The alarm screeches from the bedside table. Concurrently, my iPhone plays an annoying samba rhythm from the bedside table on the other side of the bed. To shut the noise off takes quite a bit of groping about, turning on lights, movement and groaning.
It is 5.45 am.
The first instinct of the day is to shut all the noise off, get the duvet, pull it up over my head and go back to sleep for another 45 minutes.
But no. This is the start of the new old regime.
There is no time for slacking - not at this hour.
A minute later, finally erect, I stumble towards the toilet for the daily morning release. After a quick pee, I go to the the pile of clothing outside the bathroom door, pull on underpants and leggings, strap on my heart rate monitor chest strap, struggle with the industrial strength kevlar scaffolding of a sports bra that would be quite efficient as a straight jacket, pull a crop top over the said scary bra then a corporate tri-top over that. Then its on with a pair of socks and my runners. Over the top, my favorite fleecy hoody with the word,'Boston' emblazoned across the chest.
It is now 5.58.
I grab my pre-packed bag containing a small towel, a water bottle, my wallet, gym pass and house keys and leave the flat.
It's a seven minute scout run to the gym or a ten minute walk, depending on the energy levels. Today, I scout ran the 800 metre distance - walking to one stobey (power) pole, running to the next - all the way to the gym. I notice the stars in the sky, Orion clearly visible, noting that with the early setting of the moon, the stars are out in the city. It's cool - you don't see many stars in the city that often - not like out in the country where stars are abundant and beautiful and clear nights.
Scanning myself into the gym, I feel the sense of foreboding.
"You're here again?!" asks the receptionist, incredulously. I had said good night to her some ten hours earlier, sweat drenched smiling after a reasonably gruelling session with Pinochet.
"What does it look like?" I grunted. "Too bloody early."
"You'll be fine." she smiled at me.
I haul my carcass up the gym's back stairs, fill my water bottle from the tap near the door and enter the spinning room.
It is 6.10 am.
Finding an empty bike, I start to make the preparations and adjustments. Waterbottle on the accomodating handlebars. Towel next to it. Glasses off. Boston jacket in my bag. Seat goes down a bit. Handlebars up a bit.
It’s 6.12 am.
I hop in the bike and start pedalling. I'm surrounded by about 15 other lunatics.
Pedro, the morning's spin nazi comes in the room, as chirpy as a rabid minor bird, blue bike shorts accentuating his class A butt. Pedro instructs many of the classes at the gym. His nearly impenetrable Spanish accent is cute and annoying in equal measure, but on the whole, he's a good instructor. Jay and I spent a lot of time in Pump class on Sunday appreciating Pedro - or more to the point, Pedro's butt - he wiggles it around a lot - it's hard not to appreciate it… he he he.
6.14 am: the class starts in earnest.
45 minutes of hard pedalling, standing up, sitting down, racing, taking a sip of water when needed. Average heart rate 145 beats per minute. Occasionally, on the uphills (when they ask you to put the resistance on the bike and stand up and pedal) the heart rate ups to 160 beats a minute - and then I start to puff a little.
Off the bike, limbs stretched out, heart rate getting back to normal. Gathering my possessions after wiping down the bike with disinfectant to remove the sweat, I make my way home, amazed that it's bright sunshine outside now.
Standing at the counter of Gloria Jeans ordering a skinny cappucino. I don't like buying coffee from this franchise at all - their homophobic management and their links to Hillsong Church have put me off the chain completely - but any port in a storm - I NEED COFFEE NOW! The lady behind the counter is pleasant and efficient. I wonder if she know that the management's belief system are odious. Within a minute I'm on my way.
Audibly swear as I pass Sanjay, my favorite barista at Jamaica Blue. I went and had a quick chat to him - I now know that I can get a coffee off of him from seven am … good to know - I won't have to feel so dirty (after buying coffee from Gloria Jeans).
Arrived home, stripped sweaty gym clothes into the washing machine, showered, downed a protein shake and got ready for work.
And this is the new old regime. This will be my life a couple of days a week for the next while.
Exercise classes at 6 am. Fun!
I've put myself back on the Michelle Bridges 12 week body transformation challenge, doing this in tandem with a few friends who are signed up properly. I've still got all the information from last time so rather than pay the 200 bucks for recipes I already have for the most part, I'm doing the work without having to sign up.
The programme involves taking in a 'clean' diet of 1200 calories a day and exercising six days a week. I did this plan at the start of last year and lost 10 kilograms and felt amazing. Now that I'm in a good place, now that I am back happy at work, back in a stable place and in a spot where I know where I want to be, getting back on track is what needs to be done. I've put on some of the weight I lost last year - my size 14 skinny jeans do not do up at the moment - though I'm comfortably in a size 16 - which is a comfortable place, but not my best place. My body is toned and I am fit - but I want more.
This is being done for nobody but me - the only reason there is to get on a plan like this. I want to be the best version of me possible. If this means I'm down the gym at six a.m. being told to "Moove zee tushie" in a Zaragostrian accent, then so be it. If it means forgoeing cake and alcohol and chips for twelve weeks, then so be it.
If it means that by the middle of November I'm back into my skinny jeans, a visibly flatter stomach, real muscle tone and feeling a sense of acheivement, well, even better.
I was trying to explain to a friend that this plan is all about questioning and challenging your beliefs around diet and exercise. It make you look at what you're putting in your mouth and realise that your health destiny and dreams can be in your hands. It takes you out of your exercise comfort zones and makes you strive for better. The plan strips you of your excuses and lets you realise what you're capable of.
To some, the exercise element may seem a bit psycho - but really, is challenging your body to be everything it can be such a bad thing? An hour a day, six days a week (with one of those days being a down day - where you walk or do yoga or some other less strenuous activity) isn't that bad or hard. Okay, I tend to work myself - my body really enjoys it, I really enjoy it. From experience, the more I do, the better I feel, the better I feel, the more I want to do. And the more energy I have. And the less sleep I need. And the more concentration I can attain. And the more I get done... There is too much good to come out of the new old regime. Why wouldn't I want to do this? There is more to gain than just the irritation of an early morning gym class where you're having a hard bottomed Spaniard tormenting you to "Mooove your tusshie" more.
I say, BRING IT ON!