Monday, October 26, 2009

Laugh often, Dream big, Reach for the stars!

Yeah, he's big and dumb as a man can come
But he's stronger than a country hoss
And when the bad folks all get together at night
You know they all call big Jim "boss", just because
And they say
You don't tug on superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old lone ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim
Jim Croce

As the name change has happened, and so many new people are finding out about The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge, I have been getting emails, and facebook inquiries about a day at the ridge and plenty of questions about how the Ridge is equipped to handle people of substantial size, with lots of weight to lose. I wanted to do a blog addressing this topic and hopefully alleviate any fears anyone and particularly bigger people have about the place.

When I stepped into the lobby of the Ridge for the first time in February of 2008 it was one of the scarier moments of my life. I was way out of shape and way is an understatement. I expected to see lots of other people like me but I didn't. The scale they were using at the time didn't hit my happy number. I was intimidated, petrified, and wondering dear lord what have I gotten myself into.

I have said it 100's of times but the people went out of their way to make me feel like I was in the right place. They will do the same for you. But even with the encouragement I struggled at first. It is a diverse group of people but really big people are still a minority. The other guests were as encouraging and understanding as you would hope them to be. They were then and they still are the rock I lean on.

So what's a day like and what issues may someone of size or with some limitations expect.
The day starts with a hike. You climb in a van. Sit in the front seat if it makes you happy, I know I do most of the time. There are varying levels of hikes but there is always one on flat ground and pavement. The stop sign hike is every Monday and most people complete the 4.5 miles to the top. Some do it in an hour some take as long as two and a half. My first time... not even close. I may have been the worst ever I don't know. Let me quell any fears you may have of this hike. You do the best you can, and you improve everyday. There are 4 benches along the route and believe me my butt has been on every single one. They are at the 3/4 mile mark, 1.5 mile mark, 2 mile mark, and just past the 2.5 mile mark. There are none once you get on the road for the last 1.5 miles, and I wish there were. There are some ass-sized rocks available if you need a break. You are never far from the road, there are plenty of guides to help you and you really should start by doing this as often as possible. If you are not comfortable hiking at all the gym is also open during this time. The gym has elliptical machines, treadmills, recumbent bikes, and spinning bikes available for cardio work.

When you get back from your hike you have your choice of a stretching/yoga class or a pool class. I choose the pool class without fail. My aching joints and muscles enjoy the pool. No one cares what you look like in your swimsuit. You want to wear shorts and a t-shirt? Do it. No one will give you a second look. If you have a fear of deep water, no problem stay in the shallow end. The pool is heated and the water usually fairly warm. And if it's cool the hot tub is a welcome joy after class. The hot tub is large, in ground, and something I really miss.

Lunch comes next. Big sturdy chairs with plenty of room in the dining room. I have raved about the food. You will be full. Will you have cravings? Oh yeah. But you're active, there's things to do and there is no drive thru at the kitchen. If you're a first weeker there is always a post lunch lecture. If you have been on this train your whole life you will know most of what they speak about. But you will learn, and you will realize, and you will have an "a ha" moment.

There are 3 afternoon classes. Some are very hard. I won't lie. There were some classes I felt unable to do when I started and even now there are some classes that I am not comfortable in. If you are in a class and you don't feel comfortable there are chairs you can sit on and do the class. There are always fitness balls you can use. Classes that will be tough are Step and Pump, Kickboxing, Total Toning, and the Friday dance class. You can always take a break if you want to. Again no one is judging you there.

There is always a cardio class every afternoon. Their names are Circuit, Mountain, Treading, and Cardio Circuit. These classes are done in a group but they are done at your own pace. Push yourself for sure, but you will have no problems in any of these classes. Have people barfed? yeah, fallen off treadmills? yeah, but not because they were big or out of shape but because they pushed too hard.

The last class of the day is usually again a stretch or yoga or a pool class. If you're not comfortable doing anything or feel like a class is not for you, find Sharon or one of the other trainers, they will make accommodations for you. Don't let your size or current lack of exercise keep you from signing up. I used my size as a crutch for so long, I let years of my life slip by because I was afraid that I had let it slip too far to bring it back. Don't feel that way. If you are searching for an answer this place can point you towards that goal.

There are without a doubt a myriad of reasons to come or stay home. It is an expensive undertaking without a doubt. Is it worth it? I would not have done it without their help. Am I cured or over the hump? Not by a long shot. I have bad days, make horrendous food choices, daydream about pizza, hop off the treadmill when I should keep going. Am I better today than I was that first day I stepped into lobby? Yes way better, way, way better. I'm off all the meds I was on. I don't stop and rest when I'm walking around malls and casinos and airports. I play sports, jump and jog ( not high or fast mind you), and like life better.

So why all this? It's not to make you say I want to go to the Ridge. I love the place. Not everyone does. There's lots of information out there, plenty of reviews, and blogs. I have wanted to write this particular entry for one reason. I don't want anyone to think they are too big, too out of shape, or too sedentary to go to the resort. Don't use your size as an excuse for this. Maybe the roller coaster at Disney isn't the place for you, possibly you get anxious around other people, possibly your size restricts what you are comfortable doing. Do not let it stop you from coming to The Resort. It's not a viable excuse. If you're still apprehensive email me I will tell you when I will be there next and I will personally make sure you can do this. I will see that you are 100% comfortable. That's my promise to anyone who thinks they are too big for this.

Next blog is about my awesome weekend and the fact that the fabulous Ingrid Michaelson was riding around Madison in my she was not duct taped :) As always Peace and Big, Big Love, Jim


Kerry said...

Excellent post!

katie smith said...

Wow! well written and from the heart. Karen

Cathy Formusa said...

APPLAUSE!!! I love that post- heart- and I agree 100%. I push those with lower weight numbers to go to FR through my site and blog and big mouth. Your a great writer! I tell folks that it's not about the size, its about the participation of the guest. EVERYONE is pushed to their needs, whether 15 or 5 pounds wanted off, better fitness performance, or just needing to begin a healthy habit of activity. Your blog got that across and that's a beautiful thing of talent. Your all heart 145. Love to you

Darcy said...

I had been wondering about Stop Sign... OK stressing, alot. I wondered if you made it the first time. That answered that! I can walk 5 miles here at home. But once you throw in the uphill, that is where my problems start. Add the elevation and I really stress. But it is good to know not all make it. And that there are benches!!! 2 more weeks and we will see! Thanks Again for all of your posts!


Sabine said...

OK now,
I just lost everything I typed....
Darn computers....Anyway, this was the most emotional post ever.
I totally agree with you. Can't wait to go back to the Ridge....I hope one day our paths will cross for more than the 20 minutes we had this April.
I am planning June 20th 2010 (I know, you'll be in Volleyball season) for 2 weeks....
I am very proud of your success (although I am still waiting for an offical report)
Be good to yourself and Jacky

Sabine said...

This was the most inspring post yet. You have a way with words ....I wish I could express my self half as well as you can.
I love the Ridge, (I dont' care what they call it now).
Just hoping to meet up with you again and spend jsut a few minutes more than this April....It was like two ships passing

Seems I did not lose my original post after all.....

Jim Trudeau said...

Thanks for all the nice words. I am trying to alleviate in others the fears that consumed me when I started at the Ridge. I realize that this blog started as a way for me to keep up with my friends, but has now also become a way for people I don't know to explore and understand the program. I only hope I do it and them justice. You guys will always be the people I continue to lean on and the friends whose eyes I continue to gaze into for inspiration.