Pump you up

I find it helpful to give names to my self-improvement efforts. A name puts a wrapper around little things, so they’re part of Something Bigger rather than yet another attempt to be more beautiful-healthy-smart-whatever.

So far, I have not yet devised a name for my latest attempt to get fit. (No, “Get Fit 2008” won’t work. Not catchy enough.) I think this lack of name — of branding! — is at least part of why I am having trouble getting started.

Despite this setback, I have made a little progress. I’ve been drinking more water each day, and since it’s filtered tap water rather than bottled I feel extra virtuous. I’ve been going to sleep earlier and waking up before my alarm rings.

And I’ve been to the gym a few times this year, including twice this week.

I am not the sort to fear the gym or feel uncomfortable there. I’ve put in many hours at many gyms, and I’ve overcome my neuroses about the other regulars. Skinny girls with makeup who never break a sweat, leathery ladies who live only for the treadmills and the tanning beds, muscle-bound men hulking around the free weights who grunt and egg each other on — these people don’t frighten me.

Nor am I put off by the many and varied workout machines. The treadmills and elliptical whatsits are all just computer gadgets with moving parts. I press Quickstart and get going. The other machines have instructions and diagrams.

So all of that is fine. But there is one element of my gym that brings me down: the bank of televisions hanging from the ceiling.

Most days I workout in the afternoon, when my viewing choices include soap operas, Judge Judy, repetitive sports coverage, obsessive news coverage of the day’s tragedy, and something from VH1. Today for the first time I saw “I Love New York,” and I began to doubt my faith in the future of man.

The problem is that I can’t help but watch whatever is on the screens. I can look elsewhere in the gym, but then I find myself staring at the ass of the person jogging in front of me. That’s never good.

When I whined to my brother about this, he suggested that I change the channel to the financial report. “No one can complain about your wanting to turn on the stock reports.”

“But I don’t want to watch financial reports.”

“You don’t have to pay attention to it,” he said. “Turn it on and stare at it while you listen to your iPod.”

It’s a brilliant solution.

Plus, maybe while I’m staring at the screen, valuable insights into financial trends will work their way subliminally into my brain. Then I can invest and become rich — rich enough to build a home gym.

4 replies on “Pump you up”

  1. The only way — and I mean the ONLY way — I make it through my workouts is to turn up my iPod really loud and pretend that I am a rock star performing my favorite songs to my adoring audience, which is usually comprised of people who have one way or another done me wrong or otherwise deemed me unworthy or insignificant. It’s a big crowd.

    Mentally, I’m playing air guitar to the masses. Man, that’s pathetic — I’m imagining that I’m pretending to play the guitar. Oh well, it gets me through my workout.

  2. This morning I read your recent website entries. It had been more than a month. What a treat!

    From your own experiences (Working out, DrawMo, NaNoWriMo, ) to announcements with previews and reviews (BlogFest, Vagina Monologue, Mixology). You are such a multi-talented gal.

    What about naming your workout, WorkOMo? (Not very original but it matches.)

    Keep it coming and thanks.


  3. Bob: I hope you’re careful with that pretend air guitar. On a treadmill, that sounds like trouble. Or, maybe it will be your stepping stone to joining the band OK Go.

    Madju: You are a genius! I will think about a NaNoWriMo variant. Maybe a different self-improvement initiative per month. It’s much less scary to think about working out for one month rather than for a whole year. And then before I become worn out or bored, I switch to the next one. Brilliant! Thank you! I’ll report back on progress.

  4. 1. I work out (when I work out) with a bunch of mostly male co-workers who watch nothing but sports or the financial reports. Both are understandable, especially the financial stuff because many of them are portfolio managers, but I get so sick of it I want to yell “get a life, you guys! show some balance here!”

    I don’t yell that, though.

    2. “Today for the first time I saw “I Love New York,” and I began to doubt my faith in the future of man.”

    Cindy, believe it or not Ms. I Love NY found love on Season 2 and will soon be a Mrs. I’m ashamed to say I know this, but I thought it would make you feel better about our future here on this planet. Let’s hope if the human race meets its Maker that all of the tapes of Vh1’s reality shows will be destroyed in the process.

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