I’m That Stinky Person On The Train
Constantly sweating even when I’m completely still
At the start, I realized these two things:
- Over the next 2–3 months, I will sweat simply because I exist. I thought this Rigsby family trait passed me over. Turns out I’m just a late bloomer.
- Since I cannot avoid little beads of sweat dripping down my back immediately after getting out of the shower, I might as well lean into it.
If sweat is my constant companion, let’s make it the sweatest summer of all. After a bit of a fitness draught that followed a 30 day yoga challenge I did, I’ve renewed my membership to gym YouTube. Summertime is also host to a lovely smorgasbord of outdoor, FREE fitness classes in local parks. And it’s free, so I like, have to try it. Because I have an app for all the restaurants near work so I can earn free things. I sign up for email junk for free stuff on my birthday. I take the free cookies at work even when “I’m not ‘doing’ sugar”. It is free, therefore, I am [there].
Except I still feel new to this organized cult of fitness gurus, so while the free part makes me give my best Melissa Joan Hart “Woohoo!”, the introverted and anxious side of me fights against the idea of sweating, jumping & punching the air to (every damn time) Eye of the Tiger while the very small person leading the class doesn’t sweat and pedestrians watch.
I fought this dynamic internally all day the day I decided to give it a try. There are free fitness classes in Union Square every summer. At 6:30pm on Thursdays, there is a Cardio HIIT class. I don’t know what this is, but cardio is good for you, right? At 7:30pm, there is a sunset yoga session, a class I’d much rather do, but I know if I have to kill time for an hour waiting for that class, I’ll be grumpy and end up not going. I mean, part of the reason why I’ve been working out in the mornings at home so I can get it over with. I can go on about my day and forget it ever happened. Best to rush to the cardio class right after work before I can tell myself not to.
So, this is me talking myself out of/convincing myself to go to an exercise for eight hours straight.
7:45am — I’m awake and groggy from a late night. Luckily, I worked out yesterday morning, so today is a “rest” day. Could I do a low-intensity yoga session? Yes. Do I? no.
8:10 am— I remember I’m going to be on my own tonight because boyfriend has a team outing. I think about vegging out, watching sitcoms, and eating noodles.
8:15am — But if I just veg out all evening, will I feel guilty? It is really hot out, so it’s going to be sweaty in the evening no matter what I do. I should go to that class. Okay, yeah. I’ll just pack some clothes to change into. One less reason/excuse to not go. But maybe I won’t.
9:30am — My coworker tells me it's going to be in the 90s today and I lament. Too hot to workout outside. I tell her I was thinking of going to this workout/punishment after work, but obviously, it’s going to be too hot. She immediately pulls up the weather on her phone. By 6:30pm, the worst of the heat will have passed. She says it probably won’t be bad by then. She’s right…another excuse slips through my grasp.
11:15am — I went to the bathroom and thought about how I might be in here later to change clothes. Then I thought nah, I’m going to back out. But then, no. I’m going to do this! This is a good day to do things! I imagine myself hustling over to the square, already sweating before the class even starts.
11:30am — I remember watching the end of one of these classes last summer, and the instructor had everyone dance around to a song from Hamilton. It made me laugh and think it might be fun after all.
12:46pm — I’ve kept myself in the dark. Time to draw back the veil. I decide to read the class description. It’s Cardio HIIT, an Insanity style class. INSANITY. This is intimidating in a new way now. I’m out of shape. Can I jump into this intense workout? Will I have to do the modified moves? Will there even be an option to modify? How embarrassing. I decided to get boyfriend’s opinion, but also make a mental note to bring my water bottle. If I go, I’m going to need to stay hydrated.
12:50pm — I have been getting these awful headaches that make me nauseous. I blame sinuses and weather, but the weather isn’t bad this week. Then I found out that “menstrual migraines” are a thing due to the drop in hormones before your period starts and it makes a lot of sense. I’m getting that headache right now.
