There is an absurd tradition in my Sicilian American family to precede a giant holiday meal, like Thanksgiving, with a giant pasta dish. This year it was my Nonna’s so called “last lasagna.” A doom and gloom mentality is a typical trait in any old Sicilian woman. So is making a lasagna that somehow bypasses the “brain tells stomach to stop eating” mechanism.

For most of us, Thanksgiving is the first of many upcoming family force feeding sessions and I am already doing the cram dance to get into my jeans. Instead of buying a size up and letting the holiday feeding frenzy rule me, I am taking charge and for the next twelve weeks am getting my butt (literally – it’s huge) into major shape with the help of fitness trainer and life coach Dishan at Human@Ease.

My version of working out is a warm up walk to the cafe, an espresso, run for a couples of miles, then forget to stretch or hydrate. I need professional help!

On my first day Dishan took my weight (120 lbs) and my body fat (17.4% – Can you guess where all the fat is stored?) and these embarrassing BEFORE photos of me, which after 12 weeks will hopefully reveal a toner, stronger and less junk-in-the-trunk Jen.

It will be as much of a challenge for Dishan, who has over 15 years of experience training, as it will be for me, given that I’m not in horrendous shape. It’s much easier to see dramatic results in someone who needs to lose a lot of poundage. Our goal is to keep my body fat stable and increase my lean muscle mass. I don’t want to lose weight but rather build muscle.


Did you see the ladies arm wrestling video? I am a wimp, especially in my upper body, and my goal is to rule bitches and wimpy dudes during the next competition.

Problem: I hate gyms! But Human@Ease is different. It’s a zen gym, no annoying house music and no muscle heads. With no more than four people using the machines at a time and a staff member there help, it’s very peaceful. Plus there are loads of classes like yoga and zumba.

Dishan introduced me to Introversion Strength Training, her own meditative approach. It’s done for 30 minutes once or twice a week. That’s it! It strengthens and tones by doing high intensity weight training on machines with ultra slow repetitions until just before muscle fatigue. And it’s a self-training method, which means you learn how to do it yourself.

But what about the cardio? After each set I was profusely sweating, my heart rate was elevated and I was majorly out of breath. Dishan explained that your heart and lungs support your muscles, so the cardiovascular systems has no choice but to get stronger to accommodate the improvements of the muscular system. And by increasing the intensity of your workout you can decrease the frequency, which is perfect for me because I need time to write for this blog!

My first few workouts have been tough but very energizing and motivating and I hope to be able to do at least one chin up by the end of my twelve weeks.

The whole workout was a mini life coaching session wrapped up in a high intensity workout delivered by the most adorable, lively and fun person, who can do chin ups like a champ!

Lately I have been so busy and overwhelmed and feeling like, “I can’t go on!” That is the same way I felt on my last repetitions.

“Just one more,” Dishan said.
“I can’t!” I said while horribly contorting my face and grunting. (against the rules!)
“Yes you can, Jen. Just try.”

But I could! When I accomplished what seemed to be the last impossible rep, it was like jumping over a mini life hurdle that left me buzzing and inspired to accomplish other things I think I can’t do.

When it was all over I relaxed in the infrared detoxifying sauna. Try it! It improves your complexion, helps fight off colds and is supposedly a good hangover cure. The price is right at $15 for 30 minutes, too.

Check back in 12 weeks for what I hope are not as extremely embarrassing AFTER photos, and I will be wearing neon yellow bike shorts instead.

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    1. well… i only have a few weeks to go until my 12 weeks are up, so we will take the AFTER photo then. one thing i can say is that after only 7 weeks i can do 3 chin-ups, which was the goal! and i need to register my guns! LOL! i feel awesome. sleeping better. i think i have some abs. and i plan to kick-ass on 1/12 at the ladies arm wrestling competition at the diamond!

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