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Archive for the tag “gym”

Life in My Gym

Dr. Lynn writes a blog that I follow called Life in the Gym.  She knows about exercise and stuff.  She also writes excellent political commentary.  She is a smart lady.  Now let’s talk about me and my gym.

I go there enough that I have learned the names of several of the employees.  One of them is Aaron.

Aaron and I talk about various things.  I have learned that he is from Texas.  I too have been to Texas.  (I married a gal from there).  I have complained to Aaron that some JV athletes are using the varsity locker room. (I am really funny because there is only one men’s locker room and we are no longer in high school.)  Aaron humors me by promising to look into the situation.  I have made him keenly aware of my status as an unsigned NFL free agent and he is under strict instructions that if John Elway calls the gym to talk to me about signing with the Broncos, Aaron is to interrupt me even if I am bench-pressing several hundred pounds.  He promises.  I have  requested heavier weights suitable for an athlete of my stature.  He cheerfully assures me that he will see what he can do about the inadequate equipment.

Aaron is not a personal trainer.  He is the guy who brings clean towels to the locker room.  He might be a custodian and maintenance man.  He is a hard worker.

Aaron also does other important tasks.  I have seen him on several occasions help a gym member who is in a wheelchair.  Aaron helps the man put his clothes in a locker.  He goes out on the gym floor with the man.  Aaron helps him get set up at a station where the man can work the weight machine from his wheelchair, exercising his arms.   Aaron adjusts the settings on the machine.  Then he helps the man get changed in the locker room.  But he does more than assist him.  I like hearing how Aaron and this member talk like the friends they have become.  Aaron has a compassionate heart.

Aaron works at my gym.  I like his smile.  I like his style.  I like him.  I nominate him for M.V.P.

Gym Competition

I was fixin’ to do some pull-ups at the gym today when a little guy, probably a foot shorter than me, got to the pull-up bar first.  I walked away when I saw how many he was doing.  It is a firm principle of mine to not embarrass myself.  I decided to sneak back later after this gymnast-type finished his multiple sets.

So I went over to the free weights.  There was a muscleman there.  He was in his twenties with huge arms.  He tucked his tee shirt sleeves in to have the sleeveless look, the better to display those arms.  I, on the other hand, did not tuck in my sleeves.  I modestly chose to not display my huge arms.  Well, I was not entirely modest, for I was wearing my Senior Olympics shirt.  Maybe that intimidated him.  He might have scoffed, but I like to think he was choking up with admiration.

As we stood there, facing the mirror, I noticed that we were each curling the same amount of weight on our respective barbells.  I make it a point to notice stuff like that.  I made sure I did as many reps as that whippersnapper.  I’ve been around ya know.

I was competitive with this big kid if not the little gymnast.  This muscle shirt guy was more my stature.  Then he topped me.  He walked up closer to the mirror, lifted the front of his shirt and checked out his six-pack abs.  He was not that sly.  He was unabashed.  I decided to keep my shirt down.  Comparing abs definition is where I draw the line.

After my workout, I went to the steam room.  I made sure I stayed in longer than anyone else.  It is a matter of competitive pride.  You shoulda been there.  I was really somethin’.

On my way out, I talked to the guy at the front desk.  I had a question for him that he might not have been asked before.  I asked, “If my muscles get too big so I have to cut back on my visits, is there some sort of refund or pro rata monthly dues?”

He did not miss a beat.  He sincerely replied without smirking, “I suppose we can talk about that when the time comes.”

That is good to know.

Healthy Habits, Unhealthy Competition

So, Miss Sugar has me going to the gym with her the past couple weeks.  I am enjoying it.  I have spent time in gyms before.  It is a healthy habit to exercise.

It is not so healthy to go with my inherent attitude.  There is something wrong with me.  I will explain.

When I get on a weight machine, whatever the previous user set the weight at, I will increase it, or try to anyway. 

When I am on the elliptical machine or a pedaling machine of any type that has a screen showing time, or a setting for difficulty, or miles, or r.p.m.s, I peek at the screen of the person next to me, whether it is a college kid or someone my advanced age.  That is sick.  I try to beat them. I do not always win, but I always compete.

When in the pool, even if an old lady is swimming in the lane next to me, I try to see how many times I can lap her. 

In the steam room, I try to stay in longer than my companions. No one cares but me. No one is impressed. It is personal goal-setting. No one knows what I am doing. They are not competing with me.

However, now they will know because at the club there is a board showing records for pull-ups, push-ups, dips, sit-ups, bench press, dead lift, even mile run.  With my bum knees, I concede that the mile run record is out of my reach, and probably dead lift; however, I am aiming to break the push-up record first.  You are thinking — How arrogant!  How delusional!  You might be right.

