Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Celebrity Personal Trainer: Marisa Tomei

My distaste for exercise is well documented at this point. We all remember just how poorly my 7 Day Challenge went a few weeks ago. My gym membership has been used just once in the last six months (and boy did I feel like I was getting my life together that day). I've got new plans in place every month, but I always seem to end up right back in the same place (on the couch, elbow deep in a bag of Cheetos).

I haven't always felt this way though.

One of my earliest memories is of my mother's Denise Austin workout tape. I remember the feeling of excitement that rushed over me every time she got it out. I would position myself in front of the TV, place my hands jauntily on my hips, and mimic her in exact syncopation.

"Hi! I'm Denise Austin, and I'm here to show you..."

My parents probably should have just bought me my first rainbow feather boa right then and there.

Maybe I should take cues from my sassy 4 year old self. Maybe fitness DVD's are where I should be looking for motivation. Maybe all I need to get into my skinny jeans is Lisa Rinna dressed in bedazzled wrist bands teaching me cardio ballroom dancing!

So it was decided. I'd be turning to celebrity work out DVD's to get me into shape. The more ridiculous, the better. I mean, sure, dancing along to Paula Abdul's Cardio Cheer would probably be humiliating, but luckily I have my own little corner of the internet where people kind of dig it when I'm humiliated.

Bring it on, Abdul.

I decided to start with Marisa Tomei

 I'd be lying if I said I didn't pick this one because it said I could be sexy in 20 minutes. I always prefer my gratification to be instant. I figured this one couldn't be too hard either. It's Marisa Tomei...not Jillian Michaels. Plus, I love getting free gifts. I didn't know what a toning band was, but I liked that I was going to have one. 

I realized I was maybe in a bit over my head pretty much immediately. Like in the second warm up exercise. Marissa, sitting on the floor with her legs straight out, gracefully reaches over and touches her toes. 

I grunted and complained, and reached just past my knees.

F#%!ing showoff.

Moving on from the warm up and into the actual workout, I began to think that this was something I could actually handle. There was lots of bending and standing, galloping around the room, knee bending, and very little that felt like I was actually doing something.

Can you see a difference in these photos? An almost imperceptible knee bend. Apparently it's great for toning the area right above you knee cap, which means I'm gonna look fierce in shorts this summer.

I could do this shit all day.

Okay, I see what they're doing here. This one burns a bit. Just think of your knee caps, Chris.

What the hell kinda Circ Du Soleil tightrope balancing act?!

Shit started getting harder from here when the actually working out started. I almost face planted a few times during the balance exercises, and I did careen sidelong into my bookshelf when Marisa insinuated that I wouldn't be able to stand up off the ground without using my hands. 

Turns out I can't, but dammit, at least I activated my core trying! 

I was excited when it was time to get down off of my tip toes for the floor exercises. Or at least I was excited until heard the two words (one word maybe? a hyphenate? words are hard.) that have caused me shame since middle school gym class.

Push ups.

I have horrible memories of the grueling fitness tests we were put through twice a year where we were scored on our ability to do sit ups, push ups, pull ups, jumping jacks, and a bevy of other activities that a chubby kid who's super into staying in and reading wouldn't be super great at. I remember getting up in front of the entire class, getting into position, knowing I wouldn't be able to do any, and trying desperately to at least keep my violently shaking arms from giving way and slamming my face into the hardwood floor.

Imagine my excitement when I saw that this is how we would be doing our push ups.

Marisa explained that she had a shoulder injury that prevents her from being able to do them from a plank position. As if I should feel bad for not doing it the normal way. Like I too don't have extenuating circumstances that prevent me from doing a real push up.

The fact that I have the upper body strength of a kitten for example.

Things went downhill fast after this. Not just going too fast down the bunny slope either. I'm talking rocketing down a double black diamond, without a helmet, after losing one of those ski stick things that they use, with fogged up glasses...while you kinda already have to pee.

I'm not positive that my body bends like that.
But I can barely do regular crunches!
What are you?! A f#%!ing sorceress?!
The twenty minute workout left me feeling like I'd just run a triathlon, but I finished it.

I mean, I mostly finished it. I took a water break through most of the crunches, and I only did about half of the reps for the rest of them, but I got through it.

I wish I could say that I felt super great about it when it was over, but mostly I was just a sweaty, miserable mess (I don't think endorphins work on me). I was also sore as hell the next day (four crunches can really do that to you). I did the routine again the next day though.

And again on the next. 

And the next.

I've done it every day for a week! I've gotten better at it too! I'm still miserable at crunches, but I was able to power through the leg lifts, and I didn't even get dizzy during the planks. 


Also, if you're looking for hairless ankles, and don't mind if the hair is ripped violently from your body, I highly recommend the toning band used in this routine.

Funny side note, I noticed this on the back of the DVD case today as I was writing this post.

Uniquely feminine?
So that's no ideal.

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