Fight Club

fight clubSome of you are repeat readers of these blog posts. And for that, I sincerely thank you. If you’ve been a long time reader, you’ll know that I once wrote about a time I wanted to start a fight at the gym.

To be fair, I was very sleepy and very hungry. A dangerous combination for me.

I don’t always know how to conduct myself at the gym (since I sometimes want to take down old men), but I do know how to conduct myself as a human being. And I do know that I find people being assholes to each other hilarious.

So now that you also know that information, let me tell you what happened at the gym the other day. Because it was hilarious. And doesn’t involve me.

Everything was going normal and I was listening to my cheesy pop love ballads while doing some sick free weight chest presses, right? (I’m telling a story about the gym… I’m gonna tell it like a bro. Chill, brah.) So I’m between reps trying to let my muscles recover a little so I can get totally massive and this dude comes in like hot. I don’t mean hot as in he was traditionally attractive (like Brad Pitt in the pic above). I mean hot like he’s on a mission and everybody around better get out of his way.

His mission, it turned out, was gathering all the possible weights he would need for his lifting session and putting them near the one bench he commandeered. Little gym etiquette: If it’s busy (like it was this day), it’s a pretty shitty move to gather up a bunch of weights and hold onto them as you do all your sets. It’s much more common (and just general common courtesy) to only use the weights you’re going to use and wait between sessions. If the gym is empty, have at it and set yourself up with whatever you need. But when it’s busy, don’t be a dick that hoards all the weights.

So this total dick was hoarding all the weights, right. And he’s got his earphones in and he’s like singing to himself and stuff and he’s walking like an all-around douchebag who’s oblivious to everyone else. I already didn’t like him, but I don’t like most people who are near me at the gym and he was sitting on the bench right next to me so I especially didn’t like him. Or the guy to the other side of me. But at least that guy was quite and ignoring me so I was able to be neutral to him. This guy was loud and obnoxious so I didn’t like. No likey. No thank you. No.

Then hoarder makes a mistake. He grabs some weights from a machine and starts to walk away with it. The machine, however, was being used. It wasn’t being used at the exact moment hoarder grabbed the weights, because the man standing right next to the machine. But he was clearly just between reps. So machine man starts immediately yelling at the hoarder because taking a man’s weight while he’s using it is basically fighting words at the gym. But hoarder compeltely ignores him and keeps walking back to his bench with the weight. Machine man yells louder and louder until he’s basically screaming “HEY!” right in hoarder’s face in the middle of a crowded gym. Hoarder finally gets the hint, takes his (obviously really excellent) earphones out when machine man tells him he took his weight. Hoarder could have been cool about it and apologized and moved on. But this was a dude who was hoarding weights at a very crowded gym. Hoarder is clearly not a very considerate man.

So instead, he yells back at machine man and claims he wasn’t use the weight. Machine man explains that he was between reps, as is what happens at the gym. He also explains that there are a ton of these weights not in use that hoarder could have taken. But instead of, again, being cool about it and apologizing because he was by all standards completely in the wrong, hoarder gets mad again at machine man and tells him he didn’t have to yell at him. Machine man, at this point beside himself and clearly enjoying the audience he has from everyone else in the crowded gym, explains in very close proximity to hoarder’s face, that he had to yell because he tried several different volumes that hoarder consistently ignored.

Most of the crowded gym has stopped their workout to watch all of this go down because it was entertaining as hell. I think everybody wondered if there was going to be a fight. I certainly wondered it. I wondered out of curiosity, of course, but also out of safety because this whole thing was going down right next to me. I got remnants of hoarder’s spit and machine man’s sweat.

Once I realized my proximity, I realized that most people who were looking at them could steal a quick glance over to me. And that’s when I caught my expression in a mirror. It’s the same look I get when you tell me I’m about to see an adorable puppy that’s going to tell me hilarious jokes. I’m holding back giddiness and laughter. Which, at this particular supercharged moment in a gym filled with frustrated, muscly dudes with a lot of testosterone who want to prove they’re more than their boring day job… was probably not the smartest face to have.

But I couldn’t help myself. The whole thing was hilarious. Confrontation is hilarious. People being assholes and unaware of the world around them is hilarious. People picking fights with other humans for petty reasons is hilarious. Life is all one giant, cosmic joke and sometimes I think only a small percentage of us get it.