Regardless, I talked to the college kid working at the front desk about how to get on the board.  One of the personal trainers on staff has to witness the feat.  I asked him who Lucas is, the current record holder.  I was told that Lucas is a stud.  I replied, “Don’t tell Lucas that I plan to set a new record.”  The kid did not laugh, which was polite of him.  I was wearing a Senior Olympic tee shirt.  I guess I looked like a stud too.  I could see it in his eyes.

I kinda feel sorry for Lucas, but afterall, it is a dog eat dog world.  As the Old West gunfighters acknowledged, there is always someone faster.  This will be a good life lesson for Lucas. I am gunning for him. As Muhammed Ali said before a fight, “I pity the fool.”  

Resolutionary Ideas for the New Year

Today is the day that many folks around the world pause to reflect on the past and set goals for the future, known as New Year’s Resolutions.  I am here to help.

My help will be valuable for the self-esteem of the multitudes of people who comprise The General Public.  My mission is to set you who are in The General Public free from the guilt that comes with broken resolutions by helping you compose a list of resolutions that you are unlikely to break.

You are unlikely to break resolutions to do things that you want to do anyway; or, to refrain from doing things that you do not want to do anyway.  This is a very successful method of self-help.  It is a form of psychological judo.  Judo, as I understand it, involves the principle of directing force rather than resisting force.  The force about which this advice is directed is called Human Nature.

Those of you familiar with Human Nature have likely observed, for example, that it is a popular resolution to lose weight and to vow to go regularly to the gym in order to accomplish that goal.  You have observed crowded gyms in January that thin out by February.  (Of course you have observed this phenomenon only if you are one of the February attendees, so you might only have learned of this by anecdotal history told to you by others.)

1.  DO NOT PAY AT THE PUMP.  The silly, lazy people who purchase fuel by inserting a credit card into the device at the pump suffer from two disadvantages.  They miss out on the exercise of walking to the cashier, who is in a building containing a convenience store, and they miss out on the opportunity to buy a treat at the same time as they pay for the fuel.  Personally, the closest fuel pumps to my home lack modernistic pay-at-the-pump technology.  Not only that, but this convenience store is perhaps the only one in America that has a flight of stairs from the pumps to the cashier.  Here is the drill:  park by the pump; climb the stairs (even if you are a candidate for a double knee replacement) or, if you are chair-bound, wheel up the ramp on the other side of the building;  pre-pay the cashier (which is dangerous as the pumps do not automatically shut off so you pump an incorrect amount at your peril and would have to come back to pay the extra) or, for security reasons, leave your card with the cashier and walk back down the stairs to your vehicle; dispense fuel into your vehicle; climb up the stairs for the second time to sign the slip at which time the customer deserves a treat and if the customer is me, selects a cup of hot chocolate with a few drops of coffee as well as, say, a Snickers bar; and negotiates down the stairs balancing the cup and carrying the candy bar with no free hand to grab the railing, thus calling upon balancing skills while returning to the vehicle.  Exercise and a treat!  Brilliant!  You are welcome!

2. AVOID THE GYM.  Especially after purchasing gas where I do, there is no need to pay to go to a gym in order to get on a machine like the Stairmaster.  Even if you purchase fuel where stairs are lacking, there are other reasons to avoid the gym anyway.  As mentioned above, gyms are crowded in January, I have heard, so you risk exposure to sweaty individuals who might be carrying a contagious disease.  That is a reason in the category of self-protection, but I offer a more altruistic reason, which is that your absence make the gym less crowded for others.  Doesn’t that make you feel better about yourself?

3.  THROW AWAY THE SCALE.  It is a well known scientific fact that it is easier to gain weight than to lose it.  I know a man, who appears in my mirror, who can watch his food intake for a week, exercise diligently, and lose maybe two pounds, then have one hearty meal and gain five pounds.  That is discouraging.  That is depressing.  That lowers his self-esteem.  It is another scientific fact that, on a day to day basis, weight gain is almost imperceptible to the naked eye.  Therefore, in order to avoid depression and lowered self-esteem, throw away the scale and just look in the mirror.  You will hardly notice any weight gain unless you look at old photos of yourself or until a pesky physician tries to get you on the scale for your physical exam.  As the imperceptible daily changes become perceptible after a year without a scale, you can have a resolution for 2018 to throw away all mirrors in your home.

If you are keeping up with my irrefutable logic, you will soon enjoy the fruits of success, including positive self-esteem.  While others bemoan with shame their broken resolutions, you will smugly smile, secure in your superiority to The General Public for having harnessed Human Nature.

Have a Happy New Year!

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