Partner Workout Day


I haven’t worked out in a while.  The last time I went to the gym my instructor was pregnant, and this time she was stressing about her kid’s college applications.

To be fair, I’ve had stuff going on.  I got married and moved and have been cooking for seven instead of three.  I am launching a new company, I’ve been running a law practice, and I’ve been doing lots of writing, sleeping, and eating snacks.  But mostly I’ve just been watching Netflix.  I hate working out.  The only thing worse than working out is working out the next time. That being said, it feels good AFTER you work out, similar to the feeling after you leave the hospital or after someone stops punches you repeatedly in the stomach while calling you Mandy.

Upon my epic return, all I wanted to do is hide in the corner, run on the treadmill, listen the instructor’s guidance in stoic silence (except for the necessary gasping of air), burn some calories, and complain about it later. I was proud of myself for showing up and fitting into my work-out bra, which was indeed a miracle of science.

The way this gym works is that they give you a little preview of the workout, which is like showing you a play-by-play of how you will die, then they turn on the music and give you a little peppy high-five as you walk in the work-out room. The instructor says “Welcome!” and “Glad you made it!” while I mutter “it’s better than dying from heart disease.”

I prefer Treadmill Number 8.  It’s right below the heart-rate monitor screen and I can see it without my glasses. So I give people a look that says “I will cut you” if they take my precious Number 8 or inch towards my Number 8 or act as if they are coveting Number 8 in any way.  But I realize I’m a stranger here and they simply don’t know.  Okay, I’ll give them this.

So here I am, waiting for class to begin.  Then, out of the blue, the instructor says something that I wasn’t expecting and rocked me to the core. The words slid out as if it was nothing.  Like we desire social interaction while wearing spandex.  “IT’S PARTNER DAY, EVERYONE!” she yelled.  Why she yelled it, I have no idea. Calm down. And what fresh hell is this partner-day nonsense.  I panicked.  I looked around and everyone is like “Whoop!” and giving each other big smiles on a Tuesday and I’m standing there in my ill-fitting sports bra like “this is the thanks I get for coming to the gym today?”

A short woman standing next to me named Stacey (could have been a fake name, hard to say) looked equally petrified so I just sorta shrugged and said “hey – wanna partner up?”  She nodded in despair and we trudged into the room together like sad little turtles.

The first order of business was to get on the treadmill and be the pacer, meaning you had to run half a mile and then tag your partner to switch with you.  You want to be fast and competent and show your partner that you’re not a lallygagging lazybones. Despite my unhealthy competitive spirit, my heart rate was raging against the machine.  I ran only a quarter of a mile and then said to Stacey “it’s cool – you really don’t have to listen to what they say.” I figured I’d give her permission to slack off. She said, to my great surprise, “I never listen and I’m actually more of a walker.”  I then realized we were kindred spirits, this other lazy person and me.  So the rest of the hour we’d walk past each other and say little things like “well this is ridiculous” and roll our eyes at each other.  After the class she said “I really don’t think I’m supposed to be in the red zone the whole time” and I was like “you’re just an overachiever” and we laughed and laughed like we were always meant to be pudgy and slightly terrified work-out partners.

I think the lesson of this story is that (a) maybe you should just stay home and (b) working out is awful; but (c) if you work out with a partner you should totally pick Stacey (or whatever her real name is).  But mostly it’s a lesson that people generally do a little too much high-fiving.  I would go into more detail but I’m late for my work-out class.  Today is “leave everyone the eff alone and just lift weights day,” which is my favorite class of the year.

Happy American Heart Prevention month, everyone!