The Rings of Workout Hell

March 7, 2011

So, the other day I started reflecting on where I was a year ago to where I am now health-wise.  It’s quite a transformation… even with the bump that I hit at the beginning of the year.  When it comes to working out, the change is mind-blowing.  It literally is an addiction that makes you think and do CRAZY things.

Working out might be my Charlie Sheen – it makes me feel like I am not only winning, but that I am a Vatican Assassin Warlock made up of tiger blood and Adonis DNA that is so intense it will melt your face off.

(OK… those will be the only Sheen references in this blog – I PROMISE.)

So, I decided to have a little fun and walk you all through this journey through the Rings of Workout Hell I have taken… from where it started to where I am right now.

RING 1 – RUNNING:  This is, far and away, the easiest thing to do.  No question, hands down.  Easiest.  And cheapest too.  Just buy some sneakers and you’re ready to go.


So I decide I’m going to start running and I buy some shoes to run in.  I get my ReeZigs (I was told that, due to my weight, this might be the best option due to the support and ‘return’ it provides), which are by far some of the most ridiculous looking shoes known to man but, if the ‘expert’ says that’s what I need, then I’m gettin’ ’em!

$100 dollars later and I’m ready to go.  Let’s run.  So I go to the W&OD trail and start running, and can feel not only all of the people on the trail laughing at me due to the fact I am the only guy not in Under Armour or on a bike sporting some sort of LiveStrong gear, but I can also feel my tremendous thighs rubbing together in my baggy shorts.  So now I’m completely uncomfortable (physically AND mentally) and head to Dick’s to buy some clothes so I don’t feel like a tool.

$245 of Under Armour gear later and I’m ready to go… again.  Now I LOOK like a runner… and if you look good, you FEEL good.  So I run… and honestly?  It worked.  I felt a million times better and did this for a little while.

Until I got bored.

Running is BORING every day… at least to me.  So I needed to find something that would keep my interest a little bit more than running has.

RING 2 – IN-HOME WORKOUTS:  So, the decision is made to invest in an intense in-home workout program.  Now, keep in mind, if you had done THIS from the start you wouldn’t have had to worry about your wardrobe.  But, you have it now so it will certainly help out… what a great investment on your part… soooo smart!  🙂  So, you start looking around and trying to find a great workout program.  It is a search that should start and end with P90X.

This isn’t because it’s far and away the best workout program or anything (to each their own) but simply because, to hardcore workout people, if you’re not doing P90X you’re pretty much not working out on your own at all.  Go ahead and tell someone you’re using ‘The Biggest Loser’ or rockin’ some ‘Tae Bo with Billy Blanks’ and you’ll get the “ooohhhh that’s good.”  Now tell someone you’re doing P90X and the whole tone of the conversation will change.

You’re now a HERO.  They could NEVER get through that… you are AMAZING.  Honestly – you would never get this reaction doing any other workout (except Insanity, which is so ridiculously out of this world most people haven’t even heard of it.)  It’s such a fantastic reaction that most people will tell you they do it whether or not they actually are.  I am proud to say that I completed one cycle of P90X… and it was probably the most comical thing you would have ever seen had I opened it up to a live studio audience.  I must’ve looked like an ASS doing it and, although it was effective, I can’t even begin to tell you how ridiculous I probably looked trying to do dive-bomber push-ups.

So now it’s time to step my game up, and I get Insanity.  This lasted about two weeks.  Guess why?  THE COPS STOPPED ME.  I literally had the Police knocking on my door because the people who lived below me complained about the noise I was making.  I guess a 275 lb man doing max interval cardio training in his living room on the 3rd floor was a bit too noisy for the idiots below (I call them idiots because they play Black Ops with the bass on their TV so loud it makes my dishes shake in the kitchen.  And yes… I returned the favor but, instead of wasting the Polices time on something that trivial, I had the complex send them a letter threatening eviction.  Equally effective.)

So what is a man to do now?