Of course I agreed with machine man. But at the same time, we’re all just flesh and blood idiots trying to hide the fact that all of us want to be loved and accepted and are terrified of our own mortality. So who cares if hoarder was acting like a total douche. This is obviously one of the only places he can act like a badass and can find some sense of stress relief. Yes, what he did was stupid. But do you need to yell at him? Why raise your blood pressure and embarrass him and make a scene just because he’s an idiot? I dunno. Just say something quietly. Or go grab another weight and go up and give it to him and get yours back on principle. Then maybe give him a hug and say you’re more than willing to help spot him if he wants to max out on his last rep. And afterwards maybe you two can get coffee and bond over the fact that this meaningless activity will help prolong a life that most likely has no actual impact at on the outcome of the universe but it’s still fun to do.

Or maybe that’s just because I listen to a healthy mix of Star Talk and Pop Ballads at the gym, so I tend to get in a strange head space.

Whatever, the point is there wasn’t a fight but there could have been and I found it all very funny.

At least I think that was the point.

Are you still reading?

You poor thing.

And also thank you.

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Attitude Adjustment

attitudeI had to check myself before I wrecked myself the other day.

It was the first Saturday of the New Year and I went to the gym in late morning. And, to no surprise, it was packed.

And, unfortunately also no surprise, I immediately became a brat about it.

As I walked in and looked at the crowds of people on the machines and on the equipment, I got testy. I kept thinking somehow they were in my way. I felt so self-righteous that this gym was my gym. And that they were in my way. And how dare they even consider slightly inconveniencing me.

In short, I was a little biatch about it.

But halfway through my workout (when the endorphins started kicking in and I was calmer than before), I realized I was the one with the problem. Here are a bunch of people who, sure, don’t really know what they’re doing yet at the gym. But you’ve got to start somewhere. They were not at all getting in my way. It’s not like I go there with a really clear training plan of certain exercises I have to hit and certain goals that have to be attained. Usually I go with a body group that I’m going to focus on for the day. And then I look around and see what’s available.

These people weren’t my enemies. They were my new friends.

Sure, many of them may not stick around past February. But some of them will. Some of these people will have made it their New Years Resolution to get in shape and go to the gym all the time, and this will be the very exciting start of that journey for them. These are more people I now have something in common with. New people with whom I can talk working out with. New people who can complain about the lazy people who don’t return their free weights with.

It’s so easy to think you’re entitled to something. So much of our world today makes you believe you are entitled to whatever you want in the exact circumstances you want it and exactly when you want it. IWWIWWIWI, I believe is what it’s called (I Want What I Want When I Want It). I wanted to have the gym completely quiet and to myself. I wanted to be able to choose any time and go without any convenience to me. I wanted to have access to all the equipment I could possibly want for my workout at any given time even if I wasn’t using it or didn’t end up needing it.

Entitlement is gross.

I’m not proud of my attitude that day. But I am glad to be reminded that it’s so easy to fall back into a negative mindset. It’s easy to forget that other people are not your enemy. I live in Los Angeles…like millions of other people. If I start getting frustrated at crowds or traffic or whatever, I’ll never be satisfied in this city. Or any city. In fact, if I start wanting everything in my environment to be exactly how I want it without any distractions, I might as well move to a tiny hermit shack in Montana and hide from the world.

I’m not proud to say that I’ve considered this at times.

Then I remember, I love people. I love LA. I love being out of my comfort zone and having shared experiences and the excitement of a crowd. The only reason there’s even a gym close to me is because there are lots of other people who are members. I don’t keep it alive on my tiny membership fee alone. If there weren’t lots of people who belonged, I’d have to go somewhere else.

We need each other.

So I have to wait an extra few minutes for the leg press machine in January because some girl is doing 20 sets of 10 lbs. Whatever. No big deal. She’s gotta start somewhere. And I’m not going anywhere. So I’ll wait.

And I’ll be sure to check myself before I wreck myself.

Back to Running… Reasonably

homerI’ve talked a lot about running and lifting on this blog. If you don’t feel like getting totally caught up, here’s the story in a nutshell: I used to run a lot. Then I hurt myself. Now I lift a lot.

There. You’re basically caught up on two year’s worth of posts.

