Since my fat ass has actually been going to the gym consistently, I’ve had to add several songs to my workout rotation. What will follow is a periodic update of whichever song has given me added juice on the lifting machines or elliptical trainer. Download these yourselves and enjoy.
“The Number of the Beast” – Iron Maiden
Sean Newell, a writer for Deadspin, writes a weekly installment he dubs “The Recovering Fatass Soundtrack.” The music choices are pretty much incidental to whatever he feels like tackling at the moment thematically and personally. The most recent article addressed how life is not like an episode of “The Biggest Loser” and that you almost certainly don’t have trainers screaming at you, dieticians feeding you only rabbit food, and a controlled environment shielding you from your own worst, fattest impulses.
Real life has goals – goals that ebb and flow and regress and seem unobtainable and are ultimately achieved in a totally non-linear, circuitous way. A small marker of Sean’s progress was being able to see his veins, which are no longer obscured by layers of lipids and fat and whatever the fuck else used to be there. For me, seeing a photo taken of me in profile that didn’t make me want to die immediately of personal revulsion was a huge milestone, and one I think about every day as I continue this journey.
Something else I took from Sean’s columns is the idea of using music both to propel you, but also to distract you. His playlist is littered with all sorts of stuff I could never personally work out to. I love Pixies and Neutral Milk Hotel, but I think I could work out to an Eat, Pray, Love audiobook before I could work out to songs by either of those bands.
But I still need distraction, which is why I love “The Number of the Beast” so goddamn much. It’s propulsive as hell, but it’s also nearly 5 whole minutes (a lifetime in my punk-addled brain) that always seems to fly by. I think it’s the story of the song’s narrator trying to figure out if he’s actually conjured Satan using these numbers, or if he’s just high as fuck and dreaming it all. Either way, at the end of the song, he is Satan (for real or in his own mind) and promising a triumphant return.
Considering I find the idea of Satan about as plausible as the tooth fairy, the song is a charming little escapist fantasy tale that sucks me in every time with its adorable hellspawn iconography and pure heavy metal ethos. Maiden fuckin’ rips, dude, and you’ll forget you’re logging time on whatever human rendering of a little metal hamster wheel you choose to log time on in order to stave off the petrifying fear of being repulsed by your own photos again.
Gradually and incremental weight loss to improve your health is METAL.