Naked And Afraid – The Before Photos

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Tonight I did something that was at the highest level of anxiety, pit in the stomach, REAL.

I finally got up the courage to take the #BeforePic.

Mentally, we see ourselves so different than the camera does. Subconsciously, I think our brains leave out the dimples, bumps and flaws. Our brains delude us into thinking our 3 Bedroom figure is a studio apartment and we never really get that feeling of what our true canvas looks like.

Tonight I did. Tonight I cried.

I was hit with a harsh reality that I deep down knew existed. If I’m really going to be successful…If I’m going to transform myself to the way, in my heart I feel I need to be, then it needs to be done 100%. These photos were sent to two of my closest fitness friends. Friends who I know won’t judge and will help motivate me. Most of all, they will keep me accountable to the results I’m striving for. This was the single hardest thing I’ve done. I allowed someone else into my reality.

Well, it’s time to change that reality. It’s time to be the woman I know is hiding behind the curtain of bad decisions, eating habits and laziness that shrouds my body. Time to let the Strong Beast that’s inside this skin, out.

Seeing yourself through the lens…is terrifyingly enlightening.

Who is this #FitFam?

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Imagine you walk up to a wall…and just start talking.  You talk about everything from your macros for the day to how much weight you just pulled and how many times you’ve already pooped today.  You are deep in the heart of fitness talk…and the wall?  Is your husband.

He has no clue.  He doesn’t care to have a clue.  He just stares blankly until you mention a word that resembles something he understands and cares about. This takes awhile.  Finally he hears the word “dinner” and takes his cue, “YES! Dinner! What’s for Dinner?!” and walks..eh em BOLTS away.

humpfh.

Enter The #FitFam.


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You’ve probably seen fitness posts that include a million hashtags. #Fitness #CleanEating #SWOLmates #WeightLoss #Gains #DoYouEvenLiftBro and of course #FitFam.  Each of those little hashtags represent a connection to an entire world of people who REALLY DO want to talk about your protein poops and post workout pump!  People who find inspiration in your successes and will help you through your struggles.  They are your #FitFam..Your Fitness Family.

These are the people that get genuinely psyched when you succeed.  The people that will offer you any and all advice, shoulders to cry on and squat racks to spot on.  The outpouring of amazing support from my #Fitfam has been unreal. The best part?  Whether you know it or not, you start using those hashtags, and it will make you discoverable.  You too will be motivating and inspiring others in your own unique way.

img_6594-e1500474037479.pngI want to give a shout out to the people that have made such an amazingly positive impact on my journey so far..most of which, I’ve never met, let alone spoken to over the phone.

Ben – St. Cloud.
Ben is one of my original trainers turned Mestie. Man. Bestie.  He and I can literally talk about anything.  Fitness talks are pretty much nothing but passion for the pump. Ben is now an Officer in the U.S. Army and our chats are mostly via Facetime and Text.

Chris – NYC
Chris is a 30-something dad that has been through an amazing journey of his own and is now Power lifting.  He is always good for an extra kick in my ass to get the job done and has already shared so much of his knowledge and experience with me.  I also love watching the videos he sends me of his young daughter that he is teaching to lift. Chris inspires me daily.

Mollie – St. Cloud
Mollie and I actually work together.  We both have a similar mindset for what/where we want to go on this fitness journey and at the same time, the understanding of the grueling demands that radio can have on our fitness schedules and more.  She inspires me with her fearless approach to this journey.  Mollie’s focus in her transformation is Cross-Fit.

Jason – Milwaukee
Jason is a Physical Therapist who travels and is one of the most positive lights on fitness social media.  He’s like a shot of Inspirational Adrenaline in the ass.  He even offers some advice when needed.  He is the one that helped me find my love for KT Tape.

Robin – Iowa
Robin is a student, the mother of Batman the cat and always has the most fun snapchats to watch.  Whether we are showing off our current post workout pics or encouraging each other to get up and do the workout anyway, she’s been fantastic for me.