There is a part of me that misses running regularly. It won’t ever become my go-to exercise since I think I’m much more suited for the lifting lifestyle (and a much bigger fan of the results). But I find running to be extremely honest. If you run regularly, you will get better at it. If you haven’t run in a long time, you cannot fake being good at it. It will hurt. And you have to push yourself through the pain (but not too hard… otherwise you’ll end up with problems like me) over and over again until you get back in shape. And it’s humbling. And I like to be humbled.

But this year, I’m prepared. I’m of course going to continue my regularly scheduled gym routine (because I find it the most efficient and effective for me), but I’m also going to add back in little bits of running. Even if it’s just a mile here, a set of interval sprints there, ten minutes on the treadmill…whatever. And I’m prepared because I got a specialty running sock that supposedly helps when you’ve got a messed up club foot like I do.

It’s not a traditional club foot. I call it a club foot because it hurts like I’ve been standing in heels in da club for hours after ten minutes of running.

Anyhoo, I’m excited about it. And because I’m all about being reasonable this year, I think it’s a reasonable compromise between my present lifting self and my past runner.

Tennis Ball Masseuse

Tennis_ball_01It’s quite simple, really. Your back hurts. You’ve got a knot somewhere and you can’t reach it. You live alone. You’re too proud to ask for a back rub. You’re too poor to go get one yourself. So you figure out a way.

That way, for me, is to use a tennis ball.

You lie on the ground and roll around with a tennis ball beneath you. Find the spot it hurts the most, hold until you can’t stand it, then release and move on.

I used it constantly on my feet for my plantar fasciitis. And it works like a charm on all sorts of tight muscles.

I’d pretend I’m the first one to come up with this idea but there are hundreds for pictures that come up with you google “tennis ball massage”… so I’m just another of the believers.

Gymversations

Shut up.talking-cell-phone-bench-press-set

Sorry. Not you.

Unless you were  the asshole on his phone the entire time he was lifting last week. If that’s the case, SHUT UP.

Allow me to explain my rudeness (which is brought about by your rudeness).

I get it. I do. You’re super busy and important. You have many leather-bound books and your apartment smells of rich mahogany. And you quote movies to make people laugh because you probably don’t have a lot of original jokes of your own. I get it. And I get you.

But I don’t want to hear you. I’ve got my headphones in. Do you see? Of course you don’t. You’re not looking at me. You’re staring at yourself talking on the phone in the mirror and you’re enjoying what you see. Meanwhile, the rest of us are wondering if you’re going to be giving up that coveted flat bench anytime soon so we can actually use it.

But you don’t care. You’ve gotta talk to your buddy about that chick you got digits from last night. You haven’t called yet. You’re playing it cool. Playing the game. As a woman myself I’ll be surprised if those digits were actually real. But maybe you knew that. Maybe you called immediately when you got home to tell her goodnight and realized they weren’t real. And your feelings were hurt. And you cuddled up with your blankie and watched The New Girl to feel better. But you don’t want your bro to know that. So you’re gonna pretend like you didn’t call. And that you’re totally the man. And that you’re amazing.

I hear you.

No. I mean I physically hear you.

And you’re annoying. And you’re saying nothing of import. And this conversation can wait. So get off the phone and get back to that bench press. Or I, the only chick in this weight room, will throw you off of it. And that’ll be embarrassing for you. And your bro on the phone. And no amount of New Girl will be able to laugh it away.

So hang up, shut up, and please get back to lifting.

I thank you.

I Hurt Everywhere

Bad-Personal-TrainerI’ve mentioned before that I get a personal trainer every once in a while. It happened again recently. I was grateful because I needed a little physical boost. I hadn’t been great about getting to the gym so I figured a personal trainer would be a great excuse to really go hard and get a good workout in.

The result… I hurt everywhere for three days. This guy really did me in. He’s a good trainer. He’s excellent at intuitively knowing how to push you just past your limit. We did metabolic training. I don’t do metabolic training on my own. I was breathing hard and screaming profanities a lot. I knew it would hurt.

And it did. For a few days. I walked slow and went pee carefully. Everything was sore. Nothing was easy.

And I’m grateful for it.

It was the best workout I’ve had in a very long time.

Get Your Reps In

female2In many ways, I approach my career athletically. I grew up playing lots of different sports and learned the value in practicing daily for incremental improvements in order to become overall better during game time. I understand that every chance you get to practice even the smallest of moves, you improve your overall performance in the game. I also understand that it’s helpful to take notes of specific games and how you did in them to analyze and see what you do well and what needs improvement.

