When Tara first moved in, she said, “I miss working out. We should join a gym once we’re both working again.”
“Great idea, dear!” I declared enthusiastically. Mainly because this seemed like a distant threat at the time. Someday the sun will implode and humanity will perish too, but I don’t sit around worrying about events that will take place two billion years in the future.
Only, that isn’t really an accurate analogy, because it didn’t take two billion years for us to find jobs. It only felt that way. Two months later I was working, and after another four, so was Tara. And suddenly, the sun imploded I had no excuse to delay joining a gym.
It’s not that I’m against working out. On the contrary, it feels good to exercise – and with all the great food and drinks we’ve been partaking in, it’s downright necessary to exercise, otherwise we’ll be the ones imploding beneath our own rapidly expanding bodily masses.
Sexy, eh? You want some of this and that, don’tcha?
So, we see eye-to-eye there. It’s not the “what” that is an issue, but the “when.” In my mind, exercise is a nice, leisurely post-dinner stroll around the neighborhood at, say, 7:00 in the evening. But Tara prefers an earlier workout. Fourteen hours earlier, to be exact. She insists on getting up at 5 AM. Or, as I refer to it, five @#&% o’clock in the *#!% morning. She doesn’t seem to realize that it’s still dark at that hour. The roosters are still roosting, and the newspaper boy and milkman haven’t yet made their rounds.
If this were 1957, that is. But you get the point.
Seriously, during this time of year 5:00 still feels like the middle of the damn night. Hell, 6:00 still feels like it! Which is why, when we toured the L.A. Fitness facility down the street a couple of weeks ago, I was hardly ecstatic when the membership representative gave us each five-day complimentary passes. “Really, one day is plenty generous,” I tried arguing, but my voice was drowned out by the cacophony of feet landing rhythmically upon treadmill belts, and clanging weights, and basketballs dribbling down wooden courts, and a myriad of other horrendous people-working-out noises. Because I knew what this meant: the very next day, we were getting up at ungodly hour o’ clock.
Sure enough, we did. I’m not proud to admit that I might have whined about this a little bit the night before. But that was nothing, my friends, compared to the way I whined about it whilst en route to the gym a few minutes past 5:00 that first morning. Remember that scene in A Christmas Story where the dad is cursing out the furnace with an unintelligible string of swear words? Yeah. That was me. (They were only unintelligible because it was too damn early to form words that make sense. I learned that at 5 AM, speech is a bit of a lost art to me). Oh, how I fretted. Admittedly, it was not my finest hour. I dragged myself bleary-eyed into the fitness center, Tara looking annoyingly chipper and eager, the yin to my yang.
But then, a remarkable thing happened. Once we got moving, I actually started to enjoy it. Turns out the treadmill isn’t an evil device of torture, after all. My heart was beating strongly, my pulse was up, I was glistening with sweat – and I felt good.
Leaving me to ponder the unthinkable and wonder what, exactly, had just occurred here.
“It’s endorphins!” Tara exclaimed happily.
“What do dolphins have to do with feeling happy?” I wondered. “Are you not making sense on porpoise?”
“En-DOR-phins,” she repeated patiently.
“Ohh,” I said. “You mean endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters and are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during periods of exercise.”
OK, those weren’t my words verbatim – but pretty damn close, I swear! And my girlfriend, it turns out, was onto something. Endorphins have been scientifically proven to produce a feeling of well-being, acting in a similar fashion to opiates.
Whoa. How radical is that?
So the next morning I bitched a little less, and by day three I actually found myself looking forward to our morning workout. And then, wonder of wonders, the day after our free passes expired, we signed up for real memberships. Go, us!
The truth is, I do feel good working out, and for the rest of the day afterwards. It’s nice to get a workout done at the start of the day; the sense of accomplishment lingers right up to bedtime. And best of all is having a workout partner. Tara and I motivate each other. I’ll admit, there’s a bit of competitiveness there, as well. If she increases the incline on her treadmill to 2.0 and the speed to 4.2, for instance, I nudge mine up to 2.5 and 4.4, even if it nearly kills me. I feel like such a slacker otherwise. Damn this constant rivalry (although I explained that I’m really challenging myself and not her, a proposition which I think she bought).
Do you work out on a regular basis? What time do you exercise? And do you wish fresh milk was still delivered in a glass bottle to your doorstep before sunrise – or is that just me?
- Monday Morning Inspiration: The Impact of a Good Workout (befitwithkristen.com)