About once or twice a decade, something compels me to join a gym. It could be any little thing: from needing an extra boost because I’ve hit a weight loss rut to finding new and different ways to set my money on fire.
My latest foray into the world of sweat-generating machinery came in February, due to a work-sponsored, month-long fitness challenge. Easy goals made up most of the challenge: logging my foods, weighing in, and eating fruit. But I also faced two difficult requirements: eating a lot more vegetables and [cue ominous music: dum, dum, dummm] exercise.
As I thought about my options, one thing became clear: I would have to join the gym. I didn’t see how just taking a stroll once or twice a day for twenty minutes total was going to help me meet my exercise requirement (specifically: burning three times my body weight in calories).
The first thing I had to do was Sign Up. This involved scheduling a fifteen minute session where they subjected me to grueling physical tests such as taking my blood pressure and checking my pulse; and answering very personal and invasive questions such as, what’s my name and check this box if you agree to the fine print.
With that out of the way, I now had free access to all sorts of equipment and machinery. On my very first day I hopped on a stair machine because: 1) I’d done that sort of thing before and always found it to be a good work out and 2) it was the only unoccupied machine.
It felt great, too. I got my heartrate up. I could feel that familiar burn in my legs. In no time at all I felt like, “Yes, that’s it. I’m back.” Sadly, though, this was just the first ninety seconds of my workout. I spent the remaining eighteen and a half minutes constantly rubbing my towel over my face, hoping that everyone else would see me wiping away sweat instead of me crying in pain and fear and humiliation.
I hopped off after twenty minutes, legs wobbly, and checked my workout statistics. Great. I’d only burned 1x of my weight in calories: 3x seemed as far out of my reach as a stroll to the moon and back.
A New Plan
I downshifted from stairs to the treadmill the next day. Ah, okay. Now that’s more my speed. This went fine for a couple days until I remembered what that thing was about the treadmill: I hated it.
Sure, I realize that exercise isn’t supposed to be entertaining; but man, just walking in place—even a brisk walk with a nice view out the window—gets really old really quickly. I had to do something. But what?
Rewind to 1982. This is the year I discovered Doctor Who. If you already know what Doctor Who is, then I don’t need to explain any further. If you don’t know, then I can’t explain it all in this blog post. Try this link and come on back.
In short, though, Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme. It originally ran from 1963 to 1989, came back for a television movie in 1996, and then got a pretty good reboot in 2005. It’s still on today.
Now, starting back in 1982 I’m pretty sure I saw every episode produced between 1970 and 1981. However, when the show was rebooted in 2005, I only watched sporadically. I kept saying to myself, “Someday, I’m gonna watch all these.” But then I would always answer myself, “Why? You’ve got books to write, music to compose, and sleep to sleep. You don’t have time for a silly television show.”
Here and there I’d watch one anyway, but I missed a large number of episodes and eventually got so far behind the mere thought of catching up became too daunting.
Fast forward to 2015. Although we don’t have flying cars, Black and Decker Hydrators, or Mattel Hoverboards, we do have the ability to watch TV virtually anywhere. Like a bolt of lightning, the solution became incredibly obvious: catch up on Doctor Who while walking on the treadmill. If this isn’t the textbook definition of killing two birds with one stone, I don’t know what is.
Suddenly what used to be a groaning and miserable, “I have to go work out on the treadmill again,” turned into, “Oh boy! I get to go work out on the treadmill again!!!”
Forget Jillian Michaels. This is the new face of fitness: