Like I Knew I Would

This is Gym Week, like, negative 48. Because I ain’t been to the fucking gym since before last Christmas.

And I’ve gained some absurd amount of weight like 50 pounds since then.

And, no, there’s been no pregnancy involved, although my gut gets a lot of suspicious glances on account of the junk food baby gestating in there.

So what happened? I quit going to the fucking gym, that’s what fucking happened. I can tell you all the events that led to my gym cessation and persistence in gym truancy, like how my gym closed, and the place that bought everyone’s membership was inconveniently located and didn’t have the classes I wanted at times I could go. I can tell you how that second place then charged me and wouldn’t refund my money like the crooks gym bosses are known to be, even though I followed the instructions for quitting the gym, and this made me too poor to join another gym that month and also too pissed to go to the new gym that had my money but not my required amenities. I can tell you how I was busy around the holidays, how my long-distance relationship had me going out of town or having company every weekend, and how every time I told myself tomorrow was the day I’d go join the Y or something, I inevitably balked at the cold or my fatigue or some other excuse and never did it.

I could tell you all of that. But that’s all bullshit. I quit going to the gym, because I fucking quit going to the gym. I quit running, too. That’s what happened.

Do I regret it? Sort of.

I mean, I had a good thing going there for a while. I’d gotten past the agony of starting at the gym. I was seeing results. I was feeling good about my body–not only my appearance, but my ability to do shit with my body I’d never thought I’d be able to do. I’d run some 5k races–and I still have the bibs pinned to my wall to prove it. The fact that the race T-shirts don’t fit me anymore tells another story.

When I started this blog last year, I didn’t hide how much I hated working out. I also worked in an escape clause by saying over and over, “I might get sick of this shit soon!” and “I haven’t quit–yet.” That way I could always say I never fully expected I’d stick with it, so it should come as no surprise if I dropped out.

I wasn’t wrong. I did get sick of it. I quit. Like I knew I would.

The intervening months have brought about a different kind of introspection: on body image and self acceptance. Those are confusing to me. When I was younger, the biggest hurdle between me and accepting my body was the chest region. And when I say “biggest hurdle,” that’s actually the opposite of what it was: these tits were tiny, and that’s the one thing I would have changed about my body. The rest of me was skinny, and I never worried for a second about things like how much I weighed or what size I wore. The first time I noticed my clothes starting to get snug, when I was in my early 20s, I stepped on the scale and didn’t really know what to think of the number I saw. I had no idea what I had weighed before and so had no idea if I’d gained any weight.

Now, I’m all too aware of how much I weigh, and of how much I’ve weighed at times since those first inklings it might be more than it should be. Right now, I weigh more than I ever have, even fully pregnant, and I feel baffled to think I might have been disappointed at my weight 20, 30, or 40+ pounds ago.

My boobs are bigger now, so there’s that. It’s only fair. It’s the least nature can do if I’m going to have a belly, right?

Even so, I’m not what I would call “happy” with my body. I’m often conscious of how much more of it there is now, how ill-fitting my clothes are because I’ve outgrown a lot of shit and don’t really know how to dress my current shape in a way that flatters. I don’t even know what to think about the word “flatting,” like what it means in practice, and how much I should care about it.

I did the Mud Run again this year, and it was much, much harder than last year. By the end, I was running as fast as I could, and I was barely keeping up with my friend next to me who was walking. I attempted all the obstacles but was literally unable to finish some of them. I actually had a difficult time mustering the strength to lift my legs at the end of the thing, by which time I had a real appreciation of what good shape I must have been in last year.

Today is the one year anniversary of my quit-smoking date, and in spite of varying degrees of temptation over the last twelve months, I’ve never lit up. That can be a contributing factor in weight gain, they say.

There are three goals I had for myself around the time I started going to the gym: first, start going to the gym. Second, start eating better. Third, quit smoking. It seems like I can’t ever do more than one of those things at once.

At any rate, while I may not be “happy” with my body, I’m not consumed by self-hatred. Sometimes I even like how I look. There’s a certain womanliness I like sometimes.

And truth be told, my dude likes my bod the way it is. I certainly appreciate that, though I also question how much or in what way I should appreciate it. I want to feel the way I feel about my body because it’s the way I feel about my body. I don’t want to hate my body because it’s not as skinny as some man thinks it should be, but I also don’t want to resist making changes I want to make because a man likes how I look now.

