A Day in the Life — To Run in the Shoes Sneakers of a Gym Rat

By Tress Klassen

I detest gyms. They are too sweaty and confining and remind me too much of my physical education experiences, which, were there any justice in this world, I would never have to remember again.

But the world is unjust, and there are gyms.

And with all the discussion of gyms this week at The Student Voice, the task of being an exercise fiend for a day seemed too fitting to pass up.

***

When my alarm goes off at 6am, I am far less excited about my assignment. But waking up horrifically early just to exercise seems like the sort of thing a gym rat would do, so I obediently abandon the warm cocoon of my bed, trading in my sweats for underarmor and silently cursing whoever invented this time of day called “morning.”

The gym isn’t open at such an ungodly hour, so I head outside to go for a run. I really enjoy running outside, so this element of my workout isn’t unbearable. Morning runs epitomize serenity — it’s just me, the sidewalk, and my iPod.

Well, and the other two-dozen runners I pass usually. But this time, it really is just me. I wonder where everyone is, and it’s just one more sign that this is an ungodly hour.

The only problem is running is also tiring, especially for a sleep-deprived college student. So when I get back to my dorm room, I realize I’d never in my entire life seen anything as beautiful as my bed. Being a staunch supporter of the arts, I feel obligated to show my appreciation for such magnificence, so I get back in bed, fall asleep and sleep through both my morning classes.

But I don’t have long to worry about my academic issues, because I have another workout coming up. I figure that gym rats probably have gym buddies, so I meet up with a Student Voice compatriot, Leah. We head to the treadmills, and a wave of foreboding washes over me. I like running on sidewalks; but conveyor belts just don’t do it for me.

When we start running, it’s not all that bad. But I quickly become distracted by all the people surrounding me, running just like me, on the same machines, everyone staring at the TV screens with headphones stuck in their ears, while their feet frantically work. And I’m one of them; I’ve joined the sneakered masses, the treadmill-loving proletariat! But back to reality now:

After spending about 25 minutes and losing about a liter of sweat on the treadmill, I head to a workout class with Leah. I’ve never been to one of these classes, so I have no idea what to expect, but we do get to use giant bouncy balls, so I figure it will be fun for at least part of the time.

Wrong.

The instructor starts explaining what everyone is supposed to do: Left arm and right leg move this way, and your head goes here, but the stomach should do this. I try to follow along and not look like a completely uncoordinated idiot.

After about ten minutes, I don’t care if I look uncoordinated or not. My abs, my legs, my arms – everything – hurt.  I didn’t realize how sore a body could get in just 10 minutes. I hurt all over, and we’re still going, doing crunches as Ne-Yo sings, “I just can’t stop,” over and over in the background. I wish nothing more than to do just that: Stop.

Though the class was difficult, I know I’ve gotten a really good workout, evidenced by how much it hurts to walk upstairs to my room. I shower quickly and head to class, and I found that lectures are far less daunting after working out — at least in class I don’t have to move.

I get back from class, and I’ve only gotten two workouts in so far today. I feel like a true lover of exercise would get at least one more run in, so this will have to end here because the gym is calling. Again.


Tress Klassen works as the opinions Web editor at The Student Voice. She is a freshman magazine major at SU.

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