Vinny – Nashville
Vinny, aka Bigg Vinny has been through some amazing transformations including his appearance on NBC’s The Biggest Loser.  From weight loss to now Power Lifting, Vinny and his wife have always been there when I have questions or just need my butt kicked on the road.

Stephanie – St. Cloud
I work with Stephanie as well. We talk Clean Eating All. The. Time.  She is a great resource for a more holistic approach to fitness and nutrition. Steph’s fitness choice at the moment is Barre and Barre Fusion.

Bodyspace/Instagram Fitfam
I have a profile on Bodyspace and the outpouring of support is amazing.  Special shout outs to:
Stephanie Sanzo / StephFitMum- Austrailia
Kristi Youngdahl / kyoungdahl – Minnesota
Chris McGann – Roanoke,US
Todd Morris – Camp Douglas, US
RedRiverRogue – Florence, US
Jaye – Pearl Harbor, US

There are so many others that I could list, but it would take forever and It’s Leg Day Bitchachos.

Don’t forget to look beyond the wall in front of you, there are always like-minded people looking to share stories, inspiration and more with you.  You just have to seek them out.

Good Luck, FitFam! xoxo

Labor Day is PREP Day..and Leg Day..and I need a Nap already day.

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Things have been really up and down over the past  few months.  From festivals just about every weekend the first 2/3 of the summer, to big changes at work, the least I can tell you is that I’m tired and have been for more than a month.

Getting up and going gets tougher and tougher the longer and longer you wait.  I always asked myself how people got into their situations of being confined to a couch and living a lifestyle that is a one-way ticket to heartattack-ville.  Well, if they are anything like me, they might have just allowed themselves to ride the trolley right down the path of lazy. Then got lost and didn’t even remember where they were going originally.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few months about myself and how a simple daily outlook can change our paths for the better.  I had a coworker who would tell me the two following statements:

 

  1.  “Did you Die?”  Ok. When you’re upset about something, NO ONE wants to hear this. We want to clang pots and pans together, march around like a one-man band screaming “pay attention to me, agree with me!”  Well, 9 times out of 10, we DIDN’T die.  We ARE overreacting AND we just learned a solid lesson in the act of “choosing our battles”.  This statement has helped me to take the emotion out of so many of the situations where passion outweighs our brains at first.  Solid advice, bro.
  2. “Don’t let ONE negative thing, unravel your ENTIRE day.”  Simple Right? Well, not always.  Sometimes, we don’t even see ourselves on the red eye to “Negative Nancyville”.   Remembering this concept has helped me to cope with the really bad, and really focus on the joy of the day.  Sometimes, it’s just looking at the horizon and noticing how beautiful the colors are and taking it in.  The little positive things add up to a lot if you let them!

Whew..that bit of philosophy out of the way, I’m trying to dive back into the amazing world of fitness, meal planning and me-time.  Three things that add up to amazing positivity in my life.  And three things that ..well, when one went down in flames..I would say F it to the other two.  (see above Trolley to Lazy Land)

So after a killer BACK workout last night and Leg Day in the books today thanks to my Mestie (man bestie for the layman), Ben, I’m off to a sore and yet successful start.  I have a killer treadmill in my basement that calls to me to get off my arse and use it.  I have the skills to create the culinary version of love and awesome in the kitchen. So now..what’s holding me back?  Me.  …well it WAS me..two days ago..and the 30 days before that…and before that.  It’s not about never having to restart…I think it’s about restarting as soon as you can and only resting…not quitting.  big difference there.

I wanted to share one of the recipes I’ve created for this week.  It is also saved in MyFitnessPal account  and it’s slightly adjusted from the original recipe I found on Pinterest.

