Indy Gets FitWe're doing it this year, and we mean it! As The Independent rolls out its new Health & Fitness guides over the next few months, we're not just going to be writing about fitness, we're going to be getting fit, and sharing our experiences in this blog. Feel free to respond, jeer, praise, or share your own tips in our comment section.
April 16, 2013 | 09:55 PM
People are saying I look like I've lost weight. Could be so. Some of my clothes are less tight and when I am riding at spin, my big, fat stomach is less in the way. It must be less big and fat.
I can't report any numbers, much as I know people like to read them. I don't have a scale. It broke when someone . . . um . . . might have thrown it against the wall.
Someone who starved and starved for an ENTIRE day and eagerly looked at the scale the next morning to find . . . no change.
Someone who drank gallons of water and ate even less the second day and eagerly looked at the scale the next morning to find . . . no change.
Someone who got on the scale, then off, then on, then off, and nothing changed.
Someone who moved the scale to a different part of the bathroom and got on and . . . gained a pound!
I neither confirm nor deny that someone was me.
I know people want to see a number and I suppose I could use that giant professional scale Romaine has in the bathroom at B-East. But I think someone could really hurt herself trying to throw that thing against the wall.
I ran into Howard Lebwith the other day and told him how he was one of the people who inspired me to try spin. I'd gone to take pictures at B-East and saw Howard, who is about a million years old, pedaling away with a big smile on his face. I figured, if he could do it, so could I.
When I told him I was spinning, he said, and I quote, "It's harder for you because you have so much weight to move." I'm stealing his parking spot next time I see him at Wal-Mart on senior citizen day… all that weight makes my accelerator foot swift.
My friend Jimmy is also a bastion of encouragement. Speaking of the bevy of lovely, trim, young ladies at the classes, he noted that, due to my size, I am working harder than slender spinners. "Pound for pound, you're getting the better workout."
New goal: get strong enough so I can pick up Romaine's giant professional scale and throw it at Jimmy.
So, I'm continuing to take the classes, eat delectable lettuce and chicken and quaff delicious, thirst quenching water, often without vodka.
I've taken about 14 classes so far, and I am getting strong . . . and flexible! Just the other day I dropped an earring on the floor and bent down to pick it up immediately! Usually I let such things rest for a couple of days, and weave their way into the bedside rug until I step on them barefoot on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Well, actually, I don't bend over to pick them up then, either. But I do engage in an energetic round of aerobic hopping and swearing.
Hey, remember that first blog and discussion of the flywheel on RealRyder bikes? (Scroll all the way down this page, it's probably still there.)
I was scared after Joanna told me you lock your shoes onto the pedals to keep from falling off. The flywheel seems to work in such a way that, you push down on the pedal and can.. should someone be a little lazy.. get a couple of free rotations, without making any effort. It will just go on its own.
Or, you can make it rotate. The warriors don't just push the pedals down; they pull them up, too. And that gives a whole new aspect to the spin workout. Different muscles are engaged in pulling the pedals up.
I know this because, one morning I was in the zone, and noticed that I was pushing AND PULLING the pedals. I was so proud and excited by this feat of strength and body awareness, I had to sit back and rest for a while, reveling in my athleticism.
April 02, 2013 | 01:02 PM
"How ya like me now?" Romaine sang along to the music. Two bikes over my nephew Nick mouths the words, "Frankly, not very much at all." I can just hear his Jim Gaffigan impression – "This is a really bad time to ask that question."
Next to me, Joanna drops an f-bomb. I've known her for years and have only ever heard her swear twice – both times during spin class, both times at Romaine.
It's Easter Sunday and an "out of the saddle" class at B-East. That means Romaine has decreed we stand up and pedal for the full 45 minutes (which turns into an hour). She calls a five second rule, you can only sit for five seconds to "rest."
Of course, I can't do it. Ten classes in since the end of January, and I've gotten stronger, way stronger. I can stay out of the saddle more than 10 times longer than that first class where I tentatively stood up for a total of eight pedal rotations. But 45 minutes? Fuggedaboudit.
After class Nick suggests a signer I might enjoy and plays one of his songs. "That sounds like hill music to me," is my derisive reaction.
