Iâve always hated going to the gym.Â Itâs not that I donât like working outâI just prefer something like running.Â Running is easy.Â Itâs solitary.Â You can listen to music and not have to worry about being watched or criticized or anything.
Most of my experience with gyms goes back to my time in the Army.Â Every post I was stationed at had a gym that soldiers could freely use in addition to our mandatory physical training.Â I would occasionally go for periods of up to a week of regularly gym usage.
My memories of the gym are of bulky guys having lengthy conversations about their pecks, their lats, their gloots, whatever.Â We shared the gym with soldiers from the infantry divisions.Â As a linguist, it was a little unnerving (âSure, they can kill a guy in a few seconds, but letâs see how quickly they can translate the Peopleâs Daily.â). Just by standing in a gym, you were in danger of one these bulky, self-obsessed, guys tapping you on the should and saying âSpot me?âÂ So, not wanting to look like I didnât know what I was doing, I would just grunt âYeah, okayâ and pray that the guys could actually bench press the amounts they were trying to lift.
I can remember working in one of the small controlled machines in the corner of the gym and listening to one guy spotting another on the bench press in the centre of the roomââYeah Man!Â You can do it!Â Come on! Come On!Â Yeah!Â Yeah!âÂ My sarcasm made me want to mock them, but I wouldnât dare.Â However, if he had said âEye of the Tiger, man!â, I would not have been able to control myself.
I pretty much stayed away from the gym after that.Â Iâve run several 10ks, half-marathons, and marathonsâbut have stayed out of the gym.
As I get older, though, running is not enough to keep me fit.Â I fear myself losing out to the obesity epidemic.Â Either I have to exercise more or change my diet.Â So, last week I joined the gym.
Joining the gym at 37 is not as easy as I thought it would be.Â I wish I could have filled out an online form and just showed up at a time I thought it was empty.Â Instead, I had to apply in person.Â My big fear was that when I approached the reception desk at the local leisure centre and told them I wanted to join the gym, they would start laughing and say âI should think so!âÂ But, it was easy.
Once I filled in the paperwork, I had to book a meeting with a trainer to discuss my goals and set up a training plan.Â I was nervous about this meeting.Â I tried to think of a good answer to the question âSo, what do you want to achieve by working out?âÂ I feel uncomfortable answering this question.Â I donât like bringing attention to areas of my body Iâm unhappy withâespecially to fit guy in his early twenties.Â So my rehearsed answer was âYou know, I want to do a little toning and work a little bit on upper body strength.âÂ But I really wanted to say âI want six-pack abs and I want people to gasp for the right reasons when I take my shirt off at the beach.â The answer I gave seemed to work and I am now set-up with a training plan.
The gym at the leisure centre is nothing like the gyms I used on Army bases.Â So far, Iâve been going in the middle of the day and there seem to be mostly older people (older than myself) and no body builders.Â I am now set-up with a direct-debit scheme that should keep me motivated to keep using it.Â So far, so good.
Eye of the Tiger, man.Â Eye of the Tiger!