Thursday, March 26, 2009

Searching for euphoria

And no, I'm not talking about some city in the south. Euphoria is that state of well-being that comes during pleasant experiences. Or, they tell me, after a really good workout.

So, for the past couple of months I've been going to the gym. Don't faint or fall down laughing. It's the truth. I've been there diligently three times a week, two of those times with a trainer who doesn't let me get away with anything.

We use weight machines. We use free weights. We do exercises on a giant ball that I'm still terrified is going to squirt out from under me and land me on the floor with no way to get up without a crane. And we walk on the treadmill. Sometimes we do that for a five-minute warm-up. Sometimes we do it in intervals, between sessions with the weights. Whatever she can dream up to torture me.

Now I'm a big believer in getting things I hate over with in a big, fat hurry. That is not the way this works. We do things I hate for a while, then we stop and do other things I hate. Then just when I'm lulled into the serene sense that everything I hate is behind me, we do it all again. And again. Yes, that's three sets of everything, no matter how much I moan and groan. As I said, she's a very good trainer, who doesn't listen to me whine.

The gym in my condo is often empty, but on occasion there are other folks in there. A woman watched me working out one day and said, "That's looking too easy. You probably need heavier weights." I almost slugged her with my five-pound dumbbell, because the next thing I knew the trainer had handed me an eight-pound weight.

And there was the ever-helpful man who happily moved aside so I could use some kind of arm weight contraption, despite my silent pleas conveyed with desperate body language that he stay right where he was. "No pain, no gain," he said cheerily.

Then one day I think I found my soulmate, a man who looked utterly miserable as he sweated away on one machine after another. We commiserated. He told me his kids had promised him that there would come a time when all this expercise would make him feel euphoric. "All I want to feel is the couch under me," he said. Amen to that.

However, despite my grumbling, despite the fact that weight is clinging to me as if I had been sitting on the couch, I march down there every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and spend a solid hour doing what I'm told...or, in the case of Sunday, what I think I can get away with since nobody's supervising. I've given up hoping for euphoria. I'll settle for survival.

If you've managed to find euphoria working out or running, please tell us about it. Those of us who haven't need the inspiration.

Sherryl Woods

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