So, today I’m at the gym. I didn’t want to go, but I skipped out yesterday so I told myself that I’d go and put on my gym clothes and if I had to screw the pooch by strolling on the treadmill for 20 minutes, well at least I would have done something.

So, I’m there. My tshirt is a bit snug, and I’m not super okay with that, but whatev. I decide to lift some weights because my legs have finally recovered from Saturday’s workout and Sunday’s hike.

I do a super set of squats and chest press – no biggie. I could lift heavier on the squats but I’m using dumbbells and I can find two 25 pound weights, but I’m having a hard time finding the second 27.5 pound weight and the jump to 30 pounds is a bit much for my grip strength right now. I could probably lift heavier on the chest press (I’m doing a 35 pound bar) but I’ve got a bit of a wonky noise that my left shoulder makes when I lower the bar back to my chest.

Next on my workout list is step ups and bicep curls. Now, I should be clear: I hate step ups. In case you don’t know what a step up is, you step up onto a box with your right foot, bring your left foot up to the box, step down with your right foot, bring your left foot down, and repeat. Ideally you’re using a box that’s about the height of your knee (18-20″ or so).

My old gym had a built in 16″ box in the women’s section, covered in grippy carpet so you didn’t slip off. The coed section saw people using regular plank style steps with those risers that you add to at either end. They’re shockingly stable, as I saw one day when I was watching a guy jump repeatedly from the ground to a step that was about the height of my boobs. At the Y here in Ottawa, they have actual plyo boxes with adjustable heights and they’re BIG. Nice, wide platforms to jump onto. No risk of ever jumping off or over it.

At my new gym, they have the Reebok Step. I don’t really understand this step. There’s some configuration options with the base to make it higher, and when you stack them one on top of the other, they’re not that stable looking. They’re pretty stable when you’re actually on them, but they look unstable.

Anyway, I’m doing my step ups on my right foot. I’m supposed to do 15-20. Fifteen if I’m feeling cranky about them, 20 if I’m feeling tough. I’m at 12 step ups when the damned step broke. The support in the base that raised up the upper step sort of smooshed inwards and the whole top step slipped down to the left.

Logically, I can understand that the step was probably broken before I ever set foot on it. (Supported by the fact that I put it back together and it promptly came apart again.) Logically, I can say that the configuration I used was not stable. Logically, I can say that I miss the steps from my old gym, and boy do I wish the women’s section had a plyo box. (Note to self: check the co-ed section, which is sadly up a loooooong flight of stairs which seemed insurmountable considering I didn’t even want to workout today.) Logically I can tell you that really way heavier people than me can use a regular step without breaking it.

The emotional realm is not logical, however, so my inner fat kid died a total, humiliated death when that step broke. My “is that chair strong enough for me?” fears all came rushing back. My mad desire to eat anything and everything to make myself feel better came surging to the fore. My embarrassed “oh god, please don’t let me blush or break out into tears” furtive look around the gym was unstoppable.

I moved the step that I couldn’t put back together to the side, got another step, put it on top of my base step, and finished my set. Then I did my bicep curls. Then I did another set of step ups and another set of curls. And then I walked the fuck out of that gym with my head held high.

Sure, it was 4 different exercises and 10 sets before I was supposed to leave, but for a day when I didn’t want to work out and this happened, I will celebrate the fact that I accomplished this much.

Tomorrow, I’m asking a staff member about plyo boxes and how to set the steps up properly. This. This is never happening again.