I’m all shook up: Simple workout or life metaphor?

September 9th, 2010

My speech communication professor would have been disappointed as I approached the checkout counter at Target. 

She warned me, “All those ‘too good to be true’ TV products use clever, persuasive speech techniques to get you to buy their junk!” 

Even though this warning might have been true I couldn’t pass up the promise written on the colorful box that read, “Go from flab to fab!” I have been the proud owner of a Shake Weight for a little more than a week now, and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

The Shake Weight has been criticized and made fun of from YouTube parodies to SNL promoting the “Shake Weight Commercial DVD” for those viewers who just can’t watch it enough. With positive reinforcement from fellow Shake Weight owner Ellen DeGeneres and a B-plus rating from my favorite morning show, I decided to test the Shake Weight out myself.

As I stuck the free DVD into my laptop and checked to make sure my roommate wasn’t around recording me for future embarrassment, I began my first workout with Lindsey, the instuctor. Lindsey has obviously been using the Shake Weight since birth with her toned and defined arms. I try to keep up with her making sure the Shake Weight is at least 6 inches away from my face, as the box warns several times. 

During my rigorous six-minute workout, Lindsey is kind enough to add in “active recoveries” between each set that consist of chest flies, hammer curls, and shoulder presses with a rotator cuff combination. 

As I was about to take one of these well-deserved breaks, my cell phone rang on the desk.

“Hello? Hi, Mom.”

I didn’t get to finish my workout that day. As I sat there, Shake Weight now still in my hand, I found out my stepfather needed heart surgery within the month. The news was something totally unexpected, and I still can’t believe it.

Just like the contraption I held in my hand, I learned life is shaken up at unexpected moments. Whether it’s starting a new school year, a family crisis, or even spontaneous fun, we can schedule and plan all we want, but life has its own course at times. 

How can we possibly brace for these moments? We need to use the resources around us. Make friends that will be there for you. Get involved with groups on and off campus. Find guidance in prayer, reflection, family, or even with someone from the counseling center.

We are never alone, but individually we decide when our “active recoveries” are over and when it’s time to move forward.

There are so many resources at JCU, and as new and old programs start up this year take advantage of them. Not just the freshmen, but also all of us stuck in our routines. 

We shouldn’t wait for New Year’s to make resolutions and reexamine our priorities. We shouldn’t wait for extreme circumstances to jolt us into reality. We should learn to shake ourselves up once in a while. 

In the end our routines will fade, and I might not get great-sculpted arms in six minutes, but we will always maintain the relationships and goals we care most about.