I used to be a college athlete. How far from the throne I have fallen. Just walking up the two flights of stairs to my apartment is how I imagine a husky feels during the Iditarod. Standing for longer than ten minutes is just asking to pull a hammie. If that doesn’t give you a comprehensive picture of the role of exercise in my life, you should really step back from this blog and take some time to think about your life. Because you haz the dumb.
Exercise is a rare activity that happens in my life because I’m more worried about graduating college than ellipticaling my way into the 6-pack club. Furthermore, my one-pack is perfectly suited to my needs at the moment and – bonus – it’s aesthetically pleasing according to the Renaissance standards of beauty (which I adhere to). My one-pack also happens to be academically necessary; I saw it on the syllabus for my Buddhism class between “post discussion questions to the course website on Wednesdays” and “achieve enlightenment”. Obviously, the professor understands that the best way to learn is through a hands-on approach requiring students to grow a Buddha Belly. The first step in this long journey toward the
Middle Way one-pack/BellyofBuddha is to not have a six-pack. I’m already there!! *high-fives Buddha* To comprehend this religion, I must first be the Buddha. *Eats donut… mindfully*
Despite my steadfast dedication to Buddhahood, there are obstacles in my way. Like friends. Specifically, friends who encourage me to exercise. I was cajoled into a spinning class by such a creature. But this wasn’t any normal spinning class, this was a CLUB/SPIN CLASS. The instructor turned off the lights and put on some black lights. I guess so you can’t stare at the other spinners but that defeats the point, how do you know who’s winning?? Sure, I want to have a good time, but I also want to make sure I am better than most people there. How else will I feel good about myself?
Because I haven’t exercised for a while, I was on the verge of nausea most of the time and part of me thought this must be what dying feels like. About halfway through, when the instructor said to turn the resistance on the bike up, I turned it down. And kept doing so until I got the point where air was essentially pushing the pedals. The lights were off but I still tried to look like I was really struggling. I’m a very dedicated method actor.
Finally, the spinning part of the class was over, but the hell wasn’t. Core training was next. I am usually impressed by myself during core exercises because I don’t totally suck at them. Maybe it’s leftover strength from my old glory days as an athlete with a fully-functioning body. Anyway, I wasn’t particularly concerned about this part of the class.
My hubris would be punished.
I tried, I really did. But sooner or later, my mind would yell, “KEEP GOING! KEEP GOING!” and my abs would whisper solemnly, “No,” whereupon I would flop LOUDLY onto my mat. This happened an immeasurable number of times. The teacher, whose muscles appeared as if they were struggling to free themselves from the confines of her body, always looked in my direction at the unexpected thump. And seeing my crumpled pile of limbs, I think she felt pity and chose not to laugh.
I struggled and struggled and variously flopped onto my stomach and back like a dead/dying fish. I was an unsightly walrus in a sea of lithe, graceful dolphins. But also a dead/dying fish, don’t forget that either.
My abs still hurt and my dignity… well, there’s none of that left anyway so, no matter.