Getting Beat Up at Work in the Middle of the Day

by bart


Every Monday around 1:30PM people shuffle into work with red faces, complaining about how they are going to die. Every Tuesday, people walk around like they don’t have joints in their bodies and say things like, “I feel terrible,” “I’ve never been this sore in my life,” and, “please help me.” And the most troubling phrase of all: “You should join us!”

At our company, as part of our health and wellness initiative, we pay a woman named Kerry to come in and beat the hell out of us once a week. Actually, we pay half, the company pays half. Never pay full price for pain.

Not looking forward to Monday? Here’s what you do: you skip lunch and you go to get tortured at noon instead. I saw the zombies who returned from this sick bootcamp, and I wasn’t fooled. In order for me to take part in this, the stars would have to align: my workout gear would have to be in my car, I would have to run into the instructor in the parking lot, and I would have to be digesting a sandwich called ‘The Super Beef.”

I was finishing off the french fries when Kerry said, “hurry up, we’ll wait for you!” So I stuffed the rest of the fries in my mouth, downed my Doctor Pepper, put on my gear, and ran outside.

Joanne, my coworker, who we all call The Dictator, because she’s quiet but you can tell that she’s quietly plotting a hostile takeover of the office, was the only other person who showed up for torture on Monday, and I knew that I couldn’t let her be broken alone. That would only speed her plan for total office domination. So there we were, Joanne and I, running around the building.

I feel great. This is easy. 

We made it back to Kerry and she said, “here’s what we’re going to do,” and she showed us how to do push ups into touch-your-toes. Then she squats into touch-the-grounds. Then she did jump ropes. Then Kettlebell squats. Then Kettlebell hip-things. And she said, “let’s do this.”

I started out on the squats. For whatever reason, I always have a hard time doing the exercises people show me. “Touch my right arm to my left foot? Ok. And then My left arm to my right foot?! And then touch the ground in the middle of me??? Just tell me what you want from me!” I couldn’t stop thinking about all the people in the office who must be looking out the window watching me doing these ridiculous squats. I kept thinking, This is so easy.

Nine seconds later I was doing push ups into touch-my-toes and I realized that this was going to be a touch more difficult than I imagined. We quickly shifted to the speed jump rope and the Super Beef in my stomach quickly shifted up and down. Then the squat bells, and I didn’t have time to think about if anyone was laughing at me from inside because I was thinking about all the things in life I still wanted to accomplish. We did the next Kettlebell thing, where I swung my arms around and was told that I was doing it almost right, and then ran around the building.

Have you ever pooped your pants and thrown up at the same time? Me neither, but I’ve heard about people who have, and it’s a real fear for me. I thought, Joanne is going to see me do this double-action nasty, and she’s going to tell everyone about it…quietly.

We made it around the building fast enough to jump right back into Kerry’s sadistic world of hurt. I started on push ups and she said, “what sports do you play?” And I tried to talk to her while doing these exercises, “Hockey. Baseball. Soccer–” “–Oh my son plays hockey, where did you play hockey?” I CAN’T BREATHE! Is what I wanted to say. I told her where, and we continued our dentist-patient conversation where she does the talking and I try not to die.

Circuit two complete. We ran around the building again, this time slower. Tiny break, little bit of water, start again.

“Just one more after this”, she said. I became deeply depressed, thinking that I was so far from the finish line. I kept moving my body around the exercises in the same way you might if you didn’t have any bones or muscles or blood when she said, “remember, quality over quantity”. Which, to me, meant, “It’s okay to stop what you’re doing in order to get it right”. Oh thank goodness. Thank G— “Come on! Twenty more seconds keep going, keep going!”

We ran around the building again.

“Last one, let’s go!” I shouted back, “I’m not extrinsically motivated!,” just kidding. I lost the ability to shout long before. I started with the squats again. The sun beating down, my lungs exploding, my body going into Chris Legh mode. Not only am I going to throw up and poop my pants, I’m going to faint, then poop my pants and then throw up.
I made it to the end without doing any of those things, thanked Kerry multiple times for the emotional and physical pain she caused me, and agreed to do it again.