Fruit Basket Case

8.06.07: What's my problem? I'm a pear!


I've had my deepest suspicion confirmed: I am a pear. I am not a pleasingly plump Barlett; neither am I a sleek, fashionable Bosc. No, I am a lumpy, bumpy, thin-skinned Anjou pear--the kind that never makes it into still life paintings or stark black-and-white photographs hanging in art galleries, or onto cheese plates in trendy restaurants. No, I am the kind of pear that lays around the house all day in sweat pants watching Baby Einstein videos.

Yesterday, I got off my duff and headed out to the Y to meet a personal trainer for a full-body fitness assessment. Having spent the entire month of July and the better part of June lying around on the couch battling headaches or side effects from headache treatments, I expected the worst. (Turns out pain does NOT burn calories.) I expected the duff spread to be mighty.

My trainer, Rebecca, greeted me warmly, took my history, and prefaced our session with words of encouragement. "You're still in that post-partum period," she explained. "You shouldn't expect to be your fittest--no mother should. It takes time for your body to get back to normal--give yourself 18 months at least. But the good news is that we'll get a baseline, we'll find out where you are, and then we'll know how to get you fit and feeling better."

Rebecca explained that she'd be measuring my fitness in three areas: cardiovascular, flexibility, and muscular endurance. The test would take only 15 or 20 minutes. "But girl," she warned, "it's a total workout."

And it was. The sit and reach test, was no problem for me--years of yoga have rendered me quite flexible, and I scored well above average. Test number two was a sit-up test--the idea being to see how many you could do before surrendering to complete fatigue. In this area, too, I scored very well--with 47 reps, I scored excellent, in fact (I take core strength very seriously). Next was a push-up test, and here I ranked merely "good."

The last part of the test was a cardiovascular recovery test--a simple task, really. All I had to do was step up and down on a step bench to the beat of a metronome for three minutes. But here, I scored poorly. At the end of the test I was panting and sweaty. Rebecca measured my heart rates, and informed me that I had squeaked into the "average" category, but barely. (Headache pain doesn't lead to cardiovascular conditioning, either, apparently.)

Rebecca was quick to see the upside. "This is where you have the most opportunity!" she said. "It's no wonder that you're not in great cardio shape after the month you've had, but you will rebound so fast you'll be surprised at yourself. And you'll start to shape up very quickly."

That's very good news, since the measurements portion of my assessment didn't go so well. My weight (149 pounds) was okay--I've been stuck hovering just under 150, and so long as I don't go over the line, I won't fuss about it too much. My body fat percentage was 26.5%. This is not excellent, by any means, but it's not awful either--in fact, Rebecca informed me, by YMCA standard, this is above average. I was pleased and a bit excited by this result, having assumed that the number would be much, much higher--a cursory glance toe-ward reveals what looks to be more like 70 or 80 percent body fat. Lathering up in the shower, body fat is all I can see for what looks like miles around.

But my body measurements--oy! Rebecca clocked me at 36"-34"-42". In other words, I have the bust of a size 10, the waist of a size 18, and the hips of a size 14. No wonder I can't find any clothes that fit me! (Hello, sweatpants.)

What to do? Rebecca's answer: Cardio, cardio, cardio!

I'll meet with Rebecca later in the week to craft an updated workout plan to help me continue my weight-loss journey. Meanwhile, I'm meditating on other types of fruits I'd like to become--a tangy cherry, a zesty lime, a tropical mango, or an appealing banana--tough on the outside, creamy on the inside, long and lean from top to bottom!

Hillari Dowdle is slowly going bananas as a freelance writer and new mom in Knoxville, Tennessee.