My decision in Boston to invest in a new hoodie paid off last night as I braced myself against the cold and pulled on the "Save Pluto" fleeced hoodie thing I got in the museum of science (the museum that shoots lightning from its eyes). As I wandered the streets of Donnybrook, my manly gangsta frame drawing glances from passing revelers, I went past a wheelie bin. Most wheelie bins are innocent and I had assumed that this one was one of the majority as it had made no suspicious moves in the five minutes or so it had been ahead of me on the long straight street I was walking along. I was to be surprised however when the lid exploded upwards and it disgorged a screaming girl, scaring the ever loving bejeezus out of me. Her four friends who burst from the bushes didn't help matters but we all laughed it off and I managed to stuff my heart back down my neck again.
You have to admire the kind of dedication to a prank that sees a person squatting in a wheelie bin for five minutes in that kind of cold.
At the gym itself I tried the neverending stairs machine thing. I was supposed to do it for fifteen minutes according to the trainer but I managed about ten before.... well actually I managed two minutes, rested for thirty seconds and repeated the process four more times for a total of ten minutes. Hideous thing, incredibly difficult work but somehow rewarding provided you can keep control of your legs once you finish. So if, like me, you can stagger over to a bench and look nonchalant then you're laughing. Otherwise you're going to end up falling on your ass when you're done. I did ten minutes of cycling after that but it wasn't nearly as hard. Then I compared the "calories" settings of the machines. I used 160 on the stairs in ten minutes compared to the 50 on the bike.
Many people say that the human body is a marvellously complex and incredible biological machine but the more and more I try to tinker with mine the more I see the entirely user unfriendly flaws in the system. Any decent machine should have a cause > effect system. Like "Eat less than you need in a day" causes "lose weight". But this isn't actually the case. There are vitamins that assist in the efficient breakdown of fat stores and without sufficient amounts of them the best you can hope for is to be absolultely exhausted all the time. Lifting weights should equate to bigger/stronger muscles but without protien and several other vitamins to assist enzymes in the absorbtion of protien into the bloodstream that won't happen. AND both of these are entirely conditional on you being a mesomorph because ecto and endomophs won't see anything like those results. Stupid human body, needs a manual.
Anyway, grumblings aside, last week I "graduated" (by virtue of obviously being serious about what I was doing I guess) as it were from the exercise machines to the free weights and learned some things. The main one being that the exercise machines are, by and large, complete crap that give you an utterly false sense of achievement and stand a significant chance of causing you injury if you don't use them right. Its kind of the "dirty little secret" of gyms I'm told. It was a slightly humbling experience to go from hefting a cubic foot of steel up and down to struggling with hardly a third of the amount but rewarding nonetheless - insofar as discomfort and hard work are rewarding but you know what I mean.
The lesson here? theres little you can do in a gym that you can't do better with a real bike, a bench and some weights (but I fear cycling and don't have room for a bench so it works fine for me) but I still maintain that one of you guys needs to get a bloody membership so I have something to do other than grunt at my reflection.... also, am I the only one troubled by the need so many people seem to feel to stare at themselves while they stress, strain and make funny faces?