Sure, you can get anything on the Internet.
But fit? I didn't think so.
These are the words of a changed woman.
Seventeen pounds lighter, sleeping through
the night for the first time in my life,
energetic, fit and strong, I am the worst kind
of proselytizer -- worse, by far, than the
reformed smoker, recovering carbo-loader
or even politician. I know on-line fitness
when I see it. And I've seen it.
TrulyHuge had a questionnaire that required measuring my height and the size of
my body everywhere from my ankles to my
wrists. It asked about injuries, access to a
gym, pool, weights or any other athletic
equipment. I started filling in the boxes on
the screen and noticed that I hadn't been
tempted to lie. Not for my weight, height,
bad habits or goals.
There was something about not being
seen by the recipient of these statistics that
allowed me to tell the full-sized truth. I think
that's when I became intrigued. Already
this was a step up from my last personal
training experience: No pep talks, no pitches for products I wouldn't feed my septic
system and, especially, no welterweight endomorph lashing my middleweight self with
tape measures. That means no on-site humiliation. As for on-line humiliation, who
I wrote that my goals were to lose 15
pounds, increase my aerobic stamina, get
back into my clothes (that is, get smaller,
not bulk up with muscle), feel better and get
a little more energy. I didn't ask about sleep.
As a lifelong insomniac, it never occurred to
me to include it in my goals.
I wrote that my dream workout would be
portable, allowing me to keep up my routine
at the gym, at my home in the country
(where I have nothing but a few hand
weights) and on the road. Being a writer,
wife and mother, I have a haphazard schedule, one prone to constant interruption. This
had helped me to fail with personal trainers
before: keeping those appointments was
hard, though paying for them when I canceled was even harder. After I moved upstate, I discovered that the going rate for a
personal trainer was only $20 an hour, much
less than what I had been paying in Manhattan. But that's still hefty enough if you train
three times a week for the length of time it
takes to get in shape, which I figured in my
case would be a minimum of eight weeks.
So I signed up for Trulyhuge for 12 weeks,
hoping that at the end of it I might be truly
small. The total cost was $80, for a 3 month
for a diet plan, a training regimen and
coaching on line. This includes unlimited
questions from client.
The man on the other side of TrulyHuge is
Paul Becker, who trains bodybuilders in
Los Angeles along with running the Web
site, which also features products, promotes
his training and sells his book, "Truly Huge."
Within two days of my returning the questionnaire, my complete diet and exercise
routine arrived by E-mail. It was portable.
It accommodated gym, home and hotel
room workouts. The dietary recommendations were for a higher protein-lower carbohydrate routine and included sample
The advice: drink more water and less
juice, and cut back on bread -- not hard
moves to make.
His eating regimen was
sensible and understandable, calling, for
example, for an egg-white omelet in the
morning. I don't eat eggs, so now I have a
fruit shake with tofu, soy powder or skim
milk every morning.
Wanting to track my progress efficiently,
I waited until the first day of a new month to
go back to the gym. And when it came, I
went, armed with nothing more than three
pieces of paper from Trulyhuge and my
My program required five days of 30-minute aerobic workouts each week plus
three strength sessions.
The aerobic exercise recommended was power walking,
which I did on a treadmill at the gym. All
the exercises, I was instructed, were to be
done in sets of 15 repetitions unless otherwise stated.
The three strength days, each separated
by a day or two of rest, broke down as
Day One: two sets of leg presses, one set
of leg extensions, two sets each of leg curls
and seated calf raises, and as many reverse
crunches as possible.
Day Two: two sets of bench presses, one
set of incline bench presses, one set of flies,
two sets of lateral raises, one set of bent-over lateral raises, one set of french presses, one set of triceps pulldowns and as many
reverse crunches as possible.
Day Three: two sets of rows and one set
each of lat pulldowns, standing barbell
curls, incline dumbbell curls, wrist curls,
reverse wrist curls and reverse crunches.
The freehand program, or what I call the
at-home/on-the-road workout, included
push-ups, deep knee bends, calf raises, side
leg raises and reverse crunches.
By the night of day four I had the sensation that my legs were humming. Lying in
bed (not sleeping, of course), I could feel my
Paul replied to my on-line
query about this within hours. My legs, he
said, were burning fat. I was hopeful. By the
end of the second week, I had lost three
pounds. Was I naïve to have hoped for
Two and a half weeks into the program, I
had dropped four pounds. I E-mailed this
progress to Trulyhuge, and Paul wrote me
an encouraging note saying I was doing
great. I requested a more thorough explanation of the free weight routines. By the end of
the day, I had received a completely understandable breakdown of the exercises.
I came to
appreciate the reminder that someone out
there was keeping track of my progress.
Weight loss and training, I found out, is not
something most friends and relations find
After 30 days, I cut out all alcohol. Two
weeks after that, I started sleeping.
more than that: I did eight straight hours
asleep, for the first time in my life. And
every night since I have simply gone right to
sleep -- face down, face up, it makes no
difference. My husband swears that once he
thought I was dead. He managed to wake
me, but, no matter, I went right back to
That month I lost five more pounds. But I
was frustrated. I had hoped for two pounds a
week. So, I tried that time-honored, weight
loss motivator: I got an expensive haircut.
Eight more pounds were gone by the end of
the next month.
I E-mailed Paul Becker and told him how
pleased I was: 17 pounds gone in less than
three months. I am very pleased to be going
into June without that weight. But I had to
ask one more question: Why was I sleeping?
In his answer, he used an old English
measure, and it was so comforting to see it
in this digital age that I've kept his note
tacked on my wall: "Lose a stone (14
pounds)," it said, "Sleep like a rock." He's
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