“Revamp” or “Everyone at the gym knows where the emergency exits are…”

So, two weeks.

A two week hiatus. That’s what I took.

You see, it’s hard to keep a regular schedule of working out when you work late because. You skip one morning.  And then you sleep in.  And then you can’t go at night because you’re working late at night.  And then you sleep in.

And then your whole schedule ends up looking like Lindsay Lohan’s career: screwed.

But, we can revamp this thing; I know we can.

I met Critter in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday.

Critter has been MIA for almost a month.  Why?

He got a dog.

Yes…that’s the real reason.

Now, we’ve had dogs all our lives, Critter and I.  We’ve raised them.  We’ve trained them.  I’ve scooped up more poop from a carpet with the wooden spatula then you can shake a stick at.  (Disclaimer: that was when I was young.  We no longer do that…probably)

But it seems like he’s forgotten everything there is to know about raising a puppy.

“I can’t leave her at home for that long.”  Bull, dude.  Plain bull.  If you didn’t want a dog to crap in the house for the first five months, you shouldn’t have gotten a puppy.  Get an old dog instead.  But not too old.  They end up crapping in the house at some point.

Note to self: humans are the same way.  I imagine I’ll be using a wooden spatula for my parents one day…

But I digress.  On this morning, Critter had apparently made an agreement with the dog (read: bribed with chew toy and/or tranquilizer) and was able to meet me.

I walk into the smelly area (locker room) and immediately find that old regular that I’ve known for the past four months: Navajo man.

Now, at first glance that might seem like its an insensitive moniker.  But I assure you, there is very little Native American blood in this guy.  Rather, he just likes to pretend there is.  He shaves his head into a tight ponytail, has tribal tattoos all over his body.  And every morning I have to watch him lather his naked self in tanning cream so thick, he looks like he’s covered in chocolate frosting.

And by “have to watch” I mean, well, it’s so disastrous, you can’t look away.  It’s like a Pauly Shore movie: so bad yet so…bad.

Anyway, I bypass the bronzer and head straight for the locker.  I’ve simplified my morning wardrobe at the gym.  I find it’s easier if I just wear my gym shoes there and wear the gym shorts and shirt underneath the jeans and sweatshirt.  Some might say, “duh” to  that epiphany.  To them I would say, “Back off!  I’m stylish.”

Changed.  Out in the “workout area” (notice the quotations…it’s a “workout” only for those of us who do.  Yes, I’m looking at you, early riser who pretends that 10 minutes on the bike with a sweatband on is a workout) we get down to business.

Up first: rowing machine.

Now, when I lived in Hyde Park I became quite acquainted with rowing and rowers.  The racquetball court that Justin, Jonny, Joshy, and myself would frequent (Adam too, but his name doesn’t start with a “J”) was right across form the court that the U of C rowing team hijacked to do their insane exercises in.

There were many a game where I warmed up to the rhythm of “Row! Row! You pansies aren’t making any headway! Row!”

No crap they’re not making headway.  You’re rowing on a racquetball court where there’s so little water, the bubblers barely work!

These insanely skinny jerks would often stumble out the Hobbit doors of the courts and puke in our common trashcan, making the entire place smell like my fraternity house.

So we begin with rowing.  “1000 meters,” Critter says.  “Go.”

And off I went into the land of upset stomach and blisters.  It’s amazing how soft my hands are.  Caressable.  Supple.  And completely unfit for rowing.  My pinky hasn’t forgiven me yet.  It’s refusing to hit the “a” and “shift” keys.  And that’s it’s only job on the left hand!

1000 meters done, I now stand up to vomit.  I’ve blogged before about my propensity to puke.  It hasn’t left.  You’d think with a two week break it would have decided that exercising on a regular basis was good again.  It has not.

While I choked down pieces of the previous night’s dinner, we moved over to the bars.  These are these tiny bars that you put over your shoulders and twist side to side with.  A count of 50; not difficult.  In fact, it felt more like I was just moving in that way that you have to move when you have to pee…but apparently it worked something because today I am sore.  Very sore.  Sore to the point that my obliques are saying to me, “Don’t even think of reaching for that pencil you dropped.  Leave it.  You have other pencils…”

And then we walked over to the weights.  We acknowledged the Ewok (who is always there…I’ve mentioned him before) and I suggested that we do some curls.  Grabbing the 40 lb weight, we begin.

These are not just any curls, mind you.  Up from the waist to the mid-chest for 12.  Down from the shoulders to the mid-chest for a count of 12.  Let’s do that 3 times.  And then, pull the weight up to your shoulders and slowly let it down to a 12 count.  Do that as many times as you can until your biceps scream (literally, they scream).

And then, move one.

From there I laid down on a bench and did these things called “skull crushers.”  And I know why they’re called that.  I was pretty certain that, with each lift, I might drop the weight onto my skull.  I could read the obituary already in my head,

“Poor Tim.  He shouldn’t have lifted so much.  He should have known he was weak.”

You pull the weight above your head, drop it behind your head, and then back up to your chest.  Set of 12.  Do it 3 times.

And then my triceps decided they had had enough and went to the steam room.

The rest of my body, though, pushed on.  Literally.  The insane push-up routine came next.  Four sets of 8 with 30 secs in between, a set of 9, and then two more sets of 8.  “Get lower,” Critter yelled into my ear (we do push ups close together).  But what he didn’t realize was that I wasn’t so much doing push ups, but rather I was keeping myself from crashing headfirst into the floor.

Then I apparently had choices.  We could do “morning glories” (which are neither good in the morning nor glorious), or we could do some lat work.  I chose the lats.

Grabbing the lowest weight possible, we began to move our arms in what I can only describe as the “stewardess motion.”  Straight arms, both lifting to the front, then to the sides, then behind you.  It was as if we were pointing out the emergency exits on a 747…and I think I’m pretty sure I got all the exits correct.

The other normal weightlifters were, in between their 90lb reps, looking suspiciously at us and secretly pondering in their minds as to whether they should head for the exits or not (they’re not bright).

I remember one time being at a convention and overhearing an elderly woman say, apparently unprompted, “They should never sit me next to that emergency exit door.  If they did, we’d all die.”

Then and there I made a note not to fly on a plane where an elderly passenger was by the wing exit.  Can’t take any chances.

We ended our workout by going down the treadmills.  We put it on a high setting (8.5 for those of you that speak ‘treadmill’) and did 30 second sprints for what seemed like forever.  In fact, had I done those outside I would have been home by the time they were finished.  All the while the dude next to me smelled like B.O. and tequila, which made me want to vomit and drink all at once.

When I got off the treadmill I was heading back toward the locker room when he caught my eye: the trainer.  He was giving me that, “I can revoke your membership if you don’t wipe off that drenched machine before you head to go home” look.  I immediately did a 180 and went to the towel dispenser.

Except, they’re new.  And in my workout haze I couldn’t figure out how to get the towel out.  Not to worry; Critter was there.  “From the bottom, dude,” he said.  I passed by the obvious “that’s what she said” and wiped off my machine.

Ah, back to the grind.  And, if nothing else, we all learned a little something about where the emergency exits are, didn’t we?

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