Leila goes to the gym, falls off precor

By Leila Sales

I almost never go to the gym and I am thus completely unqualified to write about it. But since it’s spring, everyone will now be getting their exercise outdoors by biking to the Point, or swimming at the Point, or getting hypothermia at the Point because I don’t think you can actually swim there. But that’s okay. Hypothermia is a marvelous weight-loss technique.

That is just the first of many lies that you will read in this article. What I know about physical well-being could fit into the head of a pin, if the pin were somehow, like, the inverse of a pin so it actually took up negative space and everything I didn’t know about fitness was a wormhole in the space-time continuum or something. I also don’t know about physics.

But, since it is spring and you are no longer exercising indoors, an article about working out at the gym seemed like exactly the sort of useless analysis that this campus was just crying out for. And I do nothing if not respond to this campus’ every whim and desire.

To begin, the gym scares me. Seriously. For some reason, the locker rooms are not on the same floor as the workout equipment. Or maybe they are, and I have just never used the correct locker rooms because I can’t explore the gym without getting weird looks from football players who apparently know exactly where everything is. I don’t know who told them. Maybe the layout of Ratner is part of the Super Bowl halftime show, which is something else I know nothing about.

So I change downstairs from where I’m going to work out, but then I look like an idiot hiking upstairs wearing my workout sneakers and sporting my workout shorts and clutching my cute little purse and makeup case. I attempt to soothe my pride by saying aloud, “This is what juxtaposition looks like! Juxtaposition is a fantastic literary device!” But, like, you know what’s not a fantastic device? Talking to yourself out loud as you walk through Ratner.

OK, so, then I successfully make it to the workout equipment, and I set my cute little purse down beside a Precor machine. But which Precor? This is a dilemma. There’s this sign-up sheet at the front of the gym, but I don’t use it because I don’t want to commit to any length of workout time that I might be unable to fulfill. So I choose a Precor at random and start walking on it, but I live in constant fear that someone is going to come in and be like, “Hey, I signed up for that Precor!” And then I’ll have to get off. Which is kind of what I wanted in the first place, but I did not want my workout to end that ignobly.

To avoid ignobility, I get a really intense expression on my face whenever someone new enters the gym, to clarify for them, “You may have signed up for this Precor, yes, but working out is very important to me and it is in your best interest not to mess.” If someone actually approaches me, I turn up my music really loud and stare blankly at some vague spot in the distance. I don’t know if I ever actually did take someone else’s machine, but, if I did, they clearly didn’t have the heart to tell me.

As for expressions that you need to have on your face: The last thing I want is to look like I’m working hard. I always see these girls who are all flushed and sweaty, and just watching them makes me so empathetically unhappy that I have made a vow never to look like that. So, just in case anyone gets the impression that I am actually not having fun dragging my untoned legs forward and backward on a piece of machinery, I keep this stupidly joyful look on my face. Like, “Yes! By God, I love doing things that hurt now but are good for me later! I have exactly that sort of long-range perspective on my life! Pity that I find time for this sort of fun but once a quarter!”

I don’t think anyone buys this sickly grin of mine. Maybe I could pull it off if I didn’t fall off the Precor every couple of minutes. Just maybe.