Nude by Christmas

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

Archive for the tag “gyms”

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).

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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.

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.

Beating Obesity with Beethoven, not Bieber

I’m the heavy middle-aged guy on the treadmill, sweating like a prisoner on death row, as my legs thump, thump, thump against the rubber below. I have my headphones stuck firmly into my ears, partly to block out the incessant noise of Channel V blaring across the room, and partly to I can tune into my training music of choice: Beethoven.

Yeah, how old am I? Instead of Boyfriend, I’ve got Beethoven belting into me. No baby faced Bieber, just my immortal beloved.

I’ve always found the deaf old prick to do find the best in me. When I was writing films and plays, Beethoven was always the one who would reach deep into my soul and bring out the real stuff that I needed to put on the page. Now he’s my sweat master. And my timer. If I can row for a full Choral Fantasy (between 19 and 20 minutes, depending on the conductor), then cycle for a Triple Concerto (say, 35 minutes), I’m pretty satisfied with my cardio.

For weights, it makes sense to go with the Emperor Concerto, or one of the Symphonies. It works every time!

If the cool kids puffing their way through Beyonce or Usher or whoever it is that they listen to while they work up their own slipper sweat knew what I was listening to, I’m sure they’d laugh even harder than they do already.

Bugger them.

Now, if only I could get someone to shoot some music videos of LvB with some booty shaking and plunging necklines, I reckon I’d be set for my gym-going-life.

What do you guys listen to?

Gyms

I’ve never really got gyms. You can probably tell, just by looking at me. It seems… fake. Like fast food fitness. Like we’re all too lazy to actually go out and do real things to make us fitter, so we bring things to us. Sure, i get that it’s better than nothing, but it’s also… nothing. Running on a conveyer belt. Riding a bike that goes nowhere. Lifting a heavy stick with circles on the end. Squeezing machines with wires on. Rolling on squishy balls. Sliding up and down mats that hundreds of other sweaty people slide up and down on. Eww.

Then there’s the mirrors. Endless mirrors. Grotty carpet. Drops of sweat on the walls. Communal drinking fountains. Showers breeding tinea. Shower gel that grates your skin. Lockers that are too small and too smelly. Left over deodorant sticks on splashy vanities. And signs. Signs everywhere. Warm up. Cool down. Clean up. Wipe down. Stretch. Repeat.

Then there are the people. tThe fatties that come for a week and then stop. The muscle-heads that come every day, wear very little and always seem to have heads too small for their shoulders. The girls in tight clothes. The girls in loose clothes. The girls in new clothes bought just for the gym. The mums: they stick out. The personal trainers – always in primary colours, and always with gel in their hair, if they’re men, and their hair in buns if they’re girls. Both have tatts, and both are half your age, half your body weight, twice as strong and twice as annoying. Because you wish you looked like them. or slept with them.

At any given time, there’s always the pretty girl, arse squeezed in to something spectacular, boobs pert and pretty, hair bobbing along like it would if you were shagging her. But you never will. There’s the buff guy, with the singlet revealing his pec cleavage from the front and from the side, grunting as he lifts a tree trunk off his chest fifteen times, because he can. There’s one who never gets out of the stretching and abs area, one who never gets off the bike, and one who never stops walking on the conveyer belt – despite the fact that it’s beautiful outside, and she’s only metres from the walk path around the river.

And now there’s me. I’m most like the mum at the moment. Floppy clothes, the “don’t talk to me” iPod firmly stuck in my ear, an aversion to anything to do with my ‘core’ because I know that’s where I’m most rotten. The one who sits down on the machines, gasps at the number the last person managed, then quietly slides it up to… well, nevermind… then slips it back down after I’m done so the next person thinks ‘wow’. Just kidding. I don’t. But I’ve thought about it.

They keep telling me the sticks with heavy things on them are really good for you, but that would involve a trip across the ocean – a flat, spongy expanse of skipping ropes and bouncy balls – to “where the wild things are”: the men who should be hairy, but aren’t. Whose balls hang out of their shorts. Who watch themselves in the mirror. And the other guys. Hang on? They watch the other guys? That’s weird. There’s a girl behind you, buddy, wearing almost nothing, jiggling her bits up and down, and you’re watching the dude with the tribal tatt squat and groan?  Oh… Perhaps I don’t belong here.

But I am going every day. For an hour or two. Yes, me. And, strangely enough, my arms already feel bigger, my tummy a bit tighter, my lungs a lot cleaner and, just to tease, my legs even hotter than ever. I’m enjoying watching bubbles of sweat pop out of my arms, and discovering that I have muscles in my neck (seriously! my neck! who would have thought we have muscles in our neck!). A room full of mostly healthy people, wearing very little, sweating and groaning, pushing and pulling and pumping… whoever thought i could get into that?

Now the trick is to escape. To leap off the conveyer, get back into my beloved water, and pant until I can’t breathe, where people wear even less, have even less body hair and spend their time as wet as can be.

If only there were mirrors on the bottom of the pool.

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