 

Happy Noshing!

xo Babs

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Baked Raspberry Oatmeal

9 Ingredients / 8 servings

  • 3 cup (40g dry), Old Fashioned Oats
  • 2 tsp, Baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon, Salt
  • 1 cup(s), Organic Sucanat
  • 1.00 cup, 1% Milk
  • 1 tsp(s), Vanilla extract
  • 2 large, Egg
  • 1 Packet, No Sugar Added Applesauce
  • 1 cup, Raspberries – Raw
    Mix Oats, Baking Powder, Salt together. Then mix in wet ingredients. Finally Fold in the berries and bake in an 8×8 Square pan (spray with Non-Stick first) for up to 35mins at 350 or until nice and golden brown. Serve warm.
Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 264
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4 g 6 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 6 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 49 mg 16 %
Sodium 354 mg 15 %
Potassium 41 mg 1 %
Total Carbohydrate 51 g 17 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 16 %
Sugars 29 g
Protein 8 g 16 %
Vitamin A 4 %
Vitamin C 8 %
Calcium 10 %
Iron 9 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Food Porn – Tuesday Lunch Edition

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Grilled Italian Chicken with shaved fresh Parmesan & fresh basil on 100% Whole Wheat Toast (420 Calories)

Week 1: Treadmills, Coffee and an iPhone 6.

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Consistency, Passion and the luxury of a schedule change have been on my side this week.  My first full week back at the gym and clean eating and I’m already seeing some great results.  I may seem a bit obsessive about workouts, eating, journaling and more, but it’s what is keeping me going.

I started the week late for a session, no diary written down and just a mess.  I had the desire, but apparently not the organization.  After 6 pages of “this is not how you succeed” in text messeges from my trainer, and a rearrangement of my schedule I was finally set up for success.  Now it was totally in my court.

I weighed in on Monday and by my Thursday session, I weighed in at a 2.6 lb loss.  This is great, now just to keep it off, if not make that number larger for a full week weigh-in this monday.  I’m still arguing with my trainer about coffee with creamer and the carbs that follow suit.  Still sippin’ my joe. but looking for a good creamer alternative.

My iPhone 4s took a total dump when I updated to ios 8.0..which i think in the long run became a blessing in disguise.  The iPhone 6 with My Fitness Pal is the best ever.  I really like this app. It connects with my trainer and other friends that use it  Plus, the camera on the iPhone 6 is the bomb dot com. You can quote me on that.

 

View this post on Instagram

1/2 of today's prep #cleaneating #syntha-6 #eattrainlose

A post shared by Brook Stephens (@babsinradioland) on

 

Week 2 Weigh In: Sh!t Just Got Real

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JustGotRealAlright, it’s week two and Weigh-In time.  After 7 days, 3 hardcore workouts, 1 extra cardio session and clean eating…oh and I may have eaten a corn dog and a PB&J (not at the same time)…

The Official Weigh-In:

Week 1: (Starting Weight)

Week 2:  -4.2 lbs

 

First Goal:  Lose 10 Lbs for Trip to Nashville:  19 Days to go  5.8 lbs to go

A Clean Take on Eggs Benedict (aka Ma’am, Step Away from the Pancake)

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Last night was the annual Leighton Broadcasting Christmas Extravaganza! Woot!  With “AL Bucks” a plenty, everyone was in good spirits as we dined on Shrimp, Beef and Chicken then ended the evening with a Hypnotist and our own Money Machine.

When they announced the hypnotist, my husband immediately tried forcing my hand in the hair to volunteer me.  Of course, I resisted like a pair of too small spanx.  Then the hypnotist had us all stand up and “try her simple test”.  Stand up, concentrate on my voice, your hands are getting tighter and tighter together, blah blah blah.  So there I was standing with my hands GLUED together above my head and when she said “open your eyes”, I anticipated there would be a room full of hands in the air.  nope.  just one set of hands that I could see.  Mine.

Good Lord.  To which, with hands still above my head mind you, I groaned loudly “Great. Just Great”.  Everyone laughed and I was escorted to one of the 10 chairs up front.  Funniest part, I wasn’t laughing.  I was just praying that my “state of relaxation” wouldn’t take effect on my posture and have me flashing my bits to EVERYONE I work with.  I had been a part of a hypnotist show before and needless to say, your inhibitions go the way of the wind. You let it ALL hang out.  oy.  In the end, i don’t remember too much, just that I was laughing alot, I was craving ice cream and felt like I had just taken the best nap ever.  SCORE.

