I was laid off in mid-August, which has given me a lot of time to think about my health. While some might consider “working out” or “leaving the house” a great way to make use of ample unstructured time, I’ve discovered an incredible way to get a great cardiovascular workout simply by trying to claw out a meager existence in a bleak job market. That’s right! Say goodbye to pricey gym memberships, high-tech active wear, and superfood weight loss sludge. It’s time to boost your metabolism and send your heart-rate soaring with the hottest secret in fitness: The Existential Dread Circuit.
The EDC isn’t for everyone; the key to success with this innovative system is total commitment. If you’re not willing to break into a cold sweat at any moment as you come face to face with the chilling reality that life is waiting in the wings to yank the rug out from under your unsuspecting feet as all that you know and depend upon comes crashing down around you like San Francisco in 1906, then you’d better stick to OrangeTheory. If you’re chronically underemployed and consider a stable living wage an unattainable luxury, congratulations! Not only are you a poster child for the vanishing middle class trapped in the patriarchal system of wealth disparity masquerading as a “gig economy,” you’re also a prime candidate for the EDC to transform your workout routine.
Here’s my personal outline of a typical 24-hours on the EDC. For reference, my Maximum Heart Rate is 188 (roughly calculated at 220 minus the number of days you have been watching your checking account dwindle to nothing.) Watch how the EDC keeps my heart rate rising and slowing in a random and exciting pattern unattainable with garden-variety interval training!
12:00 pm: Catch the bus for a job interview. Enjoy the late autumn sunlight, wonder if you should have worn your hair up, then remind yourself that confidence is the most flattering accessory. Heart rate: 65 BPM.
12:09 pm: Congratulate yourself on allowing ample time to arrive early. Cue up the newest installment of the Jonathan Van Ness podcast. Heart rate: 64 BPM.
12:13 pm: After glancing up from your phone, realize that you missed your stop, and that the missed stop was the last one on the east side of the river. Heart rate: 87 BPM.
12:14 pm: Calming breaths as you ride the bus into the opposite side of town from where your interview will take place. Heart rate: 110 BPM.
12:17 pm: Power-stomp back across the bridge, cursing your stupid hair being down, your H&M boots which were not, apparently, made for walking, and the late autumn sunlight which is rendering your tailored black blazer an absolutely insane outerwear choice. Heart rate: 148 BPM.
12:24 pm: Arrive early for interview. Heart rate: 157 BPM.
12:59 pm: Thank the team interviewing you, and leave the building. Experience a tiny flutter of hope. Heart rate: 100 BPM.
1:20 pm: Text your family to cross their fingers for you. Recklessly populate a mental list of debts that could be paid off with full-time work. Enjoy the late autumn sunlight. Heart rate: 95 BPM.
3:00 pm: Ostensibly work on freelance copywriting project. In reality, fantasize about fixing the leak in your car that results in a puddle of standing water in the back seat when it rains. Heart rate: 68 BPM.
4:15 pm: Receive email thanking you for your time, and regretfully informing you that another candidate has been selected. Stare into the middle distance in silence for several minutes as a howling void opens up in the pit of your stomach. Heart rate: 80 BPM.
7:06 pm: Write off entire day as a loss. Resolve to resume functionality tomorrow. Open box of Pumpkin Jo-Jo’s and cue up the third season of Queer Eye. Heart rate: 61 BPM.
1:30 am: Drift into a cloudless void of apathy. Heart rate: 60 BPM.
10:00 am: Stretch. Shower. Sit in front of computer. Sip coffee with great determination. Heart rate: 78 BPM.
10:45 am: Succumb to the creeping fear that occurs when you are seven pages deep into craigslist job postings and begin to realize that you are utterly unqualified for any work that might eventually result in having a house or the means to raise a family or even like an older cat or something. Heart rate: 81 BPM.
11:27 am: Receive email informing you that another job has been opened up on the team and inviting you to accept the position. Lie facedown on bed and weep briefly. Run in small circles in living room and hop up and down. Heart rate: 112 BPM.
11:48 am: Out of a deep-seated need to not appear desperate, wait a few minutes to accept offer via email. Heart rate: 90 BPM.
The Gale Encyclopedia of Fitness extols the benefits of interval training, saying it “(improves) aerobic capacity and (permits) the person to exercise for longer and/or at more intense levels.” Why pay to use confusing gym equipment, or risk running on high-traffic roads in miserable weather, when you can get high to low intensity workouts simply by participating in the system of wage slavery that has twisted American capitalism into an unrecognizable bastardization of a meritocracy? Simple. Efficient. Effective. There has never been a better time to try to Existential Dread Circuit.