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June 11, 2005 - 9:58 a.m.

I really don't spend all of my time at the gym, even though it might seem that way

Hey, people who go to gyms: Have you witnessed this new elliptical stunt-riding thing, or it only happening at my gym? Lately, I have seen lycra-clad people do things on the elliptical trainer like lean all the way back and hold on with only one arm with the body twisted all the way to the side. Or, they lean all the way back and hold on with both arms while swaying wildly from side to side and front to back.

I can only assume that some kind of crazy "Get More Out of Your Elliptical Trainer!" article appeared recently in Shape, a magazine I decided I had to stop reading when I was holding one in my hands in the drugstore and realized that I had absolutely no idea if I had seen that particular issue before. There are really only so many ways you can tell people to do sit-ups.

Apparently, however, there are all sorts of ways you can instruct your readers to kill themselves on a piece of cardio equipment, because this whole flailing-around-on-the-elliptical thing seems really unsafe. I get antsy when I see people merely not holding on while they use the thing, because I am sure I am about to be treated to some tragic, exercise-related accident. This new routine seems like it should require a helmet, at the very least.

However, as potentially dangerous as it is, it is still amusing to watch. Sometimes I make up stories about how these people are all members of a stunt-waterskiing team, forced to practice on dry land while they raise money to buy a powerboat. The snooty, well-funded waterskiing teams all scoff at them, but I think our scrappy underdogs are going to surprise a few people when the big championships roll around.

(Seriously, though, if you know anything about this or have witnessed it yourself, please e-mail me. I suddenly really must know.)

Lyrics I Came Very Close to Singing/Screaming Out Loud While Exercising, But Managed to Refrain (HA! "Refrain," get it?):
1. Subliminal mindfuck America
2. If you're so special, why aren't you dead?
3. Slave boy, I'll give you more!
4. Robot roll call!

I would blame the endorphins, except that I have a hard time not yelling out "Robot roll call!" whenever the Mystery Science Theater 3000 theme song comes up on the ol' iPod. Usually, I just mutter it to myself quietly on the bus, and then giggle. It's a good way to get two seats to yourself.

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