Wednesday, February 23, 2005

why i'm never going to the gym again

Disclaimer: Some people would be inclined to embellish facts in an episode like this to increase their appearance of being pathetic. This is not the case here, I am this pathetic. Read on.

OK, so I decided yesterday to go back to the gym after an extended hiatus (smirk). The reasons are plentiful and include the 1000 times I have heard how small things like airplane seats and showers are in China. SO, not wanting to feel like the guy who has to move to the extra large seat on the roller-coaster (they have these, did you know that?), I decide it's time to get serious about shrinking. Now my wife loves the gym. She has gone faithfully since we moved back to OKC eight years ago. Even pregnant she would go and do her thing. Me? I'm more like the Loch Ness Monster of our gym. There are rumors of my existence and even a couple of sightings, but no hard evidence that I am real.

Day one: Stationary bike, no sweat. Well, actually lots of sweat, but that's what you are supposed to do, so we move on. Then I go back to the wall o' dumbbells (that's the weights, no comment on the people using them). Do you know this wall? It's a lineup that goes from the dumbbells that look like toys to the ones that look like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. First thing I notice is that most of the men are working out down with the weights that I couldn't lift one time using both hands. The second thing is that the weights I think I can use are gone. I look around to see where they might be and find a woman who has to be 60 years old working out with them. Now she was a strapping 60 year-old woman, but still. A man can only take so much. So I move from free weights to the machines. This is where I made the most painful discovery of the day. Believe it or not, you can't take 8 months off from the gym and then go back and lift anywhere near what you did before. Who knew? I found this out as I nearly simultaneously (two adverbs in a row, not good) blacked out and threw up as I went for "one more rep". It felt like a good time to call it a day.

So today was day two. Upon waking up this morning I remember why I hated the gym in the first place. All of the places that received attention yesterday were screaming for it today. Actually it wasn't attention they wanted, it was Advil. So I fall out of bed and go to the mirror thinking I'll be inspired because surely all of this pain is a sign of results, right? Wrong. Nothing. Nada. I knew this would be the case, but a man can dream.
Anyway, off I stumble. I arrive at my usual time from a former life and saw lots of the same people who were there 8 months ago. How different did they all look? Not at all. My first thought was how amazing a coincidence it was that all of us decided to go back to the gym at the same time. Then it hit me, these people had been coming faithfully for 8 months and they look the same. This realization sucked. So I go and do my thing. No blackouts, no hurling, no 60 year-old women. So far, so good. I move to the treadmill in the "cardio theater". Right. This morning's "theater" included every cheesy morning show crew, a huge update on the Michael Jackson case, someone yelling about mudslides and earthquakes, and AMC showing "Hello Dolly" (what the...?). No ESPN, no CNN, but all the Barbara Streisand you need to be inspired to walk in place for 30 minutes.
So I'm done. I'm leaving. I'm thinking to myself, "What if musical numbers broke out in real life?" When someone yells my name from across the gym. I turn to see a friend who then yells, "I'm not used to seeing you here. I see your wife all the time, but not you." I offer the expected smile and shrug and wander out to the parking lot remembering why I stopped going all those months ago.

And I'm not going back.
Until tomorrow I guess.


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