Lemme tell you, it’s hard to know, as a woman, exactly what your own thoughts are about your body. Sometimes what makes me feel bad about myself is seeing images of other people and comparing myself to them. Is that a good reason to want to make a change? That doesn’t sound sustainable. There will always be some part of some person’s body that I’ll think is better than the same part of mine.

Sometimes I think about my age and being a mom and having a mom’s body, and I feel like I should just accept that’s where I am. Is that a good reason to find acceptance? That seems like giving up. But giving up what? Would that be giving up something I want for myself or something I think I’m supposed to want for myself?

Sometimes I see cellulite on my thighs or observe my belly, and I’m not sure what I think about those things. Do I hate them? Do I feel neutral? Am I just casually observing? Is noticing body fat the same thing as feeling ashamed of body fat?

I will say this: I felt accomplished when I could observe my body getting stronger, when I noted I could do things I’d never done before or thought I could do before. When I could lift more weight in Body Pump. When I could last through a hard track in RIPPED. When I finished my first 5k and ran the whole thing without stopping to walk.

But it’s very daunting to think about starting it all up again. Those six a.m. classes? Those evenings at the gym when my couch is calling to me? Those aching muscles, those gym showers? I already can’t get all my shit done that I feel like I need to do, like make sure I take the laundry out of the washing machine before it goes sour, or pick up my kids in time to get in piano practice and reading and baths and a nutritious dinner and a little recreation time. Imagining throwing in another element that I don’t really even want to begin with, to the end of achieving goals that I know would make me feel good but are not necessarily a part of my personal values–impossible.

Which is why I never joined a gym before last year.

What to do next? I don’t know. Like with the whole thing last year, this is open ended. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get motivated to start training for an Iron Man or some shit, and this time next year I’ll be winning body building competitions. Or maybe tomorrow I’ll watch TV and take my kids grocery shopping and not smoke any cigarettes and eat some carbs and fat, and this time next year I’ll be no closer to making any changes than I am today.

Until next time.

I ran a fucking 5k, and I quit smoking. Bitches.

I should have posted about the fucking 5k sooner than now so that it would be a bigger deal than it feels like it is. I ran 5 kilometers, bitches! Without stopping! Or walking! And I finished in a respectable amount of time! BITCHES!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I also had a sweet, satisfying cigarette on the drive home. Pumped up on aderenaline and pride at my accomplishment, I dragged that delicious smoke into my just-worked lungs and felt the nicotine course through my body, cheering me like an old, congratulatory friend.

But that was November 1. A very good day. And yesterday, November 20, was a different kind of good day. The kind of very good day that’s a really fucking bad day.

It was the day I quit smoking. And right now, the pure pissivity that I feel feels like a much bigger deal than some stupid 5k race.

I picked November 20 because it was 4 weeks after I decided to pick a quit date, and the Internet said to pick a date 2-4 weeks in the future. It was also, coincidentally (as in I didn’t choose that date because of this), the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, or the day everybody is supposed to stop smoking allllllll together.

And leading up to that date, I felt pretty positive about it. It started getting cold outside, and I actually thought, sincerely, “I can’t wait until I don’t smoke anymore and I won’t have to go outside in the cold several times a day.” I thought that! With my thoughts! And a bunch of other positive thinky things, like “I won’t smell like stinky cigarettes anymore” and “I’ll be a positive role model to my children” and “People can’t judge me for smoking anymore, and I’ll have the bonus of feeling morally suprior to people who still smoke.”

And then when I woke up yesterday, I was pissed. Pissssssed. In part because I didn’t go to bed on time the night before, but also in part because I knew it was the day.

So it’s been 39 hours since my last cigarette. I feel like a Sim who wants to turn off the TV but can’t because something is blocking the way. I keep having the “go smoke a cigarette” action idea bubble pop up over my head, and then I realize I can’t do it, and I want to gesticulate angrily and curse in some made-up language. And my cigarette “want” meter is deep, deep in the red, which is dragging my general happiness meter way down with it.

Ugh. Shit, damn, and fuck.

So anyway. I ran a fucking 5k three weeks ago. It’s a 5k put on by the school where I went to kindergarten. I “ran” the same 5k with my dad in kindergarten. We were going to do the kids’ one-mile “Fun Run,” but once we got to that point, we said, “What the heck? Let’s do the whole thing!” Me with my short little five-year-old legs and lifelong aversion to intentional exercise, and my dad with his not-especially-running-friendly boots.

