Sunday, February 3, 2013

Before and After: a Fitness Love Story

Hi friends!  
This is a long one.  
But I hope you'll enjoy it.  
Please let me know if you do. 
Also, if you're friends with me on Face Book and have de-friended me because you are tired of my endless posts about working out, then this probably isn't the post for you.
Just saying.
Do you remember falling in love?
Remember when that person was all you could think about?
You always wanted to be with them.
You missed them if you didn't see them for even one day.
You felt like a better version of yourself just by being around them.
And when you did have to be away from one another, you talked about them all the time, to anyone who would listen.
Falling in love is pretty magical, isn't it?

I remember those early days with Aaron.
He wrote me letters all the time--illustrated and full of the funny, Aaronish, kind of things he says that I loved and thought were brilliant, and no one else really got.
But I made them listen to his letters anyway.
Because I was in love.
We went out with a friend of mine once and she later told me that if she saw us kiss, or heard us say "I love you" one more time she was going to barf.
"Just you wait,' I told her. "You're turn will come and then I'm going to remind you of this day."
It did and I did.
And I was happy for her, because she was in love.
Because being is love is wonderful, isn't it?

Love is also a lot of hard work.
I've written before about the hard work of love--that it isn't always pretty, or fun, or easy, but when you stick to it, the results are worth all that labor.
And I know you're wondering, "where is this going?  I thought she was going to talk about fitness.  Or is she talking about love? Is this a serious post or a joke?"
It's no joke.
I'm seriously in love with fitness.
No, I'm not kidding.
I really am.
In love.
With working out.
For reals.
Let me tell you why.

January was my 6 month birthday with Long Beach Boot Camp.
I cannot say enough good things about this company, my trainers, and the people I work out with.
My Boot Camp classes are a highlight of my day.
And, I fully admit, on some of the harder days, they are the highlight of my day.
My trainers make me laugh, and smile, and work up a sweat.
They push me.
They care.
Morning work outs give me energy to face my day, and evening workouts help me shake off the stress from a long day.
The endorphins that begin coursing through my body the moment we start our warm up run, fill me with a lightness and happiness akin to, you guessed it, being in love.
Although I have been active all my life, I have never worked out like this before.
I've never put in so much effort to really changing my body and to getting fit.
And so, I have never before experienced the work out "glow" fitness lovers talk about.
"I feel so amazing when I run," they'd say.
And I'd roll my eyes and mutter, "yeah right," under my breath.  
Or, "I just love working out hard, and getting a really good sweat."
Turns out, they are right.
A good sweat does feel great.
And while I still don't feel amazing for an entire run, I do for parts of it, and I certainly do when I'm done.
You can tell I feel amazing in this photo, taken after we ran up and down giant hills, in the rain, at 5:30 am.

But it didn't start that way.
My relationship with fitness had a rocky beginning
I went to my first class not knowing what to expect.
It took a couple of weeks to even get up the courage to go.
In the 5:30 am darkness, I pulled up to the basketball courts at at school I'd never been to, to workout with a trainer and a group of women I'd never met, and to try to complete a workout I was woefully unprepared for.
But I stuck it out.
And I went back the next day, and the next and the next.
My entire body was sore for weeks.
Even my toes and fingers hurt.
I felt like I had been in a car accident or something.
But I kept going.
5 or 6 days a week, I'd wake up at 4:50, lace up my shoes and go.
I'd come home, a hot, sweaty mess, and fall into bed next to Aaron, moaning in pain, to tell him about our workout.
"It was soooo hard!" 
Before long, I was glowing when I said it.
And my Facebook statuses began to be filled with tales of runs on Signal Hill, mastering a "real" push up, and how many crunches I'd done before 6 am.
I wanted to tell everyone about it.
(And I know, I know, I've talked about this before, but I just can't help talking about it again)
I had fallen in love.

So much so, that I dreaded the day my one month membership to Boot Camp expired.
On my last day, I hugged my trainer Sammie goodbye, and got in the car crying.
Around lunch time, I opened my emails and read this from my sweet, sweet husband:
I’ve seen such an amazing transformation in you over the past month.
I just want to tell you how proud of you I am!
And I was so sad that today was your last day of Boot Camp.
Or is it...
I just got off the phone with Jo.
And, we’ve extended your Boot Camp indefinitely.
I do not want you to have to end what has been such a great experience.
I love you,

Then the tears really poured!
Isn't he just the best ever?
It is one of the greatest gifts I've ever gotten.
I am so incredibly grateful to that man of mine.

I've done my best not to let him, my trainers, or myself down.

