It was New Year’s Eve, and my wife was checking our emails when she suddenly looked at me a little bewildered and asked “There is a gym membership renewal here in your name. When did you join a gym?”
“Around 9 months ago” I replied
“What for?” she asked
“To get fit” I again replied
She looked at the email again and then looked at me, eyeing me from the tip of my toes to the top of my head and then shook her head “It’s not working” she said and then mumbled “That was a waste of money.” I stood up, gathered my pride about me, called on my ego and went to the bathroom to look in the mirror. Obviously, an old man with a bulging abdomen, weak flabby muscles and bent back had got there before me and when I looked in the mirror all I could see was his reflexion. Instead of “Bond Shirt Man” looking back at me – there was “Michelin Man” standing in his road.
It got me thinking about the gym and things I (and people my age and body type) should never do.
1st. Never wear a cap in the gym and NEVER wear it backwards. I do not understand why people where a cap in the gym – there is a ceiling that stops the sun from shining. One day I was “working out” next to a man who could bend iron bars in his teeth and was bulging with muscles and wearing a cap backwards. “Why do you have a cap on backwards?” I asked. “To keep my hair out of my eyes” he replied.
Now I looked around me and there were a number of women in the gym – all with hair longer and thicker than his and none of them were wearing a cap – normally or backwards. There was an exception – one woman who had shoulders wider than mine, who had muscles on muscles and all of them tattooed and I am sure could pull a Mac truck (with its brake on) using her small finger – she was wearing a cap but there was no way would I ever question her right to wear a cap frontwards or backwards (in all honesty I would never question anything she wanted to do – I would need a forklift to pick up some the weights she threw around and she scares me with her strength).
2nd. Never exercise where there is a mirror. Now I am sure the mirrors in the gym are there for the exerciser to make sure they are doing the exercise properly and for some people (mainly men) who want to pose and flex their muscles. I am sure the owner of the gym also wants the mirror to stimulate the exerciser to try harder and gain from each session. BUT in my case the mirror is a deterrent to continue to exercise, it is depressing to see Michelin Man looking back at you, to see certain areas of the body wobbling when exercising is not stimulating. I always go to the non-mirror section of the gym and pretend I am “Bond Shirt Man”.
3rd. Never wear a Muscle Shirt (like a big singlet with bigger holes for your arms to allow the muscles of the chest to show through). In my case it is better to wear a sugar bag over the body or exercise while wearing a tent. Muscle Shirts are for the 22-year-old man who has a rippling “6 pack” for an abdomen and a chest that you can sharpen a nail on. To wear one when your abdomen is 15cm larger than your chest and when you move the rippling of the fat tissue starts at your toes and then moves in waves upwards towards you head and then becomes a tsunami by the time it gets back to the toes – that is just sad.
4th. Never go to the weights section around 5:00pm when all the young people are going to the gym on the way home. You become an annoyance to this section of people who just want to “work out” using weights that I cannot even role along the ground let alone actually lift up. Then there is the group of people who just want to socialise with the occasional lift of some weight to emphasize part of their conversation and I just get in their road “by just being there.”
It is best to stay within your limitations – in my case spend some time on the walking machine, go to the exercise mat and try to touch my toes without sitting down, use the exercise elastic straps and try to actually make then lengthen, jump on the cross trainer and actually see if I can make it move, sit on the recumbent bike and try to turn the peddles for more than 2 minutes and generally stay out of everyone’s road.
Going to a gym is a whole weird experience with unwritten rules that each participant must learn over time – I may not be getting fitter but I certainly get a lot of amusement watching other people “working out” and observing how they interact with each other. Like watching the mating dance of some of the wildlife you see on television. I am sure that the majority of people who use a gym are not “trying to get fit” but are using the gym as a social interaction with other like-minded people.
Have a wonderful and happy New Year and I hope every one of your wishes is granted in 2022.