As I type this, I can feel my entire torso tensing up. I feel tired and just want to lie down and avoid moving.
I guess that’s what I get for trying to be healthy.
My healthful efforts began as an earnest attempt at avoiding becoming a giant tub of lard. When you spend most of your time on a computer, your waistline has a tendency to try it’s best to double in size. I began running and eating nutritious meals, also known as less delicious meals.
These efforts were working out very well. I had lost weight and, I like to think, had moved from grotesquely out of shape to moderately out of shape. I was doing a great job of maintaining my ability to fit through doorways and at no point felt the need to use a scooter at my local Wal-Mart. While I was happy that I would not be the star of a TLC special called “The Man Who (Literally) Weighed a Ton,” I thought I could do more.
I was at this point one evening as I watched TV. Almost as if by magic, a commercial appeared on screen. Pictures of a shiny new gym flashed across the screen. It was a like an advertising executive was reaching out to me.
As much as I liked the idea of a gym, my wife was even more excited. She immediately made plans to check out this workout oasis the next day, calling me just after the visit to highly praise the gym, giving the highest ranking a huge room full of treadmills can receive. Within 48 hours, we had gone from bums who exercised outside to proud would-be gym rats.
Knowing that I was no paying money for the right to exercise, I woke up this morning and prepared for my first real workout. I laced up my shoes just right, put on my best workout shorts and, walking into the building, felt ready to finally become the modern-day Adonis that this world was truly needing. I triumphantly opened the doors and…
Sweat. All I smelled was sweat. Worse, it was sweat from other people. If I knew that it was my sweat, it would have somehow made it less gross. Instead, a room full of people running nowhere and repeatedly lifting heavy things, only to put them back down, had created a moist, thick air of body stink.
Despite this, I was determined to push on. I made my way to the bikes. I had been told that they had recumbent bikes, a luxury that I was very prepared for. Exercising on a recumbent bike is much like exercising on a comfortable chair. You get a workout and your butt is very comfy. It’s the best of both worlds.
As I reached the bikes, I looked around. All of them were occupied. All except one.
I was stuck with the one regular bike this gym possessed.
I precariously scaled this bike. At 5’7” and 90% torso, bikes like this are not made for me. In fact, they are only made for people who have 5’7” legs. I worked hard to maintain my balance as I programmed in my weight and age (it was a very nosey machine) before I began to pedal.
If recumbent bikes are like a comfortable chair, this bike was like being stuck at the top of a see-saw. For the next 20 minutes, I carefully avoided sliding off of this seat, knowing full well that falling from a height like this could kill a person my height.
To my right, a lady enjoyed a nice novel as she worked out. It seemed glorious. Instead, I enjoyed silently screaming for help as the pedals went faster and faster, threatening to rip off the small amount of leg that I do have.
Having finished the most harrowing stationary bike ride of all time, I made my way to the weight machines. After all, a modern-day Adonis must have pecs, abs, and all of those other muscles that, I’m almost positive, have been surgically implanted on people like Ryan Gosling to make us actual human beings feel terrible. These machines would help with this, I suppose.
I began to work out my flexors which is located somewhere above my knees but below my shoulders. That’s when I noticed it.
Just behind the machine, to the right, stood a lady. Staring. Her eyes shot daggers at me. I thought through my entire life. Had I done something to offend her? I couldn’t think of anything, but I usually offend a great number of people without even realizing it. She might fall into that category.
I stood to adjust the machine (You need to make sure you work out your left and right flexors equally, otherwise you will have uneven flexor strength. That’s what really killed JFK.) and, out of the corner of my eye, saw her begin to move towards me. The Jaws theme played in my head as she approached the machine. Then, as I sat down, she retreated.
She wasn’t angry with me for being a rude, inconsiderate person in the past. She was mad because I was preventing her from gaining flexor strength!
Having retreated, she resumed her attempts of killing me with her eyes. That’s when I made a conscious decision. Today, I would have the best and most thorough flexor workout of all time.
I did not keep very good track of my workout, but I would assume I did roughly 20 sets of 170 reps each flexor (still not sure I am using the world “flexor” correctly). I did so many that even body builders were starting to notice my amazing flexor strength. I was King Flexor.
I reached for my water. As I lifted the bottle to my lips, I was met by the sweet refreshing taste of absolutely nothing.
Now I had a decision to make. I could continue to use this machine, eventually thirsting to death, but proving a point to the angry lady waiting for the machine or I could enjoy a nice cool, refreshing water and live to see another day.
In the end, I chose life.
No, the gym experience was not as great as the commercial made it seem. Real life is rarely as great as a commercial. Commercials never tell you that a movie is, actually, really bad or that the Big Mac will probably make you feel like a greasy slob the rest of the day.
With that said, I will continue to go to the gym for one specific reason: I’m paying for it. I am cheap. I don’t want to waste money on a sweaty, stinky gym only to never use. I want to stink up the building with my own sweat.
Yes, I will be there again. Just not in the next couple of days.
At least not until I can move my body again.
- How To Use A Recumbent Exercise Bike (answers.com)