My coach the puppeteer

Coach. He is the best. Not just because he is one of my favorite people on the planet, but because he is a source of endless blog material. 2 of my favorite posts featuring him: Xmas 2014 and his 2015 bday.

What I specifically like about him is how he is a walking contradiction. He is a large cuddly teddybear (nobody gives better hugs or advice than him) AND scary as fuck (when he gets pissed… Run. Hide. Do apologetic burpees.) The world always feels a little bit safer when he is around, more stable; this, even though he is a big bully AND a drama queen. He can be vulgar, generous, considerate and well-mannered: all of his moods are suitable vehicles for his unshakeable sense of humour. Even when he is mad, he is very funny (but you pity the fool that has caused his ire). He really annoys me, because he knows exactly what buttons to push to get me to do exactly what he wants. And even though I know he is mind-fucking me, I still end up playing along. Jedi-knight level manipulation. He is a puppeteer.

Interweb humiliation

After 4 months of hard work (5-6 workouts a week), a revamped notion of portion size and nutrition, and prodding/nagging/encouragement/tough love from Coach, I’ve dropped 15lbs and packed on a lot of muscle. I can’t really see the change, other than an overall improved sense of confidence and consistently attracting more male attention from both strangers and friends. I only focus on the things that need improvement: my cardio isn’t where it should be. I still hate burpees. Whenever we do reps for time in class, I always finish in the 2nd half of the group – my conditioning needs work.

A month ago, I went shopping for a dress to wear to Dynamo’s wedding in Beirut. And suddenly, I saw myself the way others must see me. It was like I had two brains. I would look at myself in the mirror, and see the Vanilla that I see everyday – the work in progress – and then I’d blink, and see the Vanilla that rocked every dress she tried on.

I decided to make a before and after pic, and that is when I finally acknowledged just how far I’d come. On the left: May 2015, 175lbs. On the right: January 2016, 160lbs. I sent it to Coach & his girlfriend, who put it up on Instagram and Facebook on the gym’s page as a success story.

Since taking the above pic, my work schedule for the winter/spring has changed: I’ll be travelling 1-2 weeks out of the country, every month from now until June, inclusively. Coach made menacing noises, “Don’t be getting all outta shape, now!” I promised him that I would train when away and that I would maintain my newfound physique.

Coach vowed that if I didn’t, he would take a picture of me all soft and chubby, and he would post THAT pic up on Facebook and Instagram, as a warning: “Behold, Vanilla used to be a hot sucess story, and now look how she let herself go. BOOOO.”

Did I say Coach was a bully? Yes.

I’m going on my first trip next week, to Baltimore. I’ve done my research, and found the best boxing gym in town, where I will train at least twice during my 5 day trip.

Did I say Coach was a puppeteer? Yes.

Giving credit where credit is due

On Monday night, after class in the locker rooms, one of the girls suddenly screeched, pointed at my torso and exclaimed, “Vanilla!! You have a four-pack!” I was swarmed by all the girls, who crowded around me, prodding my abs, and counted them, “1-2-3-4! There are 4! That’s awesome.” I had to push them out of the way, to get a clear view of myself in the mirror, and yup. I had a four-pack! A baby four-pack!

Before leaving the gym, I told Coach. He high-fived me, and then gave me an odd look. What? I asked him. “Where is the, “Thank you Coach, I love you Coach, You’re the best Coach”? I haven’t heard you say that in a while.” Laughingly, I repeated, “Thank you Coach, I love you Coach…” before he interrupted me, with a huff, “It’s not the same if I have to ask you for it. It needs to be spontaneous.”

Did I say Coach was a drama queen? Yes.

Here I am writing yet another post about how much I enjoy Coach.

Did I say Coach was a puppeteer? Yes.

Now for the spontaneous part

On Thursday, I was feeling super unwell. I texted Coach to apologize for bailing on training, left work early and went home, slipped on my pjs, crawled into bed, and began working on this post. The more I wrote, the more I thought longingly of my teammates and Coach, and I realized that really, the thing that would MOST make me feel better would be to see them, and sweat out some of the icky that was consuming my body. I majorly flip-flopped, and texted Coach I was coming to training (with a caveat that my output would suck).

I went to class. It sucked, I felt pukey, but was comforted to be with my gym-family. Mary Poppins got it all wrong: a spoonful of sugar does not make the medicine go down. Interval training, circuits, friends and Coach ARE the medicine.

“Thank you Coach, I love you Coach, You’re the best Coach.”



      1. I spent a lot of time kidding myself that if I just worked out, ran enough, etc then I could eat anything I wanted. I wouldn’t gain any weight really but those last 10 pounds would not leave. I finally had to get sick and tired of putting all this effort for little reward. Now, it’s about portion control, very little carbs, and water. I never eat until I’m full. I only eat til I am not hungry. The weight fell off then and hasn’t come back.


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