Life Happens

My insane affair with Shaun T

‘Yo Yo Yo’ he goes.

This shiny, mocha muscled dude, with a neatly shaven semi beard, warns me to get ready and dig deeper.

What the hell am I doing? I wonder to myself, all dolled up in my gym outfit staring at my image in the reflection of my laptop from which screen the dude is getting ready with his entourage of fit followers behind him. Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 08.28.46 Never in a million years I thought I’d be following some video gym classes.

The truth is: I love going to the gym. My gym routine though, does not require me to actually go to the gym. It can be done everywhere with no extra equipment required other that perhaps a couple of dumbbells. The act of going to the gym is purely a motivator factor. With baby in the mix, time is what I need on top of motivation. Finding a regular window of opportunity within Camila’s irregular eat-sleep pattern is challenging. Time is precious.

When we were living in town I did go to the local gym for a short while. Calling it a gym requires an extremely positive attitude. The machinery there is rusty and old and really….the place looks more like a kinky torture sex parlour than a gym! Mostly men attend it and they all seem to be shamelessly skipping leg days, throwing their inflated upper body around on skinny legs. They don’t use towels to dry their sweat off the machines they have used, they don’t put back the weights where they belong, they listen to Cumbia out loud on their phones, disregarding the music that is already playing from the gym’s speakers. But all these thoughtful gym etiquette don’t really apply here. Different culture I suppose. And a $1.50 entry fee is small enough to make you grin and bear it.

Vilcabamba gym

Vilcabamba gym

When we moved up in our little nest in the mountains, walking has become my way of exercising.

Our nest in the mountains

Our nest in the mountains

I walked a lot during pregnancy and now walking with Camila strapped on me has also become a haven from boredom and to calm her occasional fussiness. But sometimes taking long walks is not very convenient time-wise. Plus, walking  is just not the same as doing a workout. A jumpy-pumpy sweaty workout I mean. If time is precious though, my body is precious too.

I am only 34, my boobs will already turn into saggy elephant ears as soon as I stop breastfeeding, let’s at least save the arse!

And the belly. Oh that untoned disappointment that my belly is! Irreparable flabby skin-meringue mess. In a plank position it wobbles like a turkey’s neck or a pensioner’s ball sack, mourning the baby that once filled it and had it standing firm and steady.

I needed to do something. Get into a routine (oh god, not that word again…), turn that morbid evil into something firm. Find the time. Find the motivation. Find a plan.

Then a couple of guests who stayed in our cabin for a month, introduced me to Shaun T. They were both into fitness and sweared his workout was just the best all round training I could get my hands on. Da bomb.


Meet Shaun T

They passed me the files of his Deluxe Insanity Workout, a 60 days of exercises, ranging between 45-60 minutes of cardio, circuit, plyometric drills, punctuated by biweekly fit test to track your advancements. And it all started from there.

I felt really dumb to begin with. The Insanity warm up is what any mortal would consider a workout. It is followed by a stretching session after which the real workout begins, different but always brutal in each session. Loads of jumping up and down and sideways and push ups and kicking…all in the comfort of my sitting room. Occasionally I step on Camila’s toy setting off an untuned “Old McDonald had a farm” which reminds me I should replace those batteries.

With sweat running down my face, all I can think of is: a) I hope no one can see me b) I hope I don’t get piles c) Tania: you are a twat



Tania, the Asian super fit woman who usually exercises right behind Shaun T, annoys me. She is always filmed close up because of her over dramatic facial expressions, communicating a somewhat masochistic endurance and admirable proficiency and diligence (in a brown-nose kind of way).



The gym where Shaun T is at echoes with American uber-enthusiastic high fives, fist pumps and “yeah” shouts.

Shaun T ends his session by saying  “I am here to help you, Shaun T, peace out” All the “y’all” and “peace out” he drops never fail to make me cringe. And as I reach for my water bottle, I wonder how many calories does one burn in the act of cringing.

Peace out

Peace out

And then is when that magic post-training renaissance feeling swept me off my feet and the addiction began. Heart pumping in my chest like a schizophrenic kitten on catnip, sweat wetting my t-shirt and frizzing my hair, muscle twitching, an all round ‘feeling good’ ecstasy of body and mind…

I was adamant on continuing the training for the whole 60 days, which incidentally coincides with the exact amount of time before we fly back to Europe. I’m only half way but I can already feel some improvements. Even walking up the steepest parts of my trail home is no longer a cardio-struggle.

I have been booking Fintan in (almost daily) to take Camila and our dog T-Man for a walk allowing me to indulge in Shaun T fitness instructions, cheesy encouragement and motivating shouts. And that hour of self loving also means an hour of daddy-Camila time and the dog gets a walk. We all win!

So it turns out, following a video exercise tutorial, as pathetic and ridiculous as it might be, has been the answer for me. Like having a virtual mate to exercise with, it enhances the commitment. Plus the exercise plan has all been worked out for me, all I have to do is find the time to execute it and – alright Shaun T– dig deeper!

This entry was published on May 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm and is filed under Mamahood. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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