Around January 1st everyone and their brother-in-law hits the gym. They know what’s up: their cholesterol. Because I’m a die-hard conformist, I followed the herd of New Year’s resoluters to the gym and got myself a trainer. This dictator wore more sweatbands than there are sweat glands in the human body, and his name (Tommy Morris) seemed far too benign for such a character. I decided to call him Seargent Sanders; he did not seem to appreciate my sense of humor. But he pushed me hard for my first (and probably only) workout. Here is his opening monologue:
“Okay, here’s how it works. Each day we crush two muscle groups using only dynamic hypertension bicameral exercises specifically chosen by me for you for maximal tearage. Today will be tris and chest. Do you know what ‘tris’ is short for? Triangles. Try and keep up. Rule number one: We never rest. You may drink water. You may stretch. But you may not rest. Now, let’s do tri pull-downs and skull-crushers. Let’s start light and work up. Grab those forties right thurr and thrust them up over your head using mostly your back and elbow joints. Yeah,” he said, eyeing the rack of weights (or himself in the mirror behind it—it was impossible to tell). “That should be good.”
“All right,” I thought, steeling myself against the task at hand. I did what the good Sergeant said. I took a breath, I took a sip of water, and I gripped the weights and thrust them over my head using mostly my back and elbows. It did not take long to decide that I didn’t like triangle day.
“No, no, no!” Sergeant shouted at me from behind, his forehead sweatband moving up and down with the creases in his forehead. Suffice to say, I could not finish those repetitions. “You did that all wrong! You’re supposed to use your back!”
I don’t remember much of the lifting after that. All I know is it’s hard to move. They tell me that’s the sign of a great workout. I’m pretty sure that I should still be able to flex my toes. Anyway, here’s some vocabulary I developed during my torture session. Maybe it will help you.
Reps = a number that you will try really hard to count to.
Drunken exercising = when your muscles are so drunk with fatigue that they have a mind of their own, forcing your hands and whatever they’re holding to weave through the air. (Don’t drink and lift weights, kids.)
Flys =1 billion times the weight of the buzz-buzz kind
Cheating = when your muscle jumps off the work out train, literally jolting to a stop (synonym for “failure”)
Furthermore, my trainer and I had some quality interactions. Here are the highlights:
TRAINER: You’re only cheating yourself if you don’t finish the reps.
ME: What if I’m okay with that?
TRAINER: Come on, finish!
ME: That’s what she said.
(followed immediately by:)
TRAINER: Stop laughing, you’re making it harder.
ME: I’m going to drop the weight on my head.
TRAINER: Don’t worry, I’m spotting you.
ME: Shouldn’t your hands be on the weights?
TRAINER: Don’t worry.
ME: It’s too heavy.
TRAINER: Don’t worry.
ME: I’m worried. UGH! 9!….10! (Puts down weight.) Okay, done.
TRAINER: There are 15 reps in a set.
ME: (To the trainer) Your shoelace is untied.
^Worked like a charm.
ME: I think I just don’t have upper body strength. It must be some rare disorder. Have you ever heard of that?
TRAINER: Stop talking.
TRAINER: You gotta get angry.
ME: But I’m not angry. And I don’t want to be so emotional when I work out.
TRAINER: It’s the only way. It’s like meditation. But seething.
(At the end of the workout…. SOS!!!)
TRAINER: How many push-ups can you do?
ME: I don’t know. Probably a few.
TRAINER: Let’s see.
ME: Okay! Uh, but just so you know, your shoelace is untied.
TRAINER: No, it’s not. Go.
ME: (Sighing heavily. Then bravely says) YOLO. (Mid way through first push-up arms shake, jolt, and collapse.)