Musings from my humiliating gym date with X-tina and Lil’ Kim

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The weather has dipped to such frigid temperatures here in Charlotte that I have been not-so-secretly avoiding making the mere 500-ft. trek to my apartment complex’s gym all weekend.

After skipping my workout on Saturday, I finally sucked it up last night after reminding myself how much queso and guacamole I had inhaled earlier in the day at Cabo Fish Taco. To give you an idea of how much I consumed, let’s just say I was ready to lick both bowls clean if the server hadn’t taken them from the table.

I prefer working out later in the evening because I detest exercising when other people are present. I’ve always had this unfounded fear that someone will hear my hard breathing or notice my flushed cheeks, assume that I’ve pushed myself too hard, and step in to make sure I’m okay, humiliating me in the process.

I know, I know. That would probably definitely never happen, although I can picture the mortifying experience in my head in such detail that sometimes I wonder if it has actually happened. I guess the bad memories of embarrassment-induced, scarlet-hued blushing during my adolescence have manifested themselves in my adulthood as irrational fears. At least that’s what I think a therapist would say.

I was excited to arrive to a completely empty gym, so I shed my winter layers, popped in my earbuds, and stepped onto the elliptical. Nothing helps me get in the zone like cheesy female empowerment songs from the early 2000s, so I made sure to pull up the appropriate playlist on Spotify before launching into my routine. I may wimp out after trekking less than a mile if I’m listening to anything else, but if I hear even one riff from an X-Tina or Pink song, I’m ready to “Get This Party Started.”*

Blushing only from laughter- Veggies & Glitter
Embarrassing moments like this should evoke laughter rather than mortification at our ridiculous behavior.
Photo Courtesy of

I was slightly giddy that I had the gym entirely to myself, especially after being stared down by a preteen creeper and coughed on by a pneumonia-plagued soccer mom during my workouts last week. I started pretending that I was Christina Aguilera circa 2002 as I belted out the lyrics to “Dirrty,” “Fighter,” and “Can’t Hold Us Down.”

As I was perfecting the Lil’ Kim rap interlude in the last song mentioned, complete with white-girl hand motions that somehow make me feel like a badass, I realized that I was not alone.

Presumably for the entire time I was rocking out on the elliptical, pretending that the handles were ski poles and that I was filming a pop music video set in the Alps, there was a man lifting weights directly behind me, undoubtedly enjoying the absurdity of the show I was performing. I won’t be surprised if it pops up on YouTube sometime in the near future.

As he got up to leave, he stuck the television remote into the plastic cup holder on the machine I was using, adding, “In case you decide to change your form of entertainment.” Then he shook his head and laughed at my inane behavior on his way out.

I waited for the familiar, mortification-induced scarlet hue to warm my cheeks, but I was filled with pride when I realized that it wasn’t coming. I hadn’t even cared that this thirty-something version of Liam Hemsworth had heard me rapping obscenities, dancing on an elliptical machine, and even high-fiving myself as I hit each mile-mark.

During my post-workout shower, I reflected on the plethora of embarrassing moments I have accrued lately as I lathered shampoo into my hair. An actual smile crept across my face as I realized that, in each moment, I had laughed at the hilarity of the situation and just moved on from it. It may have taken me 25 years to get to this point of personal contentment in even the most humiliating situations in life, but what matters is that I’ve arrived.

To celebrate, I’m going to create a new playlist filled with only tracks recorded during the early 2000s by scantily clad female pop singers. Embarrassment, you “Can’t Hold Us Down.“*

*I would like to express my utmost apologies for my tendency to create exceptionally cheesy puns using the titles of songs performed by female pop vocalists.

61 thoughts on “Musings from my humiliating gym date with X-tina and Lil’ Kim

    Brynn said:
    December 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    HAHA!!!! Oh my gosh, Casey! This was the best thing I’ve heard in a long time! First of all, AWESOME call on the tunes. When I work out, I’m all about P!nk, Britney Spears, Nsync (obviously), Spice Girls, and Justin Timberlake’s first solo album. There’s something about those songs that just pumps me up! :) I have absolutely done the same thing at the gym – sometimes I awkwardly dance on the treadmill haha. Whatever it takes to get through a workout, right?! I’m happy you’ve finally gotten to a place where you can feel confident to be a complete goof in public and not freak out about it :)

