Out.com is proud to present the wacky and wild (and absolutely truealthough some names have been changed to protect the guilty) adventures of a 30-year-old guy in Hollywood who just wants to lose a few (dozen) pounds. And find eternal happiness and fulfillment. Is that too much to ask?
Part Two: Lets Get Physical
Bette Midler once quipped how ridiculous it was that she found herself taking Jazzercise classesto the strains of Olivia Newton-John, no less. Bette would sing, Lets get physical, physical, let me hear your body talk My body said, Fuck You! It used to make me laugh, until just the other day, when I swear my body shouted that same exact sentiment.
The good news is that I have lost 13 pounds in my first two weeks. On Brittany Murphy, that would mean her head and right arm had been lopped off. Sadly for me it is the equivalent of losing a toe, and I am not even sure it would be my big one. (Im now at 282 lbs.)
Last week, I decided to go to the Ballys near my house in Hollywood with a new, more positive outlook. I found a bank of treadmills and chose one in the back, so that no one would be able to watch me jiggle from behind. For my motivation, I chose a treadmill behind a guy who obviously had a much different relationship with the gym. His broad shoulders stretched out, exposed beneath his tank top, while his waist came down to a small V, like an arrow pointing out how firm and round his buttocks were. He was just the kind of carrot I needed dangling in front of me to help me forget how miserable I was.
My friend Rand, an aspiring actor and personal trainer to celebrities like Lance Bass, had suggested I walk on the treadmill with an incline of 10 for 30 minutes followed by another 30 minutes on a stationary bike. Not to worry about weight training, but just cardio to increase my heart rate so that I would burn more calories and fat. I think this is something I should have worked up to. This was, after all, only my second workout in six months. I needed windshield wipers on my eyes to see the carrot in front of methe sweat was pouring into them like the recent rains in Southern California. But I figured I should stick with it, as anyone that can make Lance Bass look good in a space suit must know what he is talking about.
I finished my half-hour on the bike and was able to drive myself home without the aid of an ambulance. I decided that maybe the gym wasnt my best option for my physical fitness commitment. All of the books I have read say that you should find an exercise that you love so that you actually enjoy doing it. That was certainly the theory I had subscribed to with my gin martinis.
About a year and a half ago, a group of my girlfriends became obsessed with an Israeli fighting class called Krav Maga after seeing the Jennifer Lopez movie Enough. They have been trying to get me to go ever since, each bragging about how they can now kill someone who attacks them, and they no longer fear walking in an empty parking lot. After complaining about my dread of the gym, my beautiful friend Paddy, an estate manager for a famous Hollywood producer and easily one of my most responsible friends, suggested I join her for a different kind of workout.
Krav Maga, from what I can tell, is Hebrew for look at me the wrong way and I will kick your ass. It should be noted that when I arrived there, I had never been more afraid of an exercise class in my entire life. Fear of the unknown, coupled with the knowledge of how out of shape I am, led me to believe a heart attack was imminent.
There was no instruction. Even though it was a level one class, they just jumped in and assumed everyone would know what was going on or at least catch on and follow along. After a quick loud chant of some word, everyone broke into single file lines and went through the most hellish 15 minutes I had experienced since hearing Paris Hilton was recording an album.
We began doing this thing where we would jab and throw punches while moving forward in a jerky motion. It was like being in an early-80s video game. There was nothing organic about these moves, and, of course, I was the only one in the room going in the wrong direction. As everyone lurched forward, I would go left, and as everyone moved backward, I lunged forward. The tiny woman to my left gave me a look of panic as if I were about to squash her like a bug.
Finally the instructor realized I was a newbie and pulled me to the side for some guidance. When I joked that this is some hell of a sport, he immediately reprimanded me in a stern tone. This is not a sport. It is self-defense. Great, now I was over-heated and embarrassed.
After the jabbing, we partnered up and each took turns holding a pad to our chest, while the other person alternated between kicking and punching it as hard as they could. Paddy, my partner for this experience, held nothing back, and my once serene and sweet friend suddenly released all of her anger and aggression by pummeling my chest. This is an excellent opportunity to clear up a common misconception. People often think that because someone is big, a slap or a punch hurts less. Not true. It just means there is more area to make contact.
The instructor finally put an end to this barbaric battery for a final exercise that can best be described as Duck Duck Goose meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When youre it, you stand in the center of a circle of people. Those in the circle come at you with arms outstretched, and you need to fend them off. The concept was to see how easily a barrage of attackers could overwhelm you if you arent thinking fast on your feet. I have a newfound confidence that if Im ever attacked by zombies, I will be able to take them.
I was already feeling silly about the experience, when I looked up, waiting my turn to play a member of the undead, and noticed a poster of the founder of Krav Maga. He looked exactly like Jeffrey Tambor in one of his characters disguises on Arrested Development. It was the final ingredient I needed to have the church giggles. I was afraid I would have a Mary Tyler Moore/Chuckles the Clown moment and that the instructor would force me to drop and do pushups for making a mockery of this very important exerciseI mean, self-defense practice. I immediately pretended to tie my shoe so no one could see my face. Krav Maga isnt for me. Although I am strangely excited about the prospect of fending off the evil zombies that roam in the night.
Next week, my perky film producer friend, Wendy, has talked me into trying Extreme Dodgeball. Nope, Im not kidding. In the meantime, its back to the treadmill.
To read Part One Click Here