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Coming out of my writing hiatus to tell you about that time that I almost died.
Well, I honestly felt like I was dying.
Being an actor, especially in Los Angeles, it’s important that you ensure that a majority of your body parts refrain from jiggling in the presence of a strong wind.
That’s for both boys AND girls. I have it on good, first-hand authority that almost all of the most popular actors/actresses out there get told to keep things tight on a regular basis. Either that, or they want you to go the polar opposite direction so they can cast you as the obese comic relief.
It ain’t fair, but it is what it is…for now.
Gyms around LA range from dirt cheap (Planet Fitness) to more than a low-end car payment (Equinox). The former comes with long wait times for the machines and a packed house all day long, the latter comes with Eucalyptus scented towels, high tech equipment, and frequent celebrity sightings.
Guess which one I wanted to join!
I resisted the urge to blow a large portion of my paycheck on fitness and opted to join the YMCA, a step up from the bottom of the barrel. I have some unhappy childhood memories going to Y summer camp every year (that’s for another day), but the benefit of going Y at this time in life (besides the financial aspect) is that there are 24 YMCAs in LA county that I can go to–24! I’ve already figured out that some are in better neighborhoods than others (I’m not trying to get held up in the parking lot!), so it’s nice to know I can bounce around at will without an extra charge.
I am no stranger to fitness but I will admit that I’ve been estranged from it for more time than I think is actually healthy. I’ve run 3 half-marathons in the last 4 years and I was always an athlete growing up.
Recently, a combination of physical stagnation (enabled by Netflix) and a metabolism that’s thrown in the towel motivated me to get up and get moving. Love handles are cute, in theory, but they’re no fun when trying to keep them from peeking out of the bottom of your shirts. I’m too poor to buy a new wardrobe, so to the sweat store we go.
If I had to give you a little preview of the experience to follow, I would sum it up in one word:
The first day, I did the treadmill and the elliptical at an admittedly glacial pace, not wanting to pull any muscles or injure myself. Slow and steady.
When I woke up the next day without any aches or soreness, I knew I needed to step it up. Another awesome part of a Y membership is that you have a ton of group fitness classes included. I looked on the calendar and saw a “Core & Abs” class later that afternoon–it was only 25 minutes, no big deal, that would fly by.
NAIVE. NAIVE LITTLE SOUL.
I get into the class, follow everyone else’s lead and get a ball and a mat. The instructor tells us to lay down and I silently rejoice that I can get a workout on while laying in a horizontal pose. Would this be the class that my lazy heart would covet?
After the 2nd exercise, my stomach felt like it was punching me from the inside and I could literally feel the bile rise up my throat, threatening to end my workout and that of the man positioned next to me.
I had to throw my legs down, lay flat on my back, and breathe through my nose until the urge to purge passed. WOW, I had really gotten out of shape. I would’ve laughed if I hadn’t thought the gyration to my stomach wouldn’t make me nauseous again.
I started to get back on track with the rest of the group, kept dinner from the previous night down, and finished the workout.
25 minutes ended up feeling like 34 years and when I finally peeled my sweat drenched, sore, and more than slightly smelly body off the mat, those crazy ass endorphins kicked in and and I thought, “HELL YES, let’s go do some cardio!”
Here is where I pause to ensure you that endorphins are just like any other addictive stimulant and they should be illegal and extracted from our bodies as soon as possible.
I got on the treadmill and selected a workout that took me running through a New Zealand National Park. It’s hard to describe but: someone took a camera and ran around scenic sites all over the world. They measured elevation at each point and recorded it. So then they load all of these routes onto the treadmill, and the elevation on the treadmill mirrors the elevation changes you’re seeing on the screen as you run through the gorgeous flora and fauna. You wouldn’t think it would make a difference, but it is so much more interesting running through a “town” than just staring at the mirrors or windows in front of you. My biggest pet peeve with treadmills is the boredom I feel while running without a destination, and this little bit of technology really helps.
I did that for an hour (what–what–WHAT was I thinking??), climbed down from that magic carpet to nowhere, and found my way back to my car. In the shower at home, I marveled in my accomplishment and felt a little less lazy, a little less sluggish, and a lot more self-confident. I went to bed motivated to spring awake the next morning and conquer another group fitness class.
As I peeled my eyes open the following day, I couldn’t move.
Literally. My brain was sending the signal to my legs that they needed to get up so we could pee and my legs said “NO THANK YOU, HONEY, I’M FINE RIGHT HERE”.
My brain insisted, warned them that we were on the brink of reliving our pre-k days of a wet bed, and my arms were entreated to use some leverage to get us moving.
Their response: WE ARE MADE OF LEAD. LEAVE US ALONE.
I rolled my torso to the side, despite the facts that my abs were filing abuse charges against me for the heinous crime I had committed the day before, and I almost landed face first on the dark-stain hardwood. My legs finally decided to cooperate, we made it to the bathroom without any accidents, and then, without my express permission, they carried me back to bed and deposited me onto the mattress.
That blessed, blessed mattress.
Nothing like a near-death experience to make you appreciate your thread count.
Photo Cred | memesvault.com