A Serious Discussion on Silliness




Let's talk about being Serious About Your Workouts, and about being Silly During Your Workouts.

Attila often has me doing things I hate with the fires of a thousand suns gone supernova. Things like windmills, or Arnold curls, or this ridiculous side-galloping thing where I have to pick up a ball, side-step with it to the end of the room, put it down, side-step some more, pick it up, yadda yadda. It's boring. It's frustrating at times, like when I drop weights on my head. And most of all, it's Serious.

I hate Serious. So, in an attempt not to get bored, frustrated, and hateful, I've started injecting Silly into my workouts, and it's working.

F'rinstance, yesterday I had to do a full two minutes of those dadratted side gallop widgets between sets of something equally torturous. It's dull to gallop ten feet with a weight ball in your hands, drop it, gallop ten feet the other way, gallop back, pick up the ball....you get the idea.

However! It's fun to imitate a sailor doing the hornpipe when you're going one way and a gibbon when you're going the other. It's even more fun when your trainer starts calling out suggestions as to what you can do: "Chimpanzee!" "Hee-Haw Cast Member!" "Gorilla With A Hangover!" It works your brain and your Silly Muscle as well as your body.

Silly is especially valuable in things like agility training, which, when you're like me, can be fraught with danger and disappointment. If I have to do some four-step crossover fancy footwork combo, I'll often do it to an internal cha-cha beat. Attila's gotten used to me going "dun dun DUN dun dun wah wah WAH WAH WAH WAH" under my breath, pretending I'm on "Dancing With The Inescapably Clumsy". If I could do it in tap shoes, it would be much better, but it'd take too much time to change shoes between sets.

Sometimes we even incorporate my very patient, very calm cats. If I'm supposed to do crunches with a ten-pound weight plate clasped lovingly to my chest, well, why not just grab the ten-pound cat for one set? He likes it, it distracts me from the fact that my abdominal muscles are shredding into tiny fibers, and it gets us all through the workout with minor whining.

It's taken Attila some time to get used to having a client who's essentially a six-year-old boy in a grown woman's body. At first she was a little nervous about training somebody who would sometimes dance through workouts or chant Ramones songs in order to keep a rhythm going; now she's mostly gotten used to it. It makes both of us laugh, and it's fun. It also makes it easier for her to suggest combos that her other clients find either too intimidating or too ridiculous to try--she knows I'm good for almost anything, and I won't mind if I screw it up.

Besides, workouts ought to be fun. "Feels so good when I stop" is not a good enough reason to get most people onto the treadmill, but "Can listen to 'Avenue Q' for 30 minutes" does it for me, and might do it for somebody else.

The one suggestion I would make is this: Be sure your pirate hat fits well. It's a pain in the patookus to have it go flying off in the middle of your cardio workout.

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