Nude by Christmas

38 years old, 102kg. One of those numbers is about to change.

Archive for the tag “gym”

All this excitement, and the trampolining hasn’t even started yet

If the brand nazis at the IOC could see my eyes right now, I’d be thrown in the Tower of London, not to be released until Zara Phillips won gold in Rio. And that’s a big ‘if’. The rings around my eyes from staying up late watching this damned sports carnival are of Olympic proportions. My part of the world is 7 hours ahead of London, so when the interesting evening sessions are getting started in Stratford, witches are gathering for their covens here.

It’s ridiculous really. I’m watching handball. Water polo. Synchronised diving, for f*ck’s sake. I’m getting all jittery and excited when someone from Turkey is shooting clay pigeons. I’m commenting on the South Korean women’s archery outfit, umpiring the basketball from my armchair, wincing at the whacks when a gymnast nose plants on the tumbling mat and… well, no, I draw the line at watching soccer.

Meanwhile, at my own gym, I’m struggling to run 5km, lift a few measly kilograms, and last a full hour on the floor sweating my chubby little butt off. All while I’m glued to the Sony widescreen soaking up the wonder of the swimmers’ bodies, and wishing I looked like one of those divers, so the ladies – maybe even a chap or two – would swoon as I wandered past on the deck of the pool.

Fat chance right now. Fit chance coming soon.

These folks I’m watching play badminton, table tennis, or canoe down a man-made concrete river are the best in the world at what they do. Kudos to them. They should be bloody proud of themselves just for getting there.

I wish my gym could make me come

Raw honesty.

I’m not in love with my gym. Not at all. Sure, we’ve only be dating for less than two months – perhaps she’ll grow on me – but for now, she’s a bore. Dull. Repetitive. Do I really want to get all hot and sweaty, and use the same equipment, every night? I’ll be honest: sometimes gym just doesn’t do it for me. Sometimes I don’t even come. Er, go.

We had a two week break there in the middle – I had a commitment to a holiday that I couldn’t back out of. While away, I cheated on my gym (and yes, fitness Nazis: on myself) with wine and cheese. But I ran. And hiked. And even did body weight exercises (which is really the fitness equivalent to masturbating, isn’t it?). Then I got home, ran straight into the arms of my gym, and… nothing. Absence failed to make the heart grow fonder… In fact, it probably just clogged it up a bit more.

That was ten days ago.

Since then, we’ve seen each other every day. Some days we’ve gone quick and hard, some days it’s been a more sustained sweat-up. Just the way she likes it. Tonight I’m pumping her like a… gym. But still: just no doing it.

I know, I know, I should give it time. Not rush into this thinking I’m going to be swept off my feet straight away. But something needs to give soon. Some result. Some magical feeling. Some glimpse of being… more. Better.

Anything.

But I’m no quitter.

(Actually, I am. But this time, I’m so determined not to be).

Train dirty… but wipe up your wet spots

If you find yourself in a room full of people wearing very little, grunting, moaning and sweating profusely, either pray you’re in a gym, or be prepared to throw your keys in a bowl and use protection. Apart from a swingers’ club – or the vinyl floors and walls of a very ‘open’ couples’ bedroom – there are very few places as rawly and fleshy as the floor of gym.

Over the past week or two, my gym has become increasingly popular. While I could put this down to my attendance attracting people, that would be just plain wrong. It’s just a small little place, out in the ‘burbs, nestled between apartments, a drive-thru coffee joint and a fast food store. The irony is not lost on me. I go there at night, usually after ten, and usually after everyone else has gone home to bed – perhaps to get sweaty in another way.

But lately there are more people there. Like lots more. What are these people doing at the gym at ten o’clock at night? (And, incidentally, what’s that guy doing wearing a sun-visor in a gym at ten o’clock at night?). Don’t they get that this is my space, my time and I don’t particularly want to share with them?

I’ve always been cool with sharing. I played marbles as a kid and managed to share my tom thumbs and snake eyes with Dean and Eddy and Daniel and Mark – my playground buddies. I’ve lived in a share house. I’ve bought shares. I’ve even listened to Cher. But sharing at the gym… well, that’s different.

When you go to a hotel, you expect that the couple in the room before you had likely used the king-sized bed as their workbench for however long they occupied the room. Likewise the shower, possibly the bathroom vanity, the bedside table, the lounge chair in the corner, the desk with the internet port and, potentially the window sill. You also expect that housekeeping has come along and changed the sheets, wiped down all these surfaces and provided fresh flowers to disguise the smell. Don’t you?

In a gym – while it is hoped people only secrete sweat from their pores, not other fluids from other oriffices – it comes (if you’ll pardon the pun) about as close to a B&D dungeon as a public space can become. So what do people do to mop up their mess once they’ve splashed all over the place? Wipe it with a towel. WTF? You want me to trust that a quick wipe of a bench with your (stinky looking) towel is enough to make me feel comfortable about going to lie in your wet spot? Forget it. No, not even if you’re the hot chick with the butt expertly squeezed in to the virtually see-thru yoga pants. Although…

I am kidding. I think.