"Running" the "race" at age 5.

“Running” the “race” at age 5.

We took so long that the clock was stopped by the time we reached the finish line, and my mom was like, “where the fuck were you, and what took so goddam long?” (Not in those words. Probably.)

This time around, I finished the thing in 34 minutes and 37 seconds, and I placed 554th out of 1,272 officially registered participants.

wpid-img_20141103_101636.jpg wpid-img_20141103_101715.jpg

Feeling fucking accomplished.

Feeling fucking accomplished.

My Running Mates did a similarly kickass job of running the whole thing and placing respectably. Our Facebook posts were all about training for 10 weeks and feeling accomplished and proud.

wpid-img_858764836031682.jpegAs well we should. Running even 60 seconds, let alone 3.1 miles, was a struggle at the start of our Couch to 5k training, and the idea we’d soon become capable of running a 5k seemed dubious at best. And yet we did it. We fucking did it! We worked hard, we were consistent, we pushed ourselves, and the day of the race, we all ran longer than we ever had before. We are fucking rock stars.

We also haven’t stopped training. We are running another 5k tomorrow, and my Mates are running yet another next weekend. Can’t stop, won’t stop, bitches!

I pondered this accomplishment during one of our subsequent evening runs. I thought, you know what? I ran a fucking 5k. I did that shit. And you know what else? I went to the fucking gym. I can do anything. There is nothing I can’t do. I can do fucking anything.

And that means I can quit smoking. As much as it sucks ass and balls and all manner of other unpleasant things, I can do it. I can do that shit, and I fucking dare you to tell me I can’t.

I’ve accomplished things before in my life and experienced that feeling of, “Holy shit, I did that, and I didn’t think I could!” That’s an incredible feeling. If you go too long without feeling that, you forget what you’re capable of. Your baseline becomes “I can’t,” and you might not even realize it. You have to remind yourself that you can, so you can get to where you can say, “I did.”

There’s a ton of shit I’ve done that I didn’t think I could. I gave birth without an epidural. I learned a bunch of shit about cars and earned a property damage license. I got a master’s degree. I sang in front of people. I changed religions. I left my husband. I changed a tire–lots of times. I started going to the fucking gym. I ran a fucking 5k.

And I quit smoking.

I can do this shit. I can do anything.

Weeks 20-24

  • Favorite part: finishing a fucking 5k.
  • Least favorite: riding the roller coaster of emotions in a car of pissivity. Somebody stop this ride; I’m ready to get off.

Week twenty

I went to the fucking gym today.

What? You thought my roughly three-month hiatus from posting meant I slacked off, didn’t you? You thought I fell off the wagon, threw my fingerless gloves into a drawer, and slunk off to a corner filled with Cheez-Its and shame. You thought I failed like so many pool noodle barbell pads and pantyshorts before me.

Didn’t you?

Well. You couldn’t be more wrong, bitches. This is week twenty or some shit. I went to the fucking gym today, and I worked the fuck out.

Week 20, bitches. And week... like, one. Or two. Early on.

Week 20, bitches. And week… like, one. Or two. Early on.

That on the left there is after RIPPED this morning. Sweaty mess. Asscrack of dawn.

OMG, speaking of ungodly hours when the sun isn’t out. Last night I went to Body Pump, and thanks to the shortening of the days, it was dark when I left the gym. Then this morning, I went to RIPPED, and it was STILL FUCKING DARK when I got to the gym. I can’t even. It’s like I never left. Someone with severe vision problems who could only see when the sun was out would have seen me go in before the sun set and seen me leave only after the sun rose again and thought I had been in there the whole time. Of course, such a person would have to be camped outside of my gym, stalker-like, and be suffering from this imaginary condition I just made up for the sake of my hyperbole. Just go with it, y’all.

I’m not just going to the gym anymore, either. Oh, no. Now? Now I’m running, too.

wpid-img_20140828_174455.jpgAround the time I wrote my last entry, a couple of my friends from work and I started the Couch to 5K program with the goal of running a 5K race on November 1. If you don’t know (we didn’t, necessarily), a 5K race is 3.1 miles. The Couch to 5K program is this system that, as the name implies, trains you to get your lazy ass off the couch and run well enough to complete a 5K in about 8 weeks. To this end, my Running Mates and I purchased some fancy-pants running shoes (the ultimate accessories), downloaded some apps, and started getting together after work to jog through the sketchy neighborhood near our office.

