Everyone told me I should start working out. Join a gym, they said. A new year, a new you, they promised. It’s never too late to start a healthy lifestyle, I was told. Funny how these so called “advocates” of mine neglected to mention the destructive side-effects of exercise.
I didn’t realize the negative repercussions myself, until last week when I walked past a mirror twice and flexed my arms both times, wrote a list of which workout clothes I would wear for the week, and flipped through the TV section of the paper to highlight the programs I would watch during my workouts.
And then it hit me: my god, I’ve become a meathead.
When you decide to buy into the fitness hype and start working out, no one ever tells you that there is an inverse correlation between healthiness and interesting… ness. In just one short month I have become totally boring.
[Sidebar: I was going to put an exclamation point after the word “boring,” but then decided against it. See what I’m saying? Even my punctuation has become uninteresting.]
I present to you further evidence:
Natasha: “Hey Jenny. Farnsworth and I are thinking about catching a movie and then drinks afterwards. Wanna come?”
Me: “No thanks. I’m going to the gym tonight.”
Nat: “It’s Friday night. You’re spending your Friday night at the gym?”
Me: “It’s the best night to go! It’s one of the few times I can get on my favorite elliptical machine. It’s right under the fan, great view of the street below, and the TV comes in clearer than any of the others. Have fun at the movies, though!”
My notebook, normally reserved for quirky anecdotes and observations to write about in my blog, is now filled with cryptic scribblings like this:
Seated row: 10 reps x 3 sets @ 40lbs
Lat pulldowns: 10 reps x 3 sets @ 60 lbs
Hip abductor: 15 reps x 2 sets @ 40 lbs
Hip adductor: 15 reps x 2 sets @ 60 lbs
Treadmill: 20 min @ 5 incline, speed 4.5
Vivian: “Hey Jen, it’s Viv. So what’s shaking, bacon?”
Me: “Nothing much. Oh, can you believe this? So I go to the gym on Tuesday and they totally rearranged all the machines! The ellipticals were where the treadmills used to be, they switched the regular bikes and recumbent bikes around. What the hell? Whose bright idea was that? Sheesh. Hey – how much does your gym cost? Is it a lot more than mine? I’m sure it is, since everything in New York is so expensive. Do you use those ab machines? They look super painful to me. I keep seeing women using those weight ball things – I wonder how well they work…”
Me: “Viv? Vivian? Hello? Are you still there?”
Vivian: “Oh, yeah. Sorry, I just zoned out for a minute. Jen, we’ve been talking about working out for the past twenty minutes, can we please change the subject?”
When I stopped by the bookstore yesterday, I set down my copies of Ms. Magazine and Mother Jones*, and instead bought the latest issues of Shape and Muscle and Fitness. Now, not only am I boring, but I’m not even a feminist anymore!
I spent some time this weekend plotting out a few data points, and discovered the shocking connection between IQ (Interesting Quotient™) and CMW (Cumulative Monthly Workouts). The results were alarming:
My research shows that the point of no return is around 14 workouts per month. Once you start to exercise more often than that, your Interesting Quotient™ will plunge to depths from which it may never rise. Even at a modest 8 workouts per month, the IQ™ drops dangerously close to dullard levels.
This, of course, begs the question: is it better to be fascinating and flabby or boring and healthy? There are so many sides to this complex debate – I don’t know. I guess I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. And blogging. Writing usually helps me clear my mind, and I’ve already got topics for the next few entries so I’d better start working on them.
Coming up next week on Run Jen Run:
Tuesday - Feel This. Does This Feel Like a Muscle to You?
Wednesday - Hey! The Orange Gatorade Isn’t Half Bad.
Friday - Point/Counterpoint: Cucumber Water v. Lemon Water
*In the interest of full disclosure, I have never actually read Mother Jones. But I do always pick it up when I’m at the bookstore. Oh, I also never got that root canal without Novocain, and I’m sorry for misleading Oprah and all her viewers.