Metallica + Exercise

One of the nice things about summer internships is the break they give from the academic year’s nonstop studying. I’ve been using some of my free-er time to work off late-night studying flab at the local YMCA. I’ve also been trying to lower the pile of unlistened-to CDs I’ve gotten from the past couple of birthdays and Christmases. Happily, I can combine the two, ripping CDs directly to my Treo and listening to them while on the elliptical.

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing just that. Metallica’s title album was next on my list, and I did my usual routine: get on elliptical machine, program elliptical, turn on Treo, start first song on CD. Depending on how you select the CD’s worth of songs on my Treo, the first song is either the first song on the CD, or the song that appears first in alphabetical order. Without realizing it, I loaded them in alphabetical order. I hit Play, and kept on (running? striding? ellipticalling? Our exercise machines outstrip our abilities to describe them…)

Going by alphabetical order, “Don’t Tread on Me” is the first song on that album. The song started. The thumping, punishing opening rhythm guitar/drum riff (dundundunnn dun dun) hit. Then the lead guitar, with its jarring variation on West Side Story’s “I Want to Live in America”. Then more a few more bars of punishing guitar/drum. (Few bands, of course, do punishing riffs better than Metallica did in the 80’s and early 90’s.) Then the start of a different guitar/drum riff, the one that drives the rest of the song. And then, finally, the opening words “Don’t tread on me”.


Energy coursed through my body, my arms and legs suddenly on fire. My baseline 800 calories per hour pace skyrocketed to over 1000. And stayed there. Through Lars telling me So be it/Faith no more/Just a few pieces/To prepare for war. (War! War against a normal exercise pace!) Through more punishing guitar/drum. And more preparation for War. And even more guitar/drum. And finally, one last time: Don’t. Tread. On. Me.

My rate eventually went back down to its normal level, but there’s no doubt I burned more calories that day than usual.

I now know one of life’s true Lessons:

Metallica + Exercise = Endorphin Rush