I live less than two minutes from my gym. I finish my cool down, pick up my stuff and head straight home to the shower. I haven’t even set foot in the shower at the gym. It looks clean in there, but for showers – just like humans – if you spend a lot of time with a lot of different naked people… you’re likely to be carrying some kind of bug.

Anyway, the only athelete’s foot I want to play tootsies with is one at the very end of a long, tanned leg belonging to a brazilian beach volleyballer.

I have a gym stalker

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She seems armless enough.

Look Boss! I’m plain, I’m plain!

I remember when tattoos were found only on sailors or Fantasy Island.  Most of you are probably too young to get the reference, and most of you will probably have ink somewhere on your gym-honed bodies. I don’t. It just wouldn’t suit me. I couldn’t carry it off. But I kinda like the people who can carry it off. Good on them, I reckon.

Problem is: not everyone can.  And not everyone’s a good judge of whether or not they can. And yet everyone seems to be getting inked these days.  Everyone.  Even those of us who shouldn’t.

If you know who you are, know what you stand for and want to express that by pricking your body with ink – go for it. I’m all for.  You’ll find some cool, Tim Burton kind of way of way of making your calves or clavicle  look ridiculously hot, and I will envy you from afar.  Or wish I got to touch it.  If you’re a bloke, then that sleeve (as long as it doesn’t look like an Archie comic, or include a portrait of your mum) or thing across your back (sans religious symbolism) will impress me.  But I won’t be so hot on touching it.  Admire from afar will do just fine, thank you.

But If you’re a messed up wreck, stumbling around in the dark night of your own life, desperate to find something about yourself to cling to: think again.  Tattoos are not a good way to find yourself.  The Pink Panther peering over the top of your undies could clash wildly with the tribal tramp stamp guiding your parter to your nether regions from behind.  The quote from Dawson’s Creek?  Sadly, I have come across each of these things on the flesh of an otherwise seemingly normal human being in the course of my relatively short lifetime.

Fit people carry it off better than most.  Not surprisingly, tight skin can wear a tatt better than blubbery, pasty skin. Taut and tatted? Terrific.  Inflated and inked? Icky.  And likely to get worse over time – as you swell, your skin stretches and… ugh… suddenly your Pink Panther starts looking like the mangy feral cat that stalks rats in the city sewer.

As for the hotties?  Well, I like something with meaning. A good quote (no Dawson’s Creek) or a symbol of some significance. If you a fourth generation Caucasian Australian who’s never set foot outside of Sydney – forget Aboriginal markings. Never been to the South Pacific? Then that swirly thing’s not for you.  Chinese calligraphy? Sure – if you’re Chinese. Or at least you know what it says. What it really says.  Just don’t get it done in Bali.  Just… don’t.

Tonight was an unusually tatt free night at the gym.  The young hotties must have all been out on the town (it’s Saturday), and it was left to the dowdies like me to hold the fort.  We who missed the tatt boat, and who navigated our late teens and twenties predominantly with pubic hair…

But then that’s another whole blog post right there…

Tatt’s all folks.

Friday Night Lighter

Blogging live from the gym tonight. First time here for two weeks, and expecting to hurt a little tomorrow. I weighed myself on arrival, which was a dumb thing to do after a two week holiday in cheese and wine country. Time to play catch up now.

There are only three other people here tonight. All guys. It’s Friday – I’m a father of three kids under 7 years of age, what’s their excuse for spending Friday night at the gym?

There’s a hairier, fatter, older bloke than me huffing and puffing his way through a weights circuit, like he’s going to blow this house down; a guy with a boy-band hair-cut splashing sweat all over the screen of his exercise bike; a tiny little guy doing HIIT on a treadmill – grunting like one of the little pigs the hairy guy might quite like to devour, and; oh, and a fourth, some guy staring into the mirror, willing it to tell him who’s the fairest of them all.

Well it’s not me. Not tonight. 14 days out of the sweatshop has left me saggier and baggier than a little elephant.

But I’m here. Like these other guys. Hairy, sweaty, big, small, pretty, neatly groomed or otherwise. We’re here.

For me, that’s a win.

Bibles and Barbells

I do not believe in a god of any description. If that bothers you, it’s probably best that you read no further. No, I will not mock you if you do believe. You have the right to believe what you want, and I have the right not to. Simple. Let’s be friends.

But I’m a little taken aback by all the god-believing fitness fiends out there. It seems every second fitness or health blog moves quickly from biceps to bibles, from alcohol-and-carb free living to the importance of including bread and wine in your diet… especially on Sundays.

