Becoming Catherine: real progress at last

Tanya Surrey
Tanya Surrey
MacTodd solicitor Tanya Surrey has taken on the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival 12 Week Challenge with the aim of ending up with a figure like Catherine Zeta Jones. In our third update, she reflects on how her routines have changed for the better and the social side of exercise.

A Breakthrough this week and it feels exceptionally good to know I have made some progress. I did something I never thought possible; two back-to-back sessions at the gym. Richie Lambert, of Funktional Fitness, is a miracle worker.

The first group session was in early April. I sat in the car beforehand frozen with terror almost needing to breathe into a paper bag. Afterwards I ached all over walking to the car. Now I'm able to do 10km on the exercise bike before the group session even gets under way.

All those well-meaning friends who said it would happen had a point. I probably should have been more gracious in my responses. I never thought I would walk out of a gym feeling energised.

I don't know if I've lost weight. I'm avoiding the scales. Some have said I look thinner in the face. What's the use of that? I want to be thinner in the hips and thighs. A thin face isn't attractive.

I still struggle to grasp how much things have changed in such a short time. My idea of a quiet day on the exercise front is now a lunchtime walk around the Queenstown Gardens with my gregarious friend Ruth. I've discovered that you don't notice you're exercising when you're happily chatting about glorious holidays in Umbria, or my dream, a sojourn in the Maldives.

Where I would once have spent Friday night having drinks with friends or watching a film at Dorothy Brown's (I highly recommend Another Year), I'm now charging out to Frankton for a few laps in the pool. I can't swim but I can glide up and down the lanes with the flutter board. The only thing that makes this exercise lark tolerable is the social side of it. In the pool there are even other aqua joggers to talk to.

The rowing machine was bearable when I could hold forth to Neeta and Wendy about the recent Royal wedding. That is, until Richie told me if I had the energy to talk, I wasn't working hard enough.

Speaking of the rowing machine, for guidance I turned to Queenstown's finest, former national rowing team member Annabel Ritchie and Wakatipu Rowing Club stalwarts Hans and Dot Arnestedt. With their helpful advice on technique, I can conquer the rowing machine.

Sunday night in my world would generally entail cooking a roast chicken for my urban family of two flatmates and three cats. However, last Sunday (May 1) around 7pm, it was 10km on the exercise bike. The bike is my favourite form of gym torture.

Then it was off to New World to buy chickpeas in bulk and to scare the unwitting public with my goldfish T-shirt. At the check-out I nearly hugged the delightful Ash who epitomises service with a smile. Ash told me that I looked like I had lost weight. I entered the supermarket exhausted, but I left feeling on top of the world.



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