Little Jillian

Wifey and I have a home gym, replete with free weights, treadmill, elliptical machine, and a bench. And very little space to move around in. Still, we like the setup because it means we don't have to go anywhere to work out - the old "I don't want to leave the house" excuse doesn't work when the gym is literally in your house.

Our pets put up with our daily forays into the world of exercise, trying to stay away from the swinging weights and the mom and dad who won't move out of their way (you know, because I've got 100 pounds on my back I'm squatting). Actually, that's not true - they don't care at all, just flopping down in the middle of the only floor space available despite the fact we need to do our crunches.

Still, they pretty much leave us alone to our crazy time. Well, all except little Lilo. It turns out she thorougly enjoys our workouts and apparently was a trainer in a previous life. We've taken to calling her Little Jillian during the workout sessions because she reminds us of The Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels. How so?

Well, this little ball of fluff - barely six pounds - has a voice capable of shattering glass. And it carries. When she has something to say and she wants you to hear it, you will hear it. You can be sitting in a room downstairs and at one end of the house, she can be upstairs at the other end, she will yowl, and you will jump because is sounds like she yowled in your ear. It's not pleasant.

Time to get your ass in shape!

She brings this voice to the gym and uses it. Constantly. We usually work out in circuits, going back and forth between a couple exercises with the idea being you don't take breaks. If one of us slows down to catch our breath or take a drink, she will literally yell at us. Loudly. It's pretty amazing - like she's taken it upon herself to yell at us like Jillian does on TV, like it's her responsibility for us to get our asses in gear and put in the work.

She also makes us work harder, which is funny. She demands to be held whenever possible, so Wifey and I will do sumo squats or wall sits while holding Little Jillian. If we are on the floor doing crunches, she will sit on our stomachs. If we supposed to be holding a plank position for a minute, she'll walk under us, swishing her tail in our faces. And yes, talking the entire time.

You can lift more than that you candy ass!

I'm not exactly sure who put her in charge, but we've actually taken to this pretty well. Probably part of those furry little ones' plan to take over the world - they already have us under their control. If we pause and she yells, we apologize and get back to work. If you ever have seen the TV show where Jillian yells at the fat people and they bitch and moan about how hard everything is, that's kind of us. We don't bitch as much (then again, we aren't beached mammals training like Kobe Bryant), but the dynamic is similar.

I have no idea why I'm admitting this on the internet, but oh well. I'm here to entertain you.

You know what though? On more than one occasion we have wondered if she ever lived at or near a gym (she was a stray so we don't know her full history). She's not scared of the big weights, she loves the body heat generated by a gym session, and she literally loves being in charge. If I could ask her about that, I would.

You know what.... Here she is now. Lilo! Come here!

Lilo: What?

Me: You know this whole trainer persona you have going on? Where did that come from? Why do you enjoy torturing us so much? Does that come from something in your past, which you never talk about?

Lilo: I don't like to talk about my past. It was violent, scary, and life is better now. Why do you have to ask about that?

Me: You do know I'll get the stories out of you, right? Might be one at a time, but they must be told!

Lilo: Whatever.

Me: Tell me this though - were you ever around a gym before you came here? Is that where Little Jillian came from?

Lilo: I was. It was actually a boxing gym. It wasn't my first home, but I was really hungry being out on my own, and it was raining. Everything in the area was closed up because of the rain, people hiding from the wet. On good days there are usually plenty of doors that are slightly open where I could sneak in and dig around for something to eat, but not this day.

Except for this one door. It was in the back of the building, facing an alley - the door was open to the cold rain, held by a brick. That was plenty of room for me to sneak in and the warmth  coming out of there was enticing. As I snuck through the back area I could hear loud smacks and a lot of grunting punctuating some really fast rock music. Unsure as to what exactly was going on - you wouldn't believe the stuff I've walked in on in the past - I stuck my head around the corner and saw the gym.

The boxing ring was in the middle and two younger men were fighting. They looked tired, like they had been there for awhile, but I couldn't stop watching the game of - you'll love this - cat and mouse they played. Feinting one way, then the other. Blocking, counterpunching, moving light on their feet. I was still hungry though, and through the thick air I picked out a little bit of meat. I followed the smell, keeping to the shadows so no one would notice me. It was also my experience that it's way better to not be noticed for a whole slew of reasons.

