Tuesday, April 14, 2009

As the Elliptical Turns

I fell off the fit wagon.

And back onto the fat one.

Which, frankly, is much better. Instead of treadmills and weight benches, it's filled with pizza, second helpings and rivers of salad dressing. And it even makes regular stops at the ice cream stand!

But despite my unfortunate willingness to welcome desserts back into my life, being fat is so much EASIER. Fitness takes work. Hours and hours of sweat-filled work that, for me, amounted to very little other than a temporary boost in energy.

The worst part is that I was starting to notice a difference. My mood improved even though I was still a walking zombie. Knowing that it took 30 minutes on the elliptical to burn 200 calories made me far less likely to ignore the healthy dinner I had packed for work and run to the nearest Chinese buffet for a mound of takeout. Even though I stock up on veggies, they're still in very close proximity to the chicken pieces encased in fried batter and dunked in savory sodium.

For the first two weeks of the monthlong membership I purchased, I went way more than I had ever anticipated. When Jerry got home from work in the afternoon, we ate lunch as a family, then we took turns watching Allison while the other worked it off.

At first it was addicting. As the elliptical got easier, I cranked up the settings and pushed my legs, lungs and sweat glands even harder. On good days, one of the TVs was set to some ridiculous afternoon soap opera that I quickly became addicted to even though I was forced to read what they were saying in a subtitled scroll at the bottom of the screen thanks to the metal blaring through the gym.

Sometimes my machine would beep, indicating that I'd finished my workout, without warning. Instead of desperately counting down the final minutes in heaving exasperation, I'd be hanging onto every typed word, wondering if What's-his-douche's girlfriend would end up having Buffy McLoser's wife's in-vitro baby.

And, my god, I'd be lying if I said that it didn't encourage me to keep pedaling for a few extra minutes just so I could make it to the end of the show under the guise of working out. You know, instead of looking like an idiot just standing in the middle of the gym floor watching to see what comes next in a story so ridiculously out-of-touch from real life that it's like TV crack.

But reality eventually set in.

My legs started aching. I got weird pains on the balls of my feet. I hated even the short drive. I got bored pedaling to nowhere. The skinny tattoo-covered loudmouth who always screamed about his mixed martial arts fighting prowess while we shared the gym made me want to shove a barbell down his throat. And, worst of all, the TV closest to the ellipticals was suddenly and consistently tuned to BASKETBALL.


More like basketboring. My idea of March Madness is realizing that people actually get excited about crap like that. Meanwhile, What's-his-douche's girlfriend could've left him for Buffy McLoser AND I WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT IT!

Then my blissful regular real-people schedule week at work came and went without a single workout. And the week after that was sporadic at best. And before I knew it, I was facing the possibility of shelling out another 50 bucks for being forced to watch basketboring while listening to tattoo face spew out new and exciting ways to tell the room how EFFING AWESOME he is.

The day my membership expired, Jerry came home from the gym saying that the owner had asked about me.

"Tell him that when he offers child care, adds an anti-loser clause and mandates soap operas, I'll consider paying his exorbitant prices."

Until then, I'm going to invest the $50 I would've spent for April and get a new pair of running shoes.

Maybe I'll catch back up to the fit wagon eventually.


Anonymous said...

hey try signing up for a 5k walk/race. that is the only thing that is motivating me!!!! i signed up with a friend and she is a great runner but is willing to run slow with me so i have been out running at least 3 times a week. or going to the gym. so check it out just google 5k races in your hometown.
loffe me

Lioncloud said...

Don't you have an iPod? Get a Daily Show subscription for your iPod and laugh your way through your workout. Even better, get the first two seasons of Mad Men on your iPod. That kept me going all winter through boring indoor cycling.


Jennifer Suarez said...

I can relate. I spent the last 3 months getting up at 5 am, 3-4 days a week, and running on my treadmill.

Month of April? I haven't done it once. It's eternally frustrating how easy it is to put weight on, and how hard it is to take off.

45 minutes running I might burn 350 calories. Hand me my favorite bagel with cream cheese, and I've put that 350 calories back in my body, and more. *sigh*

I know I have to get back into it... but I've just wanted to not care for a little while and sleep in. And I'm OK with that.

Jen said...

You might want to consider taking a class, such as Spinning. That way, you're working out with other people and have something to focus on with the instructor telling you what level you might want to be at, etc. I Spin twice a week and do weights three days and it does make me feel better.

LeslieAnn said...

I wish I could sign up for gym classes. I need classes because they keep me motivated. Problem is when you're the only reporter at a community newspaper you can't sign up for any sort of classes because you have to be available ALL! THE! TIME!!! It blows. Daytime hours? Check. Nighttime meetings multiple nights a week? Check. Deadline day/night? Check. Weekend events? Check.

I was doing great losing weight last summer and fall but ever since I've began working in my completely isolated little corner of the newsroom, lunch and dinner have become the most exciting parts of my day. (Especially since I have no coworkers to tell about my awesome new Maybelline Lash Stiletto mascara -- totally liking it ladies.) I'm trying to get to a point where even when I'm working until midnight or 2 a.m. I'm still trying to sleep normal hours so I can wake up at normal hours and maybe work out before work. It isn't working so far.

Trying to get back on that wagon with you!

Fit Mama said...

Work out at home! Get some awesome DVDs! You can roll out of bed, don't have to brush your hair or look pretty, can work out in your underwear if you want to...

I've been off the wagon too. I still squirrel in 3-4 workouts a week, but my eating has been out of control!

I get motivated by checking out before and after pictures on the net. Or even checking out my own, and knowing I don't want to put the weight back on!

Seriously... home workouts are fantastic. You can do them any time (I usually do mine at 4:30 or 5am) and hop right into the shower afterwards :) I sometimes run the DVD on the computer so I can have the news on the TV at the same time, so it's almost like watching a soap opera whileo n the elliptical :)

aj said...


there are so many MORE reasons NOT to go!

Erica said...

I do the old-fashioned running thing too : ) Running shoes are a good investment. Now that it's going to get nicer out you could always hop on a bike that does go somewhere as well. It's just nice and energizing to work out outside. My boyfriend recently went through some great (but semi-intense) workout DVDs that he really loved and got great results from. It's called P90x and is pretty expensive if you get the whole package, but I found the DVDs themselves on Ebay for 60something dollars. It may sound expensive but DVDs don't require a renewed subscription : )

Ray said...

"You know, instead of looking like an idiot just standing in the middle of the gym floor watching to see what comes next in a story so ridiculously out-of-touch from real life that it's like TV crack."

^^I loved this line. Especially about the, "TV crack!" That's awesome. Hehe.

I loved this as well =D, "Tell him that when he offers child care, adds an anti-loser clause and mandates soap operas, I'll consider paying his exorbitant prices."

My advice to you: invest in a treadmill. That way you're in the privacy of your own home AND you can watch all the soap operas you want without the subtitles. ;o) I mean I know treadmills don't come cheap, but it's a good investment. Also: maybe you could find a mommy & baby workout DVD that you can do with Alli. That could be fun.

P.S. Please do tell: What’s that soap opera you’ve been watching??

novelle360 said...


I have no idea what show it was!

Jen Cutler said...

This might be weird that a random stranger comments about your post, but I know how you feel. After my second child my baby wieght did not want to drop off. I tried running and walking outside, but that is only enjoyable when the weather is bearable. Then I tried working out with videos. If your daughter is anything like my kids she probably ignores you most of the day, but as soon as you pop in that video they want to use you as a jungle gym. It is so frustrating to work out with kids around. I hated going to the gym and using the machines. It is like drudgery. Instead I enjoy the classes. I find that most gyms offer a great variety of classes to pick and choose from and the instructors mix up the routine so it isn't the same old thing day in and day out. I work out harder when someone is watching over me and you are not tempted to bail out early because you just don't feel like working out that day. I would feel like such a failure walking out in the middle of class. I also think you get a better workout from the classes and you make a ton of friends. I hated working out! Despised it, but now I actually look forward to going to my classes. Just a suggestion! It worked for me! I am fit and firm and still look forward to staying that way. Also, my favorite class is spin class. It is brutal, but it whips you into shape fast! It also eats away at your hips, thighs, and waist!