I often go to the gym to watch television. The primary reason is because, at my commune, the Witch House, we haven't figured out how to hook up the flat-screen we scored in an awesome barter situation (someone we know was going on a "life journey" and had to get rid of all earthly possessions.) But also, TVs seem to suck the life out of everything you wanted to accomplish in life. (I saw Katy Perry's Part of Me last night, and never once was that pretty money machine with shiny teeth caught watching the boob tube.) At the gym, though, I feel like exercise negates the life-sucking powers of Tim Gunn or Doctor Oz telling women how to make healthy casseroles and curl their eyelashes.
But my best recommendation for combining TV with exercise? Watch the Olympics.
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Nothing stokes your adrenaline quite like watching a bunch of dudes rowing in unison in a giant boat. (P.S. One of the pre-Olympic qualifying races for men's rowing has been nicknamed the "Regatta of Death," so you know they take this shit seriously.) I can usually do without the commentary, but sometimes, it's nice to pretend the Olympic announcers are talking about all of my many accomplishments (on the Stairmaster,) which serves as excellent motivation for getting that fourth mile of stair-climbing under my belt. Plus, I feel less weird about the fact that I've become that guy who leans on -- and subsequently drips sweat all over -- the cardio machine, because she's 45-minutes into a 75-minute, publicly brutal "get thin or die trying" mission.
Even if you don't want to watch TV at the gym, the Olympics are still, even for us general non-observers of sports, some of the best television entertainment of the summer. Did you see the opening ceremonies in London this year? I don't watch movies (except ones about Katy Perry), so I had to look up who Danny Boyle was, but man, it sounded cool. I say "sounded" because I myself still haven't watched them, but NPR's vivid descriptions were enough to keep me interested in possibly Googling the festivities later, when I get off of Facebook, of course. (NPR also informed me that NBC decided to censor the tribute to victims of the July 2005 London subway bomb attacks that killed several dozen people, instead choosing to air Ryan Seacrest's interview with Michael Phelps. How American of them.)
Speaking of Facebook, another reason the Olympics rule? This: And not just because it's funny (and so are the "Unimpressed Queen" and "Men's gymnastics made me gay" memes), but because we can finally get away from the Kermit vs. Chick-fil-A saga. I know, I know. It's all the Internet rage these days to let random picture n' sentence combinations created by total strangers represent our most passionate beliefs in social justice issues for all to see, but enough was enough.
Thank goddess for the Olympics.
Not into watching sports but still want to celebrate how cool it is that the Olympics are in London? Absolutely Fabulous came back with the last of its 20th Anniversary special episodes, and this one did not disappoint. I imagine for those who are not fans of the show, watching AbFab is the equivalent of a nicer-dressed version of Bad Girls Club. Maybe I'm just old and still think Patsy and Eddie are funny, but seriously. Lighting a cigarette with the Olympic torch? I feel like I would even start smoking again just to do that.
Finally, the best, best, best part of the Olympics? Gymnastics. Like waiting for the Thanksgiving holiday Cheerleading championships once a year to come around, gymnastics is the best to watch, because you never know who is going to win! It's not like cycling or running, where there's a finish line. No, with gymnastics, the "judges" pick which human specimen is the best, based on who knows what.
I like to think it's really all judged by qualifiers like "most fake smile," "best excuse for a ponytail" and "oldest competitor who is still in middle school, but facing retirement." And the "artistic gymnastics" competitions? Even better. Try to do a single pull-up yourself, then sit down and watch the Men's Rings Finals. Your armpit muscles will hurt for days, and no longer can you make fun of dudes in spandex who compete in "gymnastics."
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Not to mention some of them are pretty hot (if you're into the gay ones, like me.)