Now that 2014 is officially underway and you are finding your ability to conjure excuses as to why you still haven’t made it to the gym to conquer your New Year’s resolutions is dwindling, I’ve decided to dedicate an article to the underbelly of exercise; the things your trainer won’t tell you about (at least, not right away).
Sculpting that coveted rock-hard body ain’t easy. Just ask any of the usual suspects at your gym who seem to have no other responsibility in life other than working on their physique. And, given the universal laws of being human, there are inevitable risks involved with pumping iron; some obvious, others you may have never considered.
Unfortunate Side Effect #1: The ejection of the contents of our stomach through the mouth as the result of involuntary muscle spasms of the stomach and esophagus, otherwise referred to as puking. Okay, I know sometimes your pre-workout smoothie just wants nothing to do with you, and it won’t happen again. But there are some of you out there (ahem — men) who sincerely believe that a workout isn’t a workout unless you experience chow mass exodus. The most common reason for losing your lunch after a rough workout? Dehydration. If you sweat out more water and salts than what you are putting in, the electrolyte balance of your body will be disturbed and result in: guess what? Yep.
Unfortunate Side Effect #2: There’s really no elegant way to say this. Ladies, you know that feeling when you start a new cycling program, whether it be road biking or indoor spin class? Like you just went horseback riding and accidentally spent the whole time sitting upon the horn of the saddle instead of the seat? Let’s give it an exotic name: Brazilian bruising, perhaps? Tush contusion? Whatever you want to call it — Guys, you aren’t off the hook, either, to hear some of you tell it — the discomfort is extremely unpleasant. Good news is, it usually goes away after about a week. If it doesn’t, invest about $15 in a gel bike seat cushion. Worth. Every. Penny.
Unfortunate Side Effect #3: Man hands. On guys, it’s entirely expected — maybe endearing and sexy. On chicks, not so much. My poor hands are so far-gone, between spending half of my life lifting weights and playing guitar, that I feel it necessary to save the rest of you from my life sentence of callous-covered hands. Now, I find value in my ability to demonstrate exercises all day long, schlepping weights around gyms and not having to worry about what my nails look like, but let’s face it: not necessarily the most attractive, feminine quality. This might be the easiest of ailments to prevent. Gloves work wonders at protecting those delicate hands. So do simple “sticky mats” — those shelf liners at your local big-box store perform double-duty as a cushy, protective barrier between your skin and knurling. Find something that works, and make sure whatever it is doesn’t interfere with the safety of your workout. Callouses are way better than broken toes.
On that note, Unfortunate Side Effect #4: Bumps, bruises, blisters, cuts, scrapes, gashes, dings, and crushed fingers. Or toes. An umbrella, if you will, of everything else we inflict upon ourselves on a daily or weekly basis in the gym. To tell you the truth, I don’t believe I’ve been bruise-free in the 17 years I’ve been working in gyms. These things happen. Yes, sometimes they hurt like hell. Yes, they sometimes require a bandage, or worse yet — stitches. Take pride in your battle wounds. Just please don’t bleed all over the equipment.
There it is. A list of fresh excuses for you to use while defending your lack of motivation to get off your ass and into your sneakers. But consider this: all of these things put together (I believe) look a world better than a fate of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, amputations, bed sores, and COPD. To be able to remain functional, strong, and independent is well-worth a couple of crooked fingers. Self-empowerment requires action. Action may result in various afflictions. Afflictions that build character.
Jodilyn Stuart is the Health & Sports Senior Staff Writer for 303 Magazine, owner of ModaBody Fitness, and has been a professional fitness geek since 1997. If you have questions, feel free to email at: [email protected]