Make no mistake: I don’t love running, nor do my Mates. But we do it. We do it because we kick ass. And also because there are three of us, and nobody wants to puss out and disappoint the others.

The Couch to 5K thing starts out simply enough. Day one has the app prompting you to do a 5-minute warm-up walk, then run for 60 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds, back and forth for 20 minutes. You do that for a few days, and then the app increases the running time little by little. And that shit has not been easy. We all thought we were gonna die that first week. And then, when the app ramped up our jogs to 90 seconds, and two minutes, and three minutes? Each time, we were scared. Very, very scared. But then… we did it! Because we kick ass, that’s why.

At this point, we are running 20-25 minutes at a time. We ran today, in fact. Today I didn’t run the whole 20 minutes. I got a stitch in my side and briskly walked some chunks. But I have run a complete 20 minutes without stopping, a fact which is monumentally baffling to me. I cannot believe I can do that.

Also, I don’t know if you caught this, but I went to the fucking gym this morning, AND I went fucking running this afternoon. Yeah! How about them apples?

Our 5K is this Saturday. I had hoped to be a little more consistent in my running by now, and running for longer stretches, but I have no doubt the three of us will complete the race, and we’ll run at least the majority of it. I’m already really proud of us. Seriously, ladies; you inspire me and shit.

Now, our 5K is this Saturday, but after we started training and planned to do that 5K, we found out about a mud run that was scheduled for earlier this month, and we decided to do that, too.

We call these the Shin Scrapers/Crotch Crushers.

We call these the Shin Scrapers/Crotch Crushers.

That’s me on the left, balancing on some crazy-ass posts that are submerged in water and mud.

So a mud run is a 5K (this one was, anyway) that has a shitton of insane obstacles all throughout. Really, really messy obstacles. Stuff like, “here, get into this pool of mud and crawl across, under these logs” or “check out these ropes suspended across a muddy lake! Now, walk across one and hold onto the other!” or “now climb over these half a dozen hills made of literal, clay-like mud, and in between each, splash into puddles where the mud goes to your knees!”

That last one, I was for serious worried I was going to lose my shoes.

Anyway, we did that shit. I did that shit! Even the obstacles that were scary. I’m scared of heights; sue me. One surefire way to die is to fall from a high enough height. I’m willing to bet some of the obstacles that involved climbing and scaling shit got to heights sufficient to break a neck. And yet, I conquered my fear and scaled that shit like a BOSS.

So, yes, the mud run was a 5K, but in my mind, it’s not quite the same as the 5K we’ll run this weekend, because the running itself was broken up by so many obstacles. The 5K this weekend won’t take nearly as long and won’t have the full-body challenges of the mud run, but it will be the traditional endurance-tasking challenge of just running and running and RUNNING, not to save yourself from something pursuing you, but instead just to do it.

Still, because we have completed the mud run and have the T-shirts to prove it, I feel we have joined a tribe. The tribe of People Who Run. And the members of the tribe have a uniform that is made of every T-shirt every race ever gave out. That’s right; races come with automatic accessories! Excellent!

To be fair, since I’ve been running, I haven’t gone to the gym quite as often as I was before. I feel my commitment to the Mates to run after work trumps my workouts at the gym, and though I usually would technically have time to go to the gym after a run, I sure as shit don’t feel like it. So that’s the deal I made with myself: if I run, I don’t have to go to the gym. But I can and should go to the gym in the morning when I don’t have my kids. And I’ve been doing that fairly consistently.

And I’ll do it tomorrow, bitches. Because this is week twenty or some shit. And I’ve lost about 10 pounds, and people can tell. And one time I asked if I counted as a “regular pumper” in Body Pump, if my three months (at that time) vetted me as a regular, and one of the other gals in the class said I was definitely a regular, and it wasn’t just any gal but the gal whose shapely ass I noticed the very first time I went to Body Pump. And I’m feeling very body positive, even though I’m not exactly where I want to be, because I feel good about where I am and proud of how I got here.

