Song: As We Enter by Nas & Damian Marley
After writing that last post wherein I used approximately 9,000 words to say what could’ve been said in 50, as promised, I went to the new gym. Like anything, the new gym has its benefits and drawbacks. In the interest of brevity, I will summarize its differences from my old gym in analogy form:

old gym : upscale country club :: new gym : ex boyfriend’s sweaty garage.

That’s not to say I didn’t like the new gym. I did. The woman who gave me the fastest gym tour ever was not salesy at all. She was all hey, want a tour, here’s this and this and this and yeah, wanna work out? It was awesome. (As you may know, I don’t like salesy.) I navigated the locker room, which had a kind of nice, unassuming hippie-ish vibe, and got a good workout on an elliptical and a treadmill. I even, after staring at a blank screen for a good 10 minutes, managed to turn on the tv without totally embarrassing myself.

The cardio equipment clearly meets my needs. It’s the weight equipment that has me concerned. It appears that they don’t have any traditional weight machines. There are free weighs and cable systems and all that sort of thing, but no machines (at least not that I saw). Currently, my weight training routine is pretty much half free weights and half machines.

I probably could make the transition to all free weights with little difficulty. However, the thought of drastically changing my routine has me a little flustered. As much as I hate to admit being any sort of “routine” person, I really do have my routine set when it comes to working out. (I realize that this actually is a bad thing because I’m sure I’ve plateaued and am not really challenging my body.) Do I want to go to a gym where I can’t do my normal routine? Will that freak me out? Worse, will my muscles suffer? Will I lose strength as I start something new?

Well. Thanks to a professional portrait I had taken at work, I’m no longer that concerned about my muscles. I received two 4×6 matted high-quality prints of this photo that I promptly hid in the only locked drawer in my office, which contains such embarrassing things as copies of my yearly self-evaluations. That’s because, and I shit you not, in this professional portrait, I look like Brian Urlacher’s sister the lumberjack. (I kind of want to post the picture here because oh my stars and garters, you have to see it to know that I’m seriously not exaggerating, but if this picture ever sees the light of day I’m pretty sure my life will actually be over.)

You guys, I’m not even kidding. It’s not just that I look fat in the picture. Don’t get me wrong — I look fat! Very fat! But I also look like a linebacker. A long-haired, bespectacled, girl linebacker. With wonky eyes of some sort (I have no idea what my eyes are doing in this picture). It is the second-worst picture of me of all time (the worst is my driver’s license picture, in which I look almost exactly like a cross between Monica Lewinsky and a kitten in the sense that kittens usually have faces that are too small for their heads and in the case of kittens that is adorable but for an adult woman it is never okay and I will never, ever, ever have dark brown hair again in my life, what was that about anyway?). I don’t know what it is about these two pictures that makes me look so gigantic and awful. I mean, I’m no skinny little thing, but good lord. I’m not even overweight! My BMI is in the normal range! I swear! Even taking into account my top-heavy-ness, tendency toward broad gigantic shoulders, and bizarre fixation on building upper-body strength, I shouldn’t look like Brian Urlacher’s sister the lumberjack linebacker.

I guess the middle-of-the-road terrible photo in which I’m wearing a hoodie will stay on my work’s website forever.

Anyway, the fact that in a recent photo I look like I should be donning a flannel shirt to spend a morning chopping wood at a pancake breakfast to raise funds for a wayward girls’ football camp tells me that maybe I need to shake up my strength-training routine. Maybe lightening up a little is a good idea because, holy shit, maybe I’m actually overdoing it. Maybe I don’t need to do three sets of eight reps of ye gods the heaviest weights I can possibly lift that many times. It would be fine if doing this made me look like Serena Williams, but it doesn’t. I look like the angry woman who’d give you a massage at the bath house before kneading dough for 12 hours straight with no breaks because breaks are for wussies.

I’m not sure that’s really the look I’m going for here.