November 4, 2007
People are usually surprised (okay, flabbergasted) to find out that I go to the gym and press weights at least 3 times a week. Their wide-eyed stares and gaping maws would suggest their silent response to this piece of information is something like, “But how can a fat pig like YOU actually do any exercise, let alone lift weights???” Their polite, public personas instead say something like, “Oh? Really? Well, good for you!”
Another one of those bizarre paradoxes of my life is that I enjoy going to the gym and lifting weights, yet there seems to be no discernible effect (ie no taut, bulging muscles, no weight loss whatsoever) from what I do.
True, when the alarm sounds at 6:30 and I’ve only crawled into bed at 11:38 the night before, it can be difficult to haul myself out from under the blankets. Many mornings, I end up sleeping another 30 minutes or so while C. takes The Girls for their morning exercise, after which I finally throw back the covers and get into my gym clothes to head out as he hops in the shower. Other days, I don’t manage it at all, and end up rebuking myself for being so lazy.
But when I do get there, I’m always happy. Years ago, I established a good routine with a personal trainer, and have followed it since (I suspect it’s time for a change–maybe this new Plan will be the catalyst).
Because of my back and knee problems, my workout is limited, but I do cover all the machines I’m able to. I love the feeling of pushing those muscles to the limit and lubricating those joints as my blood starts to circulate more quickly and efficiently. Despite all the overeating and the erratic aerobic exercise, I seem to be able to persist with the weights on a relatively regular basis (except when my back decides to snap and I’m out of commission for a week or so–but I’ll save that for another post).
As someone who’s relatively shy and inner-directed, I am quite focused when I follow my routine and rarely speak to anyone else there (which also helps me keep to a schedule, so that I can get home in good time–meaning before Chaser has to be put back in a cage–and get started with my day).
But I do certainly recognize the “regulars” and we tend to acknowledge each other with curt smiles and nods. Most of the regulars I see are older than me (and my hats go off to them–cudos to you, Bald Man in Your Seventies! My admiration, Little 60-Something with the Spiky Black Hair! You are my inspiration, Septuagenarian Italian Couple with the Matching T-Shirts! And hope I’m as flexible as you at that age, Elderly Gentleman Who Wears Black Knee Socks!). A few are my age, and some are younger. There’s one couple who work out together every time I’m there (which leads me to believe they actually go every day, as my own schedule can change day to day), and they look almost exactly like the Canadian couple from the old “Participaction” commercials. There’s also a rotund girl who’s no more than 18 at best, who dutifully arrives every morning to meet her trainer and strain through a series of exercises on the machines, with hand weights, and on the oversize exercise balls. I hear her laughing even as she grunts to finish a set, sweat blossoming on her T-shirt, and I feel recharged.
So I like my routine. I feel guilty when I don’t do it for more than two days. And I feel energized when I’m done, a bit more lithe and flexible, a bit more awake and ready to start the day. The fact that it seems to have no impact whatsoever on my physical appearance is secondary, I suppose. But as I say to C. on occasion, man, I must have fabulous muscles under all this fat.
Today was also my day to update the Progress Tracker–go see how I did!