The Place of Public Shame

As London is that place where you can spend weeks without even crossing your flatmates, I ended up skipping Cilia’s sessions for another month. Clearly learning from my experience.

So April became May, temperature kept going up (with some major down, but, hello UK spring!) and parks started to be more and more packed with people. Especially on a Sunday.

Now, in the cold mist of January the only people populating Clissold Park are insane joggers and some brave dog walker. Plus, I was too focused on surviving to care.  

Imagine my horror when I walked into a park packed with parents with kids, teenagers hanging out with friends, group of friends pic-nic-ing and boozing on the grass, multiplied dog walkers. People, people everywhere. And in the middle, me doing sit ups on a ping pong table.  

I know I shouldn’t be so self-conscious, but, come on, you’ve seen the videos so far. And you can easily guess that a month lazying around didn’t do me any good.

Anyway, Dominic, Cilia’s massive boxing trainer, gave me a wise pet talk: “Nobody’s looking at you, anyway!”

So we started. Badly. The cardio part almost killed me. Cilia made me do this jump thingy, that looked almost like a dance routine. For a while, I felt pretty cool. Well, I wasn’t …

 

Once over, the cardio part left me slightly, let’s say, challenged…

Second part wasn’t as devastating, it looks like I’m putting on some muscles – must the tables/chairs carrying around at work that is giving me consistency.

We finished with sit ups on the ping pong table. Or, how I like to call them, public shaming.

 

Dominic was probably right, but I swear there were some kids giving really bad looks.

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Spring break(ing)

After a few weeks, I achieved, in no particular order:

  • going through a session without gloves on ( in JANUARY!)
  • walking home on my own legs after the session
  • jumping on a bench with relative dexterity
  • going through a (short) series of pushups
  • feeling genuinely energised as a result and not just wanting to crawl in bed and cry

Not massive life changing before-and-after kind of results, but still enough to make me proud.

Ok, maybe not proud, but at least better and hopeful for my fitness future.

Too bad life had other plans and Cilia and I ended up not being in the same place for a whole month. Sure, I could have done it on my own, but I’m still very far from that stage.

When we finally managed to meet, it was already April. The sun was high in the sky, temperature was going up and the freezing air of February seemed a distant memory, well sort of.

However, the warm sun didn’t help, and my lazy month weighed more than expected – lesson learnt here CONSISTENCY IS ABSOLUTE KEY – and after a relatively easy start, I hit a really rough patch.

 

As this wasn’t embarrassing enough, Cilia recruited a professional photographer to take some photos. If anyone is looking for new teaching methods, can definitely take inspiration: appeal to the trainee vanity of trying to look at his/her best – or at least not like a potato bag.

Results below:

 

But, hey, you still get to be in a fitness photoshoot #lifegoals?

 

2017-04-09 10.08.03

New year, new me and other cliches

I bet that New Year’s resolutions of half of the ~western~ world population have written “going to the gym” in big fat letters on their lists. And quite high in the ranking of “improve yourself” moves. I know mine did.

I also bet that those resolutions didn’t survive January. Mine definitely didn’t. I started creating New Month resolutions, hoping that the shorter time frame would help. Spoiler alert, it didn’t.

But not this year. 2017 will be different, hopefully…

After 10 days spent in a food coma, or, as we call it in Italy, Christmas holidays, I rushed back to London to get back into a healthy routine. Or at least try to. My no-bread-carb or refined sugar policy stoically kept me away from the first chocolate cake in the office kitchen. Just the following day I, somehow,  managed to ignore a box from Dum Dum Doughnuts.

But when the first event of the year brought in pizza, I had no choice but admit defeat and give in to my delicious enemy.

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“Well, eating better is not working exactly as planned, but now I’m training, so still counts as healthy habits right?” Not entirely true, but, you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day and < INSERT MOTIVATIONAL CLICHE’ HERE> so still kudos for me.

I met with Cilia again on the first Sunday on 2017, a ridiculously cold morning, in our training spot in Clissold Park.

