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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