Even though I was sober all night, I still woke up this morning with the “We were out late last night and need a hangover breakfast”.  You know the greasy spoon kind.  Well, Charlie was already gone to get the car’s oil changed, so it was just Timothy and I.  Timothy’s favorite is pancakes.  So Pancakes it was.   As I cooked up a dozen or so pancakes (so I could freeze them for Timothy later), I started to nibble one.  Then it it hit me.  Pancakes, although tasty and kinda nourishing are not clean.  I have plenty of clean pancake recipes, but I wasn’t in the mood to make them.  So I gave myself a proverbial wooden spoon slap on the wrist and stepped away from the pancake.

Instead, i opted for a different breakfast staple…Eggs Benedict…only this time, I would make it clean and sans Hollandaise…so here you go!

2014-01-04 10.57.13Tuscan Benedict (A Cleaner Eggs Benedict)

  • 1 100% Whole Wheat English Muffin (I use Thomas brand )
  • 3 Whole Large Eggs
  • Tbl Chopped Green Onion
  • 1 Cup baby Spinach Rough Chopped
  • 3 small Campari Tomatoes or larger Cherry Tomatoes (sliced)
  • 2 Tsp Grated Parmesean Cheese
  • 1-2 Tbl Chopped Fresh Italian Flat leaf Parsley
  • 1 large Basil leaf chopped small
  • 1-2 Tbl Sabra Tuscan Garden Hummus
  • small drizzle of EVOO
  • Kosher Salt / Cracked Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

 

1.  Crack Three eggs into a Measuring Cup and whisk, add parmesean, a tiny pinch of salt and couple grinds of pepper, whisk again, set aside.

2.  Heat your skillet over Medium/Medium High Heat

3. Drizzle in EVOO, swirl the pan then add the tomatoes, green onions and spinach. Give Em a Stir and don’t let them burn.

4.  Even out the Spinach mixture on the bottom of the pan and pour in the eggs.  Turn heat down to med/Med-low.  Using a scraper/Spatula, stir it up a bit then let cook slowly, stiring occasionally until eggs are fully cooked.  I like my eggs to not be browned..that’s when they get dry, so usually when they are all solid I yank em off the stove.

5. Toast your english muffing to desired toastiness 🙂

6. Assemble!  Distribute the egg/spinach mixture over the Two Muffin halves.  Top with Chopped Parsley and Basil then add a dollop of Hummus.

Eat it. Enjoy it.

 

If you can’t find the tuscan hummus, I would most likely pick Roasted Red Pepper. They both have a tang to them, which is EXACTLY what I love about Hollandaise.  So this is a win win!

Enjoy!

Email me or comment with any questions! 🙂

Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes & Artichokes

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2013-12-30 19.54.01Alright. First off I’d like to thank the Academy.  Ok. Not really, but I would like to thank my mother for always making things from scratch.  After years of peering over the counter watching her chop veggies and try new recipes, I can officially say that I’ve inherited the kitchen bug.

I found a recipe similar to this one last night on Pinterest and totally forgot to actually pin it…what does this mean?  Well it means I’ll never find it again. It’s now lost in an abyss of recipes and handicrafts.  Thankfully, I read the recipe well a couple of times and had already done the shopping for it.  Now, it’s time to put my own twist on it.

The original recipe only called for around 5 ingredients:  Roma Tomatoes, Jarred Artichokes, Flour, Sugar and Chicken.  That’s it. yup.  It was a Clean Eating Recipe and well, I guess they didn’t realize that white flour and white granulated sugar are both no-no’s in the Clean Eating world.

