I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Boot Camp’

Shoutout Series: Blonde Oprah

Here’s the thing – I’m a bit of a snob. If a lot of people like something or someone, I’m more likely to look upon it with suspicion than I am to check it out. Generally, I am of the opinion that people en masse aren’t too bright. “Popular opinion.” Gross.

Good thing God knows His cynical child Lady J and worked to order the events of the last two years of my life so I wouldn’t immediately balk and run in the other direction. The services of Blonde Oprah weren’t recommended to me by anyone; I just happened to stumble upon a Groupon for a 3 week belly blast. “Well.” I thought to myself. “It’s more than I’m doing now. How bad can it be? I can do something for 21 days.”

In January of 2013, my mother and I started this boot camp business. When we showed up at 6 in the morning, Blonde Oprah greeted us cheerily as we each stepped on the scale, then proceeded to take us through an hour of foolishness. Her smile, encouragement, and high-pitched voice unfailing, I noted how she seemed equally committed to everyone in the room. I lost 11 pounds in 3 weeks. Friggin sweet.

Of course, I left.

*insert facepalm*

No regrets. This was the time I tried Couch to 5k and fell in love with running. However, I get a call from Blonde Oprah in March, checking in. What is this about? What kind of gym owner checks in on clients? Unless it’s to get money, of course. She actually asked real questions that made it seem like she’s genuinely invested in Lady J. Personally. Whatever, she just wants money, but I can’t deny the progress I made with her. Plus, it’s the only time in my life I haven’t been bored with strength training. I returned to Blonde Oprah after a three month hiatus.

My 50 pound weight loss isn’t really the point here, even though that’s pretty neat. In the 20 months that I’ve known her, I’ve been more moved watching Blonde Oprah interact with others than her interaction with me. This is not to say that her impact on me personally hasn’t been significant. It’s simply that I’ve never seen ONE person do so much for so many people in such a personal way. I call her Blonde Oprah because this group damn near idolizes her. I even saw a cardboard cut-out of her on a trip she could not attend. Her support is kind of a big deal to a lot of people. She often says that she is assured that there is no point in time that she I’d not in at least one person’s thoughts, either cursing her for soreness or inspired by her words. You know what? I think she’s right.

Of all the shout outs I will write, Blonde Oprah’s is definitely the hardest. Not because I feel the least passionate about her, but because I feel like everyone is already on the “Praise Blonde Oprah” bandwagon and I. Loathe. Bandwagons. But that’s the thing about Blonde Oprah. She will read this without offense, shake her head and smile, and say something like, “That’s my Joan.” Stubborn as hell. Hard-headed. She knows me probably much better than she lets on because she is both disturbingly intuitive and knows that if she let me know how well she knows me, I might balk. Blonde Oprah meets people where they are – no matter where they are – and helps them to be brave. Sometimes without the person even realizing it until afterward. That’s something truly remarkable.

Dammit, Blonde Oprah. Thanks for helping Lady J do it.


NB – bitstrip above stolen from some chick on Facebook. I don’t know you but clearly Blonde Oprah has touched your life as well. Thanks!

Is It Really Possible to Find Love at The Gym?


Yes. Yes, it is.

When I started strength training last January, I was not doing so with the intent to build any relationships. “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to maximize my fineness.” This is not to say that I am standoffish person; au contraire, I’m generally sociable and smiley, tee hee. It’s simply that I do things with specific intent – relationships are generally secondary to whatever agenda I have in mind, for better or worse.

However, my gym has the friendliest bullies in town.

I say this because at every turn, its fearless leader was trying to pull me in. To a race. To its Facebook page. To some team-building event. I would politely decline unless I felt something suited my personal agenda. While I dislike disappointing people, I like doing what I want when I want to even more. 🙂 That being said, I feel the tagline of the group really should be “Where no means ‘not yet.'” Everyone gets sucked in on some level, and I am
not immune. It is what it is.

Little did I know what would come of this.

About a year after I initially joined the gym, I was on the Facebook page (bear in mind, I had no Facebook account at all the year before) and I found myself saying something encouraging to someone I didn’t know very well. I had seen her IRL perhaps twice up to that point. Nonetheless, from what I could tell, she oozed positivity. You’d kinda have to be a complete asshole pretty misguided not to be attracted to her energy.

Pretty soon, the two of us were talking often. I realized that often had become daily, to the point where – at least, for me, if I haven’t spoken with her just to say “sup!” something feels off. This may not seem like a big deal for some, but for me it’s freaking huge. I had thought the close friend making phase of my life was over. I hadn’t had a spontaneous relationship generate like that in several years, since I was in graduate school. I simply had figured, “well, people are getting married and making babies, buying houses, getting divorced, and dying.” No time to make new friends. I’ve cherished the relationships I have and work to consistently nurture them. I’m more than elated to report that there’s a new recruit on my bestie roster.

I really trust this woman. She motivates me to be my best, to try things that I ordinarily would not. I feel compelled to write this today because yet again, during boot camp this morning, when we partnered up (for the first time, yay, she is popular) I was able to do something that I’ve been unable to do for MONTHS. Bloody deck squats. She helped me with my first sub 9 minute mile not too long ago. With her in my life, I am stronger, braver, and probably gentler.

To Michele – I’m so thankful that God has brought you into my life! Thank you for sharing you with me. I know I speak for many when I say that you are truly a remarkable woman whose presence makes the world a better place. I love you!


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