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First fear: What if I flat line?
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Jeanette Balmut has been selected to participate in the Year of You, a fitness challenge hosted by The Manteca Bulletin, CalFit Manteca and CORE Athletic Performance. Balmut is keeping a weekly journal, highlighting the strides and struggles of her fitness journey. These are her thoughts and feelings shared with you.


Day 0

My last day before I start this much anticipated journey …. I am taking my daughter McKenna back to Long Beach for her second semester at college.  We are going to enjoy one last meal out and have no regrets.  What did we decide on?  A PIZZA of course!  We only got a medium and we couldn’t even finish it.  Tomorrow is fast approaching.  I don’t know what is more nerve wracking: Knowing that I have to start tomorrow or knowing that my story is going to run in the paper and everyone will see all my measurements.  That right there is enough to want to quit.  I am constantly reminded by my friends and family that it will be worth it and after the story runs, after it’s out there, it will only go down from there.  I keep telling myself that over and over.  I am READY!


Day 1 

I’m very, very nervous about my first trip to the gym.  I literally have NOTHING to wear.  I know, I know not a big deal, but it is in my mind.  I arrive, shaking.  Antonio greets me and asks “are you warmed up”?  Warmed up … NO!  He puts me on the treadmill at 15 incline at 2.5 for 5 minutes.  OH LORD, all I can think about is WHAT IF I FLAT LINE?  My heart rate skyrockets instantly to 160, sweat begins to pore off of me.  THANK GOD it was only for 5 minutes.  We move on to a bench and do 3 sets of 15 squats then onto the next activity. We do this for 30 minutes with me saying over and over again that I don’t think I can keep going. Antonio never lets me quit. YES YOU CAN, YES YOU CAN.  He teases me, encourages me and before I know it he says “good job, you’re done for the day”.  Really?  Wow, I can do that.   He tells me that today was an “assessment” day. He wanted to see how in shape I was. In shape?  HA!  He tells me that I handled the treadmill perfectly, I got my heart rate up to 160 and maintained that, my breathing was perfect, my squats and form were exactly what they should be and that If I wasn’t in at least some sort of shape I wouldn’t have been able to do the exercises he asked of me.  I’m surprised but optimistic.  He tells me to get ready for tomorrow as its cardio day and I will be doing the treadmill at 15 incline for 30 minutes. WHAT?  I barely made 5.  How can I possibly do 30 minutes!    


Day 2 

I wake up at 2 a.m., knowing that my story would be in the paper this morning.  Nervous, I read the story from my phone and think to myself that it’s going to be alright.  I like the story, it’s accurate and it’s officially OUT THERE!  I have yet to see the second page that actually lists the worst — my measurements. I go to the restroom and realize at that very moment, I CANT GET UP.  I yell to my hubby to come help me.  He chuckles and reminds me it’s a good pain.  I can barely walk or sit.  How am I going to get through the day?  I arrive at work to lots of support, lots of kind words and even some laughter at the way I am attempting to get in and out of my chair.  I am being told that it’s all worth it!    

I leave for the gym, Mike gives me a pointer and tells me to put the STOP bracelet around my wrist in case I fall off the treadmill it will stop instantly.  WHAT?  Don’t say that, I would die of embarrassment if that happened.  I arrive at the gym for my second work out.  Antonio sets me up with the 15 incline at 2.2 speed and off I go.  Seriously, I barely made it. My heart rate was over 190 several times and after 22 minutes I had to lower the incline. I finished the 30 minutes and went to step off the treadmill and my legs buckled and sure enough. I bounced off the ground.  OMG, please tell me no one saw that.  My legs are like Jell-O.  

The rest of the night I literally just answer emails, calls, Facebook messages and texts from so many of you.  Everyone had read my story and was so supportive and encouraging.  It is truly overwhelming the support I feel.


Day 3 

My body is officially in a state of shock.  It refuses to move. I can barely walk, sit, stand, or get up from my chair.  If I dropped something, forget about it, I could NEVER reach down to pick it up.  I literally have to stand OVER the toilet!  What have I gotten myself into?  

