So you've decided to get back in shape. Congratulations! Your heart, your lungs and your long-suffering significant other thank you.
No doubt you've read or been told that before you start any exercise program, you should see a physician. This is great advice, especially if your heart has spent the last decade or so pumping the equivalent of maple syrup. Now, we would never call a physician inadequate, but after seeing one, you might want to turn to us for real medical advice*. Because there are a lot of terrible things they don't tell you about exercise. Like ...
*Never turn to Cracked for real medical advice.
5Running Makes You Poop Yourself
Congratulations -- you've decided to take up running! That'll get your ass in shape. So you lay your shoes and shorts by the bed, set the alarm to a time you've never seen on your clock before (there's a 5 A.M. now?) and prepare to embark on a journey of personal victory and a lifetime of rubbing your athletic prowess into the jerk faces of your seventh-grade gym class.
And while you're at it, stop hanging around with seventh-graders, you weirdo.
And to your surprise, you actually do it. You take off onto the dark, empty streets. All is great until suddenly, when your body detects that you are at the farthest possible point from a toilet, you realize that hitting up Bert's Taco Palace last night as a celebratory kickoff to your new life may have been a less-than-optimal decision. Welcome to runner's diarrhea.
Running is one of the more jiggly sports. Lots of impact. And the vibrations of your feet pounding on the ground over and over again hit resonance with your gastrointestinal system, causing it to, ahem, wake up. It's running's own brown note. And when it hits, you'll enter a race with Satan himself to find any amount of privacy -- if not from your own shame, then to avoid being arrested -- lest you face "the muddy walk home."
Just ask Paula Radcliffe.
This is Paula Radcliffe totally smoking some dude during a 10K while she is seven months pregnant.
Paula Radcliffe holds the world's record female marathon time at 2:15:25. And near the end of the 2005 world championship marathon, Paula straight ran herself into some problems: "I was losing time because I was having stomach cramps and I thought 'I just need to go and I'll be fine.' I didn't really want to resort to that in front of hundreds of thousands of people. Basically I needed to go. I started feeling it between 15 and 16 miles and probably carried on too long before stopping. I must have eaten too much beforehand."
She ducked behind a barrier and did what she had to do. The media, recognizing this as an unfortunate and shameful moment of internal distress, broadcast it live to the entire world.
"Who needs journalistic integrity? I'm selling this to the Internet!"
Oh, yeah. She won that race. At 2:17:42.
That wasn't a freak accident. According to a Dutch study, 45 percent of all runners experience some form of GI discomfort on their runs. For the most part, this form of incontinence manifests itself in a sudden and undeniable urge to go now and will not necessarily explosively propel you along your running trail. With forethought and planning, you can reduce these urges and create a Boy Scout-like preparedness for when the unexpected attacks. Eat a low-fiber meal the night before, stay hydrated, plan your routes around public restrooms, wear extra-thick fluffy socks. But chances are, in time, this will affect you.
Of course, you could just take on a different form of exercise, like cycling. You know, like Greg LeMond, who won the 1986 Tour de France with a load in his shorts. Hmmm ... we would suggest trying swimming, but that brings to mind a particularly horrible image.
Especially for the guy you're overtaking.
4Constant, Endless Sweat
You've been doing well. Real well. You've increased your exercise time from 20 minutes a day a few days a week to an hour or more daily. You've run a 5K, a 10K. Maybe swam half a mile and stayed in the top 10 percent of the race. Hell, you bike the 10 miles to work and back daily. Your clothes became too loose to wear a while ago, leaving you with no choice but to buy a new wardrobe. A sexy, tight-fitting wardrobe with all the nipples cut out.
Things are good.
And suddenly everyone wants to spot you!
Except that you've noticed that when you go out with your (pathetically fatter, slower) friends, you're always covered in sheen of sweat while they're baby-powder dry. No, that's not exactly right. You're actively sweating. Profusely. In fact, you constantly look like you've just stepped out of the gym or perhaps a swimming pool. A swimming pool filled with armpit grease.
According to Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichael, as you become more fit you sweat sooner and you sweat more. In essence, as you increase your exercise intensity and duration, you condition your body to be better prepared for the athletic punishment you regularly put it through. This manifests itself in many ways: low body fat, increased muscle content, stronger bones, higher glycogen storage, lower heart rate. And you sweat like Patrick Ewing.
Mind you, he's in the Basketball Hall of Fame and you've just got a trophy you found in a cereal box.
Your body knows that you're prone to taking off on 50-mile bike rides, and it has to be ready to cool you down. But it can't tell the difference between a pre-ride warm-up and a flight of stairs to your office. So to be on the safe side, it just turns the sweat faucets on and lets loose anytime your heart rate increases by an additional beat per minute.
"I swear I did not sleep with her. What? No, I'm not sweating. It's just a localized thunderstorm."