Weeks 9 – 20

  • Favorite part: running though mud and not getting a brain-eating amoeba (it was touch-and-go there for a minute).
  • Least favorite: being reminded by my exploding lungs that I really need to quit smoking.

Two sparks in the dark

Week eight: DONE.

You know; unless I decide to work out this weekend or something.

But every day this week, I hit asscrack of dawn classes. Tomorrow, I plan to luxuriate in sweet, delicious sleep until the decadent hour of 6. 

A side effect of getting up so early is that my days seem much longer. Since I’m working out before work, I don’t have to work out after work, which means there is all this… time before I have to go to bed! Which is super cool. Then again, tonight I’m so pooped from all the waking up early (which somehow doesn’t necessarily translate into going to bed early) that I keep looking at the clock and wondering when I can hit the hay. And as I’m typing these words, it is only 7:20 pm.

Workouts this week were good. I pushed myself to add more weight for some of the sets in Body Pump. RIPPED is in a new season, and the punchy, kicky part includes something absurd like 400 punches. It’s kind of fun. I like to imagine everyone in class is beating the shit out of someone, and at the end, there’s this pile of bloody bodies.

Don’t pretend that’s psychotic, bitches. I just have imagination. Don’t be jelly.

I got scared I fucked up my shoulder yesterday. We were doing “rotator planks.” That’s where you “plank,” which is something I only have known existed in the last couple of years, and which looks like it should be easy but is actually fucking excruciating. Then from the plank position, you rotate and reach one arm up to the ceiling.

Well. Side one rotated easily enough (and I use the word “easily” very lightly here). But when I started to rotate side two, I felt this horrifying pop in my right shoulder and collapsed to the floor in pain. Then I remembered all those stories about people doing sporty things and feeling something “pop” and being horribly injured and requiring surgeries. In the first thirty seconds, I pictured myself being treated by a doctor and wondering if I would still be able to work the fuck out with a shoulder injury.

But then, mysteriously, it felt better. Guess my first real athletic injury will have to come another day.

Monday I had two new products to try at the gym. The first was a sample of something called Spark, which is a fancypants energy drink for people who go to the fucking gym.

This is how you know I'm a real fitness person.

This is how you know I’m a real fitness person.

My friend Becca is a distributor for this product’s company, AdvoCare, and I said I’d write about it if I could try a sample. You mix this shit with water, and it’s full of caffeine, so if you feel like passing on your 44-ounce Coke Zero one morning, you can have one of these. Mix it with water, and it’s like vitamin-infused Kool-Aid. Quite tasty. And it seemed to do the job of waking me up; I didn’t drink any diet Coke until lunch time, and even then, I was still quite awake. So… thumbs up! Dunno if I’ll buy it, because I’m a cheapass, but I liked it.

Two sparks in the dark.

Two sparks in the dark.

My other product was a new accessory: fingerless gloves for weightlifting.

Fingerless gloves? Shit just got real.

Fingerless gloves? Shit just got real.

I got these on account of my delicate little lady hands and how they were getting calloused from the bar. Because Mama’s a badass.

I really feel like arm-wrestling some people right now to see if these guns could own. I went up against a work friend today, and I beat her right-handed, but she’s a lefty, like Inigo Montoya, and she beat me left-handed. I need more righties. Preferably skinny, weakling righties who don’t work out so I’ll have an added advantage. Don’t want my tender little muscles to be dealt a blow to the self-esteem. They’re too young and sensitive for that. Maybe when my four-year-old gets back this weekend, I’ll challenge him. That’s the ticket.

Week Eight

  • Favorite part: arm-wrestling someone’s non-dominant arm into defeat.
  • Least favorite: almost amputating my dominant arm at the shoulder.

I got my rock moves

Oh, the gym.

The gym, the gym, the gym.

Gym gymminy, gym gymminy, gym gym gyree…

The fucking gym.

I realize I haven’t posted since last week. When I checked this afternoon to see when I posted last and try to figure out what week this is, I realized this is the end of week seven. Week SEVEN, y’all!

Week seven was pretty good. I worked out Monday through Thursday, each day. It was very mind/body at times. After the Muscle Milk incident last week, in which I let my stupid brain psych me out, I’ve tried to put my mental energy to good use by releasing it into my workout instead of letting it stay trapped in my head.

