In addition to keeping up with running in the city, I’ve also joined the local YMCA. Suffice it to say, I really miss TRecs at UT and The Rush; I was so spoiled by plenty of space, up-to-date and available equipment, challenging yet effective classes and instructors, and generally pleasant (well, as pleasant as possible) workout experiences. But it has led me to a realization:
When working out and living in the city, one must adopt a different mindset when approaching a weights or cardio agenda. For instance, from recent experience, I have come to the conclusion that the Stairmaster is never a good idea when living in New York. After all, you should always expect that the escalator from that really deeply-dug subway platform will be broken. And if you have used the Stairmaster that morning...your legs will hate you.
On the other hand, it’s useful to consider the subway ride itself as a bit of a workout. After all, sometimes in the rush hour crowd or in the company of pole-hogs, or when besieged by a condition of shortness that makes reaching up to the ceiling bar an uncomfortable strain, you are forced to balance, to surf the subway and to anticipate the driving habits and mood of the conductor. Like any surfer will tell you (I would guess…I don’t know that I’ve ever met one, and I’ve certainly never surfed on water…), the proper stance is wide, knees-bent, ready to accommodate any tricky movement and to quickly redistribute your weight; you will get those leg muscles to work. Even when you do have a pole to cling to, it takes effort to stay upright in the midst of a lurch, and that bicep comes in handy.
It’s important to develop these muscles (though preferably without the assistance of the Stairmaster) to avoid the subway stumble that everybody does and everybody laughs at. And God forbid that you might stumble and – gasp! – touch someone.