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Playing with the Gorilla

Friday, February 01, 2013

So you may have noticed I've been missing for several months now. When my RAI (Radioactive Iodine) treatment after my thyroid cancer surgery was finished in august and I got the "all clear", my celebration was short-lived as I had a huge pile-up of work to get through. It's a blessing and a curse running your own one-person business as sick-leave or passing the work off to someone else is never an option.

I'm almost caught up now... the light at the end of the tunnel is close and I'm looking forward to finally being able to start fresh again: cancer-free and hopefully as stress-free as possible.

However, in the three to four months of being away, with my focus completely on getting through the work-load as quickly as humanly possible, all my weight came back and my muscles are pretty much non-existent. I am admittedly in the worst shape of my life and back to the heaviest I've ever been. Good thing is, I'm not sitting by anymore to watch it get worse. It's going to be a long, difficult haul getting to where I want to be but I will do it.

I've started using the SparkPeople nutrition tracker again and it's made a huge difference in just two weeks. I eat far healthier when I actually write down everything that I consume - far more fruits and vegetables, better grains, far less fried and fast food. It makes me accountable and I feel much better after even so short a time.

The issue of muscle health however is far more difficult to deal with. Eating poorly may put on weight quickly and cause digestive discomfort but it doesn't make me cringe every time I walk up a flight of stairs. I don't understand when people say they feel a "good hurt" from working out. Hurt is hurt is hurt. To me, there's nothing good about it. And when I hurt, I avoid. And then it hurts even more.

So it's time.
Time to get over hiding from the hurt because there's no way around it.
It's time to play with the Gorilla.

Wait, not that gorilla... this gorilla:

I found Gorilla yesterday under "New and Noteworthy" on the Apple Store. It won the best Health/Fitness App for 2011 and is currently on sale for 99cents for your iPad or iPhone. It's also available for Android.

So here is my review for Gorilla. I'm two workouts in. I'll hopefully review it again when I get a bit farther but for now, I couldn't pass up the chance to talk about it.

Gorilla is a workout app that uses your own body weight - no extra equipment needed - to train. It combines cardio and strength training to "achieve maximum results in a short amount of time". It interested me because it's supposed to help people get fit that are currently at any fitness level. Considering I'm at a fitness level of zero, I really needed something that was not going to frustrate me and make me want to quit before I started.

I've found that with many workout programs/videos/instruction, including many of sparkpeople's videos, a few minutes in I'm not only humbled but angry and depressed. I can't start a program that makes me feel like a failure before I'm even done the first video/day. So I thought I'd take the chance on the 99cent sale price and try it.

First and foremost, I can't do a push up. I have never ever been able to, even when I was twenty and incredibly fit and strong. So when I was told by Gorilla that there was a place for me, I breathed a sigh of relief. Plus, the little baby monkey portraying Level 1 is adorably cute. I can be cute too. Really I can.

Let's just say that baby gorilla, cute as he is, kicked my ass. But not in a bad way. Although I wouldn't go as far to say it was a "good hurt", it was an accomplished hurt. Four rounds of 8 squats, 4 lunges (per side), and 8 modified (on knee) pushups made me curse, scream, cry and as of this morning, wince every time I move. Yes. I'm out of shape as well as somewhat melodramatic. But I did it. 32 squats, 32 lunges and 32 modified pushups later, I completed the work out (the app also allows you to share every finished workout on facebook or twitter).

I was honestly scared to try day 2. I know that the app is meant to alter muscle groups so you never work the same areas two days in a row but I was already so sore from yesterday's baby monkey workout that I didn't want to hit that "start next workout button". Maybe if I slipped him a banana he'd be nice to me?

Around lunch time I figured I would give it a go. I put on some music, grabbed my yoga mat and hit the button. The instructions said: 2 rounds of 15 supermans and 15 bird-dogs. Wha? Okay... thanks to the creator of the app, there are beautifully written instructions and even a video clip of every exercise so you can make sure you're doing it correctly with the proper form. Armed with my new knowledge of "supermans" and "bird-dogs" I did my 2 rounds. The supermans were quite easy... I have a fairly strong low back but my abs were crying after 5 bird-dogs. Nevertheless I plowed through. I feel better now though I'm not fooled by baby monkey's cuteness anymore. However here's the great thing... I am actually looking forward to doing workout #3 tomorrow. I'm not frustrated or angry. I can take my time and do it at my own pace.

So maybe I've found something that works for me. It's mobile, easy and can be done anywhere... even in small rooms. I can travel with it or do it in my home. It gets my heart rate up, breaks a sweat, and I definitely feel it afterward. According to the company, "This is the perfect fitness app for people who want to get in to seriously great shape, lose weight, and gain strength without breaking the bank." It will take a while until I can agree/disagree with that claim but even after workout #2, it's by far the best 99 cents I've ever spent.

By the way, there's also a free version but I figured for a buck I would splurge. The paid version is supposed to be MUCH better than the free one according to the reviews I've read. So, if someone feels they need a workout partner, and you have an iPad or an Android/Apple smartphone, come join me at the monkey park!

For more information on Gorilla Workout, you can visit their website at:
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