And I apply a lot of that to my career. Daily. I treat performances as game time. I do the best I can given whatever surroundings conditions I’m playing in and analyze how I did afterwards. I know it’s not the same because in the entrainment world- especially in comedy- so much is arbitrary. But you can find ways to evaluate yourself. And you can understand how different moves help overall performance.

For instance, I consider doing stand up open mics the same as doing cardio at the gym. It’s necessary and can make a big difference in your overall physique. But doing hours and hours of it doesn’t always give you the best outcome for your time investment. You’ll improve, of course, but it’ll be incremental. And I consider writing like lifting weights. The more time I spend writing- whether it’s these blog posts, screenplays, short films, sketches, stand up jokes- the better I become as a comedic brain. In the best case scenario, in a good workout, you can get in both your weight lifting and your cardio sessions. But if you only choose one, you can just choose based on the immediate goals ahead.

Lately, for me, I’ve been lifting more weights and doing more writing. As a result, I’ve sculpted my body more effectively and created a ton more opportunities for performances that feature my strengths and sensibilities I wouldn’t otherwise have. And I’ve been happy with the results on both ends.

But I’m of course itching to find time to get that cardio back in my routine. I like to get those reps in on the mics to stay fresh and connected to the community. Even just one mic a week (or a couple cardio per week) and I can keep from getting too rusty.

So gotta keep the performance and practice routines balanced. Otherwise you get fat and not funny. And that’s just an odd combination.

I don’t mean it. I just needed a way to quickly end this post because things were getting too real. 

Poor Form

I learned I have bad form.hook

I went to do squats and a girl took the only other squat rack right next to me. I thought to myself, “Game on” because I’m overly competitive and turn everything into a challenge.

We both put the same amount of weights on the bar. Then we both went to it.

And I got my ass handed to me.

This girl had the same weight on the bar as me, sure, but she went twice as deep into the squat as I did. And when I barely made it through my three sets of 10, she was just starting to add weight to do more sets.

She owned me. In a competition I made up. She wasn’t even paying any attention to me. She was too busy being beast.

Double owned.

So I did what I always do when someone hands me my ass… I decided to get better. I promised myself from now on, I’m gonna have better form for my squats. I’m gonna go deep into that squat.  Even if it means I have to go down in weight. Even if it means I can’t do as many reps. Even if it means my legs shake and burn. I’m doing it. Then, when I meet again my squat rival, we can go toe for toe.

Or in this case, butt for butt. Like J.Lo and Iggy.

Vegas Britney Motivation

I’m headed out of town with some girlfriends. We’re going to Vegas. And we’re gonna see Britneybritney vegas Spears perform there. And I’m stoked. Like, totally stoked maaaaaan.

For the past couple weeks I’ve let her be my motivation. Girl looks good. And she’s had two babies and some messed up stuff happen to her. But she stays in great shape. And has an athletic body. So it’s a shape that’s attainable for me (at my best…).

I may not look like her. But at least I look like a better version of me while trying to look more like her. But also staying true to me. Because me as her wouldn’t look good but me as me but in her-like shape would.

I don’t know what I’m saying. I’m drunk already.

Vegas, Britney, Vegas!

 

Back to School Schedule

school busI had to make a change to my schedule. I was pushing myself too hard. It was unsustainable. I was trying to get up at 6 am to get to the gym every morning before working for a while before going to my day job then spending late into the evening working on comedy. I was barely sleeping and usually sleeping through the gym. It didn’t work. Couldn’t keep it up.

So I’m trying something new. I’m letting myself sleep a little later to accommodate for my constant, inevitable late nights. Then I write in the morning before heading off to work, much earlier than I was before. Then I can leave earlier than I did before. And can go to the gym during that sweet spot after lunch rush but before “regular” people are out of their jobs. Right around the time when school gets out.

Maybe it’s not “ideal” to not workout first thing in the morning, but it’s more ideal to at least get to the gym and get a workout in than to regularly have to choose between sleeping a reasonable amount and working out. It’s counter-intuitive to miss either of these. So I had to make a change. And that’s what I decided upon. At least for now.

Plus, I’m done with the gym in time to clean up and still get out to the second half of my day- meetings, writing, rehearsals, shows, etc.

I already feel more well-rested, calmer, and more productive. And I’m making some inroads on getting in better shape. Because I can go consistently. And that feels good.

Plus, whenever I go, I get more stories for this blog. So really, it’s a win/win for all of us.