Sunday, March 13, 2011

Push it to the limit, give it more

I've had this bug up my ass about wanting to go the gym for a while. See, I live in Portland, Maine, where everyone rides bikes and swims and runs and my body slowly decays. Honestly, my grandmother, who's been smoking for 60 years and has cancer (more on that later) and I probably have similar lung capacity. But I'm skinny, so you wouldn't know.

Every once in a while, usually when my pants don't fit, I get gung ho about the gym. But if I have to pay for it, fuck it. Of course, I've been a graduate student since September, and it finally occurred to me that implies I could probably get into a gym for free. But whatever, I don't like to sweat.

But then there's that cancer thing.

Something about the fact that my grandmother has a tumor has made me do a lot of re-evaluating of my own life. Like that makes me so unique or something. I feel like I have a lot of energy - as noted by the thirty seven jobs - and I often feel like I could really be pumping it for all it's worth and really pushing my body. So I walk to work when it's nice. I realize this is bullshit. But when I used to try to run, I'd make it about 10 feet and feel like my lungs were about to explode. I can walk for hours. But fuck running.

But everyone runs.

And goddamnit, if there's one thing I've always wanted to be, it's marginally normal.

And then of course, someone had to ask me WHY it is I don't go to the gym. And that little question stays inside you and eats you and makes you think and makes you contemplate ridiculous things like "I couldn't run from a rapist" until you can't take it anymore and DO SOMETHING. So I packed up my sneakers and my stupid windpants and my big Electric Six shirt and went to the fucking gym.

I spent about half the time I was there texting a friend about how much I hated it. But I was texting while treadmilling, so, I've got that going for me. I'm not like other girls that go to the gym. I do not want to be seen. I want to be invisible. When I saw all the guys lifting weights, I wanted to sink into the floor, lest anyone see me power-walking on the treadmill or using the bike at zero resistance. I do not wear short shorts. I do not wear spandex. The large yellow shirt with a cobra on it may be pushing it, but at least you can't see my figure. I wear the giant windpants I've had since high school gym, when I also wanted to disappear in shame. And not shave my legs for class.

I hated this so fucking much. My pants are too big and I was terrified of tripping on them. And then, against all reasonable judgment, I got on the godforsaken treadmill. And it wasn't too bad. No incline or anything, but when I turned it up to power-walk speed, I felt like I could go faster. And I actually found myself jogging. At a respectable speed. And this was after I found 5 pound weights too light and moved up to the 7.5s. Suddenly, I had confidence.

So I came back the next day.

And then the next.

And suddenly, I loved this. I could feel it. I could feel my body being able to be pushed more. I could see that I could move a little faster up the stairs at work. I could sustain a harder pace longer on the machines. I felt okay around other people. I texted a friend about the quality of the "mancandy" here. I found myself dancing on the elliptical as I worked it. Because I'm sophisticated, I was listening to Usher and Willow Smith and actually whipping my hair back and forth. I... actually like the gym.

I sicken myself.

I took the next day off, since I didn't want to be sweaty for my evening plans, and I took Friday off because those evening plans involved puking at 7 am. But Saturday, after I baked a cake (so clearly, weight loss is not the goal here), I went back. And I ran 10 minutes at my fastest pace ever. And I lifted more weight on some machines. And I had a great time. No time to go today, but I'm sure I'll be back Monday. I even bought decent workout pants on Friday so I could feel a little more confident and a little less at risk of imminent harm.

The most important part of the gym is the iPod playlist, of course. So here's some of songs that always get me going.

1. Willow Smith - Whip My Hair
I don't care how shameful this is. I love this kid, I wish her nothing but the best, I admire her positivity and confidence and style, I love that this isn't about getting validation from a boy. And it gets my confidence way up. Even if I did just cut my hair and can no longer whip it back and forth.

2. Electric Six - Jam It In The Hole
Anything by Electric Six is good for the gym - upbeat, fast tempo, and easy to keep pushing yourself with.

3. OKGO - You're So Damn Hot
After all, when I'm doing cardio, I'm so damn hot. In order to be so damn hot.

4. Usher - More
I like any song that I can generalize to what I'm doing, as every moment I spend on the repetition of exercise, I'm pushing it to the limit and trying to do more. Plus, it's just so uplifting.

5. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancing
Most any Scissor Sisters song is good - anything that just keeps me rocking keeps me from saying "oh god, it's only been two minutes?"

6. Jay-Z - Dirt Off Your Shoulder
When I get full of myself for actually going to the gym, well, I am the motherfuckin' greatest.

7. Cee Lo Green - Fuck You
One song I can't help but sing along with... while wearing headphones. Ain't that some shit.

So, if we've learned anything here, it's that I really, really like pop music. Oh, the shame, it burns my hipster soul.

1 comment:

a frog named purl said...

i'm allergic to the gym. it's not that i am allergic to excercise, just treadmilling and stair climbing and weight lifting does not interest me in the least. i've tried it and it bores hole sin my brain. and that's why i dance! bellydancing, african dance, hoopdance- i could that stuff for hours. i have excellent stamina (you couldn't tell by looking at ne cuz i chubbly;) i have danced hours in parades and at jams. it's a good time. you can get your excercise in diffeerent ways even if the people around you "all run" or what have you. you are able to express your individuality in so many ways Jenna. you'll find it in your well-being routines as well.

on the topic of disease prevention and well-being, i have recently ( you may already know) gone the Anti-Inflammatory route. cutting gout gluten and dairy and a few other things for at least 4 weeks twice a year can make a drastic improvement in your overall health. i know you do the vegetarian thing right? so you could totally tackle GF. if it interests you feel free to ask any questions. dude, i fell so much better since doing it! i'm like, a total spokesperson for it haha