"So now you equate everything you hear with spin class?" he asks.
When the lights are turned low in the studio, I feel like there's no one there. It's just me, the bike, the music and Romaine's voice, running up and down in timbre from the seductive encouragement of "remember why you're here, what you want to accomplish," to a full volume "TAKE OFF!"
I rarely do what she commands. But that's okay. When she's in seductive encouragement voice, she reminds us all that we need to know our limitations and spin accordingly.
I'm getting to know the music and that helps – you know where a song is going and best of all, you know when it's going to end. Remixes and dance party versions of songs I know feel like a betrayal.
She played Eminem's "Lose Yourself" for one five minute segment of class. I know the song is five minutes long, because I looked it up.
I lasted the ENTIRE time out of the saddle.
I don't know what instructions Romaine was giving the other riders. All I heard was the music and the occasional mention of "How much longer." It all sounded like Charlie's Brown's teacher sampled over Eminem's hit – "wah wah wah wah wah three more minutes wah wah wah wah."
Pedaling out of the saddle is supposed to strengthen your gluts, but I don't know. My heinie hurts like hell afterwards, but during, it's all thigh action.
In fact, it's all ONE thigh action.
I'm beginning to worry I am unbalanced. Mentally? Emotionally? Well, yeah. But physical imbalance is not something I expected.
At a recent class, Romaine challenged us to set the highest tension we could handle on the bikes. "It should be hard to get those pedals around," she said, having taken us, incrementally, up a "hill" resembling Mount Everest. "Get to your 10," she said.
I think I hit 11 by mistake. I pushed and pushed and the pedal wouldn't go. I had to retreat. By then, I began to feel like a stroke victim. My right leg could push and my left just kind of dragged along. What could this mean?
If spinning improves your glutes, down the road, am I going to end up with a single bun of steel? Just one pert and powerful buttock?
That would look strange.
Speaking of looks, all apologies to the people who had to bike in the row behind me that time. Usually I pick the row against the wall, out of deference to other bikers who may glance up and be forced to view my buns of hamburger. But that one time I didn't. Sorry about that.
After Sunday, the agony was rather evenly dispersed, so the concern about a lopsidedly muscular derriere was allayed. In the car on the way to Easter dinner, I treated Nick to a song I thought captured the essence of our hour-long class, a la R.E.M. – "Every Body Part Hurts."
I can't wait to go back.
March 05, 2013 | 02:14 PM
Oh, dear God. She's got the balls. OhsweetbabyJesusMaryandJosephinheaven, THE BALLS.
We're about halfway through the most intense ride I've had since I started spinning at B-East. Each class I've been able to do a bit more, learn a bit more.
Today B-East's guru Romaine Gordon is leading and she likes hills. Like, Alps hills. She urges us through challenges, up the hills, with increased tension on the Real Ryder bikes till we can barely pedal. We finally hit the tops of the hills, and spin the tension back for the race down to the bottom. The interval is – pump with the tension at its highest, then release it and race as fast as you can.
Repeat a lot.
During one blessed recovery, I spy, through a fog of sweat… THE BALLS.
No, God. Please, no. Not THE BALLS!
You say you think spinning doesn't do anything for the upper body? Au contraire, mi amigos.
Romaine's got THE BALLS. Batwing busting, Granny arm robbing little spheres of anguish. We hold the squishy balls in our hands, squeezing them tight as Romaine takes us through a series of intense upper body exercises.
They go on for a while.
They go on while you are still pedaling. Note I say "you" and not "me." I have yet to master the "walk and chew gum" mastery of pedaling plus upper body workout, so I just do the balls.
Romaine lets us "recover" from the balls by doing a couple dozen pushups. Never ever did I think I would have the following thought go through my mind, "I can't wait for the pushups."
When the upper body segment ends, we can break for a minute and have a sip of water.
It tastes like it comes from God's personal fount. I can just picture it – She extends her hand and Michael gives her a bottle.
"Not Poland Spring," God chides. "Be an angel and bring me my Hamptons Water Company water. It's vapor distilled and infused with electrolytes. Then, Michael, drop and give me 20."
God knows what tastes best.
