Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It'll Work Out

What's up with people at the gym these days?

I ask out of concern. I've encountered workout routine behavior, which is completely alien to me, over the past several days.

Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily. I wonder whether or not people read fitness magazines and decide to put suggested exercise routines to the test, hoping to find some "at-long-last" shortcuts to looking like airbrushed models within four weeks. My own routine is a conservative, if stodgy, one; upper body exercises three days per week, and lower body workouts two to three, depending on whether or not I'm bitten with the "let's-look-stupid-on-a-tennis-court-today" bug which has been a personal tradition since, um, Friday.

I don't intend to malign anyone's workout routine. That said, I've noticed some pretty odd behavior around the ol' gym lately. Take last Thursday: Thursday is a lower body workout for me. I was knocking out my one-hundred thirteenth calorie on the treadmill when some young lady, holding dumbbells, slinked past me, "how-do-you-doing" all the way across the club floor while dropping first one knee and raising it again, then the other knee and giving her ACLs a run for their money.

I thought that looked pretty odd, but it there are any fitness benefits to it I might sacrifice my own dignity for the gain.

It was right about that time when another young lady stepped on to the treadmill to my left. Engaging in what appeared to be attention-seeking behavior (and thereby drawing my attention away from the "you're doing pretty well for such an old man, Rob" message scrolling across the readout), the girl opted to begin her treadmill exercise by increasing the elevation until she looked like a Tenth Mountain Division candidate. I watched with morbid fascination while she leaned as far back as she could, hands on hips, and raised her feet, one at a time, until their height was approaching the lower portion of the flight path at Roanoke Regional. I have reason to believe that the only reason she wasn't wearing a shako was that it would have left her too top heavy and toppled her into the oblique machine positioned behind her.

Finishing my own cardio for the day, I decided to sneak in one upper body exercise. It felt good, knowing that I was getting a little extra upper back work in -until Billy Biceps decided to serenade us with either a Cro-Magnon mating challenge or twelve evenly-spaced cries for help. "AARGH! ARRGH!..." became the order of the afternoon as approximately forty-two patrons fell in and counted their reps to his grunts. I opted to vocalize my own reps, lest I lose count and begin grunting myself. That, of course, could have been taken as an acceptance to his apparent challenge, which would likely have led to a viciously competitive "grunt-off" and perhaps a trophy.

In all, I had an excellent workout, and reduced my own stress twice over. I enjoy the people at the club. Everyone is there to make the most of his or her fitness. I love that. Even the how-do-you-doers and the marching band hopefuls are exploring new ways to gain fitness, even if that means shunning more traditional methods of training. People are gaining, or regaining, fitness.

As for me, well, I'm the guy whose first workout there included sitting backward on the seat of  a shoulder exercise machine, accidentally, and nearly causing some lady to burst out laughing when I tried to save face by claiming that I was experimenting with exercising my muscle group from the opposite direction. That didn't work out. But that's okay. We're all learning.

It'll work out.

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