15 or Bust….Phase Four….Sweat is Fat Crying.

Once upon a time, there was a 20-something young woman with a tiny waistline, a great ass and a metabolism high enough to withstand closing time taco’s and greasy pizza from food trucks with nary a pound gained.

She worked out occasionally….if roller-blading is considered working out….(it was the early 2,000 so it was still really cool)….and her diet, consisting largely of Ramen Noodles and Easy Mac, kept her lean.

Then, life ran her over and that ended that.  The end.

My days of dieting success with minimal sweat equity are long gone at this point, so in order for “Dump the Frump” to succeed, an exercise routine is next on my list.

The easiest solution would be to join a gym, but I’ve been down that road before.

Step 1 – Find a local gym that will allow me the option of signing-up online so that I can avoid the high pressure sales tactics of the spandex clad gym associates.

Step 2 – Lie when I go into the gym for the first time and insist “I did indeed have a tour before I signed up.”

Lie some more and say, “I’m recovering from knee surgery and have a very strict list of instructions to follow from my physical therapist” when the gym staff descends with various offers to upgrade my gym membership with personal training sessions, expanded access to other gyms in my area, unlimited tanning sessions and a t-shirt.

Lie again and say “I’m allergic….to like everything” at the staff’s last ditch effort to load me up with various supplements.

Step 3 – Head to the treadmill….because a monkey could operate a treadmill and it’s the piece of equipment with the least amount of risk for losing a finger.

Step 4 – Pretend to be really invested in my workout (er, walk) while checking out the free weights section….because a monkey could use free weights too.

Step 5 – Become obsessed with the free weight scene and conclude I could easily walk fifty miles on the treadmill if it meant I could people watch the mirror loving meatheads who alternate reps with adoring glances at their beefed up physiques.  Also….conclude I will never step foot in the free weights section.

Step 6 – Scan the circuit training equipment for clientele who will unknowingly teach me how to use the various machines and then develop my own workout routine using a combination of the treadmill, stair climber and the simplest of circuit machines, but mostly just people watch and try not to get caught.


Step 7 – Get bored and quit.

Step 8 – Continue to pay for my gym membership for an entire year or more, because I’d rather be water boarded than suffer through the cancellation process.


Step 9 – Finally cave and head into the gym to cancel.

Step 10 – Make up a variety of reasons for canceling….make up even more reasons to counter their attempts at changing my mind….and then give up trying to reason with them and just start repeating:

“Thank you, but I really just want to cancel.”

“Thank you, I do understand, but I really just want to cancel.”

“Thanks, but I want to cancel.”

“Yup, thanks, but I want to cancel.”

Repeat about 1,000 times to various gym associates, including their hard hitting closer, before I’m finally free.

So….joining a traditional gym….not going to happen.

What I really need is someone to tell me what to do.  Someone who will hold me accountable for my workout sessions and who might occasionally yell at me if need be.  A place I can go with a variety of group classes and individual training options that will keep me engaged.  I turned to my local Mom group on Facebook for some recommendations.

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After reading through the comments….and responding to a dozen more private messages from athletic trainers at different gyms in my area….I settled on a brand new, women’s only fitness studio in my town owned by two young women embarking on their first business venture.  I scheduled an appointment for a 30 minute consultation.

When I arrived at the meeting, I was surprised to find the studio space small, but cozy, warm and extremely inviting for a gym.  As I stood at the front desk, wearing a pair of skinny jeans, riding boots and a tunic waiting for my meeting, an older woman wearing work-out clothes gave me a once over and said, “Are you here for Zumba?”

To which I said, “Oh, no!  I’m selling Girl Scout cookies.”  

Then immediately wished I hadn’t.

But to my surprise, she laughed, patted me on the arm and struck up a very friendly conversation with me that included a bit of a sales pitch on behalf of the owner’s about what a wonderful place the studio was and how amazing the classes, trainers and other members were.

Then I met Jen, one of the owners.  She wasn’t what I expected.  I was expecting a Jillian Michaels….or a teeny, tiny Tracy Anderson….or an American Gladiator….Zap, perhaps.


Jen is fit, but not in a way that I would consider unobtainable.  As we chatted about my fitness history and goals, she didn’t take the opportunity to put on the full court sales press by pushing membership add-on’s, vitamin packets, supplement powders and frozen meals while planting grandiose ideas in my head about rock hard abs and a standing thigh gap within 30 days.

Instead, she talked about how she believed that true fitness is a lifestyle and that health comes from living in moderation.  She referred to the studio as a community of support and encouragement and that the goal was to focus on long lasting results that come from a life of balance and consistency, rather than extremes.

“We want you to love the time you spend here and to enjoy your workouts!”  she said.

It was the best non-sales, sales pitch I’d ever heard and it was a message that resonated with me.

My only question, “How do I sign up?”

Let the fun begin!



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