Focusing on Fitness—Chronicles of Life in a New Land

The Grand Baymen Garden Resort that I’m currently residing in comes with free use of the San Pedro Fitness Club facilities. So, today I took the leap and decided to check it out. It’s only about 10 steps from my front door after all, and I’m no stranger to how quickly an island mojito can head to your hips.

I spoke to Guillermo and his wife, Suhelen —the couple who run the complex—about all the different options the gym has to offer, and I was surprised to find there’s literally something available for everyone. Membership automatically includes use of the gorgeous pool, the tennis courts, and all weights/machinery. On top of that, you can add on classes in water aerobics, TRX, MMA, and one-on-one personal training. But the best news of all is…the workout room is fully and blissfully air-conditioned. Something I’ve never seen in an island gym before.

Now, it’s been a good long time since this body has been to the gym, so I figured personal training is going to be my most beneficial option. I signed up for one hour sessions, three times a week. Guillermo and Suhelen promise great results and even throw in some nutrition counseling to sweeten the deal.

I got started right away.

For my first day, we discussed goals and I got an overall outline of different weight lifting techniques for different muscle groups that I hope to target. I also received some much appreciated motivation and encouragement as I struggled to lift even just the bar. (I wasn’t lying when I said it’s been awhile since I worked out!) It’s great to have Guillermo there to guide me, making sure my body is properly positioned in ways that will work exactly towards what I want and allow me to achieve the best results – also, to make sure I don’t just give up and go home, of course.

When my hour was up, he sent me over to the treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes to get in some cardio—an important step in the fat-burning process. Forty-five minutes, he tells me, is the minimum time to achieve the ultimate outcome. This is the point when you stop burning sugars and start burning fat.

I almost died, but I did it, always keeping my goal in mind: to have a Heidi Klum, Caribbean beach body – and to live until I’m one hundred and one. (When you live in paradise, you create your own reality, right?)

Dripping with sweat, I walked on wobbly legs back over to the front desk. Guillermo smiles and congratulates me on a job well done before jumping into my nutritional guidelines for the first week. It’s important – he tells me to cut out all carbohydrates and sugar for at least the next 10 days. This will shock my body into really receiving the ultimate fruits of my labor.
I jot down lots of notes and head home to prepare a shopping list. Tomorrow, I’m headed to the 5 AM Mennonite farmer’s market just down the road to pick up my fresh fish and produce for the days that lie ahead.

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