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Brynn, I’m glad you could relate to this post! I totally thought of you when it happened because I know how much you love those old songs, too. Weren’t you totally obsessed with Pink for a while? If you’re up for it when you come to visit, we can dance around the gym every night! ;)

    Tianna said:
    December 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    LOL No shame- I love it! Who cares if you had a good time, right? And that guy was probably looking for an in to hit on you, girl!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks, Tianna! I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I think it was amazement rather than flirtatiousness. :) LOL

    Melanie Scout (@GameOnMom) said:
    December 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I hate when people watch me exercise! I’ll never forget one time when I was in high school…I was running on the treadmill and realized my boyfriend was there and had been watching me for some time. I panicked and fell and totally ripped up my knees. So silly. :)

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      That definitely sounds like something I would have done, Melanie! And how silly is that? He probably thought you looked cute as you were running! ;)

    ladymarielle said:
    December 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    I died laughing! Hahah I don’t turn red when I’m embarrassed (yay me?). I hate working out at the gym, mainly because I worry about how crazy I look with sweat pouring down my neck and back.

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      I’m glad my embarrassment could bring you some joy, you coldhearted woman! Just kidding!

      I used to be so worried about that exact thing, but then I started thinking about how other people look when they work out. Seriously, maybe one person out of every hundred people who walk into a gym is going to look even remotely attractive during an intensive workout, so why get down on myself? :)

      And by the way, you definitely get a “YAY” for not turning red when you get embarrassed!

    kukolina said:
    December 10, 2013 at 2:49 am

    I was not familiar with Mr Hemsworth so I had to Google him. So he was flirting with you? Yes, it is flirting to add little comments while passing over the remote control. No, it does not matter what he actually said. He could have politely left. Quietly, without a word. Point made: he was flirting with you. So Chris better start joining you at the gym! Just kidding.

    How interesting is this: I just posted on my blog and the theme was: talking about other people and…. the gym!! Very interesting. I read your mind, right?! Oh and this morning I was reading a comment on my blog by someone who has your first name and I made little jokes about how awesome Cheesecake Factory is.

    xoxo, Eszter

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      He’s pretty big here in the U.S. right now, especially because he was most recently in The Hunger Games. I get where it might seem like he was, but I really don’t think he was being flirtatious at all. I appreciate that your mind would go there instead of agreeing with me that he thought I was embarrassing myself! ;)

      That was me that commented! If you clicked on my name, it would have brought you right to my blog. I totally think The Cheesecake Factory is awesome!

        kukolina said:
        December 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm

        Oh good so it was you! :p
        The Hunger Games? Oh dear… back to google again…
        At least you are keeping me updated with the new and cool topics of youth. HAHA

        Casey responded:
        December 10, 2013 at 10:26 pm

        Yes! I leave comments through WordPress, so you should be able to click on my name and be redirected back here to Veggies and Glitter.

        I thought The Hunger Games was famous everywhere! I guess that just proves how ethnocentric we can all be at times, assuming that something is famous in one place just because it’s big where we are. ;)

        kukolina said:
        December 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm

        I am bad! I never thought of clicking on to the name Casey. Everyone else had a picture who commented and I assumed that if you are a blogger you have a picture and if you don’t have a picture, you do not have a blog. This was my logic, sorry!
        We live on an island for another 5 days… and yesterday my husband told his receptionists that Zoárd looks like Kanye West with his yellow vest on and nobody knew who he was talking about. So yes, we assume a lot… HAHA

        Casey responded:
        December 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm

        Yes, that’s me! :) Don’t be silly and apologize; there’s no need for that! There are so many little variations with each type of blog platform that it’s impossible to know them all. I removed my photo because I just don’t want it attached when I’m leaving comments on some sites.

        I honestly think that’s really cool that they seem to be more focused on everyday life than on pop culture where you currently are. I think we could all use LESS information about celebrities like Kanye West these days, right? :) Soak up your last few days of island life!

    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen said:
    December 10, 2013 at 6:20 am

    LOL! Working out and having a good time! I would highfive you on that!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks for the reinforcement, Peachy! I would definitely high-five you back! ;)

    Robin (Masshole Mommy) said:
    December 10, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Hahahaha! You’re awesome. And how lucky are you that you have a gym right in your complex? I actually have to drive to my gym to get in a workout – and it was 20 degrees when I left this morning. Brrr.

