You guys want to hear something kinda ridiculous? Some years ago, I read an article about how to basically trick yourself into becoming a better person by associating bad and good habits together. The idea was to pick something you want to do more often and something you think you should cut down on and link them together. For instance, if you think you drink too much whiskey (cause that ish be expensive yo) and you hate doing laundry and keep putting it off, you can say to yourself, I’ll only drink a glass of whiskey whenever I do laundry…. (I would wash my clothes one at the time…)
I figured I would try it out and decided to only watch anime while working out…. This did not exactly go to plan. Not only have I been in more or less constant muscle pain for the past 5 years but now that watching anime is “good for me” – whatever inner shame was keeping me from just completely going overboard is now silenced and I watch hours a day. I am starting to be in decent shape though, sooooo go me?
So this week’s experiment seemed like a perfect fit for me.
First – I used a random anime power name generator to come up with epic exercise names. I tried to pick names that have at least something to do with the exercise but I admit some of those are just there cause I liked how they sounded:
- Merciless Venter Fold – Sit ups
- Soil Luminous Deciever – Push ups
- Negation Landslide – Lunges
- Wire Burning Ripper – Burpees
- Electric Jet – Jumping Jacks
- Twisting Luminous Burner – Plank rotations
- Cross Shadowy Surge – Jump squats
- Posessing Caress – Triceps extension
- Ripping Murder Illumination – Knee highs
Yes, I know my workouts aren’t super well balanced. I didn’t pick names for every exercise but I made sure at least half the named ones were in every routine. I tried shouting out before every single rep but I did resort to just doing so at the beginning of sets, especially once I started running out of breath. I’m now banned from a few places. Fun times! Let me tell you about it!
I work in a pretty bustling downtown area and there are gyms at every corner. I myself have a membership at a rock climbing place but not at a good old fashion regular workout machine gym (I have a lot of equipment at home and Buddy, my trainer, also lives there) so I went as a guest with some friends after work to a sort of “cheapy” gym for 3 evenings. (I brought my tablet for anime viewing of course).
Let me try and set the scene here. This was one of the less expensive franchise gyms. No trainers allowed, you have to bring your own lock for your locker and pay for the shower by 5 minute increments. This place was mostly filled with students of all sorts and office workers as well as a few gym employees milling about. I would say the average age was about low to mid-twenties with a good mix of both genders and ethnicities. The first day was Monday right after work and it was decently full.
I decided that I wanted my friends to talk to me again at some point so I set off in my own in a corner and got myself a mat and some weights. I started off my first round a bit shy so I was more politely stating my moves than shouting them but as everyone was going about their business without paying me any attention I got emboldened and started shouting louder and louder. I realized at one point that everyone – myself included was wearing earphones. My first evening was decidedly uneventful.
I went back on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday was similar to Monday but there were a lot fewer people so I was more or less alone in my corner. Thursday was bustling though and I finally got some reactions. I was getting a little desperate so I went in guns blazing and legitimately shouted out my moves from the beginning. I also put together a plan that included all of the above. A few separate girls/ladies and one lone guy came up to me and asked me what I was doing – I told them that any true warrior need to shout out their moves and I got glassy eyed “oh ok” responses but no one seemed to be calling the cops or anything. At one point a couple came up to me together to ask what was up. They thought it was an awesome idea and the girl even decided to try it out for herself. I was hearing them shout out silly random stuff and giggling together for the rest of my time there and it made me really happy. Towards the end of my training, a guy came up and straight up guessed exactly what I was doing. When I admitted that this was like some DBZ thing, he gave me a high five and said I was hella cool. I wished I had some caramel chews in my pocket to give to him or something…
By the time I was leaving the place, the atmosphere was pretty festive with people laughing and joking around and I’m pretty sure some folks that I hadn’t spoken to were trying it out as well but the clerk told me that I shouldn’t do that anymore cause when everyone was doing it, it got too loud. He was super nice about it and I guess I see his point. I mean I wasn’t even a member. My friends are still talking to me but although they won’t admit it – I think they’re super relieved I’m not going back…
On Tuesday and Wednesday at lunch I tried out a super fancy shmancy gym, with shiny equipment, free juice bar and just gorgeous big screen TVs everywhere. If it wasn’t for all the stupid workout equipment littering the place, it would have been perfect. The locker rooms looked like those in movies about jerky rich people – all dark woods and freshly fluffed towels. I actually went to the front desk and warned the clerk about my routine – I told her it was for an “article”… Look technically…
This time the clientele was mostly corporate and largely male with the median age being closer to 40 in my estimation. I also noticed that the staff seemed to be largely female by contrast. There were a lot of trainers who are paid by the gym to give patrons pointers and suggestions and to generally help with the workouts but also can get an extra fee if you decided to hire them to devise personalized workout regimens and diets and so they tend to be very very helpful.
By Tuesday, I had gained some confidence from my relatively mundane experience of the previous evening but I was also super intimidated by the setting so I once again started by shyly calling each move out in loud whispers. Even though the monitors all had something on, the place had a sort of stately library feel and no one was really talking much so it felt super awkward.
I got some dirty looks from the older customers but no one actually said anything the first day. Being one of the only girls and clearly not an employee, I also got a lot of **other** looks but I’ve decided to block those out. The place was really nice but I had to really drag myself to go back the next day over my lunch hour again.
The experience was largely the same but I had a better idea what I was in for so I had psyched myself out and was more indifferent to everything around me. After about 20 minutes one of the trainers came to see me and just observe for a bit. When he asked what I was doing he listened super politely then gave me a little lesson about the use of mantras and how they can help “center” yourself when working out. I’m pretty sure that while he was there people around us thought I was doing some specific type of regiments and I think someone asked their own trainer what type of workout it was. Wednesday was much better but still far from pleasant. I preferred the other gym.
Finally, I tried it at home for my morning workouts as well as the few extra evening ones I did when I had the energy. Of course, I really let loose and even ended up doing some mahou shoujo transformation moves for fun. Buddy was not amused. I think this was by far the dirtiest looks I have gotten all week:
All in all, I found that when I wasn’t embarrassed about it, calling out my moves did pump me up and energize me. I had more fun and enjoyed the work out more. On the other hand, I also ran out of breath, especially when trying to call them out each and every time. I would say it is not particularly practical (especially in public settings) and not sustainable bur very effective for morale. I will probably continue doing this at home from time to time.
I figure I’d take it easy for a week and try and put together something interesting or at least super easy but I’ll get back to this in a couple of weeks.