When exercising, we are told to feel the burn and fight through the pain. Some people tell you to think about the body you want or think of all the calories you’re burning. Others suggest thinking of your celebrity or real-life crush and do it for them. It’s all bullshit.
First of all, let me assure you that while working out I am ALWAYS feeling the burn and I AM (struggling) to fight through the pain. Yeah, maybe I think about the body I want, but then I think about how that would take an absurd amount of time and effort to get. I need instant gratification, and the only things that happen right after I exercise are me eating my weight in some sort of unhealthy food (which is totally justified because I just worked out so lay off me), and my muscles shutting down and becoming so sore I walk around like I just shit my pants for 3 days.
One of my least favorite things to do is to think about all the calories I’m burning. It is always so much less than you ever think it is, which is so soul-crushingly depressing. When I go for a run I probably burned off four M&Ms, and during a workout class, I maybe burned just enough calories to cancel out one spoonful of Nutella. So thanks, but no thanks because if I thought about exercising in that mindset I would never do it, and my future would look a lot like a spinoff of “My 600 Pound Life.” I personally don’t like to think of a celebrity, crush, etc. while working out because I believe that I should be doing it to improve and better myself, and not for anyone else. But if that works for you then hell yeah; one day your favorite boy band member/actor/celebrity chef will see your rockin’ bod and fall head over heels for you. (This is obviously super likely to happen.)
This semester I’m taking a spin class through GW that’s every Tuesday and Thursday for 50 minutes. I like it, especially because it forces me to work out since the class is pass-fail based on attendance. However, spinning in particular is a form of exercise that leaves you a lot of space to fill by thinking, and that does not always fare well for me.
What I have discovered is that I often try to pass the time by thinking about what else takes 50 minutes to do. My most frequent thought is about “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” I know that sounds psychotic, and don’t worry, I recognize that it is. There were many days in high school where too much of my time after school was lost (carefully gifted?) to a “Law and Order: SVU” marathon. The USA Network would play hours upon hours of the show, and I would be glued to the TV. I’ve probably seen about 90% of all the episodes, but I would watch them again and again because I can never remember how they end. So, during a spin class, I thought of how quickly an hour goes by when watching an episode of “SVU.” I would be paying attention to the show, but all of a sudden the episode would end and another one was starting, and I’m pretty sure it’s against a New York State law to turn off the TV while that legendary theme song is playing. Naturally, I continued watching and let the hours pass.
After some thought about this, I have come up with a “Law and Order: SVU” guide to getting through not only working out, but an hour of anything you don’t want to be doing, but definitely should be. When you first start out (warming up, etc.), it’s the part of the show when somebody finds a body, or a victim comes forward. All of the crimes on this show are very serious, however sometimes the acting is just too bad not to laugh. This one if my personal favorite:
After that, Stabler and Benson arrive at the crime scene, where some extra playing a cop says the worst joke in the history of the world, and the NYPD detectives are okay with it. About halfway through Ice-T will say something so bizarre that it really makes you question his ability to do his job.
Towards the end, when you really want to give up on your workout, Olivia is being a badass in the interrogation room, while also saying some really weird shit. What better motivation to finish strong?
Finally, as you’re cooling down, they solve the case. All crimes can be solved by Ice-T within an hour; this is a proven scientific fact that probably won a scientist a Nobel Prize. If all else fails, try to recite the most famous lines in television history in your head over and over again. “In the criminal justice system…” (You know you know the rest.)
This is just a suggestion of how to get through an hour of torturous exercise. Working out blows, and I hope you can find a way to get through it: whether it be recounting TV shows, thinking about how Beyonce exists and does normal human things like brush her teeth and charge her phone JUST LIKE YOU DO, or hunkering down and thinking about bettering yourself and working hard. You do you.