Polska Brain Jelly

Self Inflicted Stupidity: Day 1

by on Jan.17, 2010, under Stupidity

School is back in session.  One of the requirements by the state for a “well rounded” college education is a semester hour of physical education.  Since I’m on my next to last semester, I figured it was time to get rid of that requirement. One of the options available to me was bowling.  I’m not sure exactly how bowling qualifies as physical education, or even a sport for that matter.  Any “sport” that I get better at the more I drink I don’t think qualifies.  Anyway, taking that class would have probably been the smart, easy thing to do.

Why would I ever do the smart, easy thing?

My thought process was, “since I have to take a physical education class anyway, why not make it useful?”  I have gained some weight since I quit smoking around four years ago.  I figured I would take a class that would give me the chance to shed those pounds and get back to my fighting weight, so to speak.

Thinking, that was my first mistake.

I signed up for weight training.  I lifted when I was younger and sporty.  It was fun.  I was fit.

That was my second mistake.  I’m no longer young and fit.

First day (I’ll call that Day 0) was just the instructor (a basketball coach) giving us the run down on what the class entails (lifting weights) and that attendance was pretty much mandatory (can’t lift weights if you aren’t there). He then asked us to email him our goal for the class and sent us on our merry way.

Here comes mistake number three.

I should have waited until after the first day of “lifting” to send him my goal for the class.  I basically emailed him saying that I wanted to lose my non-smoking pounds and get into a five-day-a-week workout routine.


Day 1:  Come into the weight room and the instructor takes roll.  He tells us to do ten minutes of a cardiovascular workout to warm up, either on a treadmill, a stationary bike or an elliptical.  The treadmills and bikes fill up instantly while I’m taking off my jacket and putting it up.

I’ve never been on an elliptical machine before, but I have to say whoever invented it hates me.

I get on.  It looks electronic with many lights but they are all dim.  This machine has no buttons, only touch sensors.  There’s also no on button.  I stare at the control panel for about a minute standing on these pedals wondering how to turn it on.  I shift my weight on the pedals, this shifts my feet to opposite positions and lights come on!  Oh, so this is motion activated. I start ellipting, or ellipticalling, or getting tortured, whatever the term is for the self abuse on this particular type of machine.

It’s a weird sensation.  I feel like I’m fighting the machine because I’m standing upright and with every movement I feel like I’m about to fall backwards.  There is nothing smooth about my gait, and I probably look like a spastic robot.  I notice after a few minutes that it’s getting more difficult to stay upright.  I start leaning forward a little and that helps, but there’s something else going on because I feel like I’m trying to climb a sixty degree slope at this point.

The default “workout” for this machine increases the inclination over time.  By “over time” I mean almost instantly.  I see this now because I’m leaning forward enough to almost rest my face on the control panel and it has a list of workouts detailed there.

Five minutes have passed so far and I’ve managed to figure out how to decrease the inclination to somewhat level.  My legs however are rebelling.  With every “step” they threaten to dump me off the machine.  How I managed to finish the last five minutes is beyond me, but I’m quite certain it wasn’t pretty.  I wasn’t “ellipticalling” so much as shuffling on an inquisition era torture device.

Warm up over, the instructor calls everyone over and gives us our routine for that day.  It’s an upper body workout, and for that I almost drop to my knees in thanks.

Actually, I almost drop to my knees because my legs won’t hold me up.  I’m not sure when my thigh muscles were replaced with egg noodles and rubber bands, but that’s all that’s holding me up at this point.

The upper body workout is fine.  I haven’t been winded or really even sweating the entire class, but my legs are nothing more than decoration by the end.

I stagger out to my truck, thankful that I didn’t ride my motorcycle to school, and head home wondering if I’ll ever be able to walk correctly again.

Class was on Thursday, it’s now Sunday.  My legs are just now able to hold me up without shaking when I walk.  Stairs were an exercise in futility this weekend.  They are still sore, but it’s not uncomfortable at this point.  Hopefully by Tuesday they will have recovered.

I’m not sure my stupidity will have recovered by then.

I’m going to document my progress here, since I’ve committed myself to this ridiculous plan of action.  This should help keep me on track and give everyone a chuckle at my expense in the process.

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