I see more biblical quotes at the header of people’s blogs, facebook pages, tweets or instagram feeds than anything else – beside goal weights. “Jane Doe. Mom. Jesus Lover. UGW 100lbs” “John Doe. Loving Father. The Lord is my Shepherd. I want ripped abs”.

I guess when you don’t understand faith, it’s difficult to get how faith could be employed to make someone fitter. I don’t get the need to declare it. If your god is all-knowing (they pretty much all seem to be), then why do you need to tell anyone on Facebook? Surely your god doesn’t need a status update to know whether or not you still believe?

You see, I believe in me. I’d like to believe more in myself, and someday I will. I can see how the gym – not Jesus – could help me out there. I don’t think there is a higher being that can help will the fat around my waistline elsewhere. I don’t believe that his right hand man could spot me on the bench-press (or even cross-trainer, if we want to be really crass about it). And I don’t believe, wholly, in a spirit of any sort… other than the ones I now try to avoid at the bar.

But you might. And you’re probably fitter than me.

Hmmmmm…..

Game over and game on.

I’ve not set foot in a gym for twelve days now. I’ve continued to run and chop wood and hike and walk sandy beaches – heck I’ve even done some body weight exercises – but hardly enough. I could tell you that my holiday is to blame, but we all know the truth: I am to blame.

My holiday comes to an end tomorrow. I’ve had nearly two weeks in Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region
– sipping on the odd red here and there, partaking in the occasional sliver of cheese and I even had one ice cream. Eating and drinking well are a way of life down here: thing are fresh, local and clean. It’s soul food – often still produced by independent ‘mum and dad’ providores from their small wineries or organic vege gardens. Great stuff. If you can get here: do.

Tomorrow it is back to the city, back to a gym and back to routine. I’m kinda looking forward to it.

One game over and one game on.

Sit-ups and put-downs.

I must have been bullied as a kid. I don’t remember it, and given that I was 6′ tall at 12 years of age, I struggled to imagine how it came about. But I must have been. How else could my body image be so bad?

Oh, I’m not hideous, I know that. I don’t think that. I’m not one of these fifteen year old girls you see on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram blogging their recovery from an eating disorder (poor loves). It’s not that bad. But it’s not good, and something I want to climb on top of as I lead myself through this health recovery journey.

I’m calling it health recovery, because there must have been a time when I was healthy. At school I played basketball a million times a week, almost – but not quite – having the vertical spring to be able to slam dunk (I peaked out at 6’2″, for those who are following closely). I swam in the summer – quite well, actually – and (shock horror) even enjoyed it. I don’t remember what my body looked like, or even how it felt, but there’s probably no doubt it looked fine and felt even better. Which is about what I’m aiming for now.

But my body now is not like those of the free-weights boys at the gym, and I have to admit, they intimidate me. Not because they’re scary, or dangerous. Not because they have tatts of their murdered first wives, or the warring South Pacific island their ancestors fought for. No, they intimidate me by their capability. Their strength.

Currently, I am a weakling. I cannot do ten push-ups. When I went for my induction at my gym, they took all the weight off a barbell for me to bench press, and I only managed three lifts with the empty barbell itself. I was doing sit ups with a medicine ball that might as well have been a ping pong ball. Maybe two.

While I’m slowly (very slowly) building strength, I admit that I feel awkward at the gym. Sure, I’m not Mr Puniverse, but for the other Masters of the Universe, they must see this dumpy old guy and wonder… WTF? How do you get to 38 and not be able to do ten push ups. Indeed, how do you?

It’s times like this… as you write these things for all the world to see… that you realise that it’s actually not about your physical fitness at all, is it? It’s all in your mind. All in my mind.

Why the hell should I feel intimidated by the Masters of the Universe? My war is not with them: it’s with me. With my own body. And, clearly, with my own mind.

That’s the war I think I need to win first.

Getting out, getting fit and getting wood

I’m out of the city and away from the gym. It’s the best place to be. The air is fresh – almost freezing, in fact – and the sky is big and bright. Today I walked along a beach, through a forest and across rocks. Did I work up a sweat? No. Actually, I worked up nothing. I de-stressed.

For a bit of cardio and upper body strengthening, I chopped and stacked wood. That also helped to keep me warm as the sun went down, and the air got perfectly crisp.

A recurring them on this blog is likely to be ‘getting back to nature’. I get so disheartened by just how disconnected we have all become from our natural world. I’ve said it before: gyms shouldn’t need to exist (but I get that they serve a purpose).

Out there today with my feet deep in the sand, my strengthening core stabilising my walk across the dunes, it helped to reinforce just why we humans are meant to be fit: because we are meant to move, a lot more than we do right now.

It feels so good.

Tonight I find myself by a fire I split the wood for, and lit. I’m entranced by the flame. My kids are sleeping peacefully – more peacefully than they do at home – having spent the day outdoors running and climbing and digging and collecting. Doing what every kid should do: playing.

No gym in sight… and we’re all better off because if it.

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