Country Heat: Weeks 3-5

I fully intended to write separate blog posts for each week, but that clearly didn’t happen because things come up and sometimes when given the choice between doing something productive like writing or re-watching America’s Next Top Model, you pick the latter.

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Moving on.

Week 3

With a video name like “Trail Ride” I was a bit apprehensive about this week’s workouts. There have been several times when I’ve had to whip a pretend lasso around my head and it makes me feel whiter than snow and I wasn’t looking forward to doing that again. However, it turns out that “Trail Ride” didn’t feature any galloping or imaginary lassos, but it was much faster paced than the other videos. Had I tried this in Week 1, I would’ve just laid down and died.

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Instead, I actually hung in there pretty well. The program’s workout schedule had me repeating some of the videos from Week 1 and for the first time, I could complete them without having to stop and wait for death. I found this to be pretty encouraging because I felt like I wasn’t really seeing much in the way of results, but the fact I could make it through videos that had previous kicked my ass showed I was improving. As it turns out, jumping around like an asshole to country music seems to be working.

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John Deere, John Deere, John 3:16

The downside to getting better at the easier videos is that I was better able to understand some of the lyrics from Week 1.

  • “backseat breeder”: Upon closer listening, the singer is talking about how he’s the product of backseat breeders and a prom queen in a Chevy. Maybe it’s just me, but talking about your own conception is a little weird.
  • “John Deere, John Deere, John 3:16”: This is from the same song as the backseat breeder and might be the most stereotypical country thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

Shut Up, Mark

There was a new cast member who drew my attention in the Week 3 videos. Although Desperate Danny failed to make an appearance in some of the videos, he was replaced by someone I’ve nicknamed Manic Mark. Mark is . . . a lot. He often yips and shouts “Yeehaw!” which automatically makes me want to punch him in the face. Manic Mark seems to be on a mission to prove he’s the most enthusiastic cast member and he practically kicks himself in the face so that he’s raising his knees higher than everyone else. Plus, he’s hyper-competitive and anytime the Beautiful Teacher Robot compliments someone else, he ups the ante until she says something nice to him, too.

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I’d love to get Manic Mark and Desperate Danny in the same video and watch them try to compete for attention.

Ouch

The one thing I did notice during Week 3 is that my knees aren’t enjoying the impact as much anymore. I injured both my knees back when I used to bartend (and both of my ankles, but who’s keeping track?) but for the first couple weeks, they felt okay. However, this week I started to feel the impact each time I jumped and was forced to modify some of the movements. I also had to wear my knee brace a couple times so I wouldn’t overdo it. Part of it is that I don’t want to injure myself, but even more than that is I don’t want to have to explain to people that I’m wearing a knee brace because I went too hard during a “honkey tonk turn.”

Week 4

This is the week where I fell off the wagon. I had been eating reasonably healthily since starting these workouts, but that all kind of went to shit this week. My dad came to town for a visit and we went out to dinner a couple times. The first night was okay, we went out to a cajun restaurant and I ordered jambalaya, which isn’t that bad. The next night, however, we went to another restaurant where I ordered gourmet mac and cheese with added bacon because my taste buds have not evolved past a five-year-old’s.

Additionally, because my dad is amazing, he brought a bunch of groceries with him (why yes, I am an only child). Included in these groceries were all sorts of goodies that I don’t normally buy for myself, including potato chips and three packs of Oreos.

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These stupid cookies are always my undoing.

I was really excited about these, but I told myself I’d eat them in moderation. I could exert self control! I have willpower!

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I kept exercising, but my diet took a significant downturn and I swear Beautiful Teacher Robot knew. At the end of one of the new videos, she said, “You can’t dance away a bad diet!” which I took as a challenge.

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Unsurprisingly, she seems to be right, but don’t tell her I said so.

Week 5

Because this is a 30 day program, there were only a couple officially scheduled days this week although I kept doing dance workouts for the rest of the week. Overall, I lost about 7 lbs on this program, but I subsequently gained back 5 because I ate like a trash panda.

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I keep telling myself that I’m gaining muscle. It’s fun to pretend.

However, I’ve noticed several positive improvements to my overall physical health. My cardio stamina has significantly improved and I’m no longer gasping for air after attempting to shimmy into skinny jean. I also just feel better in my own body than I did before. I don’t feel so stiff and gnarled as I sit at my computer the way I used to, which is pretty nice to not feel like the witch in a fairy tale.

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“Who wants to hear some haikus about the NFL?”

Will I go back and do some of these dances again? Meh, probably not; the country music really isn’t for me. But I don’t want to completely rule out the possibility. I’ve moved on to more intensive workouts since finishing Country Heat, but I’ll admit that while I don’t care for the music, the dancing part was kind of fun (except for the move that looks like you’re spanking a horse . . . that one got really weird really quickly).

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Overall, I’m glad I did these workouts because they helped jump start me back into exercising. Unfortunately though, I don’t think I’m ever going to get those stupid songs out of my head; they’re stuck there forever.

“John Deere, John Deere, John 3:16 . . .”

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Emily Regan is the author of several books, including "What's an Adult?: No One Knows Anything and We're All Going to Die." She is an avid fan of reality TV, an unironic Hanson fan, and currently resides in Arizona with her family.

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