Two days after class and my batwings are still sore. (Bat wings on me are known as triceps on fit people.) They're not "injury sore;" they're "I had an awesome workout" sore. More of those dreaded Balls O Pain, and my wings will be a lot less wingy, or batty, by sleeveless season. Less than 12 weeks till Memorial Day.
I can't wait till next class.
February 20, 2013 | 10:59 AM
I hate stretching. I mean, I really can't stand it. I have no patience for that namby-pamby relaxation crap. Back in the days of Jane Fonda and pastel legwarmers, our aerobics class always ended with a 10 or 15 minute "relaxation" and stretch.
On second thought, the relaxation was even more excruciating than the stretch part.
"Relax your toes," our instructor Gail would croon.
"Relax you instep," came next.
"Right, right," I'd think. "Instep, heel, ankle, I got it. Let's get this show on the road." By the time she got to "relax your scalp," I was on the verge of an impatience aneurism.
Yet another thing I love about spin class at B-East: none of that stretching hokum. We do the basics, then get on with our lives. There was just one problem after the most recent class – during the final stretch my spine sounded an awful lot like Fred Astaire tap dancing on bubble wrap.
So I figured I better add a (BLECCH) stretch routine to my fitness plan.
Sunday provided the opportunity to try one of the numerous DVDs I have in my rarely used exercise collection. It was 20 minutes of breathing and unadulterated boredom, but I made it through.
I also made it through, last week, two solid hours of dancing Friday night and 45 minutes on the machines in my basement gym last night. I took a page from Rachelle's "intervals" book, and strived for seconds of highest output, followed by "recovery" periods of lower intensity output.
That's how she instructed us during the last class. Mixing things up, Rachelle directed us to "reach your 10" pedaling hard and fast in the saddle, then recovering in the stand up pedal.
I was scared to try pedaling fast, scared I'd fall out of the bike, scared I'd lose control. Next to me Joanna was a blur, up on the stage Rachelle was flying -- and talking at the same time! -- urging us on, while at the same time reminding us to find our own "10."
"Listen to what your body's telling you," she commanded.
My body was telling me, "I don't wanna." But Rachelle's got a talent for combining music with the intensive segments of a class, and it's great at transporting you past the pain or fear or laziness and into a groove.
I found my 10 (or what passes for it so far). With trepidation, I achieved speed.
For the most part, it felt great. There was a measure of flipping and flopping going on with this non-taut body, though, but I was determined to keep going, thanks to Rachelle's encouragement. I was also determined to schedule a shopping trip ASAP.
Another way to spell determination?
Can't wait to go back tomorrow.
February 12, 2013 | 03:31 PM
Sail or drown. "You gonna sail or you gonna drown?!" With all the verve of a Baptist minister testifying, Roland led us through the class.
Sleekly clad all in black, he taught the class from the saddle. Casting enthusiastic eyes on my GF Carey, he exclaimed, "You're racing to me. It's just you and me." She responded, pedaling harder.
Me? My big victory was getting on AND OFF the bike ALL. BY. MY. SELF!!
The first class I couldn't stand and pedal. The second class I did it for (an embarrassing) eight rotations. The third class? Twice as many.
What I am loving about spin class at B East in Amagansett is the continual sense of accomplishment and the surprising array of ways instructors keep us engaged.
Roland's class was completely different from earlier outings. He focused on "races," timed intervals of highest energy output, followed by laying back. He urged us on, on a Sunday morning, and yep – it felt like church, and cyclers were taking care of their bodies.
This time around, the intervals included sections of riding sideways, bending our bikes and bodies to one side, which works the abs. It feels a little awkward, and out of balance, this list. It's another challenge to master.
Lots of people do the sideways ride with a hand behind their back, using just ne hand to guide the lean. I tried it, now confident I wasn't going to fall off the Real Ryder.
Getting a little cocky, I did a little arm exercise during that portion. What was I thinking, I wondered, when Roland began to put us through a series of upper body exercises. I was soon thinking, "Who's a bad ass?" when I was able to completed 40 pushups!
Rachelle led the next class. Her targeted intervals last Wednesday morning focused on riding in and out of the saddle. I did it! Lasted an entire 30-second interval standing up. It wasn't impossible.
