One month ago, I started working out. Like, seriously working out, not just buying expensive, matching workout clothes and fixing my hair and going and performing with the free weights and on the equipment… I mean legitimately waking my ass up at the crack of dawn, slapping the nearest cap over my bedhead, and going to the gym in whatever I pull out of the drawer.
What happened was this: a friend of mine started doing porn and I finally saw him without his shirt on and the unquenchable fire of envy consumed me. That and an acute case of self-loathing. Because I used to work out. In 2002, I underwent a hernia repair and the surgeon told me I should strengthen my core, so I got a gym membership and I worked out and I was fresh to death. Then I got one of those jobs that promises so much and delivers so little, and I ended up working seven days a week, fifteen hours a day, which didn’t really leave much time or energy for the gym. Then I left that job and got another one just like it… and another one… and another one…
Anyway, fast forward to 2018, and I’ve been paying for that gym membership every month since 2002, whether I used it or not… and there’s my friend with his shirt off (okay, yeah, his dick is big, too… but I can’t make my dick bigger by lifting weights, so I’m being practical), and I’m old so I decide–on April Fool’s Day, oddly enough–that I do not want to be another fat, bitter, miserable Atlanta queen over the age of fifty, so I turn my jealousy and disgust into purpose, and I start working out again. And yes, it fucking sucked and it still sucks and I hate every minute of it. I have worked out every single day since April 2, and all I really want to do is lie on the couch and watch Netflix, eat Funyuns, and drink Dr. Pepper like I did when I was in my 20s.
I had my yearly physical in March, too, and that didn’t help. I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life–but “skinny fat,” you know… where you don’t really look like a fat cow, but your doctor is telling you that you might die unless you lose weight and start eating better.
And my husband has lost something like 100 pounds over the last year and a half after his doctor told him he was diabetic and they’d probably end up amputating his feet and hands, so throw that into the mix–porn star friend, yearly physical, all that money I wasted on that gym membership (that I do not dare calculate for fear of how I might react), the midlife crisis I am certain is just looming over the horizon, and I figured if I was ever going to become a Calvin Klein underwear model, it was now or never.
Then my husband got me a Fitbit. Now, not only could I taunt myself or have him goad me on, but I have a piece of technology strapped to my wrist that never seems to be satisfied with anything I do . Or maybe I’m projecting myself onto it. I regularly top 15K steps and I burn upwards of 3500 calories a day. I even burn calories as I lie in bed and read! Why isn’t that enough? Why can’t I just lie in bed and read and look like Marcus Schenkenberg? “No, no,” my Fitbit whispers to me as it vibrates on my wrist to remind me that if I don’t stand up and walk immediately, I will not hit my step goal for the hour.
“Feed me!” it cries, and I picture Seymour slicing his finger and squeezing the blood into Audrey II’s mouth.
So I feed it. I want it to like me. I don’t want it to think I’m fat and unremarkable. I walk… and I walk… and I walk. I catch myself deliberately forgetting things in far flung places just so I can walk back to where I left them and get more steps. I offer to get things for other people as long as there is walking involved. One day last week, I needed a tablespoon of limoncello for a recipe and I considered walking to the liquor store instead of driving. What have I become?
A week after I got the Fitbit, I hired a personal trainer so my husband and I could work out together one day a week., because what better way to spend time together than tearing our muscles apart under the tutelage of a professional taskmaster. I pretended this was his birthday gift, but really, it was for me. I now see the same trainer as my porn star friend two days a week: once by myself, and once with my husband. It’s been three weeks and I don’t look like an underwear model and I don’t understand why. I stopped eating the junk food and drinking sodas and now I drink a gallon of water daily (one trick to getting 10K steps in, because you run back and forth to the bathroom all day) and instead of Doritos and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, I eat apples and bananas and the occasional protein bar, but I’m suspicious of those. They taste like candy, so they can’t possibly be good for anything other than making me fat and rotting my teeth.
After the first session with the trainer, I thought I was paralyzed from the neck down. I’m not even lying. And I paid him to do that to me, that’s the funny part. “Here’s two grand, man. Hobble me.” I had only barely recovered in time for my second session.
So, here I am, a month in and I’m down 13 pounds from the day of my physical, but I can’t seem to go any lower, although my body fat percent has dropped three percent (see, we have a Fitbit scale, too, and it’s linked to everything, so I can obsess over my weight just as much as I obsess over getting my steps in! #Winning!) and my trainer tells me he can see a difference. I guess I can, too, but I want it to be more drastic. Whatever.
And as if all this weren’t enough? I bought a pair of running shoes last week, because I had the brilliant idea to go running at least twice a week to burn even MORE fat. And I don’t mean I bought a cute pair of Nikes, no… I mean I went to a store that specializes in any and all things for people who run like it is their religion. I stood on a platform and was shown exactly where I put pressure on my feet. I also found out I have a medium arch after being told, literally, my entire life that I am flat-footed. Then the salesperson recorded me running on a treadmill and was pleased to inform me that I have great feet for running because my Achilles tendon stays in a perfectly straight line…? Or something. And when I say she was pleased, I mean she was truly happy. Like I’d won the Achilles tendon lottery or something. Then she sold me a pair of shoes that cost $172.
This week, I got a set of Powerbeats Bluetooth earphones so I can make working out slightly less tedious by listening to music while I do it, but now all I want to do is quasi-drag routines on the StairMaster. So far, I have entertained the other members at my gym with my renditions of “Goodies” by Ciara and “The Thong Song” by Sisqo, but fuck it. I do have dumps like a truck (what, what), thighs like what (what, what)… whatever that means.
So, yeah. I’m getting in shape. But I would trade my $172 running shoes for a bag of Doritos and a six pack of Dr. Pepper right now. I’m not gonna lie.