RING 3 – GYM MEMBERSHIP:  I guess it’s time to join a gym!  I mean, it’s too damn cold to run outside in mid-January (of course I spent $125 on cold weather Under Armour and give it a shot first however), so I shop for a gym.  There’s a method to this – see, if you join a $20/ month gym you’re much more apt to NOT showing up and working out since it’s ‘only $20’.  Spend $70/ month to join Lifetime?  Let me tell you how motivating it is to not waste that money…  IT’S MOTIVATING.  So now I’m showing up to the gym a few times a week and hitting the treadmill and it’s a whole new world.

I try to get to the gym at times that aren’t too busy (5:45a, 11:30a, 3p, 8p on a Friday or Saturday night… yup, my weekends are SCARY busy) so I’m not surrounded by all the muscleheads and aerobics instructors who work out right before or right after work.  But, at my gym, these people are there 24 hours/ day.  So, I get there and find a treadmill in the corner so the fewest amount of people have to watch me and start running… and proceed to trip nine (9) times in 45 minutes while on the treadmill.  NINE TIMES.

The W&OD trail doesnt make me trip.  It also doesn’t move.  And it also doesn’t have climate controls and no wind in the winter.  So, now I have to figure out how NOT to trip while running on the treadmill.  The next time I go I am now running like a gazelle… not in a speed sense or a graceful sense, but in the sense that I am over-exaggerating the amount I am picking up my feet as I am running to try and ensure that I will not trip again.

Guess how THAT worked out?

Yeah… well, the first time when I tripped nine times they were just little ‘WTF?’ kinda stumbles.  Didn’t even skip a step.  Not this time.  Yup – RIGHT off the back.  IT’S A GAHDAMN TREADMILL… WHY CAN’T I RUN ON A GAHDAMN TREADMILL!!!

So NOW what do I do?

RING 4 – PERSONAL TRAINER:  So, as part of my membership, I get to utilize the services of a personal trainer.  Apparently since I don’t know how to use a treadmill, this isn’t just an option it’s a flat-out necessity.  I’m starting to think that it’s all part of the master scam… uhhh, I mean PLAN… that this happens.  I have currently scheduled my first session with the personal trainer, and look forward to seeing what amazing tips and tricks he/ she can provide to ensure that I don’t trip on the treadmill any longer.  One piece of advice I have already received however is the purchasing of a personal heart rate monitor… which is another $100 donated to this little inexpensive health undertaking I decided on several months ago.

This, however, simply isn’t enough… the addiction is just too strong.  What ELSE can I do to make things in my life even more difficult?

RING 5 – CROSSFIT:  This is the ring I am currently standing at the door in front of, terrified to open.  I have committed, then decommitted, to this 4 times in the last two (2) months.  I mean, I do it to myself… I go and look at pictures of the insane things they do, then get advice like this:

“It’s all good.  When you throw up, no one will care because they’ve all been there too.  You’ll be fine.”

and it scares me like the human baby with the lizard tongue in the original ‘V’ mini-series scared me.

Now, let’s go back to the statement; I wanna tell you the part of that statement which REALLY terrifies me:


In other words, it is a foregone conclusion that it WILL happen.  It wasn’t ‘If’… there’s no ‘maybe’ anywhere in there.  When I throw up.  Because it will happen.  This person is not only someone that is not only doing the Mudder with me and in fantastic physical shape, but also doesn’t know my personal history of ‘The Beamens’ (kudos to you if you understand the reference!), so he simply knows that vomiting will occur… and that it’s OK.

What type of voluntary activity encourages vomiting?!?!?!

This one… and one day I’m gonna open that and welcome it into my life with open arms.  One day… just not today (yes, as I am typing this on Saturday AM I am simultaneously avoiding my fourth attempt at doing this.)

Oh, and don’t think there aren’t other Rings after this… Endurance Races, Ultra-Endurance Races, etc… but those updates will have to wait.  For now, I’m double-fisting Personal Training and CrossFit like the winner Charlie Sheen says I am.

DAMMIT, CHARLIE SHEEN… DAMMIT!  I tried people… I swear I tried.

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