So, I started with some pushups and sit ups (most mornings), and began walking the dog a little further and faster than usual. The results were far from stellar. I didn’t change my diet all that much, in fact, at all. Why should I? I was exercising now right? Burning up all those dirty calories…
So, in February, after much thought, I decided to throw caution to the wind and head back to the gym. I hadn’t been in a gym for over 16 years, so I put it off for a few days longer than planned. Did I really want to do this? Was I prepared to work out several times a week? Did I have the time? Staring at my pudgy reflection in the bathroom mirror one evening it hit me, “When is enough enough?” Today. The next morning I made an appointment for an assessment and a couple of days later pedalled down to my local gym and signed up.
Gyms had changed a little since I’d last been in one. First of all, there were a lot more women working out. The testosterone junkies were still in attendance, huge biceps glistening with sweat, but the majority of people were women of all shapes and sizes. Even the personal trainer who met me was a woman. An extremely fit and well muscled woman. No worries…
The scales at the gym must have been out of wack, because I certainly didn’t feel like I weighed 104 kgs. You’d think they’d get accurate scales wouldn’t you? The nice lady then took some body measurements and wrote them all down on a clean white card. Then she asked me about my diet, “Diet? No worries, I don’t eat much, and it’s generally healthy.” Liar. She smiled but didn’t say anything. Hell, if I’d been in her position I’d have probably said something heavily sarcastic like, “Yeah, it must be really healthy, that’s why you’re in here talking with me… Mr. Blobby.”
Then she asked me if I drink, “Just a bit,” I said casually, “of course, I can give up whenever I want to.” Liar, liar, liar! All drinkers are liars. When we’re young we lie about how much we drink, and as we age we lie about how little we drink.
“Well, that’s good then,” she said, “we’ll get you to cut back to a couple of beers a week until you’re just drinking on the odd social occasion, ok?”
I must have looked a bit panicky, “Whoa! Let’s not go nuts here!” I said, getting to my feet and waving my arms around a little, “The whole reason I’m coming here is so I can maintain the decadent lifestyle I’ve grown very, I repeat, VERY accustomed to.”
She smiled and scribbled something down on my sheet. Then we got down to the dirty work of going through a warm up, before starting my training routine on the various weight machines downstairs.
Now, she’s a good looking girl, and I’m a bloke. When she put some dinky little weights on the press up bar I smirked, and pushing her aside, selected something a little more ‘manly’, “I think that will do for starters,” I said confidently, plumping myself down on the seat. Again, she didn’t say anything, just raised her eyebrows a little. A minute later she re-adjusted the weight back to where she had originally set it, and waited while I checked my stomach for possible rupture.
“How do you feel?” she asked.
I flexed my arms and winced a little as my shoulder popped back in, “Yeah, good mate, good. Can we come back to this machine later?”
“Are you taking anything to stop the clicking in your knees and ankles?” she asked five minutes later as I frantically thrashed about on the rowing machine.
“What clicking?!” I gasped, I couldn’t hear a thing except the sound of my heart pounding in my ears.
“It’s pretty loud, is it hurting?”
“Not as much as my lungs, back and arms are,” I huffed.
“Mmm,” she said. She was saying that a lot, but the smile stayed fixed on her dial.
The workout eventually ended, my little training card was full of figures and weight sizes. “Ok, we’ll do some cool down stretches before we finish up, ok?” I grinned and as we made our way toward the stretching area. At last! Something I’m half decent at.
The gym reverberated to the sound of my tendons twanging and snapping as I attempted to flex them in an astounding variety of ways. As I gritted my way through the last stretch a voice in the back of my head said quietly, “Bet you don’t think it was such a good idea now to pedal down here today.”
Gazing down at my wobbly and swollen legs I came close to tears.
The nice training lady gave me a pat on the back, “You did well today, now just do that routine four times a week and see me in a month or so and we’ll reassess you, ok?”
I nodded dumbly before limping slowly outside to the bike rack. It took me 10 minutes to saddle up.
“Well,” I thought, as I coaxed my legs onto the pedals, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first trip over the doormat.”