My Trainer Bob Workout, Day 2
The ongoing chronicle of my wife and I and our attempts to do Bob Harper’s Workout Plan from mytrainerbob.com.
It’s Day 2, and you know what that means, and it ain’t French Toast. Day 2 is strength day. Even at 4 stinkin’ 30 I’m apprehensive. My neck and upper back are sore, because I am stupid. Yesterday at lunch, I did my strength workout (back and biceps) and, straining to increase my reps, I tweaked a muscle in my upper back/neck, making it hard to turn my head. Lady Aravan makes me promise to be smart with it, so I need to keep a rein on my own stupidity. At 4 freaking 30 in the morning. Protein shake, feed dogs, water filled, skip heart rate monitor because I don’t want to be distracted, DVD in.
Bob ties his shoe. He looks at me, and I can see that he is determined. “Let’s do this,” he says, firmly but quietly. He walks onto the set, where Helen, Stephanie, and Francisco await him. He slaps their hand one by one. My wife and I aren’t terrorists, but we fist-bump anyway. Let’s do this.
Warm-up time. Stretching arms, breathing deep. Extending legs into a runner’s stretch. Bob goes through the moves quickly, like he’s impatient to get started, but he wants us warm. He’s tells me so. The warm ends quicker than I’d hoped. The hated little timer in the corner started with 68 minutes and change. 68 minutes. Oy.
Weights in hand, and even though I’m only writing this a couple hours later, I can’t even remember what we started with. Squats? I think so, maybe. I’m using 10s this time instead of 15s, Lady Aravan using the new 8s we bought. The tens already feel heavy in my hands. The fan is already running, it’s probably 70 degrees in the basement, and my shirt’s off. I know what’s coming. My body doesn’t.
It’s learning, though. From squats to deadlifts, I think, then weights go all the way to the ground. We jump back into plank, then back. And again. And again. Heart is racing and I can barely breathe, and that stupid timer says 58 minutes to go. It’s going to be a long morning. We repeat exercises, and soon I find myself jumping when I come up from plank, not because I want to, but because Bob tells me to. I listen to him, because I am afraid of him.
Just like yesterday, everything becomes a blur of lifting, lunging, squatting, and grunting. Helen is a machine, and she’s my surrogate, since Bob can see the anger in her eyes and the dirty looks that he can’t see in mine. He laughs in response. “It isn’t a workout unless you get mad at me,” he chuckles with delight. Stephanie is our modifier, showing us what we can do when we can’t do the regular stuff. Francisco isn’t supposed to be a modifier, but he is a lot of the time. I can’t ridicule him too much for resting his weights on his knees as he gasps for air, since I’m doing the exact same thing.
I can distinctly remember some things, though. Lifting the arms straight ahead, then out to the side, then up again, only this time leading with the pinkies. Muscles flaring in tired sheer bewilderment. Over and over. Holding them in position. Brutal. Supination extensions. My lord. Abs tight, pushing the weights out in front of me. Bob wants me to go faster, but I am nearly blubbering like a five-year-old looking at his ice cream melting on the August sidewalk, holding my empty cone. We stop, but only because it’s time to extend the arms to the side. Faster. Faster. Then the front again. Then the sides. Stephanie’s face is the picture of shocked agony, but she doesn’t stop. She’s stronger than I. I pick it back up and keep going.
Triceps extensions. Then down on the mat for Skullcrushers. I didn’t know why they were called that until I nearly brain myself with a ten pound weight in the middle of my forehead. By the time we’re done, my triceps are overcooked pasta swinging inside my skin. Then abs. Doing crunches is sweet relief for my arms and legs. Briefly. Now all I can feel is the searing pain of a hot knife in each oblique. Legs high in the air, pulsing and reaching for my toes. Flop down for two seconds, back up. Flop down. Back up.
Here it comes. I know it’s coming. Bob tells me to go into plank. Weights in hand. It’s painful to my palms as my weight goes onto them, but I know that the pain will vanish soon enough, buried underneath the agony of every other muscle in my body. Plank rows. I know what’s coming. Here it comes.
Pushup. One hand, holding the weight, swings up and behind me as I move into a t-stand. Back down, pushup. T-stand, other side. And again. Bob tells me that now it’s the time to pick up speed. Pushup, t-stand. “Again,” he says. Pushup, t-stand. “Again.” I’m groaning, Lady Aravan is whimpering, Helen is squealing, Stephanie grunting, for all I know Francisco is sitting back and drinking water, but I can’t see. Through the cacophony of agony, Bob says, louder, “Again.” Push-up, t-stand. “Again. AGAIN. AGAIN.”
We’re done. I collapse. We get to go into child’s pose, or was that earlier, after the ab holds? I can’t remember. I do know that I’m standing again. More arm work. Isos. I hold that itty-bitty 10-pound weight straight out in my right hand. Arm shaking. Everyone’s are, trembling with exhaustion, even Bob’s, and as he says often, “and I’m not even doing it.” Move to the side, still up in the air. So hard. Switch sides. Arm drops, I pick it back up and force it into place. Lady Aravan is doing the same, but right now we are lost in our own worlds of pain and determination. Out to the side. Shaking. Let go, sweet relief.
I’m not sure of the order of anything anymore, but I do know the last thing. In plank, as much as I can be, constantly picking my knees off the mat. Bob tells us all to bring our right knee to our right elbow and hold it. Switch it, and hold it. Again. Slow. Controlled. Then it comes. Pick up speed. I can hear my feet slapping the floor as I move as faster as I can. I’m nearly screaming. Lady Aravan’s shoes patter next to me, and she’s yelling. Helen is squealing again, but this mother of four – “and they’re not adopted,” as Bob tells us – is a freaking dynamo. She’s one of my new heroes, what I aspire to be, strong, fit, and determined.
Done. Collapse. Bob smiles at me, even though I can’t see him, and tells me kindly to sit up. I do. Extend leg, hamstring stretch. Bob tells me “THAT was a strength workout.” I can’t disagree, because I still can’t breathe. He’s right of course. My muscles will feel it tomorrow morning, I am sure, when I come downstairs to do the cardio exercise all over again. Stretching is over. I am beat, but again, I feel proud, of myself and Lady Aravan. We slap hands, and I am inspired by her will and determination all over again. She’s strong, she’s determined, she won’t give up. She’s my hero.
Breakfast. Am I inspired by Bob, who I once referred to as the yoga zen granola cruncher, in my choice of cereal? I don’t know, but the granola tastes good. Hit the showers. Time for work.