That means still waking up at the crack of dawn to work out in the freezing cold, (34 degrees!), or to go running when it's so cold it makes your teeth hurt.
These are things I never, ever thought I'd do.  (remember this?)

It means doing things I am afraid to do, like wall push ups.
And it means doing things like plank jumping jacks and spider man push ups, even though my first thought is, "no way".
It means going to class at night if I missed my morning class.
It means sweat stains, sore muscles, and making unattractive grunting noises as I try to do one more tricep dip.

So, here I am, 6 months later, and nothing has changed.
Except for the fact that I love this fitness thing even more.
Oh yeah, and my body.
My body has changed a lot.
Aaron recently told me that my toosh looks better now, at 36 and 4 kids later, than it ever has before.
I guess he's pretty happy with my Boot Camp results too.
These pictures were taken after 1 month of Boot Camp and after 6 months of Boot Camp.
The thing that amazes me is that I felt so proud of my progress after just 1 month.
And I had every right to be proud. 
I had started the work, and was already seeing changes in my body.
But when I look at those after pictures, just 5 months later, I feel even better.
I'm not going to lie, I feel amazing!

These pictures are terrible quality, I know.
Obviously I am not a great blogger, or I would have taken the time to take better before and after pictures.

Or at least have taken the time to clean the mirror.
But even with these bad pictures, you can see the difference, right?
I can too.
And I am still pretty blown away by it.
But far more better than any difference I see, is the difference I feel.
I feel like a new person.
I am happy in my skin.
I am happy in my jeans.
You know that chunk of fat that's hanging over my pants in those before pictures? 
My muffin top?
It's gone.
Hallelujah!  It's gone!
That is what hundreds and hundreds of crunches, bicycles, single leg pikes, romans, and all sorts of other tortuous ab workouts will do to a muffin top.
Yes, this love thing is hard work, but it is so worth it.

I really could go on and on.

Love will do that to you, you know.
But I'll end with this.
Beyond feeling great and fitting into smaller clothes, I also am so excited about the things my body can do now that it couldn't before.
In fact, it can do things I never dreamed it could.
When I started, I couldn't run a quarter mile.
Now I run an 8 minute mile.
I could hardly do 1 burpee.
Last week, I did 150.
I couldn't complete 20 push ups, on my knees, without stopping to rest often.
Today I did 215.
It's been hard work, but it has also been so much fun!
It feels good to be strong.
It feels good to be fit.

I don't plan on quitting anytime soon.
In fact, I have dreams for my future.
Like taking my grand kids for hikes, the same way my dad does with my kids.
It's not a crazy notion.
I run bleachers with a grandma.
She inspires me.

And in the meantime, I'll keep working out and having fun.
And I'll enjoy fitting into dresses that I haven't worn in 10 years.
That's pre-kids!
(and yeah, I keep my clothes for forever.)
What do you think, do I look like a woman in love?
Love from,
*If you made it this far, thank you for not giving up.  There's just a touch more.
I just have to reiterate how much I owe to my Aaron for all of this.  He has been endlessly supportive and giving.  From the financial investment, to the way he always says, "I've got the kids, you go to class"--he is the reason I have been able to make it happen.  He never begrudges me the time  spend in class.  So yes, I am a woman in love. Twice over!  Thank you, darling!

And, if you live in the Long Beach area, and are looking for the best workout around, come to Long Beach Boot Camp with me.  I promise, you won't be disappointed!

*If you are interested, you can find my previous posts about my journey to fitness here and also here.


Ginger Ellyn said...

GRETA!! You look beyond amazing, i'm speechless! Especially the last picture, you in the dress, your gleaming its so adorable =]

this motivates me to start working on my summer body haha

You are the WOMAN! Thanks for being so inspiring in everything you try and accomplish, miss you and love love love love you <3

Ginger Ellyn said...

Greta!!! You look beyond amazing! This is so motivating, and you're literally gleaming in the adorable picture of you in the dress I can't get over it!

I want to be a classy lady just like you

Thank you for being so inspring in everything you accomplish <3 love love love love you and miss you

Aaron Eskridge said...

I am so proud of you for everything that you have accomplished over these past 6 months! You truly are an inspiration. It has been such a pleasure to watch you grow so strong, and find a release that gives you such joy. You look AMAZING, and you are AMAZING! You are my hero, and I will always support you.

Loving you,

Terrie said...

What a huge difference, but I thought you looked great before! You have inspired me to push myself more. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

you look amazing! congratulations! - a @ dahlhaus

Unknown said...

Well, I was going to write something but Aarons comment made my cry, so I can't.

Well done, my friend.