“I like to think of it like a windshield wiper, wiping away the grime.” That’s the analogy my trainer Keith Sims uses to describe how I’m able to see muscle peeking through layers of fat.

“We’re changing your body composition,” says Sims. “As you strengthen and condition and lose fat, the muscle underneath will begin to show through.”

In addition to working my muscles, Sims advocates diet as a way of increasing lean muscle mass. Thankfully, the Burn Fit program allows me to see exactly how many grams of fat, carbohydrates and protein I take in each day. It’s only been three weeks, but I can see a difference in my body.

Sims has got me climbing stairs, jumping over blocks in the aerobics room, and walking up the step mill.

“The conditioning part is to get your heart to function at a higher heart rate so that it recovers quicker. The more conditioned you become the higher your heart rate is able to function,” explains Sims. The bottom line, a better-conditioned heart is going to help me burn more calories and burn them more effectively.

Our heart rate drills consist of bringing my heart rate up for 20 seconds, then down, then up, then down — this goes on for 20 minutes and let’s be frank here … water-boarding might be more pleasant, I don’t know. What is quite delightful is that I’m down two dress sizes! This alone, is enough to press on.

There’s a rationale to the torture.

“In the first three to five minutes of cardio your body is going to burn any sugars that haven’t been taken through the digestive process, but your main energy source is stored carbs [glycogen in the muscles]. After 20 minutes, the body changes its fuel mixture because a low to moderate intensity can actually reluctantly burn stored fat as its energy source,” Sims says. So … the longer the cardio — the more beneficial the cardio will be to achieving fat weight loss. “Exactly. So if you can get yourself to a place where you’re at least doing 30 minutes you are at least assuring yourself of getting a fat burning workout.”

Sims is a phenomenal trainer. He’s tough when he needs to be but also encouraging and knowledgeable. He reminds me, “If having a great body was easy, everyone would have one.” He’s right; I press on.

By the fourth week, I’m in better shape, not as winded and I’m having an easier time with the plyometrics. But at the end of week four, I have an “emotional moment” during one of our sessions. As you know, losing weight can trigger memories; some of which can be painful. Sims asks me to jump up two sets of steps (lifting off with both feet at the same time). Sims demonstrates. Looks easy enough but I have a mental block. I just can’t do it. Up until this moment I’ve been doing everything Sims asks of me. Now he’s wondering why I’m having such an issue with jumping up a couple steps. It’s not as if I’m unable to jump up on the blocks. What Sims has no way of knowing is that I’m deathly afraid of stairwells. Have been since I was a little kid and watched my grandfather tumble down a flight and injure himself.

So here I am standing trying to jump and nothing’s happening. Well, one thing’s happening — I’m crying … like a baby. So embarrassing. But Sims patiently talks me through it. “Let’s try jumping just one step at a time,” he suggests. I give it a shot. A small success! It feels good to address my fears. Sims promises I’ll be jumping the entire set of stairs in no time, but for now … it’s still one step at a time.

Taylor can be reached at tailfish@roadrunner.com.

By the numbers

Starting Weight: 182

Pounds Lost: 6.5

Current Weight: 175.5

Goal Weight: 135

Pounds to Lose to Goal: 40.5

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