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I wonder if I should combine aspects of the exercise bootcamp with the writing bootcamp. Write a poem for 30 seconds, write prose for 30 seconds, write a scene for 30 seconds, take a 2 minute break, repeat for 30-45 minutes. Maybe not 30-second intervals, maybe 15-20 minute intervals. Keep the 2 minute break. Drink copious amounts of water during the break. Stretch and keep loose. Hopefully walk away from the experience without the same sort of pain I had in my quads after the first HIIT session.

Last Monday, I started the exercise bootcamp. After putting it off for a couple of weeks, I finally went. I’ve been losing a decent amount of weight through diet alone, but the exercise is the missing piece in the plans my doctor and I have been discussing.

So I show up in sweats and a couple of shirts I’d eventually sweat through, ready to jump back into exercising after a long, very long layoff. (I paid the first month’s membership fee and a joiner fee just before the bootcamp and I was not about to back out after that). And after just a few minutes, my whole body felt the layoff. Stiffness, soreness, exhaustion.

And after the 45 minutes of kicks, squats, planks, step ups/step downs and other maneuvers, all meant to kick and shrink your ass, mine was indeed thoroughly kicked. Towards the end of it, I kept reminding myself to just finish, it would get easier, and it was all a part of a larger plan. That didn’t stop me from questioning, as I left, whether I’d just rather keep the damn weight so that I wouldn’t again feel like I was going to die, but it did also convince me as the pain subsided, that I was definitely going back the next Monday. That it wouldn’t be as bad. And certainly not as bad as checking out too young.

All in all, I’d still rather be dancing, because at least then, I was learning something I might be able to create some art out of. Or perhaps not.

But it is still always about the art and the art is getting better after 3 weeks of the writing bootcamp. The soreness of struggling through 300 words a day has subsided. I’m rocking through those words and writing others, even as I’m doing it after I come home from my day job. That was always an issue before. Not as much now. I just hope to keep up this momentum once it all ends in a couple of weeks (I should have signed up for the 10 week one).

Monday, my barber’s wife was at the gym and asked me if I was bothered by being the only guy in the exercise room besides the instructor. Nope. I was just there to work and hopefully do something that might help save my life. The desire to go on was more powerful than too much worry about looking stupid, which I figured was going to happen anyway. Besides, being in there with so many all working hard, working through the pain and the exhaustion, was inspiring. Those women fought for it. Wasn’t no BS in there. No showing off.

It’s the same with the writing bootcamp. I’m the only guy in that class, too. And the women in there are churning out some badass pages of essay and memoir. All the good stuff. Classically styled work. Experimental forms. Fun reads. Reads that hurt. Reads that make you question how you look at things you thought you had a good bead on. It’s a blast. And the writing is coming on a daily basis. I don’t know how much the folks in there are sweating, but they’re fighting for it just like the exercise room.

Sunday has certainly been a day of rest (then again, so was yesterday), but tomorrow, it’s back to the grind, both at the gym and the keyboard. Doing both to live, to keep on going. And getting just enough inspiration to help me decide to keep hitting the finish line.