Lynn Harris

A picture of the diarist

Hooray! I’ve finally broken into Internet porn!

Yes, today (Sunday) was the day that my appetite and I had been waiting for: the photo shoot for my trainer’s portfolio. Didn’t eat till after, but the coffee with half-and-half that I practically rubbed on my gums beforehand was, mixed-metaphorically speaking, the nectar of the gods (specifically, Peet, Lord of Berkeley).

First we ran the “after” numbers. Using those unsettling pinch-an-inch calipers, my trainer Jim determined that—in one week—I’d lost 1 centimeter in subcutaneous fat all around, pecs to quads (2 at my abs!). I lost 3 fat pounds, gained 1 pound lean muscle mass (net 2 pounds, down to 118). (Don’t need to lose weight overall, but now the 114-pound powerlifting class—where I could really score some hardware—seems within reach). Total percentage body fat: down from 15 percent to 13 percent. (Real bodybuilders compete around 6 percent. The hell with that.)

I do have to say I look more pumped, more sculpted, more defined (including the dark circles under my eyes). The dish towel’s been lifted off the six-pack of soft dinner rolls that were my abs; now they’re more like those crustier semolina/raisin rolls from Amy’s Bread. (Yes, despite carbathon brunch, still somewhat peckish.)

In short: “Jim King’s one-week bodybuilding boot camp really worked,” she said infomercially.

Imagine if I’d done it for a “real” eight-or-10-week training period.

No, I don’t really want to think about it either.

A picture of the diarist

On to Jimmie’s studio. First we took the digital shots shown here. Thank God (whichever one’s appropriate) for yoga. These poses require flexing in at least two opposite directions (e.g., back spread out, elbows crunched in), balancing on your toes, all while wondering which ex-boyfriends will discover the photos and distort them with Kai’s Power Goo.

Then we took some shots only for the eyes of 1) visitors to Jim’s portfolio; 2) friends/boyfriend; and, perhaps someday, 3) the Senate Judiciary Committee. They involved what the Hayes Office would call dorsal nudity, but rather than reclining on a bearskin rug, I was squatting 50 pounds. (In my glory days I squatted 275, but I didn’t have to hold it, barefoot/-assed, while someone focused.) It was not a turn-on, not a turnoff, just … weird. Who squats naked? I felt a bit like one of those naked ladies who pose driving tractors or talking in phone booths. Or as if the Maidenform Woman had turned up at Crunch.

Naked with Jim, mind you, wasn’t the issue. Jim has packed me and my Bridget Jones underwear into my ultra-tight safety singlet for squatting; he’s stretched my hamstrings into live-sex-act contortions. He’s the only man besides my boyfriend and Joseph Fiennes with whom I’d feel comfortable posing nude, and two out of three haven’t asked.

Everything else I could say about Jim would be corny or Electra-complex. So what say we stick to corny? Jimmie “discovered” me doing basic workouts and told me I could be a powerlifter, which was like telling me I could be a unicorn. Back then, I was barely “someone who goes to a gym,” never mind “someone with a trainer.” I thought all trainers were blond guys named Kyle who rescheduled your workouts around their Spirit Cruise auditions. Enter Jim: West Point grad, African-American, 1992 national deadlift champion, a grandfather—who’s inspired my best lifts by snarling (in the words of Ric Flair of pro-wrestling’s Four Horsemen), “There’s only one address onBad Street!” And who talks about feelings, lives to do favors, and lifts a metric ton of woes with one brawny hug. So, back then, I thought, “Why not?”

A picture of the diarist

And here I am today, aware that physically, my Michelangelo (artist and Turtle) physique won’t survive my normal routine (frequent workouts and healthy eating, with a side of fries). What will last: the good old-fashioned sense of accomplishment, the good psychobabblicious achievement of Jim’s approval, the higher level of concentration and focus … on one thing at a time, anyway. Problem was, it slipped—necessarily but not always pleasantly—in other areas. That I liked even less than the cap-tri oil and vanilla silt shakes.

But I’m glad to have seen how the buff half lives. And I’m clear that what I called bodybuilder “shoe polish” on Day 1 really does glaze your muscles so they shine under the lights. After all this work—eight or 10 times it, actually—I’d be damned if I weren’t going to show off every nook and cranny.

And speaking of nooks and crannies—the kind that hold melted butter—say, it’s cool enough to bake today. As an homage to the sport/lifestyle that I newly respect but will not miss—remember those egg yolks from Day 3? —I’m going to go glaze something.