As I left our hellaciously long and hard class at the gym, sweet delicious but gay teacher said, “Do you know what you have to be thankful for this year?” I said, “Um…no.” He said, “These muscles,” as he grabbed my poor aching bicep.
What I wanted to say was, “How does your ego fit in this gym with us?”
What I should have said though was, “Yeah, and my non-stop workouts the rest of the week have nothing to do with it, right?”
For many years, I was a morning gym-goer. I loved getting it out of the way. I would bring my book and workout among the other hardcore morning types. The problem became twofold: First, I am nothing near a morning type, and second, I wasn’t getting as tough a workout as I should be. Mindlessly climbing the stairmaster for many years and I had hit the wall. (The problem is threefold if you count the 6 a.m. guy who tried unsuccessfully for months to talk to me, then finally came up with this gem: He rolled his wedding ring over to where I was lifting, it hit my shoe, so I technically had to talk to him. “Sir, I think you dropped something…”)
Two years ago, I decided it was time to kick it up not just a notch, but several. I started going with the Queen of Quantity to a weightlifting class. As a hardcore weightlifter for the past 7 years, I didn’t understand the concept of lifting lighter weights for more reps. (“The weights aren’t pink and purple are they??”) I was used to cranking out 6 or 8 reps on a really heavy weight and plowing through a workout in an hour. But adding this class to my routine twice a week proved to be a killer. One additional day in the week, I still go in and do my old faithful weight workout. I lift much heavier weight that day though. Cable Row 90 lbs. Bicep curls 20 lbs. Squats 100 some odd lbs. I know, what about the cardio Velvet? Yes. What about the cardio.
Twice a week, I run 3 1/2 miles on the treadmill at a 3% incline. Yes, it IS like running up hill the entire time, but, the things it does to my ass are incredible. Well, that and squats. Okay, the remaining 2-3 days I do half hour to 45 minutes of some other type of cardio – elliptical, stairmaster, something like that. The trainers at my gym say, “If you can read a magazine, you’re not working hard or smart enough.” Point taken. It doesn’t stop me from flipping through Harper’s Bazaar though. Fuck it. I’m there 7 days a week.
All this working out isn’t easy. It takes motivation to get to that gym every day. It takes incredible strength to leave work to make it to the classes. It isn’t easy staying awake some nights so I can go to the gym at 9:30 so I can run for longer than the stupid time allotment on the treadmill. But it is doable. Most people could exercise a third of what I do and still see incredible benefits.
Every man who has entered my life in a serious fashion usually very suddenly takes up some sort of workout. I remarked recently to a friend, after receiving a text pic of an ex at a Little League game with his kid, that once the men leave my life, they gain a ton of weight. And yet, I never do. Probably because for me it’s a lifestyle and for them, the working out was just to impress me or for a quick fix. Not sure. Jury still out on that.
Last night, after a four day run of television, more television than I’ve viewed all year, I watched the “half ton man” be lifted out of his house and hospitalized. Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me! He kept saying he didn’t eat more than anyone else, but you know what? His stomach was stretched to the size of 12 normal stomachs and stomachs only stretch by overeating! UGH. I was grossed out. Cue stomach stapling RANT.
I’m not a fan of the quick fix. You will never learn to eat right if you just pay someone to staple your stomach shut. You will go right back to how you ate and drank before your elective surgery. Besides the fact that those procedures are downright risky, they seem to be yet another sign of our decaying American culture: It’s okay to eat fried chicken and wash it down with some crisco and a few bottles of wine because you can just staple your stomach and problem solved. But don’t these people realize the problem is not in their genes, it is in their head? I knew someone who gorged on all sorts of fattening junk at lunch (meatloaf and gravy, chicken fried steak, nachos,) then popped some cholesterol meds after the meal. The bottle sat on his desk as a reminder. Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously!
Please, spare me the bullshit about genetics or thyroids. Ugh. You want to see genetics? I’m 100% Greek. I have two grandmothers and four great-grandmothers who lived their lives rounder than they were tall. I’m fighting those genetics every time I step into the gym, everytime I pick a salad over lasagna, everytime I pass on dessert. Sign me up for a lifetime membership at the gym and don’t ever expect to see me getting my stomach stapled. Silly Americans. Only here. I swear.
Rant over. I’ll be nicer later. Or tomorrow.