Upon our entry into a brand new school year, I can’t help but notice the push of SRU students that are bent on running to the gym to avoid the dreaded Freshman Fifteen, which can evolve into the Sophmore Twenty and the Junior Year Stretch Pants if you let it. As the class workload hasn’t picked up yet, many have turned to going to the gym or their usual running path to occupy their time.
Generally, I have no problem with these people. I admire your willpower to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The people that I CAN’T tolerate are those who swear up and down that exercise is fun. You know who I’m talking about. “Once I break through the wall, I just enter this place where my thoughts are completely at peace.” There is no wall. There is no bliss in running a marathon. There is only chafing, asthmatic symptoms and misery. A normal person slogs and sweats along with the rest of us, only to be met with self-loathing and muscular exhaustion the next day.
I should note the fact that I am the most unsuitable candidate for enjoying regular exercise. I savor food items that would make any health nut go into shock; I get cramps walking up any inclined surface. It’s after moments like these that the tiny voice in the back of my mind acknowledges, “it looks like a gym day.” It’s with this realization that I make the ominous trek down to the ARC. I go when I think nobody will be there; two hours before the gym closes. I skulk down the path like a spandex clad master of the night, knowing fully well what I’m about to subject myself to.
Without fail, my two-mile jog on the treadmill commences my gradual transformation into what looks like a cross between a troll doll and the Tasmanian devil. My face turns the color of a strawberry. My once neat ponytail slowly starts to unfurl into its natural, unruly state. My breath quickens to the point that it attracts the wary attention of the gym staff. I have genuinely been stared at as though a gazelle that had been chased for miles through the Serengeti by a starving lion had suddenly taken the place of an out of shape college student on the treadmill before them. By the end of my workout, I become very aware of the river of sweat that is now trickling through all available orifices as I make my hasty retreat back home. It’s not pretty.
I gave you that mental image to offer a piece of advice: don’t be like me. If you find solace in your daily run, that’s fantastic. If you think kale and spinach are the holy grail of good tasting and good for you foods, I sincerely believe that you need an intimate intervention featuring a pack of Oreos dipped in peanut butter, but I admire your spirit. If, like me, you choose to prosper life through chocolate and as a result break into a sweat climbing up a flight of stairs, you might want to start taking baby steps. Try to cut back on your daily sugary afternoon pick me up. Go for a walk with some friends. Do whatever works for you. Above all, instead of trying to feign joy from the feeling of running, think of the joy you’ll experience when you’re not out of breath on your trek across campus.