Music was an integral part of the class, with the instructor directing us to move our bodies in cadence with the beat.
Picking popular dance music made a difference, I thought. In fact, proprietress Romaine Gordon has a blackboard in the foyer where people can make musical suggestions.
I knew some of the songs, so I knew how long they'd last, how long I'd have to keep up a pace. I've mentioned this before, but interval "sprints" are totally doable when you know they're only going to be for seconds.
Classes are 45 minutes long, but I have yet to have that "what time is it?" feeling. Each time I'm surprised when we reach the cool down phase.
I didn't get out to class last weekend, thanks to Nemo. What I did do was shovel a huge section of the driveway, something I never had the endurance to handle before.
I am getting strong.
I'm going back tomorrow.
February 07, 2013 | 04:37 PM
Lest readers deduce, based on my whining, crying and kvetching about ass pain, that spin is too difficult for an average person to master, I think it's time to tell you a little something about me.
This week I turn 55. So far, in three classes I think I was the oldest woman in B-East.
I am easily 50 to 70 pounds overweight, depending on which table you use.
I have not exercised in over 20 years! Not with any consistency and definitely not in a class with other people and an instructor. I am extremely sedentary.
Despite all these red flags, I enjoy very undeserved good health. I don't get sick and have only taken antibiotics once or twice in my whole life.
At my last checkup, with a new physician, it was clear he was surprised by my blood pressure and blood work results. "You're very healthy," he said.
"You want to stay that way," he added before launching into admonishments about weight loss.
The point of this confessional?
To ensure readers that – I'm old, I'm fat, I'm far from fit, and I can still do spin. Check with your doctor, of course, but you probably can, too.
February 05, 2013 | 10:51 AM
Joe Gaviola was right, spinning is just like sex. If you take your time, get to know what (who) you're riding, and change positions deliberately, when it's over, you can't walk or sit for a while, but you're bathed in euphoria.
Go too fast, try to show off or do too many things at once, and it's all elbows and knees, and somebody's probably gonna get injured.
I met Joanna for a second spin at B-East in Amagansett Wednesday morning. Romaine, the spin diva, offered me more tips. Key among them: You're not going to fall off the bike (which, given my personal experience, kinda kills the sex analogy).
Once I was in the saddle, having clipped in the special shoes ALL BY MYSELF, she pulled it all the way to one side, then to the other to show me that I would never fall off -- and got her own workout in the process, I imagine.
Feeling more secure in the seat, I was ready for the next challenge. Romaine showed me how to increase tension -- similar to changing gears on a regular bike -- and how to use increased tension to "come out of the saddle," meaning pedal standing up. "I want you to try to do that this class," she said.
Rachelle led the class, which was focused on "intervals." Intervals entail changing speed and tension, riding in the saddle or standing up. You work your way, incrementally, to a maximum energy output, then back down, only to work back up to a peak (returning us to the sex analogy).
Rachelle counted off the intervals which could be just seconds long. (Now the sex analogy hits real close to home. Ouch) I came out of the saddle SEVERAL times! I could only last a few rotations, but felt super victorious, confident reaching down to change tension and getting the feel of my bike.
Years and years ago, my son was in a summer soccer league. He was just in kindergarten, which I thought was a little young for organized sports, but who was I to say? I dutifully brought my beach chair down to the field at Springs School to watch him "play."
And play, the little ones did.
Not, soccer, though.
About half the kids actually kicked the ball up and down the field. The other half chatted with each other, or sat in the grass playing with dirt as the "goalie" did cartwheels or threw her arms out and spun around till she got dizzy and fell.
They all had fun, in their own way.
That's how I felt at spin, like the little girl goalie having her own form of fun, mostly oblivious to the rest of the field.
You can be as engaged with other spinners as you want. Although the room can be full of people, the lights are kept dim, the music loud, and the teacher's voice keeps up a steady stream of encouragement and guidance.
Pacing myself, I often pedaled in what seemed like slow motion compared to other riders. But nobody was looking. The environment lends itself to intense concentration, and visualization. Some moments it's just you, the instructor's voice, and the imaginary hill you're climbing. You're in your own world, just like the cute guy in bike 32 is in his. You close your eyes, breathe deeply, and just . . . keep pedaling.
