How I Feel About Exercise
Posted April 18, 2012 by rough day at the office
I remember in college thinking wow! I was really in shape in high school! Well, now I’m starting to realize wow! I was really in shape in college! Neither of these revelations is necessarily true. I was never an athlete, and to be quite honest “team sports” have always had that small drawback of actually being skilled enough to contribute to the success of the team. I generally stay away from competitive sports and/or activities, which I think squashed my interest in fostering athleticism at an early age. I “played” track in high school (and I say “played” because there was little to no competitive running on my part-I participated in one meet in a relay designed to give freshman a chance to run in a race-I was a junior) solely as a pre-Spring Break workout regimen. In my defense, our track team was a bit of a joke, and we usually lost at least 20 members after everyone returned from Florida for the last half of the semester.
My gym is right across the street from my work, and they solicit new members by posting a dry erase board with messages like “It’s almost bikini season!” and “Time to get your body back into its best shape for summer!” Bastards. You already have my money. Must you taunt me with the fact that I really only used the facility in the last week to shower before happy hour? Lately, I feel as though everyone is running a half marathon, which seems to be the thing to do when you’re a post-grad 20-something with good habits and a sense of discipline. I’m just not a fan of recreational racing. My longest runs usually happen after I’ve downloaded a few new teen pop/top 40 hits on my iPod and I feel like the other runners may or may not be keeping tabs on how many times I’ve taken a “stretching break.” I have the attention span of a fetus and watching TV on the treadmill simply can’t distract me from the fact that my lungs feel like they’re developing emphysema and there’s a Chipotle next door serving up carnitas and guacamole and queso and that corn salsa stuff I really like and instant gratification. Did I mention I’m not a particularly patient person? I could gain a burrito now…or I could lose 5 lbs in 6 weeks….choices…
I’ve taken a few classes at the gym and there is a boxing boot camp that usually holds my attention for the full 55 minutes. I’ve decided to get back to the gym and start anew to regain my college physique (…again…still wasn’t that in shape in college…lower your standards and meet your goals) so I signed up for the class last night. I’m currently struggling to type this because even my fingernails are in pain. I always seem to forget that when you don’t work out, and then strain yourself, that lactic acid takes over your muscles and infuses them with habanero juice while lighting them on fire. I don’t recall working the muscles in the soles of my feet but for the love of God, I apparently did. I generally spend the day after taking a class at the gym whining to anyone and everyone about how sore I am. I understand that they don’t care, but when I find it difficult to fasten my sandals because my back muscles hurt even when I breath, much less bend over, it consoles me to inflict my pain verbally to others. Anyway, I got to the class last night and a few friends of mine who belong to the gym were already there. The instructor said hello to them, as they appear to go every week, and then thanked them for bringing a new friend. Guess it really had been a while since I went to a class…
We started off with some pushups, which I used to be fairly capable of doing. Now, not so much. After maybe 6, I looked in the mirror and realized I was actually drooling out of exertion. I began to resent every dairy product I had ingested in the last week and really wished I had taken the man at the front desk up on his offer for a clean towel (I understand what those are for now, by the way). We finally switched gears from calisthenics to mitt work, which relies much more on cardio than muscle strength. Chalking it up to muscle deterioration (in my defense, I had been working a lot lately. Not in my defense, that had nothing to do with why I was avoiding the gym), I figured I could handle the quick movements and maintain some semblance of composure. Again, I do sometimes tend to be wrong. The girl I was hitting with was a good 7 inches taller than I am and pretty agile. She called out combos faster than a barista at Starbucks calls out espresso orders, and I started to feel like the slow kid in dodgeball. My arms started to burn and I got so flustered I noticed I had started to do that drooling thing again. I get that the point of this class is to push yourself. But this isn’t Rocky. My partner was wearing Victoria’s Secret “Sexy Sport” yoga pants and if she hadn’t made it to the 6 pm boxing bootcamp, she would have gone to the 7 pm Zumba class. Every time she told me “no pain no gain” (really? who still says that?) and to “burn it out,” I wanted to snap back with “YOU BURN IT OUT!! YOUR MOM BURNS IT OUT!!” I also think I might have a problem with authority.
There are always certain people in these classes. You have the token Exercise Enthusiast, usually a guy in a class full of women wearing a knee brace who had to take it down a notch from running marathons to “total body conditioning” classes due to an ACL injury in 2006. He keeps his heart rate up during down time in the class by doing the “running man” (80’s style dance which could arguably have been the first “Dougie”-doesn’t look cool as a dance, doesn’t look cool as an exercise) and shadowboxing in the mirror. The Exercise Enthusiast in this particular class actually took a lap around the gym during one of the instruction breaks. Those extra 17 calories won’t burn themselves and to that I say, well played Exercise Enthusiast, well played. Now burn 17 more calories by running to Chipotle and get me a burrito.
Then you have the Grey or Yellow Cotton shorts girl. There is always one female who wears grey or yellow cotton shorts, and they are always tiny, despite the fact that 1. Cotton simply does not breath and 2. Grey and yellow are prime colors for creating a thong outline in sweat. We’ve all seen it. I don’t need to get a peek of your heart-patterned granny panties through your shorts (which you’ve made shorter by rolling the waistband) every time you do a mountain climber. And for this, I have to make a shout out to my sister, because I suspect she is “that girl.” In fact, I know she is that girl because we just had the conversation about whether or not Soffees are still acceptable to wear to the gym. I bought you a pair of Under Armor shorts for Christmas. You are not a 14 year old cheerleader. Retire the yellow Soffees.
Finally, we have the Hot Girl. Every class has a girl who not only has a killer body, but somehow manages to break a sexy sweat. Remember that phrase “I don’t sweat, I glisten”? She seriously glistens. While most of us are toweling down our knee-pits and trying to reduce facial redness by standing in front of the fan during breaks, she manages to take her sweatless, uncreased hair down to redo a perfectly coiffed pony tail. Once I break a sweat, my hair becomes plastered to my head, and on more than one occasion it became so matted and frizzy I had to actually cut the ponytail holder out post-workout. I tried to ask Hot Girl how she gets her hair to stay so nice during a workout, but dehydration and exhaustion made the question come out in a “ohmygodyourhairssoprettyhowyoudothat?” whisper while I stared for an unacceptably long time. I’m pretty sure Hot Girl now thinks I’m Creepy Sweaty Gym Girl. At the beginning of the class, Hot Girl makes you want to come back every week so you can look like her. At the end of the class, Hot Girl just makes you want to binge Chipotle.
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