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: 30 Days with Jillian Michaels

Day 1: Should my toes be numb?

  • Start Date: Jan. 7, 2014
  • Age: 34 (Mom of 1)
  • Body Goal: Nothing specific, really, besides feeling stronger. I have a 3rd-floor walk-up and a late-walking toddler.
  • Emotional Goal: Recapture that sense of camaraderie and discipline I had when playing team sports as a young woman by recreating my favorite parts—sweating while bitching with other women about sweating.
  • Fitness personality: Manic Depressive. I'm either training for mountain climbing by running a marathon or I'm on my couch for months at a time watching every season of "Dallas" available on Netflix, WHICH IS TRAGICALLY ONLY 11 of 14.

This is not an inspirational story of change. This is not a quest for post-baby abs. This is not a journey to physical and spiritual health in the new year. If I gain any of those things, fine. But this is a bitchfest. And, its target is Jillian Michaels.  

Do not weep for her. She looks like this in cut-off sweatpants. 

Jillian Michaels, center, has arms in real life, but even if she didn't, she would kick your ass.

Jillian Michaels, center, has arms in real life, but even if she didn't, she would kick your ass.

I think we can all agree that part of what we pay trainers for is to hate on them liberally, and I just paid Jillian Michaels $9.99 on iTunes. Plus, Jillian wants me to succeed, and this will help me succeed.

I never understood why people did video work-outs in their homes. "The world is such a beautiful place! Get out there," I thought. "The living room is for watching 'Dallas'!" Then I had a kid, and in the name of actually working out instead of just planning to, I looked for a work-out I could theoretically do quickly, on a bed of Fisher Price farm animals, with a toddler hanging on my leg.

As I started this video, I admit to having some serious flashbacks to mercilessly teasing my mother as she did Charlene Prickett videos in the living room, circa 1984. I'm probably going to pay for that when my kid learns to talk. (Although, who am I kidding? My kid's gonna be buried in an iPad, not watching me work out. My mom was using the ONLY TV IN THE HOUSE. We had no choice but to stay and mock.)

Actually, that's pretty rad in retrospect. Watch out, Jillian! We also definitely owned this album:

How does that even work? Do you watch a video while listening to a record? Maybe attempting this should be my next experiment, after 30 days. Most of the work-out will be trying to find a VCR. But back to Jillian: 

First impressions: Jillian, can we not use my $9.99 and the fortune you've made berating reality-show contestants to license some music? The Casio keyboard you've got running on Demo under one of those yoga balls in the corner is not cutting it. 

Also, I swear this is Charlene's studio. What did you DO with her, Jillian?! She's in the lockers behind Anita and Natalie, isn't she? Isn't she?!!

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Body: My toes are numb. Should my toes be numb? Something about jumping jacks is cutting off circulation to my toes. HASHTAG OLD. My hip is clicking. I'm gonna blame that on the kid.

Equipment: I have no weights. I used to go to the gym to find those. I'm using these because they were nearby when I started this video. One in each hand. Like a boss.

These are heavy. For shoes. But not for weights.

These are heavy. For shoes. But not for weights.

Highs: Getting started. That good sore feeling you get from doing things instead of the sad sore feeling you get from sitting in the wrong position playing Candy Crush while streaming "The Mindy Project." 

Lows: An old friend told me, "You're gonna need to get to Level 3 to really get a work-out." This friend has not worked out with me in a while. Having to end my first day at minute 18 with a toddler straddling my stomach while I tried to do bicycle crunches.

Promises: Jillian says I'm "well on my way to beinging shredded." Uh-huh. I promise you I will bitch about it every step of the way, though maybe not a post per work-out. I encourage you to join me, both working out and bitching! If any of you decide to join me this week, I'll stay with the program for as many extra days as it takes you to finish up. Also, I will buy some proper weights. 

The idea is to entertain myself and whoever's in into staying off our asses. Help me!