Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pumping Iron

This weekend I did the unthinkable -- I went back to the gym. Not only that, I went two days in a row. And I might even go this afternoon. What could have made me resort to such a desperate move? Well, on Friday I seriously considered buying a pair of jeans -- because my fat pants are getting tight. Yes, I almost purchased fat, fat pants. But, instead, I went back to the gym.

One day I'll look like this...

I used to go to the gym all the time. Of course, this was in the days when a wedding dress was in my immediate future and I didn't want to waddle down the aisle. After we got married Ryan and I tried to continue working out, but our schedules and the desire just to stay home and have competitive eating contests made it difficult. Every night we would plan to go to the gym, but then one of us would be hungry, or cranky, or lazy and the other would fold like origami. However, we did continue to pay for the gym -- as if sending in the $62 dollars a month would in some way keep our butts from getting any bigger. Alas, it does not work like that. At least not yet; I think someone at MIT must be working on it.

I do the elliptical when I go to the gym. The main reason for my choice is my utter lack of co-ordination. When I run on a treadmill I look like an epileptic gerbil. Also, I don't run very fast, so I always feel like people are silently judging me. The elliptical lets me run -- without having to decide where to put my feet or how my legs should move. It's like exercising half asleep. I have tried to do weights -- but none of the machines are built for a person of my short stature. I always feel like I should bring a phone book to sit on. I could do free weights -- but they are over by the mirror , and there are always guys there "pumping up" while watching themselves lustily. It creeps me out.

My favorite thing to do at the gym is people watch. We belong to a county rec center, so the cast of characters is always on par with that of a John Waters movie. There are always two or three horribly out of shape older men who are convinced that if they do five reps on the bicep machine they will be transformed back to their younger physiques. At least one of them is wearing a tank top. It's usually the one who really needs to shave, or mow, his chest hair. There is always one super-fit couple pushing each other to do more reps, lift more weight or run a little faster. Whenever I see these couples I always speculate what their love life must be like. Does the competitive spirit make their sex life spicy? Or do they resent each other so much that when they try to come together romantically they repel like magnets? There is always one person that I fear is about to have a heart attack. They are usually going ten miles an hour on a treadmill with a 30 percent grade, or trying to force fifty pounds over their heads with one arm. They are drenched in sweat and bright red -- but convinced if they don't feel like they are about to die the work out doesn't mean anything. There are also always a couple people who look like they are cruising -- which is really gross considering the other people I've just described. The women wear lip gloss and walk slowly on the elliptical machines -- the men look oiled and always grunt with the effort of lifting weights -- even if it's just ten pounds.

The worst thing about the gym is when people try to talk to me. There is nothing quite as bad as trying to carry on a conversation while exercising. Trying to spit out coherent syllables with what little breath I have just makes a bad situation more unpleasant. I could stop exercising, yes, but then I would lose my momentum and have to go home and eat ice cream. Or, I could do the gym wave, but I have gotten in trouble for that before. I waved at my friend Jane's new boyfriend and for two days had to listen to complaints that I was rude to him and that must mean I don't like him. I don't like him, but that isn't why I resorted to the gym wave. So, now I just solider on, holding short conversations, trying to be nice, and hoping that no one is expecting my usual witty self.

But enough with the jokes, in case any kids are reading (hi, kids!), exercise is a wonderful thing with many benefits. It lifts my mood, keeps me healthy and helps me fit into my pants. However, if I don't lose ten pounds by Friday I might have to resort to home liposuction with my dust buster.