Exercise and the Idiot Box

I’ve rarely gone to the gym for good reasons like heart health or longer life. No, I’m all about vanity, fear, and the occasional bow to peer pressure. For a while, when I lived in a warehouse without plumbing, I even used the gym just for its warm shower and free Q-tips. But lately, my motives have sunk to an all-time low. I now go to the gym to watch television.

I was just about to quit my membership to Spectrum (née Gold’s), figuring it was silly to pay $40 a month to a place I almost never set foot in. But the day I decided to give the elliptical trainer one last shot was the day I discovered the best — or worst — part of the Spectrum remodel: individual televisions at each station. With cable. And personal remote controls.

I started ellipticizing and watched an episode of Making the Band (the one with P. Diddy, of course). And then, after half an hour, when I’d usually be more than happy to get off the machine, another episode started. “I can’t get off now!” I thought. “I have to know what happens to Aundrea!” So I punched in for another 30 minutes and got ellipticizing again. Before I knew it, I realized what I was watching was a Making the Band marathon and if I wasn’t careful, I was going to run one, too.

I decided to keep my membership. And now, whenever I don’t feel like exercising, I counter back with: “But do you feel like watching VH1’s Behind the Music?” or “How about The Fabulous Life of Paris Hilton?” And the answer’s the same as when I ask myself that question from the comfort of my parents’ couch: Damn straight.

Of course, I may pretend that I’m at the gym for the exercise, and the TV’s just what occupies my eyes while my brain is busy loving the burn. But it’s a façade. I’m there for the boob tube trash. The firm glutes are just a bonus.

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