I also am a HUGE fan of Fresh Herbs and food with a bit of a tang to it:  Insert Balsamic Vinegar.  Oh B-Vin you ol’ dog you!  You always know how to make a girl feel sophisticated.

I also forgot the temp on the oven and how long to cook it…so we winged it…and well..it worked!

My husband gladly ate his over angel hair pasta and said he liked it enough for me to make it again, but not enough to eat leftovers.  I still consider this a victory since my husbands idea of pantry staples are Manwich, Suddenly Salad, Frozen Pizza and Pierogies.

You can use any 9×13 cake pan or roaster…I have a Le Creuset 3qt Au Gratin that I used for this recipe.

If you are super new to cooking..don’t be afraid this is NOT a difficult recipe 🙂

Materials I used:

So I started out by cutting each Roma Tomato into 4, then coring them, then chopping them up from there.  I drained a small jar of Artichoke hearts and added them to the bowl.  This is where I start to get creative because the original recipe only called for two more ingredients, white flour and sugar. Nope Not using those.  So instead I add Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, Chopped Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped Fresh Basil, minced garlic, salt & pepper, grated Parmesan and whole wheat flour.  I generously Salted & Peppered my Chicken breasts and then popped it in the oven! BOOM that easy!

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I baked it, covered in tin foil, at 350 degrees until the chicken was almost done, then took off the foil, stirred it up a bit, basted the chicken, sprinkled on some Parm/Asiago mix and fresh parsley and popped it back into the oven until bubbly and the chicken/cheese mix was slightly browned.

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Served it over Quinoa for me and Angel hair pasta for my husband. it was delish 🙂

2013-12-30 20.12.06Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes & Artichokes

Easy / Serves 4-6 depending on portions

      • 2.5 lb pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts (thawed/fresh)
      • 6-8 Ripe Roma Tomatoes
      • 1 small jar of Artichoke Hearts
      • 1 heaping TBL of Whole Wheat Flour
      • 1 clove garlic minced
      • 2 Tbl grated Parmesan Cheese
      • 2 Tbl to 1/4 c Shredded Parmesan, Asiago or blend Cheese
      • 1 tsp honey
      • 1-2 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
      • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (reserve 1/4c for end of baking & garnish)
      • 2-3 large Basil Leaves Chopped
      • Kosher Salt
      • Pepper
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
    2. Wash then Quarter, core and chop up Roma Tomatoes and put them in a large mixing bowl
    3. Drain and add Artichoke hearts to the bowl
    4. Add Garlic, 1/4 cup of the Parsley, Basil, Honey, Balsamic Vinegar, Grated parmesan cheese, Whole Wheat Flour and mix together.
    5. Pour into a greased baking dish
    6. wash and pat dry the Chicken breasts, then generously salt and pepper them.
    7. Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the tomato mixtures
    8. Cover with Foil and back until chicken is almost finished, approx 50 mins.
    9. Take the foil off, stir it up, baste the chicken and sprinkle shredded cheese onto chicken.
    10. Place back in oven and bake until bubbly and the chicken/cheese turns a golden brown.

Resolving to Not Resolve (plus Lemon Mint Cucumber Water)

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So, it’s be come obvious to me that I have to make things an obsession if it’s going to work.  What does this mean?  Well, it means that I have to keep up on the Social Media side of things to keep myself in check.  I’m not starting a New Year’s Resolution this year, but I am starting my new journey to babyville.

There. I said it. My husband and I are ready to have another, but I refuse to put my body through that again until it’s healthy..again.  I lost 75+ lbs to get ready for baby number one and then lived the life of a dairy queen who loved cheese, milk, ice cream and tacos.  What?. nevermind, but seriously.  I ate tacos probably 2x/week and ice cream almost daily.  Oh and my friend Mr. Exercise.  I broke up with him.

Let’s just say that Mama was nesting more than in a nursery.  My waistline turned into a large eagles nest and I’ve hung onto it like it’s on the endangered species items of necessity list.