I was so pumped up for being a good human being and NOT inventing any weird excuses to skip the class, that I started without a single complaint. For literally 5 minutes.

Then everything started aching so badly I started swearing in Italian. Not that I was doing crazy thing, that’s just how bad I am as a trainee.

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At some point, I was negotiating the activities with Cilia. If I was her, I would have been extra pissed at me, but she’s just smiled and kept encouraging me to push my physical boundaries. And it felt good, really good – except for the fact that I almost threw up at the end, but I managed to avoid it, so YAY ME.

Here you go, the final result…

The aftermath

When you start making grown up plans, there’s always the underlined hope to improve an aspect of your life. In my case, it’s starting considering mornings as a functioning part of the day – another battle that I invariably lost for the most part of my adult life so far.

So my grown up plans continuously involved scheduling some activity at the break of dawn – which for my biological clock is something between 9 and 10:30 – so I will be already up and active to live the rest of the day at full capacity.

After my first session, I learned that this is not applicable if you’re barely capable of moving. For the sake of authenticity, I’m sharing the screenshot of my conversation with Cilia, that she kindly posted the day after.

I woke up the next day and I was LIMPING. Not like sprained-the-ankle-while-dancing-on-a-table limping, but proper my limbs-are-probably-never-working-again limping. I was at the same time very proud but also very ashamed of the telling people why. In a city of fitness-addicted, I felt pretty bad being so battered after ONE hour of training. Not that you wouldn’t guess my unfitness just looking at me, but, you know, black helps.

However, a week later Cilia posted the video.To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much buzz from it, I just assumed people would just laugh at it and politely ignored it. Instead, we got a lot of positive comments and friends and people here at the office asking me when I started doing, that it looked cool and intense, and “go girl”.

The most amazing piece of feedback, however, came from a quite unexpected source. When I went back home for Christmas, all of my extended family on Facebook have seen it and shared it with the ones not online, and all of them were so impressed and supportive. It really warmed my heart and tickle my pride – you know, the days of my dance shows are long gone and I still secretly adore the spotlight.

As I said, the idea of this blog came long before I actually started my journey, but I think that it really took shape and solid roots in the weeks after my first session.

It was basically market validation, I needed to see if people would actually read it before starting putting any effort in it. Sounds lazy, but this is actually just lean methodology, saving money and energy since 2011 – clearly the part when exercise is supposed to distract you from your job, is not working on me.

A very difficult beginning

I grew up in a very active and sporty environment. My father and brother are football fanatics, but don’t turn their nose up at anything that involves balls and competition. My mum used to be an athlete in her days, or so she claims. As long as I lived with them, I tried to keep up with all this exercise frenzy, even if in my own creative way.

Came the time to go to uni, I moved out of their house to start my new exciting, independent adult life. Being unsupervised, however, brought up my true, so far hidden, nature: when it comes to physical exercise, I’m a ridiculously lazy human being. Also, if ever confronted with the choice of going to the gym or to an aperitivo with my friends, or acquaintance even, there is no possible scenario, or parallel universe, in which I would choose the former.

Every now and then, I would try to join a gym or go for a run, which is by far one of the things I understand less on this planet, but no matter how conveniently close it was, I ended bailing all the time(to be honest, 70% of the population do that, so I’m in good company!). For quite a while, I considered partying a more than suitable form of physical exercise.

Of course, as you could assume, I hardly met people into exercising and the reasons behind it actually being a hobby always remained quite obscure to me.

Cilia and I became friends after a few minutes I stepped foot in the office. We bonded over gossiping and food, like all solid friendships do.

I had just moved to London and I was having such a hard time adjusting to the life here,  every evening I was so tired I couldn’t wait to throw myself into bed. Every evening after work Cilia would go to the gym: I was so impressed by her commitment, something I could only dream of. So when she said she was starting her PT training, that would occupy her weekends during 4 months, I was shocked!

I told her that I could never do that and that I would be the nightmare of every personal trainer that ever stepped foot on treading mill. Of course, Cilia being Cilia, she accepted the challenge and decide to start working with me. And I promised I would make an honest account of this crazy journey.