I just wanted to be like any normal student and work out at the stadium with my friend. But I have what I like to call FOWOWO (pronounced foe-woe-woe)–fear of working out with others. As someone who thrives on conversation and quality time, this makes no sense. Shouldn’t turning exercise into a social event make me want to work out? Evidently not. I present to you now, a tale of my abnormal life.
Allie texts me to see if I wanted to hang out. Of course I do! She then follows up with the suggestion that we work out together. Panic sets in. She can’t possibly mean at the stadium, that giant thing that holds almost 90,000 people during football games. I’ve got one word in my mind: incline. The stairs on that sucker are like something from Legends of the Hidden Temple on steroids.
During football games, these stairs aren’t a problem for me. Crowds and foot traffic bother most people, but I love the excuse to take the stairs slowly and pause for breaks as people navigate to their seats. It keeps me from being embarrassingly winded at the top when I reach my seat in row 85 or some other inevitably high-altitude area.
I digress. Here’s the thing about Allie: she works out at the stadium regularly. Like, several times a week. So as she’s asking me to come with her, questions flood my head. Will I hold her back? Will I have to stop the workout and sit in shame as she runs circles around me? Will she laugh at me when I can’t do more than 10 pushups? (Spoiler alert: I did 30.)
I reluctantly agreed to go with her, but then there was another issue. What do I wear? Part of my FOWOWO is the fear that I’ll wear or bring the wrong thing. For example, I took a ballet strength class once at the gym only to show up and see everyone was barefoot. I untied my shoes and removed my socks faster than anyone knew was physically possible and still swear I heard a snicker or two. And of course, I can’t take yoga because I’m afraid they will chastise me for not having those really tight pants.
I decided I’d fake it until I made it. I slipped on my knee-high socks (yes), shorts and t-shirt and I mentally prepared myself for what was to come. I tied my nearly-new Nike tennis shoes and patted myself on the back that they were partially neon and therefore slightly trendy, giving me some workout credibility.
I then went to my morning class, after which I made a bad decision. My stomach was growling and I knew if I didn’t eat, I’d be dying during the workout. It was about 10:45 a.m. and I was supposed to meet Allie at 11. I had to make it fast. A quick survey told me that Einstein Bros. and Starbucks (which serve normal breakfast food) were way too crowded for me to make it on time. Reluctantly, I walked toward Chick-fil-A.
A small order of fries and a Pepsi later, I was ready to work out! I made sure to throw away my trash so my fit friend Allie wouldn’t know of my Heavyweights tendencies. Not normal.
Allie asked me whether I wanted to do a more cardio or Pilates-based workout. I CAN’T ANSWER THESE TYPES OF QUESTIONS, OK? I told her we could do whatever she wanted.
About an hour later, very sweaty and already feeling the pain, we were done. Allie suggested we get Larry’s (you know how I feel about that). I had survived the workout, grunted a minimal amount in front of my friend, gotten very few judgmental looks from others working out in the stadium and was now going to eat at my favorite place.
I’d say the score sits at Mallory-1, FOWOWO-0.