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True Life: I’m Afraid of the KAC

Exercise sucks. Look, I know what you’re going to say: “exercise is good for you! And you’ll feel so good after you work out!” and I don’t disagree. I know I will feel great after I exercise but while I’m doing it I feel miserable, so it kind of cancels itself out. Let’s just face this fact together: working out is a pain. Sure, it’s healthy and you feel good about yourself afterwards, but anybody who says running a mile on the treadmill is “fun” is flat-out lying. Running is not fun. Running is like lighting your face on fire while your life flashes before your eyes and your arms and legs are trying to escape from the rest of your body. Okay, so perhaps this isn’t so much about me being afraid of the gym as it is me being lazy.

And yet, the KAC is scary. To me, it’s an enclosed space where I basically have to dress unflatteringly to be allowed in and all the machines are cold and look like they’re waiting for me to be swallowed up by the slightest trip (you’re not fooling me, treadmills). Not to mention most of the people there are more in shape than me (probably because they go to the gym and I don’t) and I’m pretty sure they know that I have no idea what I’m doing.

Is it possible to fail at working out? You might say no, but that’s because you haven’t seen me do it—and for that, you’re welcome. For reasons I can’t quite explain, being in a gym increases the chance that I’ll make a fool of myself by about 100%. I get on the wrong machine, I press the wrong buttons, and I might even fall as I try to get off. While I’m gasping for breath and tripping over myself, I can feel the people around me silently giggling in delight. I can’t help it that headbands look weird on me and that I’m just generally uncoordinated! Working out in public is already intimidating, and all the sass coming from those who somehow manage to work out and look good doesn’t help. I don’t know how they do it. Not a hair out of place, face glowing, what the hell? It’s unnatural. Why does their makeup look so good? I will never understand their secret. I’m happy that they have found a way to look put-together while exercising, but have a little sympathy for those of us who lack that skill and look like a complete mess when we try to work out. The silent judges are probably the scariest people at the gym, but then there’s also…

The extremists. The people who work out so freakin’ hard they probably don’t even notice anyone else in the vicinity. That’s right, I’m talking to you–people who bench 50 reps of 175 and put the treadmill on level 8 for 45 minutes (full disclosure: I have no frame of reference so I really have no idea what I’m saying. What’s a “rep”? And what’s up with “zumba”? It sounds exotic).

My friend, who will remain anonymous for security purposes, was at the KAC a few weeks ago, just innocently lifting her 2 pound weights like a real lady when a huge football player standing next to her just throws up, and I mean full on projectile vomits, and then resumes his workout like nothing ever happened. That’s a true story. I mean, come on, I can’t be the only one who thinks that’s freaky.

Photo: Alex Piper, who does not share the author’s fear

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