As with the first class, I was surprised when it was over. The time flew, I mastered a new move, felt more confident in the saddle, and toddled around in a thick cloud of runner's high euphoria for hours afterward.
I did still need Joanna to help me off the bike . . . Baby steps.
Speaking of steps. I headed out to Gurney's for a yummy Roman Bath muscle pummeling Wednesday afternoon. Arriving at the spa, I stood at the top of the stairs for a while. Why couldn't they install a T-bar like they have at ski resorts? Then they'd be perfect.
On Thursday I went to the middle school for an interview . . . more stairs. I was inspired to workout Thursday night, back with the hip hop "ghetto fabulous" DVD, a piece of cake compared to spin.
Friday morning I considered using the elevator instead of climbing the stairs to our office. I was wearing jeans I rejected a week earlier because they were too tight and uncomfortable.
I'm going back Sunday morning.
January 31, 2013 | 02:58 PM
I want her to adopt me. I want Romaine Gordon to start a pilot "Adopt a Fatty" program at B-East and choose me to be the guinea pig/ poster child.
With tremendous trepidation, I took her spin class Sunday morning. It was difficult. It was painful, and (cue Piper Laurie from Carrie voice) I liked it!
With the specter of falling off the bike, barfing, wheezing, keeling over and making a fool out of myself looming, I decided to stay in Saturday night, so I'd be good and rested. It probably would have been a good idea to do some light exercise, maybe some stretching to get ready . . . I ate a ton of mashed potatoes and watched six or seven episodes of Sex & The City instead.
Sunday morning I met Joanna at B-East right on time. She, plus two attendants, plus Romaine, plus the guy in the bike next to me, all gathered around to set me up on the Real Ryder. They told me how to sit on the bike, where to put my hands on the handlebars, how to change tension, how to move from a seated to a standing position while pedaling, how to roll the bike from side to side. They helped me clip my feet into the pedals, brought me water, gave me a towel.
The last time that many people paid that much attention to me was when the surgical team prepped me for a C-section 26 years ago. I thought, "This is what it'll be like not long from now, when I'm in the home, and it takes a team to dress me for church." (the presumption being I'll rediscover church when I am sent to the home)
I thought these things all the more, when I was in saddle minutes later, and forgot every single instruction….
Joe Gaviola from Montauk is apparently an avid spinner. "Pace yourself," he warned, his face grave.
Almost everybody said that to me, a lot.
The saddle hurt IMMEDIATELY. They put a special gel seat on. I have more than ample personal padding…but it still felt like hot irons to the coxyx.
Romaine showed me how to sit forward and focus the energy in my core to ease the pain… Of course, I don't actually HAVE a core, so I could only keep that up for a while.
I decided the reason why you see people in spin class standing up and pedaling isn't because they're tough, or showing off. They're trying to avoid the Marquis de Saddle.
I tried standing up, but if your core isn't engaged … there's a whole "I'm gonna fall off this thing" feel.
The music played and I pedaled for a bit. Just as I began to feel the burn and the fear and the anguish, Romaine said, "Now that you're warmed up . . ." I didn't hear the rest because I think I may have sobbed a little.
Romaine reminds me a little of that trainer Jillian from "The Biggest Loser." . .
except she's nice. Seriously encouraging. Throughout the 45 minutes she never let up, urging riders to push, but at the same time letting us know that whatever pace was acceptable to us was just fine.
There were people riding really hard, pedaling furiously the entire time. There were people choosing a moderate, though difficult, pace. And there was me, slow as molasses, ignoring every instruction, especially the ones that involved adding tension by turning a knob on the frame of the bike. Turning the knob involves taking your hands off the handlebars. I decided that was for the more advanced spinners.
Just as I thought my thighs would actually burst into flames, Romaine came around with a basket filled with rubber balls. We'd use those for an upper body workout. Most people continued to pump their legs throughout the routine; I chose to rest . . . as much as you can while trying to stay balanced on the bike.
That was the surprising part. I'd always wondered what the big deal about spinning was… just riding a bike with a bunch of people – can't you do that at home?
