During Winter Study, students at Williams find themselves with a lot of free time, much of which is spent at the gym. So I decided to spend some time there and find out why it is so appealing. Who better to write about the gym than an un-athletic, asthmatic kid?
By the end of my journey, I hoped to have more definition than the dictionary. I wanted to shed some of my holiday weight. After all, I can’t even fit into most of my size two dresses anymore.
I was hoping to meet with the trainer for this article for some advice, but he could not talk to me because I am not a varsity athlete. Obviously, he was not aware of my status on the chess team.
There is currently a movement to have the chess team start wearing helmets when we play, to increase the GPAs of helmet-sport athletes at the school. I also looked around for the Sears Cup, but all I could find was a mug from Wal-Mart that said “Shape Up or Ship Out.” Harsh.
The first thing I did for this article was obtain a locker. They had trouble finding a locker for me, so I generously offered to take one in the women’s locker room. I ended up in the men’s, though, where I locked up all my possessions carefully. Someone had mentioned that the Wesleyan football team was in town.
My first stop was the Henze Fitness Center, affectionately referred to as the “estro-gym.” There are almost no guys there. However, it does not seem like they try to attract many guys, considering the magazines up there are Better Living, Vogue and Self.
I mean, I’ve already read all of those; something new would be in order. Also, the fitness center is far away on the third floor. By the time I walked the two flights of stairs to get there, I was so out of breath that I needed a rest and another cigarette.
While on the stationary bike, I tried to observe my surroundings and gather notes for my article. I realized the stationary bike is a lot like my love life, going nowhere fast. I also realized people do not like me staring at them and taking notes, but then again, I already noticed that at field hockey games.
After riding the bike, I hit up the treadmills. The problem with the treadmills is that there is no system for who gets which one. Trying to get a treadmill is an all-out war. It is only comparable to a sale at Barney’s, with a lot of woman pushing and shoving.
I think the treadmills should have numbers like at the deli, so you know who was there first. I was waiting for one for ten minutes, and then when one finally opened up, some woman sprinted from the other side of the gym and got on it. Then she proceeded to walk at a snail’s pace. I told her she might want to turn the machine on. She told me to get lost. . .again.
Once I got on a treadmill, I turned on my Discman and started running to the smooth sounds of the Dixie Chicks. I figured out that if you change the treadmill from miles to kilometers people think you are running very fast. I run a 6-minute kilometer. If anyone catches me, I just pull out a fake Canadian accent. I also figured out it is a bad idea to get distracted on the treadmill, because you fall off. A lot.
After I was done with the treadmill, I wiped it down. The wipedown is one of the few equalizers in the world. No matter who you are, you sweat and you must wipe down. No matter if you drive a BMW or a Pinto, you must wipe. Many people avoid the wipedown because they think they are too good or that they do not sweat. I have even caught some Record editors, who shall remain nameless, not wipe down. [Editor’s note: Rothman’s lying.]
After the estro-gym, I was off to the weight room. I would have done bench presses, but I could not find a bench. Instead, I worked on the parts of my body that I felt needed definition, like my upper and lower body. I decided to leave my middle body aside for another day, as I only had so much time.
I tried doing some squats for my legs, but I really couldn’t get around the name of the exercise. Come to think of it, all of the different exercises had funny names. When I hear “crunch,” I don’t think of sit-ups, I think of candy bars. That’s probably why I’m at the gym in the first place.
By the end of the day, I was still five packs short of a six-pack. When we went to do the photo shoot for this article (look for the photo calendar to be released soon), the photographer wanted me to take off my shirt. I reminded her that people read the newspaper during lunch and the last thing they want to see while eating is me with my shirt off. Actually, the last thing they want to see is Carrot Top naked, but that’s close enough.
After spending the whole week at the gym researching this article, I had lost two pounds, only to find them again Saturday night. It was not until I was watching TV on Sunday that I realized how I could lose weight, and I don’t mean playing football or any exercise. Instead of going to the gym, I will just go a little further down the block to Subway. If it worked for Jared, it can work for me. Thanks, Jared!