On Inflatable Balls and the Only Sign Language I Know…Wednesday, February 8th

So, I had to take a week off from blogging (although, unfortunately, I did not take a week off from working out).

Short of having one of my eyeballs completely pop out of my head randomly, last week was about the worst week I’ve had in the last three years of work.  And it’s a good thing that an eyeball didn’t pop out because, Lord knows, I could never pick it up to put it back in.  It would have to idle lazily where it fell, looking under the couch, or at my shoe, or wherever it ended up.

If you hadn’t picked this up earlier, I hate eyeballs and the very thought of touching one makes me run for a barf bag.  And, no, I’m not ready to tell that story.  Not yet.

But to catch you up a bit, last week I ran 1 day for 30 minutes, elipticized 2 days for 30 minutes, and only got 1 day of lifting in.  But given the fact that last week I contemplated jumping on the next blimp for Brazil, I consider that a victory.

Did I lose any weight?  Actually, I did.  But I think it was stress induced, not because I actually changed my eating habits (although I’m pretty sure I accidentally skipped a few meals).

But Critter had me doing these hellish lifting exercises last week.  He had us using the dreaded ball.

I used to think balls were innocuous.  Necessary for sports, dumplings, billiards, and to harness the ability to throw snow, I used to think their shape and utility were useful.

They are, in fact, insidious.

…I’m going to let all that double entendre hang there.  (Now it’s a TRIPLE entendre!)

So, we used these huge inflatable balls, and these were the platforms for our various lifting routines.  But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s move back a minute.

Critter and I rolled into the parking lot at the same time.  We both got out of our respective cars, right around 6:30am.  I walked toward him, with the express intent on killing him preemptively before the morning of hell began, but physiology didn’t allow for that.  My small hands don’t fit around his neck.

“I forgot the workout book,” he said.

Not wanting to endure crosstraining again, a series of exercises I have no doubt was developed by the Gulag, I entreated him to head home and retrieve the book.  I would begin with warmups without him.

5 minutes on the eliptical to get the heart rate going.  Then up the stairs to grab a mat and begin ab work.  Supermans and crunches followed.

And then Critter shows back up.  By that time I’d already completed 60 Supermans and 60 crunches and he’s all like, “Well, let’s get started!”

“I have started!”  I exclaim.

“Right.  Burpies.  20.  Let’s go.”  He might as well have said “Let’s build sea-worthy craft out of Tinker Toys.”  20 Burpies with already socked abs and arms was not going to happen.

And yet, I surprised myself.  I was able to mete out 18.  They hurt, though.  Alot.

And then he thought it might be a great idea to do 70 pushups in sets of 9 and 10, with 30 seconds of rest in between sets.  “We have to work on your upper body strength,” he said.  In my mind, though, I imagined him nursing an upper body injury from that place where I beat him bloody with a yoga mat.

Oh yes, I could do it.

But instead I obliged the pushups…although, as Critter said, I “didn’t go down very far.”  Ignoring the “that’s what she said” jokes here, I’ll just admit that my pushups were more like “Hold the body ups and bend the elbows a bit-ups.”

I have no shame.

After all of this, we began the lifting.  Grabbing the 20lb hand weights, we rolled out the huge balls at which point Critter said, “Ok, sit on the ball…”

I laughed.

He continued, “…and we’re going to do chest presses and shoulder presses using the balls.”

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but unless you’re trying really hard to confuse your body, I don’t suggest it.  The fact that your body has to keep balance while lifting 40-50lbs over your head makes it start to spasm in places you didn’t know were alive.  I felt my sides start to quiver; the tops of my legs began to shake.

And I suddenly became self-conscience that someone could look up my shorts at that weird angle.  But that thought took a back seat to the quivering I began to feel in my  biceps as the lifts went on, and I had this terrible image of me dropping one of these weights on my head and passing out cold.

In this vision, when the ambulance arrived, the EMT would say thoughtfully to the gym manager, “Well, it’s a good thing he could only lift 20lbs.  Otherwise, he might have died.”  At which point the manager would go back to wet vacing the blood, and I would live through the event with the great embarrassment that I survived a direct blow to the head only because my upper body is underdeveloped.


Luckily I was able to keep the quivering in check, and therefore skip having that vision become a reality.  All in all, it was not a bad workout.  The tension that comes with lifting on a huge inflatable ball really does work a lot of muscles, and it kept me from the terror of the weight bench at least for one day…even if I did have visions of death.

You know, it’s amazing the visions that I have when I’m working out.  I don’t know if its the extra blood going to my brain or the sheer boredom of the whole thing, but I think up crazy things while exercising.

Take yesterday, for example.  As I was running 3 miles and rocking out to my ipod, I must have somehow envisioned that I was the only one in the gym.  How do I know?  Because I started doing sign language to Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” at mile 1.2.

(If you want to learn to sign the song, just click here)

“What’s that doing on your ipod?” you might ask, to which I would respond, “Mind your own business.”

Regardless of how it got on there, I was rocking out to it.  And at just over a mile, it came in handy.  As I was making butterfly motions toward the grand windows that face Montrose Avenue, however, I realized that I was gaining an audience.  The two people running to my left were viewing me suspiciously.

If I were to re-vision this, I would imagine them being able to hear the music too and, being ultimately inspired by the teeny-pop awesomeness that is that song, they would nod their heads and begin to imagine the “Hollywood sign” and lamenting that they had missed the “high heels memo” as well.

There we would be, all nodding our heads like “yeah” as we ran the pounds away.

But, reality was much less exciting and much more cruel.  After I noticed them looking at me at the second repeat of the chorus, they sheepishly smiled and gave a little chortle.  And they weren’t laughing with me.

I just smiled back and signed to them “thank you.”

Other than the lyrics to “Party in the USA,” it’s the only sign language I know.

Last week in review:

Cardio: 3 days

Lifting: 1 day

Meditation: 2 intense days

Flossing: Semi-regular…starting to step up that game.

Weight at the beginning of the week: 231

Weight at the end of the week: 229


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