A Dilettante’s Guide to Working Out

Hey, look at me, darlings — I’m blogging!

Don’t fret, I’ll be back to writing as soon as I recover from NaNOMYGODIWROTEANOVELINAMONTHWriMo.

Seems odd — it’s exhausting, and one has to gauge whether it’s worth it to write a novel in one month if it means that when the month is over, you don’t want to write anything.

Whether you should pace yourself, and if that might be better. Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…

Hey, I’ll take an outrageous fortune…

That’s not what that means, Helena…

What, so suddenly you’re a Shakespeare scholar? (And yes, that should be read with a Jewish New Yorker — think Jackie Mason — accent.)

Have I ever told you I sometimes dream entirely in dialogue from Hamlet, taken out of context? I once had a dream that I was sitting at a Kentucky Fried Chicken (which would never happen…. shudder) and I suddenly lifted up a spent chicken carcass and launched into the whole “Yorick’s skull” bit from the grave site scene.

“A chicken of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it.”

“Yes, our food has that effect on most people,” the pimply faced KFC employee, dressed like a gravedigger, says.

“Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.”

‘Um, Miss,” the kid says, “chickens don’t have lips.”

And then of course, I have no argument, so I wake up.

But I digress. I do that, darlings. I also make a mean Thai curry and can correctly answer the question “How many members of R.E.M. are there?” (Hint, it’s not as easy as you’d think — and no Googling, dammit!)

I’ve started back at the gym, because I never really meant to stop, it just happened. Here are some observations from the last couple of days. Take this as advice, or as a cautionary tale, or merely for your amusement.

In no particular order (because that’s how my brain works):

1) Success is not measured in calories but in the number of times you resist calling off or tapping out.

p) I no longer fear death. I know exactly what it feels like now. Some people call it “the burn”. Fuck those people. I’m dying here.

4) 5:30 in the morning comes very early. I mean seriously —  when do farmers go to the gym? The next time you’re having milk or eggs or cheese or a hamburger, or chicken fajitas (mmm… Fajitas) make sure you thank a farmer who, instead of going to school for some liberal arts education which would qualify him or her to serve coffee or work at a call center, gets up at an ungodly hour every single day seven days a week 365 days a year so that you can have chicken McNuggets and milk on your cocoa puffs. Thank you, farmers. Holy shit, thank you, you underpaid, unappreciated angels.

j) Disintegration by The Cure might just be the best damn album to work out to ever. Hear me out. It has some upbeat songs, (LovesongFascination Street) but the real
advantage that the album has is that if you make a deal with yourself to work out for one more song, well, you just committed to about 10 minutes. Plus (and I’ve said this before) listening to Robert Smith makes me feel positively emotionally and mentally healthy. Also, it’s like a cautionary tale: If you don’t cheer up, darling you’re going to end up being a gloomy sourpuss like Robert Smith.

π) You can tell yourself I can do anything for 10 more minutes but then when you start,  you realize that 10 more minutes on an elliptical is actually the equivalent of a Lord of the Rings marathon (Extended Editions) without a pee break. In a word, torture.

2) Greek yogurt with lime is actually like having key lime pie for breakfast. However adding graham cracker crumbs is probably counterproductive.

16) Grapefruit juice is really good for you. It has potassium and vitamin C and all kinds of other good stuff, while vodka is not. I asked my doctor and even though it’s made from potatoes it cannot be considered a vegetable.

If x+y = 8 and y = the age you first realized there was no Santa Claus, Virginia, then solve for x) I have decided not to weigh myself until the new year. I am measuring my progress by how I feel not by pounds or kilos. I just want to feel comfortable and have energy and be healthy.

3) Added bonus/motivating factor: the shower pressure at the YMCA is better than at my house. Glorious.

z²) Another thing I’ve learned: I am still not a lesbian, but thanks for asking, locker 114.

God, Helena, are you really that cute? 

Yes, darlings. Yes, I am.

16) Pizza is a treat, not a major food group.

1975) Baby carrots are only good if they are fresh. Otherwise they taste like Ebola.

7) The reward for all this: I’m tired, sore, cranky and hungry and I can’t eat any of the things that I love. On the upside I am currently experiencing an endorphin high, which totally, almost, sort of (okay not really) makes it all worth it.


15 responses to “A Dilettante’s Guide to Working Out

  1. I swear to God I was on the phone talking with my girlfriend about how “blah blah blah” she needs to get to the gym and lose weight, etc, etc, etc, and while talking with her was scrolling through facebook and saw “Just pull your shit together, and go work out!” I may have spit my coffee out…a little because I don’t waste that stuff. And so I said that to her. I don’t think it will make her go to the gym, but the timing was too perfect.

    I’m one of those people who lives by routine (like a toddler), and the gym is part of that schedule. I think I might physically injure someone if I didn’t get my frustrations out at the gym. Did you ever watch that show Ally McBeal? I sometimes, like Ally, imagine myself doing things, sometimes violent things, like knocking two people’s heads together when they’re annoying me. Thanks to the release of all of that stress at the gym, I stay out of prison.

    And you can’t go wrong with The Cure…anywhere.

  2. GOOD FOR YOU! I’m proud of you for going back! Your gorgeous other half might well love you whatever size you are, but isn’t it nice to *feel* like you look good? (Or in my case, like you might have a chance at it SOON)

    Keep working out. You are your own challenger and each time you manage more than ten minutes on the machines, you can figure you’re earning ‘bonus’ points. And also, carrots are AMAZING! They’re my favourite. I eat them all the time. And apples.

    All teh froots and veggies! THAT’S what to eat. And hold the cracker crumbs if you can. And try making the pizza yourself and use wholemeal flour and then it’s less terrible for you.

    If I don’t go and work out, I get stuck inside a downward spiral. It’s very necessary 🙂 Make it integral and then it becomes easy 😀 Just try very hard not to become a bore about it, like I have 😉

  3. Thank you for your thank-you to farmers. My brother-in-law’s family were dairy farmers and, yeah, they didn’t need no stinkin’ gym. They got their 12-14 hour a day exercise whether they wanted it or not 😉 As for working out, it is a good thing, and apparently agrees with you given this post. Yea, endorphins!

      • So true. My brother-in-law wound up selling the family farm, at a loss. He just couldn’t compete with agribusiness and his sons weren’t interested in carrying it on. Oh, well. At least he kept enough land for himself 🙂

  4. Good for you! I’m in awe of you people who get up at 5:30 to work out. I’ve never been able to do that. I prefer to work out in the evening, right before or right after dinner. But I go in spurts. I’ll do good for a few months then I fall off the wagon. I’m currently trying to climb back on. And I completely agree, vodka should be considered a vegetable! And wine should be a fruit and bourbon a grain.

  5. I’m right there with you about farmers. I do my weight lifting workout in our basement, where we have a weight bench and weights. I love being able to just go downstairs, workout, and then take a shower. That’s my M/W/F schedule. Every weekday morning I walk outside, usually in “my” park, since my treadmill stopped working after many years. It’s a challenge on the mornings when the temperatures are about 5 degrees Fahrenheit! Keep up the good work, Helena.


  6. 1) Your numbering system is almost as amusing as the actual text, bravo.
    2) Greek yogurt and lime is not something I would have ever thought to try, but if it doesn’t taste like key lime pie, I’m going to have strong words with you
    3) If you get that outrageous fortune, please share

    • C) I aim to discombobulate
      3) Make sure you get the fruit on the bottom stuff and stir it up well.
      P) I’ll go all drunken sailor/Great Gastby and have parties every night
      O) Did you see what I did there?

      • H) Mischief managed
        2) Unfortunately the fruit on the bottom has sugar/artificial sweetener that’s off limits pour moi (poor moi!)
        O) I think I caught it

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