Saturday, July 27, 2002

Exercise Asleep -- Highly Recommended

Exercising while you are still asleep is the fountain of youth. Believe me, I know. I did it this morning at 5:30 am and the beauty of it is waking up at about 6;30 to realize you're done and you just worked out for an hour without noticing. I mean, I really was half asleep -- stumbling around like a complete idiot -- sometimes I whack myself in the head with my barbells, but no matter since it gives you that quick rush of adrenalin.

I used to look at these morning exercise freaks and think ... "Shit, these people are just too too much," and go hunt up another Scooter Pie for breakfast and a Diet Coke to wash it down. But then something happened ... I'm not even sure what. Actually that's not true. I know exactly what happened. Some people went and died on me.

Five years ago I watched my mom slowly die of lung cancer which is no party and this spring saw my dad succumb to congestive heart failure -- but even worse, they tend to put these sick people together with lots of other sick people and you get to visit these extremely unpleasant places called hospitals or nursing homes or hospices and you can't MISS that we are all heading for ... well, call it some serious entropy. And you also notice that these exercise freaks might have something worth considering -- they are dying a little more slowly than the rest of us.

And some of them are holier-than-thou, I admit and I hate that. But don't think for a minute they aren't drug addicts like the rest of the unhealthy people in the world -- they aren't addicted to nicotine or alcohol or caffeine (some are) or name any other drug like most people, but they are getting gobs and gobs of endorphins which is just plain old home grown morphine (body-grown, that is).

So I'm one of those people now, a morphine (endorphine) addict and a somnambulant aerobic dancer and groggly weight lifter. Believe me it works. There's a zen to removing exercise obstacles and potential resistance. First, start fully asleep, then you think you are DREAMING the whole nightmarish experience of working out. Also, being asleep tends to stop your mind from coming up with 25 great reasons NOT to exercise. I leave my workout clothes on the floor by the bed the night before, looks like some crime scene, but keeps me from thinking of anything else when I wake at dawn. I put them on in the half dark, without thinking. I go downstairs to an already queued-up videotape. I push a few buttons and I start stretching and squatting and stepping and supine French pressing. I do Rodney Yee's AM Yoga and also some seriously rough workout tapes by The Firm. I do it every day even if I feel like hell. I tell myself it's okay to do it really really badly. If the happy girls on the tape are doing ten push-ups, I swear at them and say really nasty things, sometimes throw couch pillows at the snotty little bitches and I then let myself do one push-up ... who cares ... at least I'm doing it and nobody's watching. Just Do It ... Asleep.