I am improving my life with fitness now that I have joined a gymnasium. At least that is what the brochure says. I don’t want to say the brochure lied because I know that exercise is good for me. So let’s just say there was some artistic license taken with that statement, since the experience that I have when I actually go to the gymnasium does not feel like an improvement to how my life feels before I pass through the door.
In a nutshell, I HATE to exercise. (Do I know when I use all caps that I am yelling? Yes, I do. I would also make the word be in a bold red font if I knew it wouldn’t take me two hours to figure out how to do that.) I attribute my hatred of exercise to my adherence to the Zen life philosophy that exercise for exercise sake is dumb. I thought I learned this from The Tao of Pooh but I can’t find it in there when I flip through, so perhaps I’m paraphrasing. (Yes, I know Zen and Tao not the same; read the book.) Or maybe I just invented it all inside my head to suit my own needs. But I digress…
My exercise process is thus:
- I put on skin-tight, industrial-grade Under Armour. Two reasons: My fat rolls chafe and I sweat like a defensive lineman.
- I arrive at the gymnasium where I immediately go to my ‘’favorite’’ elliptical machine. It is my favorite because it says that I burn about twice as many calories as any other elliptical in the place. Do I know it is wrong? Yes. Do I care? Not at all. Equipment malfunction not my issue. I still get to believe I have burned 800 calories by using Level 1 for 15 minutes.
- Minutes 1-2: feeling good feeling strong; believing I really AM improving my life with fitness.
- Minutes 2-10: bored out of my potato-chip-lovin’ mind.
- Minutes 10-what feels like infinity: I want to kill someone. The talking heads on the silenced TVs on the walls, the woman talking on her cell phone while she uses the elliptical next to me (not making that up), my loving husband who came with me to the gymnasium so we could improve our lives with fitness together, the nice man who opened the door when I couldn’t get my security code to work, the idiot meatheads who keep dropping the weights, the people in the back room who are blasting rave music while they do stretches on giant blow-up balls, anyone and everyone needs to die. The only thing keeping me from killing someone is that I can no longer feel my legs or lift my arms.
- It ends. I stumble off the machine, confirm that I have indeed burned 40,000 calories in 45 minutes, squirt the sanitizer onto the machine and wipe off my three inches of sweat with the putrid, ebola-infested rag, and try to find my husband through the sweat pouring into my eyes.
Now that it is over, I am ready to celebrate my survival with some of those endorphins that all the health magazines tell me I will get from exercising. Also known as the runner’s high, I have been anticipating this feeling since I started running back in July to get rid of the extra 30 pounds I packed on sitting in front of a computer for a living. Yeah, no endorphins; still angry and ready to kill someone.
After six months of waiting, I have become convinced that this whole endorphin thing is merely propaganda perpetuated by Nike to sell shoes. When I asked my friend Beth (who loves to exercise so I’m not sure why we are friends) about this, she advised that the reward comes when you reach the point that you have exercised so successfully for so long that when you do NOT exercise you don’t feel well. My question: how the hell is that a reward???
So after running, using the elliptical at the gymnasium once it got too cold for me to run outside, and going to Zumba (a story of its own), I am still waiting for me to actually feel the benefits of my life being improved with fitness. So far, I haven’t actually killed anyone and I can run four miles. And my husband has invented a new word, enRAGEins, to describe what happens to me when I exercise. So my vocabulary has improved, which pleases my mother. I guess that’s something…