Dwayne Johnson, aka the Artist Formerly Known as The Rock, announced that leading up to premiere of his film Hercules, he would share "the most grueling, the most intense" workouts he did to prepare for the role. It's the #TeamHercules challenge and somehow—by coercion? By decree of my boss? By my own free will?—I've agreed to be a part of it. Hopefully I won't live to regret it.
First a bit about me and my body: My former gym membership lapsed into what I would call "my monthly donation" a little over a year ago. I'm not particularly out of shape, I just prefer running down at the beach to bench-pressing anything. That said, most of my exercise these days comes from playing in an adult kickball league, and adult kickball is mostly just drinking.
Here are the first of my workout diaries. Spoiler alert: I don't have a six-pack yet.
Workout No. 1: Chest
I started these workouts coming off a weeklong cruise and my body absolutely shut down after it, probably to punish me for what I'd done to it by way of all-you-can-eat buffet and all-you-can-drink open bar on that cruise ship. So if you work out at the Equinox in Marina Del Rey and happened to notice someone coughing up mucus while running on the treadmill, that was me. My apologies.
I began with 30 minutes of cardio because someone told me once that cardio doesn't count unless you do it for 30 minutes and I never bothered questioning it. The treadmills at this Equinox face a group fitness room and while I was running there was a Zumba class going on. I have never been more jealous of a Zumba class in my life. The Rock should add more twerking to his workouts.
Wish I was here:
John Boone for E! Loves
As for the weight lifting of it all, the workout was actually pretty simple and straightforward. I worked with a personal trainer a few years back and lifted for track & field in high school, so I had done all of the exercises at one point or another in my life. (And even if I hadn't, it's easier to pretend you know what you're doing with free weights than on a machine. Which assuages my biggest fear at the gym: Looking f--king ridiculous.)
My favorite of the workouts (my personal recommendation, I guess?) was the dumbbell bench because it's very much about control. My least favorite was the flies, because my arms felt like they were going to fall off.
Soreness Afterwards: 10/10
"Celebrity" Sightings: [Note: These were not the actual celebrities, but just people that kind of looked like them. But when you're sweaty and delirious with endorphins, that's close enough.] Plus-size Chris O'Donnell wearing those glasses you get at the eye doctor after you get your eyes dilated; Bruce Jenner on the elliptical. My new workout motto: WWBJD?
Some Selections From My Workout Playlist:
Major Lazer ft. Pharrell Williams, "Aerosol Can"
Kylie Minogue, "Into the Blue"
Nicki Minaj ft. PTAF, "Boss Ass Bitch"
Foster the People, "Miss You"
Workout No. 2: Back
Going into the second workout, I would change my soreness rating to a 17 out of 10. I couldn't lift my arms over my head and the outside of my boobs hurt terribly from the flies. All I wanted to do was sit at home and watch Orange Is the New Black. But then I asked myself, WWBJD?
I did my 30 minutes of cardio on the treadmill first (30 minutes or it doesn't count, people) and looked like a sociopath, because my pecs were so sore that I had to occasionally hold them while running, like a sports bra made of my own hands.
I did not avoid the pitfalls of looking f--king ridiculous this time. Because I didn't know what any of the exercises were (besides pull-ups and I cannot do pull-ups), I had to sit by the weights and YouTube videos of people doing each of the exercises to figure out what they were. I still don't think I 100 percent understand what a double drop set is.
My personal favorite would be none of the exercises, because all of my body hurts. My least favorite would be all of them. What is happening to my body feels like a hate crime and I want to cry. Not really: I'm glad to be back in the gym and have workouts to follow. The soreness just means my body is going to be bangin' before I know it.
"Celebrity" Sightings: Benedict Cumberbatch with chicken legs doing lat pulldowns, because every day is upper-body day; maybe actual Ryan Gosling.
Soreness Afterwards: 8/10
Some Selections From My Workout Playlist:
Beyoncé, "Get Me Bodied (Extended Mix)
Iggy Azalea, "Fancy"
Sleigh Bells, "Infinity Guitars"
Beyoncé, "Ave Maria" (It was a Beyoncé day. And if you've never listened to a Beyoncé slow jam while lifting weights, you've never really lifted weights at all. They give me the strength of a mother lifting a car off her baby.)
If you'd like to join me in the #TeamHercules challenge, check in next week to tell me about your results. And please do, because I could use a workout buddy. Also feel free to use the comments section to give me music recommendations, or just bitch about your own workouts. You're in a safe space.