I’m not sure whose genius idea it was to start lifting weights in the mornings before work. Oh wait, yes I am sure; it was Mike’s idea. I was an innocent, yet agreeable bystander. I want to lose weight, so I have been working out and eating right for the most part, but finding time to lift weights has been almost impossible. I can run on the treadmill or ellipse on the elliptical in the tiny gym at my office after work. It’s free, and I can still be home by six. Plus, very frequently, I am the only one in there, which allows me to sing aloud with my iPod while running and pondering why the other 800 occupants of my building don’t take advantage of the gift-horse that is free cardio. However, if I want to lift, I have to go to my real gym. The gym that I pay 45 dollars a month to use, which, if you do the calculations during my bad months, can bring the grand total per workout to right around $15.
I know that lifting weights is the quickest way to lose weight and increase energy and make my backside smaller, but (whine!) I hate it!! I hate being on the weight floor with all of these machines that I cannot seem to remember how to use, and the five hundred floor-to-ceiling mirrors that allow me to see my sizeable ass at every angle. Sometimes I drag myself away from my own personal butt-obsession-trauma only to look up and make eye contact with someone who is actually LOOKING at me! This is not OK with me. I don’t want anyone to look at me while I struggle through my workout. On the treadmill, I can plug in my iPod, zone out, and just go, staring straight ahead into my thoughts. If people want to look at me then, more power to them. No one will come up to me and ask if they can rotate in while I am on the cardio machines like they do while I’m using the freemotion rower. I’ve let people work in before, watching helplessly as they casually switch my 30 pound pin to their 900 pound pin with a smirk or a smile. On the treadmill, no one realizes how fast or slow I am going. No one is paying attention to the incline level I have set for myself on the elliptical, or the fact that I go a little faster to Bowling for Soup than I do for Kanye West . In the cardio room, I am on my own, and that is the way I like it. But, I know that I have to pump the iron if I want to get back down to my fighting weight.
I made the mistake of complaining to Mike about how I never have time to lift. Our gym is packed to the gills between 5 and 7:30 on weeknights, and if we go at 8 or 8:30, we come home late, get into bed, and then just lie awake all night, our muscles tingling, the endorphins still coursing through our veins. We were down to only one option, and I cringed as I watched it come into his mind. “Let’s start going three mornings a week before work,” he said, overflowing with child-like innocence.
I laughed openly at him.
Don’t think I’m mean; it was only funny because it was not the first time that he and I decided to implement morning workouts into our busy lives. In the past two years, we have probably decided five different times that we were going to commit to going to the gym, running with the dog, or even just stretching in the mornings before work.
In our carefully thought-out plan, we would get up at five ready to greet the day, then we would workout with big smiles on our faces, evidence of our love for each other practically oozing from every pore. We would kiss goodbye on the gym floor, hit the showers by 6:30, and be at our desks ready to productively face the day by 7:30. Not only would our bodies look better, but we would feel better and be more successful! Working out in the morning would solve all of our problems! We would become a power couple with toned triceps and monster paychecks! This was going to be the best thing that ever happened to us!
(end dream sequence)
What we always realize after we agree on these idealistic plans is that, when given the choice between an energizing, healthy, pump-you-up morning workout and sleep, sleep wins every single time. We would workout in the morning once or twice, and then, we would begin to take turns groggily talking each other out of getting up until it was eventually completely phased out of our routine. I agreed to Mike’s plan once again, but I told him I was really serious this time.
I do love lifting weights with him. While I am totally lost in the weight room, Mike knows every machine like the back of his hand. How it works, what it works, and how much each of us should lift on it. I think in fifth grade, when they pulled the girls aside to tell them about getting their periods and making babies, that the boys must have been taken to they gym for a crash course on how to use the Nautilus machines. This would also explain why so few of them understand women.
So anyway, it was decided that Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays we would get up at 5:15 to be on the weight room floor by 5:45. Here is an excerpt from my workout journal explaining how things are going thus far:
Day One of Hell- It’s Tuesday. We both wake up to the grating iPhone alarm. You may already know how I feel about the iPhone, but hate takes on a whole new meaning at 5:15AM. We stare at each other for a full twenty seconds before silently throwing the covers back and getting out of bed. Neither of us says a word to the other, although I do sigh violently and dole out a crusty when he accidentally bumps my arm while reaching for his toothbrush. We dress in our workout clothes and sling our respective “getting ready for work” bags over our shoulders. Mike’s bag is about one tenth the size of mine, and for some reason, this makes me mad at him. The dog jumps around at our feet thinking that if we are up this early and packing this much gear, we must be taking him camping in the mountains. He is going to have to learn to live with disappointment. Mike’s water bottle slides out of the side pocket of his bag and clatters to the hardwood floor. He gets red in the face and starts to grumble under his breath. I, the pot, tell him, the kettle, that if he cannot be cheerful, then I am not going to be able to go through with this each morning. He glares at me, and we storm out the front door to our respective cars, leaving the dog staring sadly after us through the window, convinced we are going someplace fun without him. His sad little look through the glass makes me even grumpier. I drive to the gym. I roll down the window to let a little cool winter air hit my face, and I crank Journey on the radio to put me in a good mood. It works, and apparently Mike has employed some of the same tactics, because he is smiling now as we pull up next to each other in the gym parking lot.
We work out together, enjoy each other’s company, and then kiss each other goodbye on the gym floor before heading off to the locker rooms. I get ready in record time, am at my desk early, and feel energized all day long until I fall into bed exhausted around 8:45. All in all, it turned out pretty well.
Day Two- It’s Thursday. The iPhone starts its annoyingly cheerful guitar music at 5:15. Mike, who’s volleyball game went past 11 the night before, turns it off and rolls over to go back to sleep. I protest for about three seconds, and then I do the same thing. We do not make it to the gym today. Even though it isn’t totally his fault, I make Mike feel a little guilty about when we do finally wake up a couple of hours later.
Day Three- It’s Friday. After having spent an hour the night before ironing my work clothes, packing my enormous bag, and carefully laying my gym clothes out so that I can fall right into them in the morning, the alarm goes off and we both hit the ground running. We arrive at the gym a few minutes early, and ready to go. As we are walking in, I realize that the shirt I had ironed into starched perfection the night before is still hanging on the bedroom door handle at home. I grabbed my bag, but had forgotten my shirt. Pretty sure that I am going to be unable to make my ripped Denver Broncos t-shirt look work-acceptable with my skirt and pantyhose, no matter how much I accessorize, I sigh. I cut my workout 15 minutes short so that I can go home and get ready.
After working out then going home to shower, I am blow-drying my hair in my bathroom, when I hear it. Someone is breaking into the house. The dog runs to the door, while I curse myself for leaving it unlocked. “Who’s there?” I shout, sounding as tough as I can, brandishing my blow-dryer like a handgun.
“It’s me, hon.” Mike rounds the corner, half smile across his face. “I forgot my boxers”
We may very well be too unorganized to actually succeed at this.
Day Four- This morning. The iPhone battery died during the night. At least that is Mike’s story. Needless to say, we did not go to the gym this morning. I am getting very used to living out of my big duffle bag, though, so that is one skill acquired.
Mike called me at work and said we should go tomorrow morning instead of waiting until Thursday.
I hung up on him. Well, not really, but I pretended to.
I really want to do this. I want to see my triceps and my abdominal muscles again. I miss them. I want to look cute in summer dresses this year. I want to be strong and healthy and slender. Mike does, too. I mean, minus the part about summer dresses. I am going to do this if it the last promise I ever keep to myself. Day Five begins at 5:15 tomorrow morning. I’d better get to bed.