Monday, April 18, 2011

My hate-hate relationship with the gym

I started going to the gym in September of 2008. Mind you, the only ever "gym experience" I had ever had prior to September '08 was gym class. That's right, never before had I stepped foot in a gym willingly and honestly 'til this day, I still never have.

My hate-hate relationship started with my gym teacher in Elementary School. Let's call him, well let's call him by his name: Walter fucking Paller. Now let me tell you, I think this man was out to get me from day one. Imagine a GI Joe that was blond, souped up and still yet kind of chubby. Now imagine having to face evil GI Joe as a child of 5-9. Throw in a touch of obesity and you have my first experience with the gym. The only ever game I enjoyed was bombardment because my fat child body could block the dodgeballs from knocking down the oversized plastic pins with some amount of ease and therefore, no real effort was ever NEEDED. (For those of you who don't know what bombardment is, basically you split a large group of people into two groups and set up 9-10 large plastic bowling pins in a line across both sides of the gymnasium I would way about 3 feet apart, maybe a little more - I've never really been good with size. Now the point of the game is to throw/roll dodgeballs at the pins and knock the other team's pins down before yours are knocked down without crossing the midline of the gym. This and scoop ball will always be my favorite gymtime activities.) I believe it was Walter's goal in life to harass me. Maybe he saw potential in me - because he did try to get me to join the basketball team in middle school, but I hated team sports (and I was a bad sport - some of us are just not meant to lose). Perhaps it was all with good intentions that he made me cry on almost every day that I had gym class, but my pudgy body could not deal with this man who made it his pet project to try to get me to not be so pudgy. Needless to say, his "good intentions" never went anywhere as I just got fatter and more resentful.

Now with this scarring memory in mind, fast forward to middle school. I thought I was done with this man, but alas, he had grown out of teaching little kids and he moved on to middle school with me, where I was sentenced to spend at least one more year with him as my gym teacher. I hated running laps and walked most of them with him yelling at me - and then I would sprint, faster than most people, and almost die of hyperventilation afterward, merely to appease fat evil GI Joe. He used to make me do basketball shooting drills, but I was way more contented to sit on the sidelines and control the scoreboard and scorebooks - which I did for every basketball team and every volleyball team when I was in high school. I liked being AROUND activity, but my fat ass refused to participate. The one time I did try to join a team in school, somehow one of the teachers had convinced me to try out track and field (the field portion, obviously - because there are no runners that are anywhere near as overweight as I was). He convinced me to try shot put. No problem, I was big and could probably develop my arm muscles in a short period of time. So my first practice, they made us walk up to the park and then to warm up, we had to run back and forth between these two distant markers up and down this hill. Well guess what had rained the day before and on my first trip back to the first marker I slipped and nearly sprained my ankle. In fact, I probably did sustain a minor strain. Thus concluding my track and field career. The only "sport" I ever played (and my dad might be upset at me for using quotations) was bowling. I bowled competitively in high school and probably didn't excel to the level that I could have thanks to my baby bearing hips, that most of my weight so nicely latched on to, getting in the way. Oh and of course my lack of stamina, because honestly, when was the last time you saw a fat person sustaining a physical activity for more than an hour "comfortably"?

I was actually more of a cheerleader. Now you may laugh at this, because I would surely have laughed if I had seen myself in high school "cheering" for my team, but it's true. My primary goal on my bowling team was to play cheerleader, and keep everyone in good enough spirits that they wouldn't give up on the game. I still don't know how those bowling alley chairs held my weight, but I sure did a lot of bouncing around on them in the spirit of cheering. This was the only time I was ever ok with team sports because I didn't feel like I was letting the other players down. I guess after 10 years of bowling competitively with your dad gives you some basis of skill and therefore I couldn't completely suck. Also, bowling is rarely considered a sport by those who don't actually bowl, so maybe I never did play a team sport.

