I'm Mary Katharine Ham. I talk about politics, but I like other things, too. I try not to be a blowhard.

Diary of a Hate-Shred: Day 4 with Jillian Michaels

Day 4: There's a thing called a plankjack

Oh, Jillian. Today, you actually said to me, "I want you to feel like you're going to die." I don't think I've ever wished such a viscerally nasty thing upon an adversary out loud, and I do cable news for a living!

Camera's over here, Jillz.

Camera's over here, Jillz.

Serves me right, I suppose. After several work-outs on Level 1, I got cocky (a little ADD?) and decided to step up to Level 2. And, what awaited me there? Did you know there's such a thing as a plankjack? Imagine Rube Goldberg created torture devices. "Oh, this Iron Maiden alone just will not do. Shall we not also put our subject on The Rack and add a Pendulum?" It's like that but for exercise.

Learning from Natalie and Anita: Everyone deals with hating Jillian in her own way, and as I move through this journey, who better to take tips from than these ladies? Sure, they look calm as they glisten. But if you look long enough, which you will if you DO THIS WORKOUT FOR 30 DAYS STRAIGHT, you will spot the roiling rage beneath their placid exteriors.

Natalie: That smile, tho.

This is the look on Natalie's face through every workout. It reaches its height when Jillian is standing by her side poking at her quads. The smile says, "I am super-enjoying the activity in which I am engaged," but the eyes say, "I shall murder you in the style of the mythic Chupacabra and turn your blood into a fashionable martini."

"Seriously, y'all. I will stretch her sports bra so far that it'll slingshot her ass to Santa Monica."

"Seriously, y'all. I will stretch her sports bra so far that it'll slingshot her ass to Santa Monica."

Anita: Those abs, tho.

Sometimes the best revenge is being one of three things in the world rock-harder than Jillian, along with Bruce Banner and the face of El Capitan. Seriously, the rolls in Anita's tummy are smaller than my crows' feet.

Anita: "Is this a frat party?"
Jillian: "Huh?"
Anita: "Because I brought all the six-packs! Where's yours? BOOM!"

Anita: "Are we womenfolk down by the crick in the late-18th century?"
Jillian: "Wha?"
Anita: "Because somebody's got a washboard!"
Jillian: "Dammit."
Anita: "It's me. I have one."

Anita: "Do we have a first-aid kit?"
Jillian: "Yes! Do you need it?!"
Anita: "Yeah, because I'm SO CUT."
Jillian: "Goddammit, Anita."

Body: Level 1 definitely got easier over just a couple of days. Level 2 is harder, but more challenge makes the time go by faster. Toes remain numb. The connective tissue that holds my ribcage together is sore. Good, because rib connective tissue was one of my problem areas.

Equipment: I stepped up my weight level, too, because I couldn't find my Sorels. What was nearby today?

These happen to be heavier, much to my arms' chagrin.

Highs: I found the only thing Jillian Michaels doesn't look tough doing! Check out this delicate flower:

No, I would not say that to her face. Sure, she still looks fabulous, but slightly less cool than she usually does. Embrace her flaws!

Also, I found my kid's toothbrush while doing a walk-out push-up. Who knew it was under the entertainment center? And, in what I can only assume is some kind of karmic payout for working out, my child took a 2-and-a-half-hour nap today. THE GREATEST REWARD.

Lows: Did I mention there's a plankjack?