Nope. There's a whole lot to maintaining your seat on the bikes, changing arm positions, pedaling, hanging on, boosting tension, keeping your stomach pulled in and engaged -- a slew of things to think about
Gaviola explained that guys love the Real Ryders because they're engineered to work the core. Your abs are key to staying balanced.
When it was all over, Joanna and the guy on the next bike, had to help unclip me from the pedals. I got that "stroke victim in physical therapy" feeling again. I wished I'd worn slip on shoes. I dropped my glove and considered just leaving it there.
Class participants and staff were very friendly, asking me how I felt. When I marveled at the variety of aspects you have to keep track of, Gaviola said, "It's like sex. At first you don't know all the positions, but once you get them down; it's fun."
I'm no idiot. I made plans to head out to Gurney's for a blissful soak in the Roman Bath Sunday afternoon after the class. Things got scary for a bit, in the spa dressing room, when I had trouble undressing myself. Panic set in, when it dawned on me that I'd have to ask an attendant to come help me with my bra. … but I reached down, deep inside and found that last ounce of strength, went for the gusto, and got that bitch unclasped.
Most of Sunday I hopped around like Grandpa McCoy. I was still sore on Monday, less sore on Tuesday.
I'm going back tomorrow.
That guy in bike 32 was cute.
January 26, 2013 | 01:37 PM
"Where's your booty going?" chirped the super peppy Hip Hop Fat Burn instructor as he slid across the TV screen. "My booty (pant) is going (pant) to fall off," I croaked.
"You're ghetto FABULOUS!" he hollered, executing a move best described as The Rerun from What's Happening."
"Ooof" I replied, executing a move best described as "The Elaine Benis from Seinfeld full body dry heave," or, for our older readers, "The Ralph Cramden Hucklebuckle."
About two weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk eating potato chips washed down with microwaved coffee left over from the day(s) before, compiling information about gyms for an upcoming feature in our Health &Fitness Guide.
I pitched the idea of the Health & Fitness Guide, then set to nagging all my coworkers to participate. Emily embarked on a 10 day juice fast, then took a boot camp class.
I ate the potato chips, washed down with coffee, Cremora and Splenda. I do go for the top shelf Splenda, but the powder isn't even "real" Cremora; it's generic. Two apples and a grapefruit sit rotting on the corner of my desk – "Still Life In Fiber."
Last weekend it was my task to visit some gyms and attempt to take photographs. I went to B East to shoot a spin class last Sunday morning. Aside from the whole early morning exertion part, it didn't look that hard. The room was packed with what looked like regular people. Howard Lebwith was there pedaling away with a smile on his face – and he's 80.
Talking about it with Joanna, our ad sales exec and ardent spinner the next morning, I repeated the observation. She repeated what she's been saying to me for a while – a year, maybe three: "You should come take a class."
In a follow up email to Romaine Gordon, B East's fitness guru, I mentioned the class actually looked fun. She repeated the invitation she's offered me periodically – for a year, maybe three. "Come take a class as my guest."
Joanna and I continued to talk about it, and I raised my classic concerns – I'm afraid for my knees.
She said, "You can go at your own pace."
So I said, "Okay. Sign me up."
We talked about it some more (It was only deadline day, so we had plenty of time to chat).
"I think you'll love it," Joanna. "All the energy and music, it's you."
I said "Okay. Sign me up."
After years of refusals, Joanna apparently didn't believe me. After the fourth or fifth time she extolled the benefit of the class, I said for the fourth or fifth time, "Okay. Sign me up."
"I'm signing you up!" she said with a look . . . a look I couldn't quite figure out. I would later realize it was a look of enthusiasm, excitement, and pure evil.
"We have two bikes next to each other near the wall," she told me, walking away chuckling ominously. "Is it in the smoking section?" I asked. "Near the AED?"
She laughed some more.
As days wore on, Joanna would offer little tips. They were, for the most part, scary little tips.
"Be sure to come early, so they can fit you with the special shoes," she advised.
"Whaddaya mean, 'Special Shoes'?" I asked, visions of gutter balls and Lysol prompting a shudder.
"They're to lock you in," she said blandly.
