Mrs. C and I were at a holiday party over the, yes, holidays, at some friends’ house. It truly was a nice party; good food, good cheer, good drinks. And let me preface this by saying that my wife is gorgeous. Sure, I could be just saying that, but people tell me that. A lot. Some of them in an admiring, “She’s really good looking” sort of way, but many of them in a “How did you convince such a creature to come live in your lair, Jeff?” sort of way. At least that’s how it sounds in my sarcasm-bleached brain. Anyway, so we’re at this party and a woman comes up to Mrs. C. and starts recounting a previous Girls Night Out event that they had both gone to. And this woman says, “I asked Mrs. C, ‘are you the one with the good looking husband,’ and she said ‘yes,’ and here you are!”
Maybe that’s standard stuff when people have been at a party. But when you’ve been living under the shadow of a Goddess for 13 years and you’re using to eating table scraps of compliments while she gorges herself on “Damnyouradeliciouslookingwoman Steak” at every meal, this kind of thing doesn’t happen often. So I was caught a little off guard. And then once I recovered from my initial shock, I thought I’d better write a blog post. Because while I don’t necessarily think I’m Pierce Brosnan just yet, I know I have been undergoing some changes. And people have been noticing. To whit:
A year ago I went to get a physical. Mostly because I’m getting a little older and I want to make sure there aren’t things going on I should know about. Well, as it turns out, there are. Before we get to that, though, let me recount the funniest bit of the physical. When it came time to get the prostate exam, my doc said, “It’s really your choice if you want to get this done. You’re still young enough that it’s a choice.” To which I replied, “Let’s do it. I have little kids and I want to see them graduate from college.” So my doc bent me over and stuck his finger up my ass, all in the name of me seeing my kids graduate from college. Then he says, “Pleased to meet you.” To which I replied, “I was really hoping you’d buy my dinner first.”
Anyway, my prostate was fine, but my blood pressure and cholesterol were both a little high….not that he needed his finger up my ass to tell me those things. So my doctor said I could start taking drugs for these issues if I wanted to. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of being medicated unless it’s totally necessary. And I’m a big believer in making your own destiny or choosing to try to do so, anyway. So I told doc, “I’ll take care of this.” And I joined a gym. And I signed up with a personal trainer. ‘Cuz that’s how I like to approach things: Find a problem, solve it. Or at least make your body hurt while attempting to solve it.
And hurt it has. My trainer, Tiffany, is an athletic 20-something year old who tried out for American Gladiators….but, more importantly, she puts up with me. For when my first visit with Tiffany involved “pushups,” I just laughed. “Pushups? You’re funny. I haven’t done a pushup since 6th grade.” And seriously, I hadn’t. I had lived most of my life as a stand-in for the Pillsbury Dough Boy. But, because my doc had pointed out a problem, I was there to solve it. So pushups it was. Or, as I told Tiffany, “Pushups? You mean pushUP. There will be only one. In fact, there MIGHT be only one. You’ll be lucky to see one out of me.” And one it was. A year ago I could do one pushup. And a year ago Tiffany and I embarked on this relationship that has changed things for me: 20 something buff personal trainer with a sense of humor and 44 year old sarcastic guy. I complain about everything. Tiffany: “Okay, now you’re going to do 25 jumping lunges.” Jeff: “No, now I’m going to get a cup of coffee and watch YOU do 25 jumping lunges.” Yet, somehow, it’s always me doing the jumping lunges. A personal trainer sort of has that influence over you. I guess in that way, she’s like my Obi-Wan. And I’m her Anakin. Which means I might grow up to join the Dark Side….or have I already joined the Dark Side? Is working out at the gym constantly and being addicted to working out at the gym constantly a sign that you’ve joined the Dark Side?
It’s not like I wasn’t in halfway decent shape – I have been playing hockey for years. But, as you quickly come to find out when you meet with a personal trainer, it’s not enough to skate your ass off once a week. No, Tiffany took my measurements at our first visit and mine fell under “Dough-ey.” I didn’t even know that was a category, but when she tickled my tummy I giggled. Pillsbury Dough Boy joke, anybody? Anyway, at first I was “unhealthy” or “slightly out of shape” or “rotund” or something. But as I continued to meet with her and try out all these exercises I’d never done (“Pullups!!!???”), I noticed that all these little areas of fat on my body started to disappear. And as Tiffany took my measurements semi-regularly, we noticed the numbers started to improve quite a bit. Body fat down 8%, waist shrinking, clothes starting to be too big, more than one pushup….and, more importantly, people started noticing. I walked into a different party in December and saw people I haven’t seen in a couple of years and they thought I was Matthew McConaughey. Okay, so it’s not that extreme – there’s still some belly fat and I still can’t do pullups for shit – but I’m honestly quite happy with the results. I can now do 35 pushups (over 3 sets) and if you would have told me that at the tender young age of 44 I’d be able to play hockey once a week AND get my ass kicked by a future member of American Gladiators once or twice a week AND run a couple of miles once or twice a week, I’d tell you to give me some of what you were smoking.
I haven’t been back to the doctor to get my vitals checked or to make him buy me dinner. But I can tell you I’ve been sleeping better, I skate faster, and my XL shirts are like muumuus on me now, so I’ve switched to L shirts. And I really have Obi Wan…ur, Tiffany to thank for it. Well, and myself, for putting in the time. But if anybody needs a personal trainer recommendation, I’ve got one for you. And you won’t even need your light saber. But be prepared to be humbled by measurements. And then astonished at results.