Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Top Ten: Sunday Morning, Up With the Lark ...

Over the past seven years of my epic post-high-school life I have failed at many things, including but not limited to: three serious relationships, "getting out of debt," reading Crime and Punishment, opening a savings account, visiting Natalie in London, convincing freshdirect to deliver to 460 E. 115th St., "success," making dentist appointments, Being On Time, returning phone calls, etc.

But one thing I have been consistently good at (perhaps, in fact, the only thing):

Going to the Gym.

Yes. Rain or Blizzard, Depression or Happiness, regardless of my energy level (which we all know can be easily adjusted by swallowing various pills and liquids, duh), I have made it to the goddamn gym. People often express awe at this dedication, especially because I don't look like I "need" to go to the gym (I think the American Heart Club or whatever those people are called who don't like margarine would disagree with you there, but whatev) so I'd like to give you some tips on How to Work Out, for if you wish your girlfriend was hot like me. Dontcha? Yeah, dontcha?


Check it.

10. The Rule of Vogue: Yes, Vogue is lovely. It has lots of pretty photographs and long articles with lots of words. Unfortunately, Vogue is not-bendable. The spine on that creature is serious work. If you attempt to place Vogue on the reading deck of your stairmaster, it might tip over. Often; ditto for Elle and Vanity Fair, depending on the month. This photograph, mercilessly snatched from Gawker's Fall Fashion Magazine Weigh-In, pretty much sums up the problem, and also it involves a scale, which is something that the Ladies At the Gym (henceforth referred to as the LATG) like to stand on while they deliver monologues to the room about water retention and their stupid husbands. I don't know why they do this, or what that scale has to do with the gym, but whatev. They should make the LATG's thighs slimmer, and also this magazine, so then we can all be happy and quiet. W is also impossible to read at the gym, which I think is because most people who read that magazine don't eat food, which means they'd get tired at the gym.

9. The Rule of The New Yorker:* Yes, The New Yorker is lovely. It has lots of long articles with lots of words, and if you read it, then you can say things like "So, I read this piece in The New Yorker" which sounds a lot better than my usual intro of "So, I read this piece in ElleGirl.." (RIP), but unfortunately the level of literacy and concentration required to read The New Yorker makes it largely unsuitable for gym-lit. When one is bouncing up and down on a machine like a hyperactive monkey, one will encounter trouble following a sentence from beginning to end, let alone figuring out what it means. And we all know TNY is complicated enough already. This is sometimes possible on the Stairmaster. Which brings me to:

8. Stairmaster Lit: There are a lot of magazines that are a little bit too complicated to be read on the Elliptical Trainer, but are not exactly The New Yorker. This includes Esquire, Bust, Bitch, Poets and Writers, Newsweek and New York Magazine. You can read these on the stairmaster, but not really on the Elliptical.

7.Stationary Bicycle Lit: You can read just about anything on the SB, except for Vogue. I used to do reading for school on the SB. But FYI, the SB is for pansies.

6.The Rule of Natalie Raaber: Natalie Raaber can read coursepacks on an elliptical trainer. How does she do this? Well, she has impeccable posture. Most of her movement is concentrated in the lower half of her body, and she moves her arms gently as if she is a fish gliding through water. In fact, NAR is also capable of highlighting key passages while exercising. You'd really have to see it in person to understand. I have tried to replicate her form, which was nice because back in our college days at Liberty Athletic Club, we'd work out in Ellipticals across from each other at the gym so we could wave/smile and I could observe her at work.

5. Evergreens. The best magazines to read at the gym are (in order of good-ness) Glamour, Women's Health, Marie Claire, Jane, Curve and Allure. Why? Short-ish articles with plenty of variety in form and function, easily cracked spines, nice photos, enough content to last through 30 solid minutes of cardio.

4. Best. Week. Ever. The best time to work out is between the 3rd-10th days of the month, because that's when all the new magazines come out! In fact, it's hard for me to take a day off from the gym during this exciting time. Glamour is the first to come out, FYI.

3. Post-Best.Week.Ever, After the Magic. After you've read the Top Ten and the month presses on, you have to start digging if you don't want to get fat again. The following magazines often enter into rotation during the last two weeks of the publication cycle, depending on specific benefits of content (e.g. an interesting article, an article by Mary Gaitskill or Pam Houston or Jim Harrison, a feature on an L Word or Six Feet Under cast member, 100 outfits under 100 dollars, articles like "Why You're Poor, You Slacker!" or "Best Books Ever, so you can check them off and feel smart," important NYC city guides like Cheap Food You'll Never Actually Eat Cuz All You Eat is Eggo Waffles, photo layouts featuring Jake or Maggie Gyllenhaal): Nylon, Seventeen, Shape, Fitness, GQ, Self, The Advocate, Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, Health and Details.

3. Mag-a-Logs--Not Lit At All, Let Alone Gym-Lit: You know those vaguely sexual stickers in Lucky magazine (Yes! Yes! Yes!) that they stick in there so you can mark all the ways you'd like to waste your money that month? It's kind of cumbersome to use those while you are working out. It just involves a lot of movement. I've found a similar problem when I rip pretty photos out of Nylon and Paper. People give me weird looks, even more weird looks than when my subscription postcards are blanketing the cardio area or when I whip out The Advocate's Summer Gay Sex Issue.

2. 20 Ways To Not Get Hot Absl: You aren't gonna do those exorcises you just read about in Shape. I mean, I rip them out too. I put them in my pocket, and I sometimes stick them in my planner and carry them around for a bit. Sometimes I even consider looking at them while actually at the gym. But then it's laundry time, and out they go. Usually they involve complicated things like neon balls and stretchy bands and stuff. Who's got time?

I should also mention I go to New York Sports Club and it sucks, but I will never quit, I will keep going there until I die. I'd recommend it to no-one, cuz it's crowded enough already and I don't want you there hogging the one functional stairmaster.

1. Don't Work Too Hard. If your target heart rate exceeds um, whatever is a high heart rate, then you probably aren't paying attention to that article you're reading about the secret heath risk that your doctor isn't telling you about! Slow down. Take some time to enjoy the view of your magazine and to check out your calves in the mirror.

"Running is for horses, not for people."
-my grandmother.

*This does not apply to the Anorexic Girl at the Gym, who climbs the Stairmaster for approx. 4 hours a day, clutching a sweaty copy of The New Yorker as if she plans on hand-delivering it to the Top ETs when she lands herself in the goddamn hospital.


exitseraphim said...

is there a magazine that will sop up that creepy gym feeling? if i read American Hunter will the creepy guys stop staring at my ass?

and NYSC does suck.

marie lyn bernard said...

I've never checked out American Hunter, but I can say this: yes, men think girls kissing girls are HOT HOT HOT. but girls reading magazines about "top ten lesbian power couples" or "marching on washington for gay marraige?" or really any publication with photographs of fat lesbians with short hair--their balls will shrivel right up.

Curve, The Advocate, Girlfriends, and, if you wanna be really ballsy: On Our Backs.

Or, you know, Us Weekly. Is about as scary as American Hunter. I would think.