Oh, everyone in town who plays the lottery decided they had to buy their lottery tickets at exactly the same moment when I was behind them in line at the Tom Thumb? That’s cool. Imma just do some fuckin’ squats right now.

Oh, my efforts to meet deadlines are thwarted at every turn by people who have no interest at all in timeliness? Hm. Guess I’m gonna lunge that shit out.

Oh, my ex-boyfriend decided to unfriend me on Facebook? Ok. Excuse me while I power press the fuck out of this barbell.

Oh, that dude I met a couple weeks ago is engaged, something he failed to mention to me? Alrighty, then. BTW, I’ll just be over here doing some motherfucking bicep curls.

Speaking of bicep curls, those are probably my very least favorite thing right now. I totally wimp out on my weights for those. Hate. Them. But I did enjoy them one day this week when an instructor I hadn’t met before taught Body Pump and had us doing bicep curls to Pink’s “So What.” That is my jam, bitches. Had I the ability to focus on much more than curling my fucking biceps, I might have belted out the lyrics. “So what? I’m still a rock star. And you’re a tool.”

I got me one of those fancypants fitness trackers this week, a Fitbit. It records how many steps I take per day. Not surprisingly, it’s not that many. I haven’t made any special effort to walk more since I got the thing; right now I’m just interested to see how many steps I take in my typical course of existence. My best day was something like 5,100. Fitbit wants you to take 10,000. I work at a desk. You do the math.

I haven’t done RIPPED since I got the Fitbit. I wonder if it will count things like jumping jacks and kicky things as steps. That’ll be interesting to see this week.

I’m feeling some pressure to go ahead, get the fuck on with it, and start phase two of my master plan. The dieting phase. The pressure I feel is all from myself. Phase one was supposed to be getting into a fitness routine that became… well, routine for me. And it has. That’s part of why I haven’t written about it lately; working out has become something I just do. Not as noteworthy as it was. “Yeah, I went to Body Pump. I pumped my fucking body. We’ve been over this before.”

So clearly, phase one has been successful and has gone on for seven solid weeks. And weight loss has been almost nil. I therefore feel the pressure to stop eating so much fucking junk food and start dropping some poundage.

This thought fills me with resentment, just as going to the fucking gym did at the beginning. But it’s different. Maybe it’s about what the sacrifice would be. Going to the fucking gym represents a sacrifice of an hour or more each time I go (counting things like getting set up and then subjecting myself to the piss-poor showers). That’s no small sacrifice, to be sure, especially since I’m so busy doing things like watching American Horror Story on Netflix and playing Pet Rescue Saga on my phone. However, dieting is somehow a bigger sacrifice. It represents a sacrifice every single time I make choices about food. And I loves me my food.

I talked to someone this week about diet, and she mentioned in an offhanded way something about ordering a salad that doesn’t have cheese on it. I nodded with understanding. But wtf is the point of almost ANYTHING without cheese? Especially a salad. I mean, don’t coat the bitch with cheese, but there’s got to be something for your taste buds to look forward to, and it sure as shit isn’t the often-drippy lettuce or the ice-cold grape tomatoes.

I am considering doing some sort of time-limited challenge. Anyone can do something for 10 days or 30 days or 90 days or whatever. Maybe if I start some kind of plan that has a definite end in sight, that will jumpstart me.

This week could be a good opportunity to get things going, because my beloved children, whose meals mostly come out of my freezer or cans and boxes from my pantry, are visiting family out of town all week. Which means I don’t have to worry about cooking shit they won’t eat. Which, in reality, I realize I shouldn’t give a shit if they’ll eat what I cook or not. Who’s the boss around here? Me, bitches. It’s me. Don’t judge my parenting.

But I digress.

I’m not committing. Like a 30-something single guy with daddy issues. You’re not the boss of me.

Week eight should be a good week. Without my progeny to take to daycare in the morning, I should be able to hit as many asscrack of dawn workouts as I want to and cook as much frozen fish and vegetables as I can stomach. And I bought a new accessory this weekend to cart along with me this week. And I have some exciting new dietary supplements to try.

Maybe I’ll write about it. Maybe I won’t.

Gym week seven, days one through four

  • Favorite part: releasing my aggression with punchy, kicky things and picking up heavy shit and putting it back down.
  • Least favorite part: having any fucking aggressions to need to release. Believe it or not, I’m a fucking lover, not a fighter. Bitches.
Fitbit carefully monitors my activity as I smoke and compose this entry.

