Day One: Death by Stupidity
I make it to the gym before it closes. Drat. Plenty of time to walk a couple of miles at a good clip. I mitigate the agony by reading and pretending I have no relationship to my legs. I get the endorphin benefit: I am not hungry! People would pay for this! Oh, right. I am.
Day Two: Death by Humiliation
I walk. Nothing hurts. Therefore it’s not working. Time to add Nautilus machines. Buff Gym Guy advises me to start at 20 lbs on each machine, with only 3 reps each, to ease back into working out. Uh-huh. I don’t live on Buff People Planet. When he’s not looking, I pull the pin out of the weight stack, and use the machines with only the 5 lb balance weight. Reps? Is he crazy? I want to ride tomorrow. On my planet, we put our body through the motions, and then add weight once there’s proof the machine doesn’t cause convulsions or loss of consciousness.
This goes well until I get to the bicep curls. With no restraining resistance, my fist comes at me so fast I nearly knock my teeth out with my own steel-reinforced hand. I can see the headlines: Woman Knocked Out in Gym by Self. I add weight. Hey. I guess riding does give you some arm muscle. I owe an apology to all the horses that tried to yank the bit out of my hands. Muscle building by passive resistance. Nice.
I swagger to the next machine. Abdominal crunches. Deflate. It takes me 3 tries to get the (weightless) machine to bend forward. Yay, I do it! Problem: I’m stuck. I’m afraid unbending will result in a chiropractic jackknife. I wonder if anyone will notice? I take a deep breath, and slowly lean back, my face probably looking a lot like that of a woman trying to shove the kid OUT already. I do not get a hernia, and my back doesn’t go out. It’s a miracle. I am not doing THAT again. Does anyone else see the irony in needing to have abs to get abs?
Don’t question what works! Ours is not to reason why…ours is to simply hope we will not die.
Next. My (heavy sarcasm) favorite machine. You know the one. It looks like a gynecological torture device. The general idea is you sit with your legs far apart, and you try to pull them together. How far under the radar can I do this exercise? Men outnumber women here. No one near. Safe to mount torture device. I pull the pin out. My legs are long, so I have to widen the distance. I brace myself for the strain…and smash my legs together with a huge metallic clang that reverberates gong-like across the ceiling. Buff Gym Guy shouts from the other side: “You’re gonna need to put more weight on that, it’s bad for the machine to bang it.”
So much for under the radar. Can I die now? I skip the 10 lb and put the pin in at 20. Try to ease the legs together. BANG…CLANG, BOOOOONG. “Hey!” yells Buff Gym Guy, “Don’t do that! You need some help?” 40 heads turn.
Right. Aging Lesbo wants young Buff Gym Guy to come help her with the leg spread machine. No. I crank it up to 50 lbs, and get it down to a muffled smack. 65 lbs, better, but no resistance. 75 lbs, I have mild resistance. 3 reps of 10 and I still don’t feel the effort. Well DUH, Jane. Horse riding muscles.
Day Three: Death by Sudden Shock
Treadmills are full. Bicycles are full. There’s some sort of elliptical/stair contraption. I’ll knock around on that until a treadmill is free. I stand on it, and push the START button. CHOOSE PROGRAM, it says. Program? Can’t I just, you know, make the feet paddles move? It shuts itself off. Apparently not. I hit START again. CHOOSE PROGRAM. I punch MANUAL. TIME?, it says. I put in the shortest: 20 MINUTES.
GATHERING INFORMATION PLEASE WAIT.
I wait. It gives me a read out.
DURATION: 20 MINUTES
WEIGHT: [imagine your worst-fear number]
What?!? The machine weighed me? I’ve gained TWENTY POUNDS since September? I mean, I know I went through the candy replacement program, but how do you NOT notice 20 extra pounds? I climb and sniffle at the same time. So much for exercise induced endorphins. I’m stunned. No one said a word. Well of course not: I wouldn’t either, because I wouldn’t care.
A treadmill does not open up. I hunt for an elliptical that doesn’t want to weigh me. Bingo. Old one. Whoa. These are hard! That spandex clad 18-year-old next to me is making it look effortless. I’m barely hauling one leg up after the other, and she’s blistering along, reading a magazine.
I’m having chest pains.
As I limped to the car, I thumbed out an all points bulletin: machine at gym WEIGHED me w/o permission!!! I gained 20 lbs...
Daisy: WHAT?!?! IT’S WRONG. Use another scale!!
Bella: NO! It’s a conspiracy! Don’t believe it!!
They both texted me back and forth until I laughed. Maybe it’s wrong, maybe not, but as long as I have friends like this pulling for me, I’m okay.
Shaun called. I told her I didn’t realize I’d gained so much weight. She was instantly suspicious. (I have a firm no scale rule. Numbers make me nuts, and pants never lie.) “What happened? You didn’t weigh yourself did you?” , she says.
“I thought I gained maybe five pounds because my pants are tight, but I got on the stair machine and it said 20!”, I wail.
“The machine read your weight out to you…?” she said, slowly. Shaun is a gym addict. Faithful.
“Honey, listen to me, that’s not your weight. It doesn’t weigh you. It’s asking you to ENTER your weight so it can tell you how many calories you’re burning. Wasn’t there a place to enter your height?”
I wondered why it said I was 5′ 8″.
Shaun continues explaining.
“The person before you weighed 20 pounds more than you. It stores the weight the person before you entered, until you overwrite it.”
Bella is right. It’s a conspiracy. The crunch machine didn’t kill me, so the stairmaster tried to shock me to death.
Declaring “I’m gonna get in shape if it kills me” might not have been the best way to express my, er, commitment to getting fit.