Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gonna Sigh Now

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to get fit and lose approximately six hundred pounds. Despite encouraging reports that the world’s fattest man had become engaged to be married1, I reckoned that a fitter, thinner me would enjoy improved confidence and quality of life.

Displaying a level of both fiscal responsibility and pragmatism that most gym-belonging humans never reach, I quit the gym a year ago because I never went. Not eager to pay the exorbitant fee required to sign up yet again, I recalled that my apartment building has a fitness room. In advance of my first workout, I went down to see what kind of equipment was there.

To my dismay, I found a graveyard of broken equipment that would look very much at home in Miss Havisham’s decaying mansion. There was a Nautilus weight machine with a broken cable and a missing pull-down bar. There was a stationary bike that worked in the sense that the pedals turned, but the electronics were ripped out. There was a step machine with steps that sank straight to the floor and exhaled with a “thoooop” as soon as you stepped on them. There was a trampoline that was intact, but rather inadvisable for use in a room with an eight-foot ceiling. And there was a treadmill that sort of worked. The treadmill runs, but that’s a very generous description. The destroyed plastic overlay makes the control panel nearly impossible to read, the machine has a habit of shutting off by itself when you raise the speed past 3.5 mph, and it also arbitrarily raises the incline by as much as 15 degrees in a matter of seconds entirely on a whim.

I briefly considered living out my remaining years as a fat man, reasoning that at this rate at least there wouldn’t be many of them. I also toyed with the idea of performing an exorcism on the treadmill. But as always, we find our redemption in the movies.

I had recently watched one of the gems of American cinema, Rocky IV. As you surely recall, this is the one where Apollo Creed is beaten to death in the ring by a steroid-gobbling Russian meathead, prompting Rocky to travel to the Soviet Union to train and then avenge his fallen friend by fighting the commie cyborg in Moscow.2 In an attempt to prevent Rocky from properly preparing for the fight, his Russian hosts put him up in a log cabin in the middle of Siberia with no modern amenities or training facilities. However, in a stirring montage to the strains of a Survivor song that is not “Eye Of The Tiger”3, Rocky trains with what is available to him. He chops wood, rolls logs, runs in the snow and pulls a donkey cart. The clear implication is that Rocky has been toughened by his experience and is better prepared for the bout than his Soviet counterpart, who is shown in very antiseptic environments getting shot up with needles and working out amid enough technological machinery to launch a Space Shuttle.

Of course, this leads to Rocky not only winning the fight but getting an arena full of commies, soldiers and KGB stooges to chant his name, much to the consternation of an actor portraying Mikhail Gorbachev. I decided that much like Rocky, I would use the sad state of the fitness room as motivation. No fancy chichi gym with plasma TVs and safe, operational equipment for me! I’m getting down in the muck and slugging it out with both my flabby body and that broken down crap!

It’s been three weeks. The stationary bike is somewhat usable but frustrating. I’ve managed to work around the treadmill’s quirks to a degree. I’ve even added “Gonna Fly Now” to my workout mix.

But on the whole, I’d rather pull a donkey cart.



1. Where does he even meet girls? Honestly. Unless his wang is the fattest one in the world too, I don’t get it.

2. If Rocky had only realized that this was no fearsome warrior, but merely Dolph Lundgren, I imagine a lot of this nonsense could have been avoided.

3. I didn’t know there were any others, either.

17 metawords:

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Sorry to laugh at your being vexed and all, but that was hilarious.

The trick to exercise I find is liking it. Let's face it, it's generally unpleasant and sweaty and a chore. I hate it. I used to run and felt great afterwards, but at the time? HATED IT. Same goes for gym stuff. I don't enjoy it at all. Treadmills are ok but that's about it.

But since I've put on approximately 15 lbs in the last year since I moved cities and am no longer walking 3 miles a day and all sorts of other energetic things, I feel I need something to get back in shape again. We just got pool passes as I find swimming to be pleasurable and you can really work all your muscles without FEELING like you're working it. I think doing that makes me stick to it as opposed to running again. I ride my bike too although I guess in LA that might be less of an option. :)

Goddamn it, why does bad food have to be so good?

red said...

