I can say with unwavering confidence that the worst part of my day is always the hour I spend lifting weights and getting my heart rate up via treadmill or elliptical. If I go before work, I’m waking up at 5:30 so I have time to shower and change before heading straight for work.
That sounds like a nice plan in theory, but it’s actually very hard to wake up at such an ungodly hour. Shocker, I know. Maybe if I stopped staying up until 11:00 p.m. every night to watch tv shows I could wake up earlier, it’s just very difficult when the snooze button is sitting there waiting to be pushed on my iPhone. It probably doesn’t help that I have two alarms set as well.
One is set for 5:30 a.m. and I rarely hop out of bed, turn it off, and head to the gym. I sleep naked, which means it’s going to feel cold no matter what state I live in if I’m under a bunch of covers in my birthday suit. Sleep and the comfort of my bed trumps dragging ass out of said bed to put workout clothes on to slog through a lifting session. The other alarm is set for 7:00 a.m., which is much more doable.
It’s tough to pass up that extra hour and a half of sleep when you’re only on your third or fourth hour of REM. I’ve tried getting myself into the morning routine many times, and once in while, I will make it to the gym to toss some steel around before work. It just sucks getting out of bed, ya know?
The post-work gym routine is just as bad, if not worse, than the pre-work option. 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM are prime time for every Jack and Jill in your neighborhood to get their pump on. There are likely no treadmills available because a bunch of 20-somethings named Ashley and Megan are on their second hour of cardio. All of the good machines are getting used by guys in their 60’s who think it’s okay to wear cargo shorts to the gym.
And the free weights? Good luck getting your paws on any of the ones you actually need. That area is packed with guys who have dedicated their life to gains. To an intermediate gym-goer like myself, it is very apparent that these guys genuinely enjoy being at the gym. They hang around in between sets, texting people, chatting up other bros with similar theories on muscle confusion, and crush water that is mixed with god knows what.
I’ve never understood the appeal of hanging out in a gym for more than an hour. When I go I try to get in and out as quickly as possible so I can get back to sitting on my ass. But I get it. For these guys, weight lifting is a lifestyle. It’s more than just staying in shape for them, and I think that’s perfectly fine as long as you’re not an asshole about it on Instagram.
Me? I’m really just trying to keep everything toned. By no means am I considered jacked. I’m in shape, but I’ve always had a slender frame and I intend on keeping it that way. I drink light beers on the weekend. Light domestics usually lead to shots, and shots then lead to incredible regret the next morning when you find a cheeseburger wrapper next to your bed from P. Terry’s (it’s a regional fast food chain, you guys). I’m not doing meal prep every Sunday and while I will drink protein from time to time it isn’t something I remember to do after every workout.
The only thing that keeps me going to the gym four to five times a week is the fear of becoming fat, or even worse, frumpy. In American Beauty, Kevin Spacey declares that “I want to look good naked.” And I couldn’t agree more. That’s all I’m really doing it for. It’s not for my benefit. It’s so I can walk with my head held high when I hit up a pool.
I work out so that on the off chance I bring some girl home from Sixth Street I can take my shirt off and not feel fucking disgusting. But lifting is so incredibly boring. I have had the same workout playlist for a few months because I’m too lazy to make a new one. I sigh and silently bitch about being at the gym when I get ready to go for a short jog. It’s all awful, but it’s without a doubt a necessity at this point in my life. I need to be there a minimum of three times a week.
If I had it my way I wouldn’t go to the gym at all. But my brain doesn’t allow me the option to skip the gym very often. When I do skip in favor of sleep or tv, I hear a voice in my head telling me that I’m a huge piece of shit. And after the workout is over I feel better (usually) than if I would have skipped it. I just love myself too much to not go even though it’s quite literally the worst part of my day, every day..