As many of you have gotten to know me in my nearly 10 years out here at the Chisago County Press, you all know different parts about me.
I write sports, I work on the website and computer trouble shooting, work in the copy and ad design department, and I also work on the advertising side. I visit your businesses as a patron. I see a lot of familiar faces out at community events. Everyone that I work with sees a different side of me depending on our relationship.
But there’s one thing that a constant and that everyone knows about me. I’m a big guy that’s out of shape. I always have been. Dating back to my childhood days, I was always a bigger kid, and then as other’s growth slowed down around me, mine didn’t. I stayed active through high school in football, weight lifting and track and field (emphasis on the field portion of that sport) but I never stayed in shape.
That only got worse after high school. I am still active, but in a lot less demanding sports and with a lot less structure than in high school. I play in two local volleyball leagues and a co-ed softball league, hardly active enough for a guy of my size.
I’ve made every excuse in the book over the years to not attempt a healthier lifestyle. It’s too much time. It’s too much work. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what I’m doing. All of those have been uttered by me at some point over the last 10 years. The excuses will finally stop this weekend.
I recently met Rhea Frederichs, the owner of Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping in Forest Lake, through a business meeting. From there she had an idea for me to try the program out and give it an honest review to readers as I went through their standard 10-week classes. It’s six days a week, for 45 minutes, for 10 weeks. There is plenty of time slots to go in the morning or after work, including 5, 6 and 7 a.m. and 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and there’s a nutrition part to it also that I’ll be finding out about soon. Their classes rotate between strength training with resistance bands and cardio kickboxing.
Rhea told me of the camaraderie among the participants and the general positive vibe at the classes, which piqued my interest. But, it seemed like a lot of work and a big lifestyle change for me. And I was terrified of potentially doing it.
At this point, we were mostly communicating through e-mail and in response to her offer of going through the program, I typed up a long-winded e-mail that was chock full of excuses and was going to turn her down. Spring isn’t a good time with sports. Let’s wait until summer. I have two young dogs that need a lot of attention. I’m not ready for something like this. I sat at my desk for a few minutes and looked for ways to refine my excuses and make them seem more legit to her.
I never hit ‘Send’ on that e-mail.
As I was looking at ways to make my excuses more believeable, I realized I needed to stop making excuses and that this was the kick in the pants I needed. I need to make a change. I needed to be held accountable, and what better way than having 4,000 readers hold me accountable throughout this process.
I deleted that original draft and replaced it with “I’m in, let’s do this.”
That was about a month ago. Since then, my fiancé Aly has decided to join me on this adventure, and we are both nervous, but very excited. We both took part in two free classes that Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping periodically offers for friends, family and people curious about joining.
The first class we tried was the strength training with resistance bands, specifically a leg day. It was low impact, but high activity. I could feel muscles working in my legs that hadn’t been worked since high school. I felt good after the workout, but the next few days were tough to get off the couch or up from my desk. There was a sore burn to my muscles, but it was a good burn. It’s the one you know is working.
We recently tried the cardio portion of the program for a single session, and that was an eye-opener. It’s constant movement, and it definitely got the heart pumping. I was sweating in the first couple minutes and after 20 minutes, I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it through. But, I was in an advanced class that was specifically for longtime members and you’re able to slow yourself down a bit and work at your own pace if it gets to be too much. Both Rhea and Jeff, the owners, assured me that in the 10 week class, there is a bit more of a build up to the advanced classes.
I paired up with Doug during the cardio kickboxing, a member who was actually the inaugural 10-week challenge winner for men at the Farrell’s Extreme location in Forest Lake -- each man and woman with the biggest transformation (which takes in many factors, not just weight loss) after 10 weeks wins a $1,000 prize. Doug was very helpful and had a lot of the combos and techniques down but helped me along with them. He easily outpaced me during the session, and I was shocked to hear afterwards that he is 64 years old. He worked out like he was in his 20s.
All of it has led us to this week. Orientation for the 10-week session is on Saturday, April 8 at the gym at 808 Lake Street in Forest Lake and the classes begin Monday, April 10. There’s still time for anyone to register who might take this column as that kick in the pants too. I’ve gotten nervous about the start this week, but I’m also excited. Excited to stop making excuses and do something about my health. I’ll be taking you guys along for the journey with updates throughout the program.
I know it’s going to be a lot of work and quite a lifestyle change, but I’m ready to roll and I hope I can inspire even one person to take the first step too. Here’s to a demanding 10 weeks and hopefully a transformation I can be proud of!