups tonight. I'm seeing a pattern Monday 90; Tuesday 50; Wednesday 10. Tomorrow, I expect my instructor will do 30 push ups for me!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day Two - BootcampwithJess

Today was “A” day (2nd day of HADES week)


Yes, it is confirmed. I went back voluntarily—muscles screaming at me all the way.

I would like to introduce you to my least favorite exercise. It is my least favorite because of 1) Its name – Dead Cockroach and 2) The deceptive way it feels like a relief for the first 30 seconds and then you wish you were a dead cockroach as the next few minutes drag on and your legs curl up involuntarily and a scream threatens to rip from your throat.

Here is an actual picture of me doing the Dead Cockroach exercise (note how my poor legs are curling, involuntarily):

(Actually, I look quite thin in this picture, so I think BootcampwithJess is already working!)
Push ups today for breaking the rules:     50

Number of injured limbs my instructor has:    1

Number of injured limbs I wish he had:     4

Number of times I jumped to touch the top of the door jamb while wearing a 30-lb vest:   35

How heavy a 30-lb vest feels after jumping 35 times while wearing it:      100 lbs.

Diet Cokes I’ve consumed:     0

Number of firearms I purchased in the past 24 hours (curse that waiting period!):     0

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day One - BootcampwithJess

I am still alive!

That’s the good news.

I loved my first night of bootcampwithjess!

That’s the lie.

They call this “Hell Week” for a reason. I’m going to refer to it as “Hades Week” because Hades has five letters—one for each day of the week. Let’s start with “H”

As in, Why in the “H” did I sign up for this?

After turning in the diary of my past three days’ intake—food and liquid—the conversation went something like this (it was quite one-sided):

Instructor (reading list): Cheese. Ten pushups.

Although surprised that cheese was bad, I dropped and gave him ten (real pushups). Got back on my feet.

Instructor: 2 Diet Cokes. Twenty pushups.

I dropped and gave him twenty. Wobbled getting back on my feet.

Instructor: Chips. Ten pushups.

They were veggie chips! 33% less fat than regular potato chips. I dropped and gave him five real pushups then asked if I could finish with knee pushups. He said yes. Staggered to my feet.

Instructor: 2 more Diet Cokes. Twenty more. Count them.

I assumed the position (knee pushups), arms rebelled & threatened to collapse. Ignored my arms, gave twenty more. Crawled to my feet. Failed to respond correctly.

Instructor: Wrong response. Ten more.

I went back on my knees. Gave silent thanks for the knee pads. Willed the arms to stop shaking. Did ten more pushups. Almost fell over when I stood up.

Instructor: Ice cream. Ten more.

Back down, cursed Ben & Jerry’s and their mothers. Arms buckled. Caught myself. Did ten more pushups. Somehow made it to my feet. Room tilted.

Instructor: Pizza. Ten more.

Isn’t pizza healthy? It has the four basic food groups. Fall down to my knees, jelly arms somehow make it through ten more. I pray he doesn’t count each slice of pizza.

My prayers were answered. He tells me to stand at attention. I manage to sway at attention.

Instructor: 70% of this program is proper nutrition. For the next six weeks you will not drink soda…

It registers in my brain--NO DIET COKE!

Instructor: No bread.


Instructor: No dairy.


Instructor: No pasta.


I know you are probably thinking—this woman is addicted to Diet Coke. That is not true, I’ve quit drinking it hundreds of times.

Okay, I am addicted to it. Not just the caffeine—it’s the burn, baby.

But which is worse—90 pushups or no Diet Coke? Only an addict would ask that question.

I only hope that the Coca-Cola Company does not go out of business, having just lost my patronage for at least six weeks.

Thus we have the first fifteen minutes of my first night of bootcampwithjess.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I will survive!

If I can last through three hours of church (Primary childrens' program)--trying to herd five rowdy eight-year old boys who hate to sing, plus two Lois Lanes and the world's most polite eight-year old who gets headaches from all the noise--I can survive BootcampwithJess.

Bring. It. On.

(these may be my final words--just saying)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bootcamp with Jess - the Prequel

FACT: I have fibromyalgia.

FACT: I don’t get an endorphin rush from working out.

FACT: The only time I run is when there is free Diet Coke to be had, or I’m taking a cleanse.

FACT: If you piled my subcutaneous fat into a big blob, you would have—me!

FACT: I love a good bargain.

FACT: My judgment has become increasingly iffy as I age.

RESULT: At a chamber of commerce dinner last Thursday I got caught up in the enthusiasm of the silent auction and became the proud owner of 6-weeks of BootcampwithJess at a substantial savings to yours truly—PT Ferran (PT stands for Physical Trainee).

This is how it begins, directly from their website:

“It all starts with your first week of bootcamp called "Hell Week". During this week, you will wear a 30 pound vest (representing the extra fat many overweight individuals are carrying around with them).”

FACT: I already have a more than fair representation of “the extra fat many overweight individuals are carrying around with them.” So can’t I be exempt from the 30-lb vest? (I know, the answer is “ten pushups” which is the punishment for any infraction of the rules, of which there are many.)

While initially thrilled with my bargain purchase, the elation changed to alarm when my EFSIL (exercise freak sister-in-law) and AENN (another exercise nut neighbor) both said, “You’ll hate it. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.”

My oldest daughter added to my fear when she said, “Mom, I’ll pray for you.”

One of the required items you must have is kneepads. I asked my sister-in-law “Why would I need kneepads?” She had no idea. My daughter suggested, “Because you’ll be on your knees begging for mercy so much.”

I’ll find out on Monday, from 5-6 pm what the knee pads are for. Stay tuned. If I live through “Hell Week” you can enjoy the journey vicariously. If I die, you’ll know the cause of death.

Props to me for either: 1) Starting a path down the road to fitness; or 2) Signing my own death warrant at a bargain price.

To be continued Monday night…if my fingers and arms still work.