Exercise fail, part 2

I write this while mentally preparing for a post-Thanksgiving trip to the gym. It it a solid reminder of what NOT to do while you are there.

Reader, do you know those semi-ridiculous inflatable balls at the gym? The large ones? Yes, they engage your core muscles; yes, I use them; but I’m sorry, they look dumb. That’s essentially the gist of this story – the myriad ways in which you can look stupid on an inflatable ball – so hang onto that bit of truth while we set the scene.

So, I’m at 24 Hour Fitness last Sunday, and my whole plan of action was this. I thought, hey, I’m going to be really good, and fit in BOTH cardio and strength training today. Self, way to go.

And with that, I hopped on the elliptical trainer and did my thing.

Well, 15 minutes go by, then 30 minutes. I stepped off, and stumbled over toward the weight lifting zone. Now you have to understand Reader that this is already a highly intimidating and uncomfortable area, what with men giving themselves hernias every time they bench press. Please imagine that you have traveled back in time to the ancient Roman colosseum, with gladiators bare-handing a death match with lions, and that should give you a rough idea of the sounds you’ll hear at the weights mat.

It’s here that I spotted the ball.

Ok, so, already in a multitasking frame of mind, I sized up the ball, and sat on it for a few crunches. Then, I think, well you know what. Let’s make this an ABS workout and an ARMS workout. TWO WORKOUTS AT ONCE.

This is what I was envisioning.

So – still sitting on the ball – I bent down to pick up some 10-pound handweights on the floor resting on either side of me. I leaned back, and prepared to bust out some awesome bench presses.

Apparently, this is not the proper way to “load up.”

Do you know that moment of clarity, right before you do something truly awful, where you calmly and rationally think: ERROR. I have ERRED. What I just did was the opposite of CORRECT. Like, when you stub a toe? And it doesn’t hurt right away, but you know that wherever your foot was intending to go it sure as hell wasn’t into the leg of a damn table and until the pain comes, all you can do is sit there in anticipation and curse yourself for being such a careless and sloppy walker? THAT is what we are talking about.

Well, weights in hand, I could tell right away something was wrong. Things weren’t adding up. Because when I leaned back, suddenly, my feet wanted to leave the floor. This caused me to tip ever so slightly….

But. Rather than rolling over right away, I just sort of hung there. Arms off the ground, but both feet off the ground, too. Do you know what beetles look like when they are turned over on their backs? All squirming and helpless, their little legs moving everywhere? “Help, help! I haven’t finished evolving…..” -That was me.

(PS, this whole scene is made all the more awkward by the fact that no one at the weights area is laughing. Annoyed, yes. Amused, not at all.)

So. While upside down, I saw a girl about five feet away feeling sorry for me. She wasn’t concerned so much as she was…..embarrassed. It finally dawned on me to let go of the hand weights, causing me to roll off backwards from the ball into a somersault, volleyball style. I kind of landed on my head, and shook it around, like a dizzy cartoon person with birds flying around it. (Which, by the way, what does that mean? The birds?)

By this point, that girl had true pity written on her face; still no laughter, just vicarious shame. She paused her reps, turned to me and asked: “Did you hurt yourself?”

No, I didn’t. But I’m about to kick this ball’s ass.