Good job! Keep it up! You can do it! I believe in you! Etc, etc.

The only exercises I really "enjoy" are walking outside and dancing. Lifting weights blows. Running blows. As Veggie said, why, if it's so good for us, is it so miserable?

The Diva on a Diet said...

This was a smashing good read, words! I laughed, I cried, I felt exhilarated. And, in all sincerity, I applaud you! Working out sucks under the best of conditions, the fact that you're making due is not only impressive but inspiring. Why I might even drag my own fat ass back to the gym this week. Stranger things have happened. ;)

Keep it up!

Rebecca said...

Coincidentally, I started my own regimen last week and name dropped Miss Havisham this morning. "At least, it's not like Miss Havisham's wedding cake in here." We should hang out someday. We wouldn't have to talk much, just nod knowingly from time to time.

Consider adding a fitness progress report once a week to your blog. It would inspire/impress/provide ammunition.

Soda and Candy said...

Aww, keep it up son!

Can't you find a local abbattoir that will let you use a frozen side of beef as a punching bag?

w/v: mingslyt, which sounds horribly offensive and dirty! "Ah, piss off ya mingslyt!"

BeckEye said...

Good luck. I just ordered a donkey cart from eBay today.

Morgan the Muse said...

Well... uh... good luck with that? If you have six hundred pounds to lose, I am kind of glad you don't have more inclusive DP.

Cora said...

Ohhhh Words! Once again you just make me wanna hug the hell out of you!

Did I ever tell you I used to be heavier? Yep. I lost roughly 75 pounds on a treadmill. Like Veggie said, the trick is liking it. I'd just crank the music up and walk and forget where I even was and *POOF* in no time I was shrinking like Alice In Wonderland.

Keep at it! Make that quirky/possessed treadmill your best friend! :-)

Cora said...

Oh, one more thing - some of us girls like a man with meat on his bones. Don't be so hard on yourself, okay?

~E said...

YAY! We can be workout buddies! I used to work out with my personal trainer buddy, but since he is married and tends to always want to "help me stretch" I told him Id rather work out on my own now.

Some tips: keep a log so you guilt yourself into working out. Find a workout you like and stick to it, I personally adore running on the treadmill (actually speed walking...running makes my jugs hurt) and pilates. I stay the hell away from those weight machines since they scare the bejesus out of me. I always have this scary vision of using the tricep pulldown machine thingie then getting snapped back and sucked into the machinery only to emerge a broken mangled bloodied version of myself.

... wait where was I??

Oh yeah, YAY workout buddies!!

pixelgal said...

Your blog is so entertaining! Love the use of words and symbols, etc. Speaking as one whose weight has varied by plus or minus 25 (or more) pounds for my whole life, I find that you need to really like what you're doing for exercise in order to stay with it. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT a natural process. Consequently I go to a pool to exercise and walk when I'm not there to get outside a bit and spy on my neighbors. Maybe you can trick yourself into some exercise with your wits! Good luck.

Kimmie said...

I sooo needed this at the end of my day! You're an inspiration to all!

** cue Survivor **

Have you looked into P90X? You need nothing more than your own body weight, but you've never done any workout more challenging in your life. I think it suits you!

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

The title of this post keeps making me giggle.

I want to lose 80 pounds. Basically I just want to be a heart, a lung, maybe a femur, my vagina, and my face. Maybe sew my face onto my lung, that way as it expands it'll look like I'm smiling. This comment got real weird real fast.

Falwless said...

Okay, so I was cracking up at the blog post, but now I'm laughing even harder at Steam Me Up, Kid's comment.

Entertainment at its finest.

(Oh and good on you! Keep it up!)

Dale said...

But I like you fat! What if you get all not jolly? Hilarious post.

Rachael said...

This was amazingly funny, but left me wondering: If you whittle yourself into Dolph Lundgren fighting shape, where will people snuggle on you while watching movies?

~E said...

PS. If you like hurting like you got steamrolled over by a tractor trailer and having sweat drip off you in watertower sized amounts then yeah, P90X is perfect for you.

I even have the DVDs if you want a copy.