Now the reason for all of this jibber jabber was to explain my relationship with the gym. About two and a half months after my surgery, I figured it was time to take advantage of the window of opportunity I had where I was obviously not consuming as many calories as I was burning (the diet after gastric bypass surgery is severely restrictive). So, I started going to the gym. I felt like a damn fool and prayed that no one would be at the elliptical in the corner of the small gym at my grad school. That's all I did for a while. Ellipticized or whatever the word is for working out on the elliptical. Cardio was a good start. I then started to throw in some upper body machine work, carefully reading the instructions on the machines which I'm sure no one besides myself actually reads anymore. I dragged Mallory along to the gym, but I was definitely out of shape comparatively, yet I somehow forced myself to keep going. Probably because I couldn't avoid it, it being in the basement of the building I spent every day of my life for a year. A few months later I got a personal trainer at this individual training studio and that was pretty stupendous. It was enjoyable because I enjoyed spending time with my trainer, he was just a good guy. Shout out to the only good Jason I have every met thus far! Also, it helped that someone was basically forcing me to do shit that was actually beneficial to my health and would work my muscles in the right way. When I moved down to Evanston for the summer, I actually joined a gym that I really enjoyed as well. Got another trainer, so I was training 4 times a week and it was just great. I also wasn't eating like complete shit because I didn't live at home with my mother. (Moving back home/living in my house is going to be a major entry in this blog at some point.) I lost over 100lbs that year.

Fast forward again, I move back home and other than occasionally venturing up one flight of stairs to use my father's elliptical or any of the weights that I lugged back from Chicago, I don't see a gym for a year. I start working at my current job and am snacking all the time, because what else does one do when they're sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day with nothing else to do? A coworker convinces me to go to a benefits fair and there I see the promotional table for New York Sports Club. Now I knew I had to get back into the gym and I figured join somewhere expensive as hell that I can't avoid so not only does my Jewish guilt kick in because of the money I'm spending, but my laziness can't win because I literally have to walk past the gym anywhere you go in this damn city and it's just impossible to avoid. So I started going back to the gym. I started going to classes, doing cardio, etc... I even tried Zumba - but that was a horrible misery of a failure because I have no rhythm unless I have a sufficient amount of alcohol coursing through my bloodstream that would allow me to pretend that I wasn't given the "white person no rhythm" curse. Alcohol is actually very convincing, I swear I think I'm Shakira when I drink - but these hips are lying...deceptive fuckers.

All was going decently well at the gym until December 17th when I took a great spill. Most people don't believe that the injury I sustained could actually have come from just slipping on the concrete, but I'm incredibly good at hurting myself unintentionally (I only emotionally hurt myself with what seems like intention). So I step off of the sidewalk into the crosswalk while repeating in my head for the past 20 minutes "don't fall, don't fall, don't fall", and BAM, I fell. I slipped and tore my knee up. I urge you not to look too closely at the picture I'm posting if you are squeamish (sorry if you already did). It was not an enjoyable injury. I went to the ER at my job, gushing blood and 25 stitches and 8 hours later I returned home with a cane and a lot of pain killers.

I spent most of the winter nursing my knee back to health. Oddly enough, no "permanent damage" was sustained. It was, as they say, "only a flesh wound". January I felt warranted not going to the gym because of my knee although my orthopedist said I could go back once I got my stitches out, but what does he know? Then of course I ended up getting surgery on February 3rd, to start the process of getting rid of the excess garbage left over from my morbidly obese days. Three weeks after this surgery I was told I could go back to the gym, but what do plastic surgeons know? Needless to say, on April 4th, I returned to the gym (and have only been 3 times since).

I still don't enjoy pushing myself to go, because I am still intrinsically lazy. Every day I say "I don't want to go to the gym" but if you'll remember back to my last entry, I love to complain!

In my mind I want to take dance classes - and in my mind I am actually capable of dancing at these dance classes but I have almost come to grips with the fact that I will look like a damn fool trying to dance. Latin dancing is not for me, and I'm not cool enough for hip hop. My feet are too flat for ballet and I'm not ethnic enough for African dance. I'm not peppy enough for jazz and I'm not hippie enough for modern. All in all, I'm just not a dancer but I will watch the hell out of other people dancing! I'll stick to my drunken dubbing and working out on machines; that is just fine by me.


B said...

Damn that looks like more then just a flesh wound! I also hate the gym. I enjoy starving myself for a few weeks and going on a liquid flush to lose weight every summer, its not healthy.I should prob get on that gym thing.

Not who I will be said...

Sometimes I wish I could starve myself for a few weeks, but I love food too much. I just need to stop being lazy, which I'm really really really good at.

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