Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Well Equipped For Weighty Issues

Recently the health club I belong to replaced most of its exercise equipment. Evidenced by the looks on club members' faces, this was entirely unexpected. The expressions were reminiscent of several friends' faces in middle school when pop quizzes guaranteed a bad grade and a scolding by their parents.

Once one is used to the layout of a gym, knowing exactly where all of the equipment is located becomes a subconscious part of the routine. Somewhere, way down in the nether regions of one's predominant prefrontal cortex a long-established map reminds one that the crunch machine is directly across from the oblique machine currently occupied by that cute brunette number who seems perfectly content to show off her ability to occupy it for the next forty-five minutes while receiving no fewer than thirteen dirty looks from frustrated sales reps, underwriters, and guys named Eddie, all of whom had aspirations to firm and tone their midsections within the next three minutes or so.

In my case, the cognitive map was outdated the day forty or so new pieces of equipment arrived to replace the old.

To say we got lost would be an understatement. For some reason, the club thought it would be fun to mix everything up such that lower body machines would be interspersed among bicep-builders, bench press-type equipment, and the occasional fly machine (that's the one which makes you look like you're having an obsessive-compulsive episode trying to move your arms like the windshield wipers of a '39 Buick). An exercise routine which heretofore took an hour and fifteen minutes to complete became a two hour ordeal as we negotiated with other patrons, asking if they knew the whereabouts of the rowing machine, and informing them that the cute brunette number previously mentioned has already located the new oblique machine, in case they were looking for it. One of the members -a physician- alerted me to having used the new crunch machine too quickly. "You'll twist your back -and then where will you be?" was almost answered with, "most likely in your waiting room, reading the July 7th, 2012 edition  of Sports Illustrated".

I noticed that they also changed the Muzak, which was a welcome relief from the badly-flogged rendition of "Cool Kids" which has a way of sneaking up on me whenever I'm anywhere near the treadmill. Judging from how well we patrons pulled together to help one another locate the new gear, I was mildly surprised not to hear the theme music from "Band of Brothers". I cannot imagine how much ibuprofen one would have to ingest in order to endure the same songs all day, every day, in order to earn an income. Then again, whenever they play "Hey Brother" perhaps it's meant as inspiration to coworkers to soldier on through an overabundance of synthesizers and tone-deaf singers.

The equipment is wonderful; there's no play due to new steel cables which won't have stretched beyond their capacity before Donald Trump takes over the Treasury Department by 2020. There were times when I would lift the handles on the old shoulder press machine, only to discover that the weights didn't actually move until my hands were almost scraping ceiling tiles. The workouts are honest. Guesstimating a workout, as it turns out, won't guarantee physical fitness unless getting in shape is theoretical.

Everyone seems to be settling in; as we familiarize ourselves with the additional (and entirely alien) handles on some of this stuff, we discover muscle groups which we were unaware of. And that's good. It's a weighty issue to have to rethink through one's fitness routine.

For that, we're well-equipped.


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