So, I told my husband that we’ll try again once we’re through with our ACM Award / Las Vegas Trip this April with the Radio Station.  So I’m counting down the days til my health deadline, he’s counting down the days til…well, you do the math.

Needless to say, we’re both motivated. ha!

Last night we arrived home after a full week in North Dakota visiting family.  The fridge? Empty.  The Cupboards? Empty.  My Blood Sugar?  Drastically falling like a bad day on Wall Street since I’m officially 8 hours off the “High Fructose Family” diet.  I will admit that my eating was FAR SUPERIOR to most holidays where I graze like a Guernsey on Chocolate, Chex, Meat, Potatoes, Bread, more bread and well anything that resembles anything edible.  This time I watched that I mostly only ate at dinner times and portioned out things if I snacked. Not great, but better than before.

I did a quick Pinterest Search or two and made a list for restocking. This time, with Clean Eating in mind and items that wouldn’t break my bank.

I kinda became addicted to MIO.  In the end, it was just artificial sugar and flavor, not doing much for me.  I still love it, but opted for something new.  Here is one of the water recipes (if you can call it a recipe) that I will drink this week.  I will try to post/try a new one each week!

Detox WaterLemon Mint Cucumber Water (Detox)

  • 1/2 Lemon Sliced
  • Mint Leaves (torn)
  • 1 small/med cucumber sliced

Wash everything, slice em up and add them to a pitcher of water.  let them meld overnight. Then enjoy.  I will continue to refill the pitcher for a day or two til I need to change out the Lemon/Cucumber/Mint.  tada! it’s that easy!

**Note**  the acid in the lemon kinda ate away at my plastic container (i suppose it depends on the container), but I use a glass pitcher now just in case. 🙂
Thanks to FitSugar.com, here’s why you want to add these to your water:

  • Lemon: Lemon water makes for a powerful detox drink; lemon juice helps to cleanse and alkalize the body. Add one thinly sliced lemon to a large pitcher, or squeeze fresh lemon juice into your glass.

  • Mint: Mint adds a touch of sweetness without the sugar to your water, and it also helps settle your stomach and aids in digestion as well.

  • Cucumber: Cucumber water isn’t just for spas. Adding a few slices of cucumber to your water makes for excellent rehydration, and cucumber contains anti-inflammatory properties, as well.

Burpees or Boogers….I’ll take the boogers.

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I hate boogers. phlem. spit..gack!  They will make me barf in an instant.  But Burpees?  LOATHE them.  Once I had my son Timothy, it’s like ‘mama mode’ kicked in and developed a superhero like suit between the boogers and I.  On more than one occasion I have caught myself “grabbin’ a boogie”.  No kleenex. No nothing. Just my bare hand and a boogie. This is barbaric.  It’s almost like I can hear Braveheart screaming in the background “FREEEEEEDOM!” when I actually catch my son long enough to nab it.  THEN I grab a kleenex, because obviously I’m health code dyslexic, and dispose of the evil boogie.  I stand tall, hair flowing in the wind and think to myself, “Super Mom! Fighting Grime One Boogie at a Time!” then you almost hear a record scratch as Timothy puts my entire iPhone in his mouth and starts running with scissors. joy.

The moral of this long, dysfunctional tale, is that I overcame my gag reflex with boogies.  It was like a Christmas Miracle without annoying carolers and cocoa.  But Burpees? I hate them as much as Jumping Jacks.  You know the exercise that every fat person in the 80’s did in terrible grey sweatsuits where you could see every last ounce of their fat doing the cha-cha?   I know they make our cores tight and fantastic.  I know they help our Cardiovascular endurance.  I know that more than 15 in a row will make me barf.  But I don’t think that 10 Christmas Miracles in a row will make me like or even tolerate them.  So, I will go on, cursing my trainer (outloud) whilst hoisting my arse up and down doing these satanic exercises because I know that someday, I’ll hit my goal and I’ll never have to do them again.  Instead, I’ll smuggle wine into the gym and sip it while I watch another victim of the burpee have their will to live tested.