BLOG: Clark: Goodbye 50-pound child

Ellyn Clark
Oct 12, 2010

This past week was week No. 41 of the FIT Challenge. It was also the week to turn in our final stats and weight for the month of September. 

I always get nervous about final weigh-in and stats week. I guess it's because I know I work out hard, but then wonder, are Gary and Annette working out harder? I don't really know about them, but this past Oct. 6, I would say my work out was pretty hard.

Things got quite interesting. T.J. Temper, my personal trainer from the Northern Ohio Medical Fitness Center, after eight months of  training, decided to give me a surprise.

No, it wasn't my birthday. Nor was the surprise a healthy food basket or an "Atta girl" trophy. Any guesses?

Here's a hint, it was black, had Velcro on it, went over my head, and I had to lay down to get into it.

Did you guess yet? Well if you guessed a weight vest, weighing in at 48 pounds, then you'd be right on the money!

I had to do my entire workout wearing this vest. It contained the amount of weight that I have approximately lost. Yup, I had to do 20 Army squats, run, 20 push-ups (with the vest on I could only squeeze out 15), run, side step squats on the stair stepper, leading with the left leg then switching to the right, back and forth, back and forth, as quickly as I could for 45 seconds. Then it was run.

Next? It was holding a 6-pound ball above my head while stepping up onto a wooden box with my left leg (the box being approximately 2 feet high) while lifting my right leg as if I were going to take another step up. I did this 10 times with my left leg then switched to my right and did the same thing 10 more times, and then I ran.

What came after that? Lunges. I usually hold a 12-pound bar across the back of my shoulders while doing lunges, but since I was wearing the vest, T.J. decided I could forgo the bar. Whew, talk about relief. It was lunges down the straight track, turn around and do lunges all the way back. Nope, no running after the lunges; it was 20 diamond push-ups (but again, I could only squeeze out 15 with the vest on). 

After the diamond push-ups? Yup, more running. Usually after the diamond push ups and the running, it's 20 crunches while holding an exercise ball in between my legs, keeping them straight as possible. But T.J. didn't make me do the crunches, not only would they have been too awkward while wearing the vest, he was concerned about my rib. I am still slightly recovering from a rib injury. I was able to do two circuits while wearing the vest.

What was running through my mind during the whole workout? I kept thinking how difficult it was to do the workout with the almost 50 extra pounds of weight on my body. I kept thinking, "How in the world did I physically function with all that extra weight?" "How in the world did I allow myself to get to the heaviest weight I had ever been in my life?" "Why did I do that to myself and to my body?" 

I was also thinking, "I'm in the best shape I've ever been in my life and if that were not the case, there is no way I would have ever completed two circuits while wearing this vest let alone one." I also kept thinking, "50 pounds? 50 pounds?" That's a small child. To keep myself motivated to continue with the workout, I imagined just that, a 50-pound child on my back. This child was depending upon me to carry her to safety. If I gave up, decided I wasn't strong enough to carry her or decided I was just too tired to go on, she would die.

Hmm ... wondering if there is any metaphor or symbolism to this.

Anyway I'm still thinking about the whole vest experience. I never ever want to carry that much extra weight again in my entire life. But it is pretty awesome to know that if I ever had to, I could save a 50-pound child.