Dental Drilling: Nihilist Fitness
It's called: Philosophical Interpretive Fitness.
What exactly is that?
Well, sometimes I coach fitness classes, but fitness is inherently boring, so I try to get weirdly creative with theming the workouts. For this workout, the goal was to express my experience at the dentist’s office, only hours earlier, while my face was still numb.
6 min AMRAP
3 x Pull-Ups (6 x Bar Pulls)
10 x Burpees
20 x Jumping Lunges
KEY COMPONENT: Must be done to the jarring, grinding, discordant sounds of blaring industrial bands – a playlist of KMFDM, HEALTH, and Alice Glass will work just fine.
Start the music and the timer. A few seconds into the workout walk around the room correcting each person.
In a calming voice, as the first beads of sweat begin to form, say: “How is it? Is it okay? We’re almost done.”
But you know –and they know– that more than five-minutes remain on the clock.
The complaining will begin.
Respond by saying, “This is good for you. We’re doing so well. Just a little more.”
Now, turn up the volume.
You want them to feel the sounds of sharp steel scraping across enamel. It’s a sound you can only get through good fast-paced industrial music or a dentist with a hook, a drill, and a human skull.
They’ll grumble. Some might even say, “Oh my god, why?”
Keep the calming voice, but sprinkle on some joy, “The less we stop, the faster it will be over.”
It’s a lie. There are still four minutes and thirty seconds left on the clock, but it doesn’t matter, because they’re beginning to ponder the concept of time itself, recognizing that, objectively, time doesn’t move any faster with more or less effort; they’re realizing that the future can’t be trusted.
There will be groaning and grunting, and even growling.
Smile, nod, and raise the volume.
Then, at minute two, ask: “Do you want to keep going or take a quick break?”
The question is critical because it’s as agonizing as the activity. What they want doesn’t matter; they chose to be here.
They’ve come so far that a break is impossible.
Lay on the compliments: “You’re doing so well. You’re awesome. It will all be over soon.”
By now, they’re leaping and leaping and leaping through the lunges. They’re thinking, what will all be over?
They’re questioning the choices they’ve made throughout their lives that have led them to this point. They’re asking: Will it ever end? Even after death, time goes on without us. If that’s true, are there any real beginnings?
With each movement, paradigms are being cracked and scraped away. They’re beginning to see the teeth under a lifetime of tartar. All they can do is hope that nihilism, the great cavity, does not lurk on the other side.
But, of course, it does.
“We’re almost there,” You say, raising the volume again, “Only three minutes left.”