I get to the gym, do my warm up and head over for the next phase of torture.  UPPER BODY.  I do a few exercises on the machines and head to the back room with a mat. My heart starts to race.  All I can think of is ‘I sure hope he doesn’t want me to get down there, because I could never get back up’.  Sure enough, “Jeanette, get down”. OMG NO!  For the record, hands down the hardest thing so far.  Leg lifts, UGH!  When I say I barely made it. I mean it, I barely made it.  I finish with sit ups and move on to push-ups.  I don’t think I can ever do any of those again.  

Antonio tells me I’m not eating enough (wow, never heard that before) and to up my protein to feed my muscles. I am so fortunate to have a husband that is willing and eager to help with all of this. Since I am confined to a chair because every inch of me hurts and is unable to move. I am provided with an awesome dinner that I inhale.  Sliced pork loin, Brussel sprouts and salad.  


Day 4 

Besides the fact that I can’t sit, stand or get in and out of my chair, I’m feeling somewhat better today.  Plus knowing that today at the gym is just cardio. I feel pretty stoked!  I suffered all day at work with my co-workers actually videotaping me trying to get up and down from my chair.  A lot of laughs but it was all in good fun.  They are being supportive in their own way!   We all know in a few weeks the pain will subside.  I SURE HOPE! 

Let me tell you, it was a million times easier walking on the treadmill watching one of my shows than just staring at the clock and wishing for it to end.  Today I actually felt like I could do it.  I set the speed and the incline and off I went.  Before I knew it I was over half way done.  I even pushed it an extra six minutes.  WOO HOO!   


Day 5

I can’t move.  There is no way I’m going to be able to work out today.  All my co-workers are still teasing me. I am hobbling around and dreading the thought of working out.  Knowing today is weights and not cardio; I think to myself that I really don’t think I can do it.   

I get to the gym, get a nod and “get going” from Antonio.  I jump on the treadmill, thinking “it’s ok, it’s only a warm up”….NOT.  He says “give me 30”.  After the 30, I’m feeling a little better, a little warmed up and still dreading what is next.  I explain to Antonio that I am literally in so much pain that I don’t think I can do anything else today. Nope, not the right answer!  

He takes me in the back room (you know the dreaded room FILLED with mirrors, TORTURE!) and tells me to get down and to start to roll on this hard piece of compressed foam.  First time I COULD NOT do it. Like at all, not even a little bit. It wasn’t just because I was sore, it’s because I am HUGE.  I couldn’t get myself up on the foam to roll on it.  After help from Antonio I managed to do what he was asking as tears literally streamed down my face. Even he was saying “oh man, I know this must hurt”.  The job of the foam was to push the fat, fluid and lactic acid around to break up all that is stored in my legs.  I fell to the ground when over and I will have to say that was the most painful thing I have endured in a long time.  However, IT WORKED!  After that I felt great. No more pain, my legs weren’t sore, I was feeling good.  I finished off the next half hour like a champ and felt really good going home that night!  


Day 6 

Pitch black, not a soul in sight.  I am standing at the gym door at 6 a.m. on Saturday waiting for Antonio.  One of the best work outs so far. When I say best, I mean fast and easier than the others.

We both jump on the treadmill and went to town. I get in 45 minutes at high incline and slow pace.  It goes fast because Antonio never leaves my side. He talks to me the entire time and I feel like it went fast and I didn’t even have to count the minutes. WHEW, I like that!

I go to the Manteca High varsity basketball game on Saturday night. I get a lot of high fives and good lucks and a few “wow, you weigh HOW MUCH?”  UGH, that’s like a knife to the heart. I just keep reminding myself it’s in the past; I will never weigh that again!  


Day 7 

Officially one week in.  I’m feeling great.  I have energy, I have faith, and I’m excited.  I venture out for the day and told myself I would make smart choices.  Went to lunch with family and choose a spinach salad.  It was amazing!  We waked the bridal fair in Modesto and I rewarded myself with a bite (SUPER SMALL) of a mini cupcake…twice!  My first sugar!