Te-Erika’s Diary: A Few Stops Along The Road To Fitness

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I’m sitting in bed right now and my legs are hurting. This isn’t unusual for me ever since I started my fitness journey. With each month I step it up a notch. A few months I completely stopped working on it because I became comfortable with my progress, but I started again.

This time instead of doing workout videos at home, I joined the Hollywood YMCA. Since then, I have been going to the gym every single day and had to force myself to take a rest day last week because I have read that rest days are just as important as working out so that your body will repair itself from the damage you are doing to it by pushing it physically.

Why am I motivated? Well, yes I gained weight. But honestly, I still think I look good. But in my mind there is a woman who is my dream version of me and she works out everyday and is very fit and beautiful. I want to become her.

I’ve been reading stories of people who became fit, lurking in forums and asking questions and trying to create an exercise program for myself. I do understand that weight loss is about diet more than exercise so I am using MyfitnessPal.com to track my calories and exercise and I am religious about it because it makes me feel good and it’s fun.

I’ve lost about a pound a week since I started seriously tracking my meals. This week was the first week I didn’t lose any weight but my friends on MyFitnessPal say that when you start to work out, you’ll stall in your weight loss because your body produces water and holds it for a while. I felt better after reading that.

I go to the gym. Well, actually I go to the YMCA. I never thought I’d join a gym because I thought gyms were for the beautiful people with perfect bodies, nothing like me.

But I’ve gone and I’ve been faithful and it’s only been about 3 weeks but I feel happy every day when I wake up and I go there. Some of the instructors aren’t so nice and there’s this one guy who works at the front desk who is a pure asshole all the time to everyone, including his co workers, he doesn’t smile, he ignores me when I come to ask a question and I heard him being rude to someone on the phone. I swear the worst people are always the hosts at companies, but for the most part, working out at the gym has been a great experience.

Lately, I’ve been venturing out and taking more group classes. This is a challenge for me because I am not a social person. I have trouble making eye contact when I speak with people and I usually don’t have anything in common with people so I don’t like socializing. My mind is on another level. But, the best part about being at the gym is, we all have one thing in common, we want to be fit. I find it pretty easy to start a conversation with women before or after the classes and although I start to feel a bit panicky because of my social anxiety, I haven’t had a panic attack at the gym from socializing yet. I’m managing so far.

Today I almost started crying in class. This one woman named Jen who I see at the gym every time I go, which is EVERY DAY, she has like a nice sculpted back and slim legs. She told me to check out this teacher named Natalia on Saturdays. “She’s really hard,” Jen said. “But you’re going to feel it.”

So I went to Natalia’s class and waited for it to begin. She teaches strength training with elements of kick boxing. I was so not ready for all of that. Just watching Natalia demonstrate the moves and lead us through the routine was so surreal. I felt like I was inside one of my workout videos but it was way tougher.

During one part where she had us punching repeatedly, I just felt this surge of release and relief from some anger I was holding in and I almost started crying because in this society we’re taught not to express anger, especially physically but with this boxing element, I could do that. Angry and upset, I punched the air with everything in me and then I let it go. It felt so good to do that. I thought I would quit like so many times during her class because she was SERIOUS. She didn’t give any breaks, she went straight through not playing around, all kinds of workouts including one with weights, ab work, kicking, jumping, jumping rope, bending, reaching-

The beautiful part about her class was that it wasn’t like spin class where everyone in there is fit and trim. This class had everyone in it, all sizes, colors and shapes. Some people could do all of the moves, some (like me) couldn’t. But everyone tried their best and we worked it out.

I went to another class at the Hollywood YMCA and it was called Latin Groove. I didn’t mean to go to that class but I had just hopped off of the elliptical and I was headed to the women’s locker room when I paused as I walked by the aerobics studio and watched the ladies dance. The instructor glanced out the door, saw me and waved inviting me in, so I went in.

His name was Alfredo and he was a TRIP. It was like we were on some kind of TV show or something. He put on a show like he was auditioning for a talent search. He has such charisma and flavor that I kind of wanted to be his friend just to have more fun with him. Seriously, this dude had us popping, kicking, shaking and moving like I have never before in my life. Honestly, I didn’t think I had it in me. I couldn’t keep up all of the time but I did keep moving and worked up a nice sweat. I found myself feeling sexy, beautiful and kind of magical as I danced to the Latin music. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like that. Yeah. I think I’ll go back.

Oh, I took another class the other day, it was cardio kick boxing. This instructor’s name was Lisa. Lisa was probably my height, itty bitty, looking like she needs help carrying the groceries. But let me tell you, when she started guiding us through the strength training exercises, I could tell this woman could hold her own. Then when we went upstairs to the boxing room, we got to wear real boxing gloves and hit the bag for real! That was like a dream. I remember her correcting my form as I jabbed and hit and her telling us to move our feet. She was funny in a comedic type of way and the class was just small enough for everyone to get personal attention but not too much.

You could tell she loved her job and I was glad that I felt so welcomed. By the time we were done I was exhausted. I was like- ENOUGH!

But that didn’t stop me from trying another class. I didn’t want to do Gravity strength training again because I didn’t like my first experience but one of my classmates, Loraine actually encouraged me to try a different instructor. Since Loraine has a banging, amazing body, I had to take her advice.

This time I went in to meet Beverly, who almost had me drooling when she took off her jacket. Why is it that I don’t compare my body to any of the women in the gym except for the instructors? In fact, I’ve NEVER compared my body to anyone else’s in my life because I always thought I was perfect. Now, standing next to these instructors I feel fat. And Beverly isn’t some young 20 something instructor, she’s probably around 50 years old and her body— Mmm Mmm Mmm.

But she was so different from the first Gravity instructor I had named Caroline. When Beverly spoke it sounded like she was singing a lullaby. When she led the class, no one was grunting or panting (except for me) and no one lagged behind. When I was in Caroline’s class, I had to call it quits because I couldn’t keep up with her pace and as I looked to my left, two of my classmates had done the same. All three of us laid there on our Gravity machines and watched her effortlessly complete the set of 20 and start another one as though she was working out by herself.

Beverly didn’t do that. She would demonstrate the move and then walk around correcting our form. She had to come visit me maybe a hundred times because I was so new at the exercises and I could tell she was coming when I heard a little giggle and she would appear, straighten me up and disappear again.

Her voice was so soft when she was counting up, then down, then adding, “Crunch 1, Crunch 2, Crunch 3,” as we did our crunches.

I still haven’t developed a routine for myself yet. Through reading and lots of research I have learned that to really be a fit woman, you have to lift weights. I do that but I don’t like it, it’s boring. I don’t want to be skinny fat which is what I read will happen if I don’t incorporate a weight program into my program.

Honestly, I feel so much pressure to get it right. I do everything with such fervor and I’m usually amazing at everything that I do and I expect this to be no different. I’m almost done with Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred and I HATED IT but I am finishing it because I finish what I start.

**Edited** Here are my FINAL RESULTS for the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.

30 Day Shred FINAL Results Te-Erika Patterson

I wish I had some help on this journey or at least a friend who was serious about being fit too but I’ve learned to rely on myself. I’ll tell you what, I am so grateful that I joined the YMCA because it may be the key I need to becoming the woman of my dreams.

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