12:52 pm— Boyfriend comes back with a resounding YES DO IT! “It’ll be hard but it’s supposed to be hard. If you feel yourself being really worked hard, then that means you’re doing it right” Okay, so I was hoping for an “if you aren’t feeling it, don’t go” response, but this is probably a better one. Probably. My options to bail are really disappearing. *Grumble*
12:58pm — What’s to lose?!? An hour of watching TV in front of a fan at home? Isn’t an hour working out so much better for me? Won’t it feel amazing to sweat because you are working out and not just because you sweat really easily all summer just because? LET’S DO THIS!
2:10pm — I left the office to get lunch. Theoretically, this is the hottest part of the day. 91 degrees BUT not humid at all (remarkable). If I can handle this, I should be okay later. Geez, I’m making a big deal of this.
5:06pm — Just over an hour. I’m doing it. No turning back now. I’ve told people. I’m like, nervous. I kind of wish I had a friend to go with me. Maybe next time.
5:12 pm— I feel so tired! I got home late from seeing a show. That’s a reason to not go!
5:30pm — just…go.
6pm- Oh shit, other people are going to be there. They are going to see how much of a struggle this is going to be. I forgot about it being in public. FUN, a new thing to worry about.
6:11pm — I changed into workout clothes. my legs are kinda hairy. #winning
6:20pm — I checked in, checked my backpack (fancy) and got a free water bottle. I was smiling.
6:28pm — shit. My hair tie broke.
6:50pm — My feet really really hurt. Remember my sad, widdle feet?
7:00pm — Almost done…why aren’t we wrapping up? Oh my god, I forgot how time works. This class is for an hour. A whole hour? Oh, more planks? Cool.
7:10pm- My real fear realized. I can’t finish the session. I left at 7:05. I sit down in the park to cool off. My body is aching and my face is on fire. Some guy is staring at me. Leave me alone, guy. I text boyfriend this picture of my face and he was like “babe, are you alright?!?” Very much overheated, but I’ll be okay.
7:20pm — I am the smelly person you don’t want to sit by on the train. Still getting a few stares. But the air conditioning…oh, the air conditioning!
7:30pm — I have my own bench because I am the smelly, crazy-eyed person on the train.
I got off one stop early and did a little extra walking to get home. It’s called “active recovery”. I just learned that in the HIIT class I couldn’t finish. A quick stop to my neighborhood Halal restaurant and I had a filling meal of chicken, rice, and salad to refuel and a nice conversation with the owner. I chatted with my super, who is hanging outside our building with some friends. Then I realize, while I felt defeated and depleted from that class, I’m actually in a great mood. I take the best shower of my life and still have a long evening of me-time to enjoy. So, maybe it was a success after all?
On Sunday, ready to try again, I went to a yoga class in Industry City, which I’ve actually wanted to go for a while. It felt amazing. My body was ready for yoga, but not the full morning sun. Regretfully, again, at about the 30-minute mark I was overcome with nausea and dizziness. Overheated. Again. I ducked to the nearest piece of shade, which in my ever so slightly disoriented state, I didn’t realize was a construction area. I sipped my water on the wrong side of the caution tape, then someone working the event realized what I didn’t and suggested I move (out of the construction zone, you fool!) and sit inside a bar and cool down. Again disappoint, because this time I knew I could have completed the whole session if the Sun wasn’t such an ass, but I’m not as downtrodden as I thought I would be. Overheating is the issue, not my level of commitment. I have room to build if I can just find a way to stay cool enough. I strolled with my yoga mat back to the train to stink up yet another car, but this time I had a cool green smoothie so it balanced out.
Here I am on the other side. Outdoor free fitness classes so far are not nearly as intimidating as I thought they would be. Nobody is really watching me, and who cares if I can’t finish the class yet? As often happens every time I get overly anxious, all the misgivings and self-doubt were met with a “nobody is judging you this hard except for you” realization.
Exercise like nobody is watching, because they don’t give a shit, and they aren’t watching anyway. Have fun stinking up the train! You earned it.