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Monday, January 24, 2011

The gym is trying to kill me (by embarrassment).

I am almost certain the gym is trying to kill me. Slowly but surely, whenever I walk into the basement of Elizabethtown College's "gym" (it's a basement), I feel the ellipticals bristle, calculating their next move if I am to select one. Not only is the cardio equipment against me, but the weight machines as well.
One of my worst nightmares is looking like a complete idiot in the gym. I mean, here are all these lean, buff guys and here I stand, an out-of-shape girl in her mesh shorts attempting to work the ab crunch machine without losing my finger to the snapping mechanisms.
I have not had good experiences at the gym. On my first trip to this deplorable place, I wanted to weight lift (over-eager, I know). It were as if the equipment sensed my hesitation and pounced on my weakness (no pun intended). I took a deep breath before I selected the Hamstring Curl machine, chose my weight, and locked myself in for the ride of my life. This machine required the user to lower a pad against one's shins so that the motion of the user was maximized. There I sat, feeling knots in muscles that I never knew existed (probably because they barely exist on my frail frame), and I felt glorious! God, what a rush. After my sweaty session that left my hamstrings feeling numb, I leaned forward to unlock the shin pad. Damn me to Hell if the stupid thing would not budge. I glanced around, taking notice of everyone in the gym. Ah, we have lacrosse players, baseball players, and just overall buff guys. Great, just great: the athletes of the school to watch me flounder while locked in Hell's contraption. Using my feeble arm muscles, I pulled with all my might on the knob to release the mechanism. In the end, I wound up asking some guy to pull the knob for me, but even his ripped arms couldn't. Perhaps he was telling the truth when he said, "Oh, don't feel bad, I got stuck in it last week. I just slid out of it." Well, there is an idea: I contorted my body and felt the pads slip from my calves. Voila. Simple as cake. Fortunately, this wasn't too embarrassing. Maybe that's why the gym felt it needed to get revenge.
Another eventful session in the gym also involved weight lifting; I decided I needed to work on my arm muscle tone, so I situated myself on the seated row machine. All of the machines have weights that you select with a pin, and each weight has a number ranging from 1 to 20. So, I'm thinking, "Ok, I'm going to do 50 lb rows, 25 lbs for each arm", so I select the number 5. My skills of observation apparently are not my strong point: after attempting to do one rep, I gave up. I'm thinking to myself, "Oh my GOD. I never knew 50 lbs could be so heavy!" Luckily for me, my one friend was in the gym. Prefacing myself with, "I've never weightlifted before in this gym" (big lie. I'd been a number of times.), I explained my dilemma. My friend looked at me and then proceeded to burst into a violent fit of laughter. Apparently, the numbers are just numbers, meant to confused unobservant people like myself. The actual weight is listed beside the numbers in tiny white print. So really, when I thought I was lifting 50 lbs, I was doing 105. Ah. That explains why my biceps would not budge the weight.
The most recent embarrassing workout took place a few days ago. I decided that interval training, like sprinting for 30 seconds, resting for a minute and a half, was a good idea because it depletes some g-word thing in your muscles...basically, you burn fat. My boyfriend has the bio degree, not muah. Anywho... So, there I sat on the stationary bike, which I don't like to begin with because I feel like the handles are too far away from the seat. I'm warming up, getting ready to complete my first set. When the timer hit five minutes, I started pedaling my little heart out. First set, check. By this point, I was dying. I am so out of shape, that is almost a fourth embarrassing thing to add. I rested my minute and a half, which let me tell you felt like two seconds and brace myself for the next 30 seconds of Hell. I am about half way through my sprint when all of a sudden, my right foot couldn't pedal anymore. I glanced down and about freaked: somehow, my shoelace had become entangled in the mechanism of the system, leaving me with a shoelace mangled by the turning gears and other thingamabobs inside the blasted bike. I glanced over at the girl on the elliptical who was so engrossed in her work out, she had not noticed my dilemma. I looked back down at my shoe and decided the only thing to do was fix it myself, considering 1) I was not about to ask someone to help me and 2) I couldn't get up to ask anyone to help even if I was less prideful. I tugged with all of my might on the shoelace, but it wouldn't budge. I discarded that strategy, and went to attempting to unravel the jumbled mess. After a few good minutes, my shoelace emerged from the inner workings of the bike. I did a double check around the gym to make sure no one was laughing, pointing, or videotaping, and I restarted my workout. But not before I acted on my valuable life lesson that I will take to the grave: always tuck in your shoelaces.

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