I snuck into a side room, a small one you would probably call an office, and found the source of the smell in a brown paper bag in the form of a turkey sandwich. As I sat there munching contededly I didn't hear the person step lightly into the room over the sound of punches and music. Thankfully for me this person - Coach everyone called him - liked cats. He scooped me up, scaring the hell out of me, and started talking to me, pulling out his sandwich and offereing it to me. Apparently I must have looked pretty hungry.

After I ate he brought me out to the gym, showing the boxers what he had found (I let that slide, since technically I found this place - whatever, humans always like to think they're in charge). He set me on a table next to him and proceeded to put the boxers through a rigorous set of ab exercises while I watched. He would push and coerce the guys when they thought they had enough, when they thought they couldn't do anymore. Occasionally he would ask me if I thought Joe or Buck or Ronnie was working hard enough, and I'd offer my thoughts.

Probably to them it just sounded like "Meow!" but I got to where I could pick out the ones who weren't working hard enough.

At the end of the day Coach let me curl up inside a box of handwraps and sleep, probably figuring I needed it. And I probably did.

The next day he brought me more turkey and during the workouts I walked among the boxers, watching them. They were all nice to me - none of those jackasses who like to kick little kitties I saw a lot of on the streets. I would occasionally yell at one of them when I thought they weren't working hard enough, just like Coach, and the boxers were entertained by that.

Well, until Coach figured out what I was doing, and then he'd take the cue when I said something and chastise a boxer for not working hard enough.

I think you can go 5 miles an hour faster

Still, it was good times. I really enjoyed it...

Me: So what happened?

Lilo: What do you mean?

Me: Well, obviously you are here and not there anymore. And I know before we adopted you the hospital was your last stop. It sounds like you had a good thing going, so what happened?

Lilo: I had a few good things going like that, but you're right, something obviously happened otherwise I might still be there. Something always seemed to happen to my good things.

The back door, the one I had snuck in originally, was almost always open. For me it was nice because I could duck out whenever nature called, then come back.

However, one day I was out doing my business when some kids came walking down the alley. They didn't see me because I was in the bushes, but they were acting like your typical punk kids: swearing like sailors, throwing rocks, smoking joints. One of them kicked the brick out of the way, closing the door. Apparently no one in the gym heard it or noticed, at least not very quickly. I would have thought that gym would heat up pretty dang fast without that open door, but I don't know.

Right at that time it started to rain - hard. I had to find myself some cover, so I took off. By the time the rain let up and I came back it was late so the gym was locked up. So I just moved on - I never saw the gym again. I think I was there for about three weeks, but it was one of the most memorable - and positive - stops on my journey.

Me: How sad. I mean, it sounds like you enjoyed that place. Is that why you enjoy it so much at home when we work out? You get to channel your Coach?

Lilo: That's part of it, yeah.

Me: So you know we call you Little Jillian, right? After Jillian Michaels? How do you feel about that?

Lilo: Jillian is awesome, I love it! How many people can get away with yelling at people for weeks at a time and still have them love her? Gordon Ramsay has the yelling down, but no one can stand him.

Jillian yelling on The Biggest Loser

Lilo yelling at the My NW Experience Home Gym

This is something I'm good at, and you in particular are a lazy ass. You need someone to get your ass moving so you can work off that weight.

Me: Um, thanks...I guess. Well, we appreciate it. And now I know why you surprised us with this whole trainer thing.

You probably have some more stories in there, don't you? Shall we do this again?

Lilo: I guess. Just don't ask about the red robes.

Me: Red robes? What the hell are you talking about?

Lilo: See ya!


Sorry all, she took off. I'm going to have to ask her about this whole red robes thing at some point...you just shouldn't be allowed to drop nuggets like that into a conversation and then disappear. Catholic cardinals? Some cult? It's just not right.

No water for you! You dissappoint me. Have I taught you nothing?

Hmm....we learned a lot about Lilo today - I bet Jillian would be just as proud to have a mini me as Lilo is to be named after Ms. Michaels. She probably didn't figure it would be a cat, but that's besides the point.

We'll have to do this again - see what other kinds of craziness in this household we can explain.


  1. I love it! Lilo is a character...I'm sorry Jillian Jillian ma'am no no don't yell at me!!!! Ya know Boo gets into a a barking fit so feverish that he actually sounds like he's being hurt. I'm sure the neighbors are going oh no...not again that poor dog whatever are they doing to it.

  2. I've been out in the yard when Lilo starts yelling in the house for whatever reason. I'm pretty sure the neighbors six houses away can hear her. Clearly. From a concrete room.