The Moroccan Jillian Michaels

“Life is a series of losing yourself and finding yourself over and over.”

I saw this quote this morning and thought to myself…. ooo I have lost myself alright, in giant piles of bread, pasta, and meat along with the lovely absence of regular exercise! I cannot blame it entirely on Morocco though… my husband is blessed with an excellent metabolism (yes, he has lost weight here) and craves a diet of carbohydrates, sweets and abhors any physical activity other than bike riding. Needless to say, doing any Jillian Michaels or Hip Hop abs videos with me… is completely* out of the question. I do have to hand it to him though… We did have a consistent running schedule for three weeks!

Although it was wonderful to be running again… those three weeks were bittersweet. Some volunteers run in their sites regularly and enjoy it, I however feel like I love running too much to share it. At home,  I run because it helps me get out of my head every once and awhile… running in Morocco, for me at least, means that I have to be significantly more aware of my surroundings. Even running with Tyler- I could never quite find that one small moment of peace. Even if those moments are few and far between with Billy Blanks and Denise Austin… the exercise still is more meaningful with the videos compared to running outside. In early November however, I started to find the videos lackluster, running not as peaceful and my motivation for exercise diminishing. These feelings were exacerbated by comments I had received from several Moroccans that I had gained weight. Although I can pretend all I want that I don’t understand- I DO understand and so does my self-esteem. Even if I didn’t already feel the difference, finding a full-length mirror or a scale here is like finding a needle in a haystack!  Anyway, commenting about weight is another aspect of Moroccan culture I do not understand, but it has me thinking about standards of beauty… both here and in the US. I am hoping to update on that soon.

So…… with exercise issues and apparent weight gain (along with the onset cold and dreary days) I felt myself slipping into a rut…. until two weeks ago. 

While eating lunch with our assistant mudir, he mentioned that his wife worked at the local Sports Center. I took this opportunity to ask if there were workout classes for women. I thought, maybe if there weren’t I could at the very least start some! But low and behold, there are! 3 days a week, twice a day! Very exciting!! However, here it is necessary to keep any expectations very low… so the following week, I biked the 20 minutes to the Sports Center. I told myself, that 40 minutes of biking was a good addition and even if the class wasn’t difficult, it is still early enough to get in some time with Jillian when I get back home. Well, I am elated to report…. extra Jillian time is completely UNNECESSARY!

After going for a week, the workouts are invigorating, difficult AND entertaining! The lady who leads the classes is akin to Jillian Michaels, incorporating different parts of the body, kickboxing, and EVEN plyometrics! There are between 8-10 women in the class regularly and they are wonderful*!  Also who would have thought- I ACTUALLY found a needle in the haystack, there is a full length mirror along one entire wall in the room! WHAT!  

I feel like I have found myself again, in the piles of bread, pasta, meat and configuring healthy meals that satisfies both Tyler and I! Like a light has decided to shine upon me!!! And even though it is interesting to see what bounces in that full length mirror while doing plyometrics… I am happy to see my reflection along with my fabulous new workout buddies!

2 thoughts on “The Moroccan Jillian Michaels

  1. This is such a happy post! I’m so glad that you’ve found some workout buddies and a safe, fun place to sweat! I totally understand about not wanting to “share” running with people – but workout classes are one of the best things to share!

  2. Good for you Amber! I am still looking for some work out buddies, and they should be easier for me to come by in the US! I can’t imagine trying to juggle all you do there in a new environment. Best of luck in your classes, exercise is such a great happy thing to come by! 🙂

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