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.

Sucks, right?

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.



  1. You freakin' rock, my sista!!

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments thus far. I'm so happy you're doing this for your health. Your grandchildren will thank you for it one day. :)

  2. Hey, I LOVE Bear Claws! They're full of rich, sugary goodn...oh, you meant Bear CRAWLS.
    Never mind.
    And keep up the good work.

  3. *angry yelling* BEAR CRAWLS!! BURPEES!!! Two of my all time least favorite moves. Not because they're challenging - because that's the point of exercise, right? - but because I look so so SO stupid doing them... I tried to pretend I was having fun doing them, BUT NOPE, just looked more stupid.

    I have to agree with ChiTown Girl - you deserve a big freakin' congratulations and your long-term benefits are going to be UN-real.

    And tell your 'normal' friend he's clearly not working out hard enough. Sounds like he should be hanging out with you and Gabe more often.

    1. I'm trying to get him to come with me, but for some reason, the big pink, sweaty mass is scary.

  4. Suck it up girl! (That doesn't come out right, but you know what I mean) I saw what you did there-size 26..size 18. So proud/happy for you!

    I start back at the gym this Saturday. My mind wants to jump in and do my 40 misn of cardio. My body knows different. I haven't worked out hard in over a year. I despise burpees. What an insane method of self-torture. But oh, the rewards!

    1. Totally. I'm still in the "OMG did I just do that" phase. So yes, it sucks. But I'm kinda digging it,

      Gabe sucks. I swallow.

  5. Um. Please don't be mad. Please don't make fun of me. I know I suck. But I didn't actually know what any of these things were. I know people talk about them like they're murderous, but when I see them written on workouts and stuff I didn't know what the hell a burpee was. I thought maybe it was an exercise so bad it made you burp. So I'm thanking you for this post. I know you meant it in a completely different way than I'm going to use it (as my own personal exercise dictionary)...and that you're laughing at me through your computer screen...but thank you all the same.

    1. Dude -- U-tube them. CRAZY. Then shake your head at us for doing them. Because we can't be active and eat sensibly on our own so are forced to do wild-ass wierd crazy things to shock our systems into losing weight. But secretly (or not so secretly) we feel totally badass for pulling it off.


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