“Insanity” or “How I Became Accustomed To the Thought of Puking in Public”

We’ve started something completely stupid at my church.  We’re doing the Insanity program together.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the thought of working out with my pastor seems ridiculous.  And yet, these people ask me to show up.  I wish they wouldn’t.   I wish they wouldn’t because I have a secret that I don’t want them to find out: working out often makes me puke.

It’s true.  There’s no way around it.

My first experience with puking after working out happened in 7th grade.  I mistakenly joined the track team at my elementary school.  I think my elementary school now has a more legitimate track team.  Back then, though, joining the track team meant we stayed after school to run around the parking lot a few times, measuring out distances using trees, rocks, and parking lot lines as markers.

Hence why my “200 meter dash” didn’t go so well at competition.  Turns out I’d only been running about 50 meters due to our poor marking system…

My first 50 were really fast, though.

Anyway, one day we got the awesome idea to actually go to a track to practice before a race.  Which meant that the lanes were pre-marked, and there would be no mistake.

I remember our “coach” (a well-meaning, but unqualified parent) setting us up on the starting lines.

“Go!” he yelled.  And off I went.  50 meters.  And I stopped, huffing and puffing.

“No, no, no!  Keep running!” he yelled.  And so I ran hard…another 50 meters.

“No!  Run until I tell you to stop.”  And so I did, with my floppy Zach Morisson haircut getting in my eyes.

I ran and ran and ran for what seemed like forever.  And then it happened.  I stopped on the track, leaned over, and tossed everything in my stomach out onto lane 4.

When I raised my head, my mouth still dripping with “bologna and mustard: revisited,” the coach was looking at me with an expression that clearly said, “You, sir, are a moron.”

And I felt like it.

Ever since then, I’ve had this fear of working out hardcore in public.

But, I’ll do most anything for ministry.  And this working out is certainly that.  We have people from outside the church coming in to hear Shaun T yell at them.  So I figured I’d better show up, at least for the first one.

The evening started out as a series of bad decisions.

The first bad decision is that we decided to host the aerobic exercise on our top floor.  It’s a large space with a TV.  It’s also the hottest room in the church, minus the three inches just below our boiler.  I was sweating by the time I ascended the stairs.

The second bad decision we had was starting with the “fit test.”  Yes, I know that is how you start the Insanity workout.  It’s actually supposed to make you feel better about yourself because you do such a crappy job the first go-through that all you can do is get better.

That being said, the “fit-test” should be called, “let’s-just-prove-how-slovenly-you-actually-are.”

Because it does.

So there we are, about 12 of us, packed into that upper room, sweating our brains out, and the announcement comes from our fearless leader Brian, “If you have to throw up, the bathrooms are to the back and right.”

Everyone laughed.  I did not. It was a distinct possibility.

Critter then, in his infinite grace, offered to hold the garbage can in front of people so that they could continue working out while puking.  I think he was joking, but I mentally logged that as an option should it come to that.

Brian pressed “start” so that the real sweating could begin.  We had all been given tally sheets so that we could record how many reps of the given exercises Shaun T forced upon us.  Suffice to say that tallying my numbers wouldn’t involve counting on toes.

There were high knee jumps, “heisman’s” (which pretty much cemented the fact that I will never play football with any skill), and these abysmal exercises called “jumping-jack pushups.”  I was, without a doubt, terrible at all of them and spent much of the time lying face-first on the floor trying to breathe.

The format of the program involves doing a given workout as fast as you can for one minute, and then taking a minute break in-between.  After the second exercise rep, people started to drop off.  One person ran to the bathroom and totally missed exercise routine three.  Another person joined me in just lying on the ground.  We didn’t speak.  All we did was breathe laboriously.

And then it happened.  We had a puker.

She ran to the bathroom with lightening speed.  No one bothered to look her direction.  We all knew what was coming.  Or, should I say, “coming up.”  Being someone prone to nurturing (and wanting an excuse to stop exercising), I knocked on the bathroom door.  She was lying on the floor with that “cookies are coming” look.  Here’s how the exchange went:

Me: “Are you going to you puke?”

Her: “Yes.”

She was right.

I went out to tell her fiance, and he had a concerned look on his face, but kept doing the “kick-backs” that Shaun T was forcing upon him.  I guess he was right to keep going.  I mean, he can’t really do anything about her puking.  And she had short hair, so there was no need to hold it back.

And at that moment we lost another one to the men’s room.

It was then that I looked around to see the hot, tired, sweaty people in that room and thought to myself, “This is what makes community.”  And it’s true.  Going through a painful experience with others builds community.  In fact, every church should run a “muscle ministry.”  It will help with comfortability.  Because nothing says “comfortable” like being able to chuck your dinner in front of other people and not be ridiculed.

And that’s when I knew I could keep working out here.  I could puke in front of these people, even as their pastor, and they wouldn’t care.  A tear would have come to my eye at that thought if it wasn’t already being sweat out of my armpit.

We finished the routine, and believe it or not, I did not hurl (although, deep inside, I wanted to…just to have an excuse to lie down).  And I didn’t do too badly, either.  I mean, I’m not fit like Shaun T or the muscle-laden punks he had working out with him (note: the woman on that show lies when she says the number of reps she does…it is not humanly possible to do that many reps).

But I’ll be there on Wednesday to do it all again.  To some it might be insane.  But nope, it’s just Insanity.