Fitbit carefully monitors my activity as I smoke and compose this entry.

Milk of Mah Muscles

You know how I said I probably wasn’t going to the gym on Saturday? Well. I did. Through the rare sorcery of going to bed on time Friday night, I found myself up and at ’em in plenty of time Saturday morning not only to get ready to go to the gym but also to make this sweet-ass video to share with you all:

I mean, I recorded the video Saturday, and I was going to edit it some more, but I finally decided fuck that shit, because if I waited until I felt like editing it, I would never post again. So it’s kind of long, and it’s lit terribly. You’ll be ok.

Having consumed my 12 ounces of milky muscle, I went to the gym, did Body Pump, and then got talked into staying for RIPPED after. I AM AN ANIMAL! Or easily manipulated, anyway. By Alyssa and her sincere fucking encouragement.

Later, I totes purchased a “Blender Bottle,” ie one of those bottles with a little whisk in the bottom so you can blend up your shakes right there in the thing. The accessories are accumulating!

Monday was not quite so successful.

Monday, I got up bright (dark) and early (so early) for 6 am Body Pump. I poured me some milk into my Blender Bottle, added some Muscle Milk, and shook that bitch the fuck up. Drank it as I drove, thinking, “this isn’t all that bad.”

But then as soon as I got to the gym, I started feeling ill. Nauseated. I got to the classroom, set up my bench and my bar, and wondered what horror I might be facing. We started warm-up, and I started to feel hot. Not in the “I’m working out” way, but in the “I’m about to hurl” way.

I got through warm-up, squats, and chest, and shortly after I stood up from my bench, I realized I suddenly had a mouth full of some reprised Muscle Milk.

So I retreated to the locker room.

I didn’t puke (not counting the forceful expulsion of the crap in my mouth). But I lay on the bench in the locker room for the rest of the hour until class was done and I could go retrieve my water and my thumbhole jacket. Suffering.

But to be totally honest, I wasn’t just sick. I think I psyched myself out. I think all that really happened between my stomach and the protein shake was that my Blender Bottle incorporated too many air bubbles into the thing, and then I drank it too fast. Like a gassy newborn, I just needed to spit up and burp a little. Come to think of it, mixing Muscle Milk is not unlike mixing baby formula. Add this to the list of things fitness culture has in common with toddler culture (alongside skorts and neon).

Even as my nausea subsided, I continued to lie on the bench. My weekend had been marked by some crazy events in my personal life, and as I rested in the locker room, I got stuck in my head. I’d been stuck in my head since I woke up. “I can’t get up,” I told myself in the locker room. “I can’t go back in there. It’s going to make me sick. I can’t do it.”

I thought working out was supposed to make you mentally strong on top of physically strong. But how does that work, exactly? Is it like when you go to your job and you leave your personal shit at the door? I thought it was more like going to the bank: you deposit your issues at the gym, extracting them from your very soul through sheer force of badassery.

Either way, you’re not going to get out of your head if all you do is lie on the bench in the locker room.

The good news is I didn’t vomit on anyone. And by the time I got to work, my nausea was gone.

At least Monday wasn’t a total wash. I got in the warm-up, the squats, and the chest reps. Tuesday was a no-go on account of children and their swimming lessons. Wednesday evening, I’ll be back.

But I think I’ll leave the Muscle Milk at home this time.

Gym Week Six, Day One

  • Favorite Part: tiny in-bottle whisk accessory
  • Least Favorite: contemplating my inevitable mortality

Guess what? I’m still hot!

This week, Candy and Alyssa both mixed things up in Body Pump and RIPPED and threw in some new tracks to their playlists. Or… maybe they were only new to me? There’s also this thing where Body Pump and RIPPED are actual, branded programs, and they come out with new seasons, and the long-time participants will say things like, “Oh, that’s from Body Pump 79! Love Body Pump 79!” or “Fuck Body Pump 81! That one is dead to me!” (Edited for clarity.)

Candy had us doing bicep curls to “Eye of the Tiger.” Yes, for real. That happened. I pretty much fucking hate bicep curls, so in my mind, I went full-on drama with it. There’s kind of no more dramatic workout song, amirite?

Candy also provided us with a techno version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I wonder if Kurt Cobain ever imagined a classroom full of women pumping their bodies to his hard-earned grunge jam, the grunge replaced with a techno beat. I kind of doubt it. Maybe things like this exist to help him finish his purgatory. You’re welcome, Kurt Cobain. Offer it up.

Alyssa’s newest offering included a song called “I’m Still Hot” by someone named Luciana. This was not at all familiar to me. I don’t know anything about that crazy rock ‘n roll stuff you kids listen to these days.

Alyssa made us shout “I’m still hot” while we did kicky, punchy things. She told us that Betty White sings this song, and if Betty White can sing it, then so can we.

I mean, Betty White is pretty boss. There’s no denying she’s a role model for us all. I Googled her version of “I’m Still Hot” and learned that I should be sure to sign up for life insurance or some shit when I’m old, because it will make me be able to breakdance. I also learned that muscular dudes like cheesecake when they are shirtless.

My kids also loved Betty White’s video. My seven-year-old daughter wanted to know why, in the scene with the shirtless muscle guys and the cheesecake, Betty White has a large snake wrapped around her shoulders. So of course, I responded in the only way one can to that kind of question coming from a seven-year-old: “Well, honey, the snake is generally accepted as a phallic symbol, which also equates sexuality with the fall of Man. The snake’s close contact with the singer’s body is intended to cultivate an image of brazenness while at the same time generating a sexualized impulse toward and projected from the woman. The audience is intended to feel attracted to the scene concocted by this pairing of woman and snake, at a Freudian level, and perhaps in the case of Betty White, an Oedipal level, which some would say is the byproduct of concupiscence.”

Just playin’. I think I told her it’s just funny.

RIPPED on Wednesday was very jumpy, punchy, and kicky. I’m pretty sure I peed myself a little while jumping. There were many, many jumps. Note to self: pelvic floor still has a little ways to go. But I bet Betty White pees herself, too, so I ain’t ashamed.

My punches are starting to look more respectable, I think. My kicks still make me look like a three-legged dog trying to run up a hill duing a mudslide, but whatevs.

Last night for the first time, I went to Kickboxing with Billy. It was decent, but definitely not as intense as the other classes. It was most certainly not a branded program. There were not songs by pop stars, either aged or semi-current. But there was a lot of kicking and punching. I decided I was practicing my kicks and punches for RIPPED.

Side note: fitness instructors seem to like to tell you to “hit him” and “kick him” when you are doing kicky, punchy things. In an effort to avoid thinking too much about exacting violence on anyone I might actually feel inclined to clobber in real life, I often imagine I’m fighting this guy:


He’s the iconic easy-to-beat guy, so I figure I could TKO him even with my crapass punches and kicks.

I gave in and started doing some ab work at kickboxing. I left out the full-on sit ups, but I did some light crunches, some planks, and some other crazy ab shit. I’m scared I’ll eff up my abs on account of my diastasis, but on the other hand, I just want to see results. So… we’ll see what happens.

Billy, incidentally, was pretty funny. He says “uh huh” and “mm hmm” and “I like that one” a lot. And he has really nice arms that got really sweaty. I kind of have a thing for arms.

I purchased some new workout clothes before kickboxing on Thursday because I hadn’t done laundry, and even the shorts I wore on days I don’t think I peed a little were pretty ripe. So back to my beloved Target I went, and I bought a pair of shorts one size smaller than the others I have, and they fit just fine! I bought a top in my usual size, and it’s a little big! And my fat pants for work are feeling pretty loose! What fun!

I also noticed that workout clothes will often have a “hidden pocket” somewhere, often in some weird place like on the back. I don’t really understand the point of this. First of all, why is it hidden? Is pickpocketing a rampant problem in America’s gyms these days? Second, why is the pocket in the back? If you’re supposed to put your keys in there or something, the second you lie down–as you very often do at the gym, lest anyone believe that exercise is all done standing up–you’re going to lie on your keys. That sounds pretty damn uncomfortable.

I have a good idea for where they could put a pocket for your keys: on the side. Like every other article of clothing. Fucking gym clothes. Trying to be so special.

So I got in my four days this week. Maybe I’ll go Saturday; maybe I won’t. Kind of thinking I won’t. But you never know, bitches. You never know.

Gym Week Five, Days Three and Four

  • Least favorite part: having the bladder and pelvic floor of Betty White.
  • Favorite part: this: