A few months ago, I decided to cancel my gym membership.
It wasn’t that I wanted to stop going to the gym, it’s that I kind of wasn’t going in the first place because I’ve been so busy and also there was a gym on campus I could use at any time I wanted (which I have used exactly once) and also even though I had a cheesy Planet Fitness membership that only cost me $20 a month I realized that I could save something like $140 by the time I left for Romania, so I was like yeah, let’s cancel that.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I realized that all efforts to “get fit” in the mean time had been futile and oh, right, half my summer clothes don’t fit and oh, right, I’m not going to have a car in a few weeks so I’m going to have to walk everywhere (unless I want to pay for a taxi or use the metro but come on, work with me here.)
So I did what anyone would do, I sat down with my hummus in one hand and my phone in the other and relaxed in bed while looking up workout routines on Google. Those tabs stayed open for a while, my friends. I had settled on two: one for working out your abs (of course) and another for working out your arms, because apparently over the past year that I’ve stopped exercising regularly sleeves have become, like, my mortal enemy.
It’s fine. Totally fine. Nothing a new wardrobe can’t fix.
Except, like, fuck that. I’m not letting sleeves get the best of me. I’m gonna fuckin’ work out.
This was the plan, anyway. Before I did the browser tabs equivalent of leaving the pages I found on “seen” for something like ten or twelve days (if I’m being generous) and then finally, for whatever reason, over the weekend I decided enough was enough and I wanted the tabs gone and I was Going To Do The Thing, Damn It. Wow, was that ever a horrible idea.
The Slow Descent To Madness
I started things off pretty easy: I dug my yoga mat out of my closet!
Ha. No, not just that. You were probably expecting me to just stop there, though. We’ve been playing a lot of Heroes of the Storm in our house lately and I decided that between matches, while waiting for things to load or just before starting another one with my husband, I was going to do Some Exercises. Ten reps of whatever the Google Tabs told me to do, and then back to lazing around playing video games.
This started out okay. The first few exercises weren’t so bad, I pulled them from a blog post from Fitness Magazine entitled “Get a Flat Belly in Ten Minutes!” that promised to give me exercises I could do pretty quickly. I had no delusions that just ten minutes was going to instantly flatten my stomach, but it was the time constraints that appealed to me: I just can’t get into a thirty minute workout, but doing three ten minute workouts is like… sure. No problem.
I was fine until the “lunge and twist.” That move is Satan’s Work, and I struggled to do ten of them. Was I doing them correctly? Was this even working? Who knows! But it was painful in a way that felt like working out, so I patted myself on the back and then had to lay down on the floor for a minute. When these weren’t enough, I also moved on to a “Sexy Arms Workout” to combat the whole sleeve situation. These were also surprisingly painful.
Lesson learned: I am out of shape. Go figure.
(Brian, if you’re reading this, this is why I have not come back to fencing yet. I’m not sure I can even hold up an epee let alone stab someone with it. I’m working on it.)
Dancing is Also Torture, As It Turns Out
On Sunday, we went to see a movie. During it, a friend messaged me this Buzzfeed list. Having been working out at home for a few days now, I obviously determined that I am now an expert at this and that I am ready for Videos and Instructions because maybe doing the same exercises all the time is boring. So this would be great! I perused the list, throwing out the ones I wasn’t interested in—anything with yoga immediately got tossed because I find it incredibly difficult to watch the TV to see what I’m supposed to do while smushing my face into the mat, some were thirty minutes long (snooze) and finally I found #9, Tiffany Rothe. Her workout video was only ten minutes long and promised there would be BOOTY SHAKING. I was IN.
Friends, readers, countrymen, let me tell you about this video.
Tiffany Rothe, with her perfectly sculpted self and her simple hip swaying that lures you into thinking her videos will be something that “anyone” can do, is a master torture artist. She knows, she has to know how painful this is. She doesn’t tell you this, though. There’s no moment of “now if you’re someone who has been largely sitting on your ass doing homework for the last four months, you may want to pace yourself.” No, she just gets right into it with the gentle hip swaying. Side to side. You’ve got this! I’ve got this!
Let me tell you what I have got now, Tiffany: PAIN. A LOT OF PAIN. I can NO LONGER move side to side.
It was a fun video, that’s how they get you. I like dancing! I dance by myself all the time!
Over the course of ten minutes, though, we go from gentle booty swaying to full on booty shaking. The video title did not lie, and neither did the caption on Buzzfeed that I willfully ignored which declared the video would be “high energy” and “very intense.” I did something that ended up being like side crunches, an arm stretch that was a bit like dabbing, all to the beats of a nondescript background track that somehow urged you to keep going. My husband, who I somehow goaded into doing it with me, gave up about two minutes in.
I did the entire thing, working up a sweat, and afterward declared “that was a fast ten minutes!”
And now I am suffering.
Why did I decide to do this? Why do the people in the video have to be smiling? Maybe we could instead have videos where someone is panting uncomfortably in the background as they realize they shouldn’t have had that second bowl of macaroni and cheese for lunch. And moreover, why do I want to do this again?
I hate it, it’s awful, and I am apparently now the master of my own torture as I find stuff to do, but hey: it’s at least cheaper than a gym membership. And it gives you kind of this badge of survival, like, I did that crazy booty shaking video for ten minutes I can lift a freakin’ car if I wanted to.
Anyway, there’s a part two, I guess. More booty shaking. I’m probably going to try it tomorrow.
You know, if I am finally able to move.