Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Objective Observer

So, my second post in as many days. I, for one, am amazed.

Nearly every single week day since last April I've been getting myself up sometime between five am and five twenty, try to find some clean gym clothes, brush my teeth, take a multi-vitamin, pushing myself out the door and driving to the gym ten miles away to take some sort of aerobic-y sort of class. Now, if I were an objective observer who was familiar with my lifestyle outside of health related concerns, the prior statement would make absolutely no sense to me.

First of all, the ungodly hour. As a general rule, it takes me two to three hours to have anything resembling intelligent conversation after waking up. However, I've found that if I'm half asleep, my brain is on autopilot and nowhere near awake enough to talk myself out of anything, including getting ready and going to the gym. Generally, by the time the first thoughts of "What the fuck am I doing? Why didn't I just stay in bed?" start trickling in, I'm either ten minutes up the road or twenty minutes through the class, depending on what I was doing the night before. The other, very wrong thing about the ungodly hour of exercise is that most days, if I chose to not do anything productive, I would not have any reason to leave the house until twelve-thirty pm, at the very earliest, for my job. Most days, two o'clock. On the rare occasion I skip working out, I've not gotten out of my pajamas until one in the afternoon. I try not to think about this too much.

The only way I can explain it is if I'm left to my own devices as far as exercise goes, I'll nearly always talk myself out of it. Even if I did what all the other work out advise givers say to do and schedule a time to work out and make it a priority, I'd still manage to talk myself out of it. I just can't give myself time to think about it. My brain is so very effective at coming up with excuses. I've also found that if I exercise first thing in the morning, my brain will forget that it ever happened in a few hours, and will maybe talk itself into going to the gym again on the days that I don't have to work.

Two. The clean gym clothes. I am a world class slob. I haven't read that book by that guy Oprah had on her show nor have I seen that episode (those episodes?), so you can read into that what you will. In any case, I do not like doing laundry. I've been able to live most of my life going through the day with one set of clothes, possibly another set if I was going to go out at night. Wearing gym clothes every weekday and sweating in them, as you can imagine, increases my laundry load.

Brush my teeth. My stomach is a weird animal in the morning and used to get upset if I even though of putting water in my mouth first thing. Never mind something that has a taste like toothpaste. It used to get even more upset if I dared to brush my teeth before eating something. However, I dislike breathing heavily through a mouth that is crawling with smelly bacteria whilst I am working out even more than my stomach dislikes the taste of peppermint in the morning, and over time my stomach has gotten over itself.

The multi-vitamin, while not entirely out of character to me, is still a vital part of the work out routine, as it either works in some unforeseen way or acts a placebo, because otherwise I am so ready to quit within two minutes.

Pushing myself out the door. As stated, I'm not a high functioning person at aforementioned ungodly hour. I'm the sort of person who will stare at the television after getting up and won't remember for a half hour to turn it on. I'm surprised I remember to leave the house after all this.

Going to the gym ten miles away and taking an aerobic-y sort of class. I'm a private person. I have a thing about people paying attention to me. An aerobic-y sort of class is basically inviting someone to call you out in front of a group of people and say "Hey you! You're doing everything wrong!" And the gym is ten miles away, when there is a perfectly usable gym called "outside" which is very convenient and which would probably afford me twenty minutes more sleeping time. I learned quickly that I did much better with structure. If I'm going to be awake at that time and doing something that requires intense movement, there damn well be someone telling me what sort of intense movement I'm doing, when to do it, and how fast I should be doing it. If I'm going to trick my brain into getting me to exercise, I'm certainly not going to let my brain be the one to decide which exercises I'm going to be doing. My brain will decide a quarter of a mile on the elliptical is damn well enough. Maybe if my brain is feeling really ambitious, we can do a few reps with the three pound weights.

As far as the gym being ten miles away, it is a Y, it is not a crazy crowded Y with intimidating types in a line a half a mile long waiting for the elliptical, and it is cheap. Plus, if I am going to drive ten miles I damn well might as well make it worth it. I've also been lucky enough to find a few instructors who are quick on the uptake and do not specifically call me out. They make general instructions which appear as though intended for the class but we both know are really for me, but allows me, in my active wear capris and old Hard Rock cafe t-shirt, to keep my dignity.

It is a bit discouraging to know that I have to do all these mind games with myself just to get me to burn a couple of hundred calories. But then I remember it isn't just a couple of hundred calories and it isn't just moving from the seven pound weight to the eight pound weight. Who knows, maybe one day I can break myself from my dependence on the gym. I mean, I can run nine miles in an hour on the damn elliptical. I've done a step/floor aerobics class, a kickboxing class, and a yoga/pilates class. All in one day, several times and thought nothing of it. This really makes objective observer me really confused. Who knows, maybe one day I talk myself into...running around my block. Le Gasp.

Now playing: Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson
via FoxyTunes

No comments: