I know it’s time to go to gym when I start doing mental plastic surgery every time I catch my reflection in the mirror.
You know what I mean: you’re having some one-on-one time with your mirror image and all you can think is, golly, imagine if I could just slice that off and flatten that… and taughten this and (while clenching) tighten here then (while slowly turning to a profile view) my god just lift this a little…
Then I start experimenting with my reflection: look at myself from various angles (and most often think ‘no one must EVER see me from this perspective EVER’) and start clenching things that have a very short-term clench rate – just to see what effect the Worst Machine Ever, aka The Stepper (note the ominous thunder in the background), would have. In a not unrelated story, it’s definitely time to at least consider tying the laces of your gym takkies when clothes are seen as a disguise instead of flesh enhancer and coats as a God-given winter blessing.
This is why Winter, that sly seasonal vixen, is a two-edged sword: one edge is hot chocolate and DVDs and blanket time with hot, warm foods; and the other edge is coats and other voluminous clothing that hide the effects of hours of DVD-watching and hot chocolate and my-doesn’t-that-cookie-look-delicious-with-my-hot-beverage guzzling.
Yes, winter is a two-edged sword that cuts deeply when summer rolls back round and big jerseys and long coats are, well, a little impractical; and people expect you to wear things like dresses and (gulp) beach wear instead.
For me, the combination of mental plastic surgery plus the gradually dawning realisation that summer is, in fact, just a matter if time, starts my slow spiral into what I’m going to tentatively call Extremely Optimistic Healthy Living Motivation Mode.
I go to gym! I buy healthy food! I drink water! I avoid chocolate! I don’t drink … that much! I even, sometimes, you know, if I’m feeling really motivated and very brave, drink green tea! (Oh, the bittery bitterness of healthy living. On the downside, green tea contorts my face into a mask of disgust; on the plus side, it makes my water taste really, really sweet.)
The science behind weight loss is simple, actually – burn more calories than you eat. So my Extremely Optimistic Healthy Living Plan always takes off with spectacular enthusiasm when I start going to gym. I hit the treadmills, the bicycle, The Stepper (it gets capitals because it gets respect) and the classes; like Body Conditioning. Body Conditioning is an hour of stepping and weight lifting and lunges and ab exercises, all with the short, very built, instructor yelling “Come on girls, lift; let’s get you a Beyonce bootie!” while the room full of panting, sweating, blushing girls glare at him while clenching, clenching, clenching as they lift their torsos in the air and keep everything taut in an effort to make everything tight so they can look fit.
That’s something else I’ve had to accept about exercise – it’s all for long term gain (the magic of endorphins aside). I do not look attractive while gyming. In fact, my unattractiveness gets me many a double-take while I’m say, cycling or elliptical-machining. Sadly, I must concede that people do not stare at me because they’re thinking, “Damn, despite the rigours of exercise and all the sweat, that girl is hot.” Oh dear me, no. Instead, I suspect they stare because of the brilliant shade of red I turn, and are probably wondering how a human being can do such a fantastic tomato impression. Because of this, I have a deep fear of meeting a cute guy at the gym. I mean, just look at me in the image below!
And is it just me, or does time go achingly slowly when you’re exercising? I mean, twenty minutes isn’t that long, right? Because twenty minutes is fifteen minutes (which isn’t very long at all) plus five minutes (even less long) together. So how can two things that are not very long, turn into something that’s very long? It’s like time is put on some kind of giant pause button when gyming, and it only speeds up again when you wobble off the machine and meander, panting, to the water cooler.
But alas, I cannot continue not gyming. My flat mate and I swore that this winter we wouldn’t gain weight. Losing it would be awesome, but gaining it is to be avoided at all costs. So wearily I put the Milo tin down on the shelf in the store, and pick up a box of green tea instead as I buy healthy food for the healthy lifestyle of a healthy person living healthily.
In fact, this winter I’ve kind of gone on a liquid diet because:
- Soup is delicious
- Many places make yummy ready-made soup
- I can microwave things (like soup), no problemo
- Soup is cheap
- Soup is belly-warming
- I live alone and have job dammit and it takes time to cook and I like soup, OK?
Anyway. It’s getting late; time to make my way to gym (packed with models, body-builders and the Optimistic) and do my best tomato impression for the easily amused.
WAIT LET ME EXPLAIN: I suddenly realised last night that the twenty-minutes thing might be confusing to some people. The machines at the gym have a twenty minute time limit before they stop themselves and force you to get off. This is to stop greedy over-exercisers from hogging the machines, but also cuts people short from getting a useful say thirty minutes in. There. Hope that’s a bit clearer now.