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks, Robin! Chris and I are so lucky that we have a gym right here; I definitely feel pathetic when I skip a workout, being that it’s so close. The only downside is that it’s really small, so if a handful of people decide to work out at the same time, someone’s left out in the cold. At least it’s not a long walk home when that happens! :)

    Michele said:
    December 10, 2013 at 8:10 am

    In a way I am glad there is no gym in my building! Then I would have to constantly be explaining to everyone why I never use it—-either that or walk around with ace bandages surrounding my body while my muscles tried to heal!! Good for you that you no longer care what others think!!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      Aww, there are plenty of people who don’t use it, so I doubt anyone would notice! In fact, I really like the people who choose not to use it because that means there’s more of a chance the machines won’t be in use when I want to exercise. ;)

    Christine Luken said:
    December 10, 2013 at 9:15 am

    LOL, that sounds like something that would happen to me, which is why I work out in the privacy of my own home, making a fool of myself in front of my cats.

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I would love to do that, but I think my neighbors would probably kill me for making noise. That’s one of the rough things about living in an apartment!

      I do agree that it would be nice to work out in front of a non-human audience. At least if they are judging you, they can’t voice any nasty comments. LOL

    Aisha Kristine Chong said:
    December 10, 2013 at 9:27 am

    What is important is you enjoyed it! I would have done the same!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I’m glad someone else is out there who is as crazy as me! Thanks for the encouragement, Aisha! ;)

    Tess said:
    December 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Haha, I work out during the day when nobody watches me. I want the Wi dance thing they have but only in the privacy of my home. lol

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Those dance things actually kind of intimidate me. They expect you to move so fast; I’m just not sure I could do that in a choreographed fashion! LOL

    Elisebet F said:
    December 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Hilarious! Embarrassment in the gym is one of the reasons I run outside and do living room workouts! I tell myself that one day when I’m in really good shape and know what all the machines are for, I’ll go back to the gym.

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      I actually prefer running outside, but I live right off a busy road, so I would actually have to drive to a trail or a community with a sidewalk. It just feels easier to hit the gym and endure the mortification. LOL

      I had to laugh at your comment about knowing the purpose of all the machines. There’s one in our gym that I really want to try just because it looks cool, but I really don’t know how it works or what it does. I’ve been waiting for someone to be using it so I can just emulate his/her behavior at a future time. ;)

    Melanie said:
    December 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    That is GREAT! Really you rocked it out and kept on going. :) Good job!

    JadeLouise Designs (@JadeLDesigns) said:
    December 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I would have been horribly embarrassed had I been in your shoes. But Totally think you rock for not letting it bother you! I hope to some day reach a point where I can hold my head up high after an event like that and not care what the others thought! Good on you!!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Thank you so much! I have always been a rather introverted person who tends to care too much about doing the “wrong” thing that would draw too much attention towards me, so I completely identify with your feelings. It’s taken a long time for me to get to this point; it probably has a lot to do with the fact that I have friends and family who refuse to allow me to go unnoticed at times. ;)

    Onica {MommyFactor} said:
    December 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Good for you. Working out should be enjoyable without judgement. Enjoy your next play list!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      I totally agree, Onica! If someone is pushing the limit and challenging themselves, then I applaud that all the way, even if they look ridiculous while doing it!

      And I’m working on my playlist right now! ;) It’s guaranteed to be of epic proportions. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Victoria H (@funmom91) said:
    December 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I would have definitely have been embarrassed. However, the good thing is that it is a one in a million chance that you are going to see him again.

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Well, he undoubtedly lives in my apartment complex, so probably more like a one-in-a-thousand chance- LOL Even if I do see him again, I had a great time and made it through a strenuous workout, so I’ll hold my head high and make up some new dances! :)

    Pam W said:
    December 10, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Oh! That is awesome. If you think you are embarrassed I once slipped off the treadmill and slip between some guys legs on the treadmill behind me before hitting the wall. I would much rather have been caught singing. lol

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks, Pam! I think I would be more worried about physical pain than embarrassment in that situation! That sounds like something straight out of an SNL skit; I wish I could have seen it! ;) LOL

    Jennifer Williams said:
    December 10, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    You and I would make great workout partners, I sing when I run and yes will belt out a good tune and get stares from people who are outside doing yard work, lol. I do not care, it is a better workout if you sing IMO!!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Good for you, Jennifer! We do sound like kindred spirits! :) I’m all for making the most out of everything you do, whether that’s done by singing, dancing, or making a complete and utter fool out of yourself!

    Wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas said:
    December 10, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    I have a completely different playlist for when I work out…and it’s all pop-y stuff. Your post totally cracked me up! I can’t say I’ve never done something similar, but at least I know I’m not alone! :)

    I just joined a new gym this week. I’m sure I’ll giggle about this more than once while I’m there!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      YES! I listen to mellower bands like The Milk Carton Kids, The Head and the Heart, and Birdie throughout the day, but when I’m at the gym, it’s all about 2002’s top Billboard hits. Haha!

      I hope you enjoy your new gym! I’m glad I could give you something funny to think about during your workout. ;)

    cynthial1956 said:
    December 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I think it is important to have fun when exercising or anything else in life! I am impressed that you go to the gym!

      Casey responded:
      December 10, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      I definitely agree that having fun with whatever you do is so vital to getting the most out of life, as you can tell from reading the post! ;)

    Pam said:
    December 10, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Too funny! You go girl. I don’t blame you for wanting to exercise without an audience. I prefer that too. Isn’t it amazing as you get older how much you just don’t care about anymore?

      Casey responded:
      December 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

      My mom always told me that would happen, but I never believed her. It looks like she was right once again. ;) Had this happened when I was 18, I would have been so humiliated that I probably would have started scoping out the gym for this guy before starting my workout for the rest of my time living in this complex. LOL

    toughcookiemommy said:
    December 10, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I love this. As I get older, I couldn’t care less what people think about me. The fact that you got a great workout and you let loose is all that matters.

      Casey responded:
      December 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

      I totally agree! It’s too bad we can’t go back and visit our younger selves to share our newfound wisdom, right? :)

    Lolo said:
    December 11, 2013 at 1:40 am

    That is so hysterical! I bet he did enjoy the show!

    Liz (@blueviolet) said:
    December 11, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Look at you getting all cozy with her workout music and taking pride in it! Bravo!

    Katherine Bartlett (@KBWhiskey) said:
    December 11, 2013 at 7:13 am

    I hate when people watch me exercise! But this is too funny!

    Maria said:
    December 11, 2013 at 7:33 am

    That is so funny!! You handled it pretty well if you ask me! lol

    tony greene said:
    December 11, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Keeping your composure while listening to cheesy songs is a workout in itself. I can’t do the spotify thing since I find myself having to skip many songs.

      Casey responded:
      December 12, 2013 at 10:16 am

      I’m not a fan of Spotify’s “Radio” feature because I find myself skipping songs, but I really like it when I can look up virtually any album or play my own playlists. If I find myself needing to skip songs on my own playlist, then I guess it’s time for me to make a new one- haha.

      And I totally agree that staying focused and “in the zone” is a workout in itself when listening to certain songs! ;)

    BabsProjects said:
    December 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Loved reading your gym adventures and I have to say there are days when I am doing the same. The only saving grace is I am doing it in my basement..:)

      Casey responded:
      December 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

      I would totally do the same if I had a basement and an elliptical machine! I’m jealous of your set-up! Maybe someday it will happen for me. ;)

    Ashley Gill said:
    December 11, 2013 at 10:29 am

    This is awesome!! Congrats!! It looks like you’ve hit the point where working out is fun and theres no looking back! That guy was probably checking you out the whole time! :)

      Casey responded:
      December 12, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Haha I suppose there is no looking back after an experience like this one! It couldn’t really get more embarrassing, so I guess I’m prepared to handle any scenario in stride!

    Melanie a/k/a CrazyMom said:
    December 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    What a post.. I hate when people watch me working out… but loved reading your story…and glad you are having fun…:-)

    melisasource said:
    December 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Oh, gosh! I am so glad that through it all, you had a good time! I know I would totally flip out with people watching me work out!

    gn0mel0ver said:
    December 11, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I think you probably made that man’s week! Oh, and I cannot believe he gave you that remote and said that to you! Crazy!

    I am glad you saw the humor in the situation and owned just being you. It is a lesson that is so hard to learn!

    I still am struggling with it!


      Casey responded:
      December 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Haha I feel like you and I have pretty similar senses of humor, so it’s too bad you couldn’t have seen it! It was hysterical!

      And I think it’s a totally normal, “human” thing to worry about what other people think. It takes a lot of self-training and an abundance of humiliating experiences to start getting over ourselves. ;) LOL You’ll get there, Jenni!

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