"Whaddaya, mean, 'LOCK ME IN'? I thought I could go at my own pace," I queried, somewhat hysterically.
The spin bikes operate with a flywheel, Joanna explained. You can go at your own pace . . . sort of, she said, walking away, that ominous chuckle trailing behind her.
"Do they have BRAKES?" I yelled after her.
The chuckle turned into a cackle.
By Friday morning, I'd pretty much forgotten about the class, juiced about Saturday night plans to venture upisland to see Van Halen and Pat Benetar cover bands. I regaled office mates about the plan, doing a little "Panama" riff, when Joanna reminded me.
"You better not drink, you have spin class at 9:30," she said. "People with hangovers sometimes puke."
At this point, at THIS POINT, as opposed to, say, four days earlier when I was all "sign me up, sign me up," I ask, "Well, how long is the class, anyway?"
I learned it was an hour long, which didn't seem too horrible. I have a stationary bike in my basement gym that I can ride for 30 minutes, no problem. An hour shouldn't be that bad.
"Hey, it'll be over in time to get to the firehouse for the pancake breakfast," I point out.
"You won't be able to walk," Joanna intones, cackling. "You'll probably have to type standing up on Monday."
Friday wears on, punctuated by tips and and more cackling.
I don't need to bring my own water, Joanna tells me. They have great water there. I wonder if it's infused with Osteo-Biflex and Advil.
The "tips" culminate with a capper. "Don't plan to do anything romantic Sunday night," Joanna, who I thought liked me, warns. "This whole area . . . " she says with a sweeping gesture to the crotch. She doesn't finish the thought, just shakes her head solemnly before walking away.
Where's my booty going? Tonight it's heading to Smithtown for some 80s rock. Tomorrow morning? It's apparently headed to Pain Land.
Stay tuned …
January 15, 2013 | 02:54 PM
I was perched atop a bar stool enjoying my second Guinness on New Year's Day when my sister, who's become somewhat of a health nut as of the last two years, confided in me that she was going to start a cleanse consisting of juicing fresh fruits and veggies.
And that's all she was going to eat. For 10 days. No caffeine, no (gulp!) alcohol, no solid food at all. Just juice and water. That's it.
Four days after the New Year, I was ready for a change. The time had come for me to rid myself of all the toxins, all the waste and all the other delicious, horribly non-nutritious stuff that had become frequent inhabitants of my body. I was embarking on a serious, spiritual, emotional, and, at least in my own head, incredibly annoying journey. And juice was to be my only companion.
When the day came to begin the juice cleanse, I welcomed it with open arms.
I grabbed a small handful of kale, a small handful of spinach, a celery stalk, a few pieces of frozen pineapple, some frozen mango and half a banana. Dropping them into what was to become my new best friend, the Nutri-Bullet (an all in one juicing, food processing, ice crushing gift from god) I added water and watched as the powerful blades pureed the bejeezes out of the produce.
The end result was a green concoction. Think chartreuse, except murkier. And I was to drink about five of those a day.
I was shocked to find how full I felt after drinking one juice. I was also shocked to see how much energy I had. And the good kind of energy, not the tweaked out, crash an hour later version I was accustomed to from coffee, soda, and Redbull. I felt strong. Really strong. So strong that when my stomach began to violently grumble two hours after inhaling my first juice, I paid it no mind. . . for a little while at least.
In the beginning, I was starving. The first few days it was really hard to be in the house, especially the kitchen. I felt food was constantly in my face. Watching TV was almost impossible. I felt lonely, like I wasn't a real person, just a shadow of my former self. It's unbelievable how much I discovered our society revolves around food.
As the week pressed onward, I started looking forward to my juices. I started to experiment with what flavor profiles would complement my palette. I put kale and spinach in almost every single juice I made. When I craved some "nourishment," I had a cup of hot water with lemon. It gave me the illusion I was having a hot meal. . . or a Hot Toddy.
After 10 days, my cleanse ended on Monday. End results: lost almost 10 pounds. Energy levels were up. Sleep was uninterrupted.
I never thought I'd make it, but now I'm looking forward to doing it again . . . soon . . . after I finish this roast chicken and mashed potatoes.