Saturday, December 29, 2012
The Suck Factor
The kids & I recently ran into a family friend as he was leaving his gym.
So proud of him for taking charge of his health and working on his fitness!
"Hey Mom," said #2 Son, "how come when you work out you come back all wet and when Mr. H___ works out, he just looks normal?"
I have been working with a trainer since July, 2010. I've dropped some weight (not as much as I want, but whaddya gonna do? It's a process.) My strength and endurance have gone through the roof. But when Gabe is done with me for the day, it's clear I worked out hard.
Who am I kidding? After an hour with Gabe -- or with Victor -- I am a soaking wet, bright red, quivering, panting mess. I don't look "normal".
I don't "glisten" like the women in my fitness magazines. I drip. My hair is wet, my shirt is wet, and it looks like I pissed my pants. It scares the hell outta any civilians who I meet on the way back to the car.
Because Gabe knows how to up the Suck Factor. For example:
A few months ago, Gabe told me that when I do a bench press, I need to keep my legs raised with my shins at a 90° angle. That way it works my abs with my arms. Sucks.
Last week he upped the suck factor. Instead of merely elevating my legs, I now have to extend them to a 15° angle every time I press, then pull them back in. That way my C-Section scars can feel like they are rupturing 25 times in a row.
You've heard of the plank. Sometimes you plank from your elbows, sometimes from your hands. The plank is fine for the first 25 seconds. It's the remaining 95 seconds that feels like an eternity.
Up the suck factor: plank from your elbows, then push up to your hands. Thirty times. Five sets.
Try one. I'll wait.
Two of the suckiest exercises are the burpee and the "frog jump" (or as I like to call it, the hippo jump. Because that's how it looks when I do it.)
The burpee is that drop-to-a-push-up-then-spring-back-up-then-jump. The frog jump is just a simple jump forward 6 inches and land in a squat. Do it as often as it takes to cross the width of the football field. It's the kind of move 8 year olds do when they are pretending they are avoiding lava. It's not so much fun at 47. There's no avoiding the goddam lava -- your quads will feel like they are made of it after the first lap. And there are many, many more laps.
Up the suck factor: Burpee, then frog jump.
Gabe has the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup theory: Two great tastes that taste great together. Only replace the word "taste" with the word "Pain".
Case in point: Bear crawls. Plus pushups. PLUS suicides.
Bear crawls are the exercises where you crawl your 47 year old size 18 ass across the room on your hands and feet, butt in the air. My 4 year old LOVES to bear crawl with me. He weighs 28 lbs. I weigh 8&1/2 times that.
Suicides are where you run to the cone, touch it, then run back. Then run to the further cone, then back.
Suck Factor: 20 pushups, bear crawl to the first cone, 20 more push ups, bear crawl to the second cone, 20 more pushups, bear crawl to the third cone, 20 more pushups, bear crawl to the fourth cone, turn around and come back the same way.
By now, you must be saying "For God's sake, don't do it. Tell Gabe NO!"
I'm not going to tell Gabe "No".
Because Gabe has never made me do something I couldn't do. When I started working with him, it took me 5 minutes to bear claw my size 26 ass across the room. I could do no more than 10 burpees at a time. I could only do pushups from my knees. When I started working out I was soaking wet and bright red after 5 minutes.
I still sweat. I'm still red, winded and tired at the end of a session. But that's only because Gabe knows how up up the suck factor.