I wouldn’t call myself “out of shape,” but I wouldn’t call myself the pinnacle of fitness either. My “fitness” level since graduating high school (a time in which I was a glutton for punishment, as I was a year-round swimmer) and graduating college has deteriorated in a trend almost identical to George W. Bush’s Presidential Approval [clearly a statistic biased by goddamn liberals, but I digress].
As one could predict, this kind of sloth-like behavior is frowned upon when you find yourself in the real world as a budding young professional. If physical grandeur was measured in a more realistic metric, like fluid ounces consumed per hour, or how many seconds it takes ones to Shake, Slam, and Bite, we’d have a much better system of weeding out the weak from the elite. It also brings the notion that there is a probable risk of concussion from the “Slam” in Shake, Slam, Bite and there really should be an NFL-level commission behind the efforts of brave men who accomplish this.
I don’t really appreciate the idea that society expects me to be this kind of macho, marathon-running superhuman who pounds GU Energy for breakfast, mind-numbing pre-workout for lunch, and protein shakes for dinner, but it is an attractive notion. Take away the blowhards who tell you it’s a good idea to pay over a hundred dollars a month for Crossfit (aka fast track to a spinal injury), the distance runners (who think bleeding nipples are completely normal, as are losing toenails), and the garden-variety strongmen (a goal I’ve given up on long ago), and you’re basically left with girls in yoga pants who have an affinity for also-active males.
I see no wrong with this.
I’ve tried going to a gym before, and the results were kind of harrowing. I needed to find something I could do that didn’t require some kind of absurd life change (I’m devout to my work above all else, obviously) but something that would keep the ever-evolving beer gut at bay. After chatting up one of the higher-ups in my department for those delicious brownie points, he told me that he swims at a YMCA during lunch a few blocks from the office. Hey, wait a second, I used to do this twice a day for six years of my life. Lunchtime swim sounded like a cakewalk, and at $40 a month for a pool, gym, and a sweet sauna, I wrote a check for the Y and headed out with my swim bag in tow.
I don’t know about you, but there’s something about carrying a workout bag when you’re in your work drab. Walking into the Y, passing biddies on the street, you’re the cool-and-collected workaholic in slim chinos, a pastel OCBD, conservative tie, and sunglasses with a gym bag. This radiates stability; why yes, I do workout during my lunch instead of indulging in the two-entrée Panda Express carton that you probably saw me shoveling in the food court the day before. Maybe there’s a pre-made lunch of an almond butter and organic jelly sandwich and a casein shake in here too? It’s the mystery of it all.
But what I learned is, there’s nothing appealing about the post-workout at all. Even if you make it through the workout with some kind of [exhausted] finesse, you’re still wet and tired and you probably really only have fifteen minutes to compose yourself and get back to the rest of your work day. And because I’m nowhere at the tenure of previously mentioned partner, I cannot stroll in 90 minutes later ready to go. Believing that you can crank a 3000m varsity swim practice during your lunch break is a monumentally stupid idea. and if the most activity you’ve done in a pool is a doggy paddle from the steps to bar during Spring Break 2011 in Cancun, you’re going to get hurt. In fact, there is nothing sadder than having an anxiety attack in the shower while your body aches from your eyebrows to your ankles, and the only thing you can think is the shower scene from American History X was probably better than this. Half-dried off, you’re trying to tuck your shirt in and not forget anything, everything in your bag is dripping down your back and your stringy, chlorine hair is hardly where you want it to be. And that post-workout lunch? Yeah, it’s a Clif Bar at your desk while you try to catch your breath.
No one said change is easy, especially lifestyle change. We try to seek the best in life, and many a time, it comes from falling back on what we’re most comfortable with: our old college routines. It’s far too easy to eat a fast food lunch, pound a Red Bull to get over the food-itis, and then come home to a cold one when your day is through. Exiting your comfort zone to do something for the greater good of yourself takes only one single effort, and the rest just comes naturally. Yeah, of course I transitioned my workouts to after work, and since that initial gauntlet of a swim in April, I’m just over the hump now. Does a healthier lifestyle keep me from raging? Hell no, look at Michael Phelps..
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