At “O-stupid-thirty” I rolled over and tried to turn off the alarm. Problem was there was nothing to turn off. I hadn’t set the silly thing in the first place.
And yet here I was…wide awake. I wasn’t even wondering why.
Just to verify the dim red blur the clock was digitally displaying was an actual time, I slid my hand under the covers and tweaked the cute short girl on the butt. She sleepily mumbled, “Just go already.”
“So what’s O-stupid-thirty?” the alert reader may ask…well, it’s that delicate time between “O-drunk-thirty” and “O-dark-thirty”. The drunks have all made it home (or crashed), yet the glimmerings of predawn aren’t even imagined yet. Not even the tradesmen are deploying at this obscene hour.
Suffice it to say…”O-stupid-thirty” is seldom seen by reasonable people. This particular Sunday morning…”O-stupid-thirty” was occurring around 4:30am.
Ugh. And I had intended to sleep in. I needed to sleep in.
I normally end up working out at half-past “O-stupid-thirty”, or perhaps that’s a quarter till “O-dark-thirty” simply because that’s when I can squeeze it into my schedule, particularly before work. I normally don’t do this on the weekends as even if you are a masochist, you need some rest occasionally, and I’m often/usually out of my area on the weekends and working on projects.
…and I don’t have to go to work.
So, why the HELL am I up so early when I’d intended to sleep late?
the sleepy brain:grumble grumble blarghha. (translation: “What the HELL?”) the awake brain:You need to work that shoulder.
I tweaked my shoulder (again) a while back. It is slow to recover. It stiffens up as I sleep. It feels better when I work it some, but not too much. A delicate balance. I believe I mentioned “stupid hurts.” No matter how hard we’re willing to work, we simply don’t bounce as well when we’re over 50 years old.
the sleepy brain:blraag ugh snort. (translation: “But we can go later! I don’t have to work today!”) the awake brain:Something will come up. You know it. Just do it.
the sleepy brain:wharbargle. (translation: “WHY are we going at ALL? I already worked out FIVE days this week.”) the awake brain:So? You trying to tell me you don’t NEED this? Besides, it’s SUNDAY. A new week! You’ve worked out exactly ZERO times this week!
the sleepy brain:Fuck you. (translation: “Fuck you.”) the awake brain:I love you too. Now get your ass out of bed.
Shortly I found myself at the club, walking a mile and a half (all uphill of course) and shifting heavy things about. Much breathing hard and random sweating occurred.
After a while it occurred to me that I’ve turned some sort of corner. That head game I’ve mentioned before, had taken a different tone this morning. I hadn’t been looking for nebulous reasons NOT to workout…I had those at the ready…instead, I was reaching FOR reasons TO go work out.
A subtle thing. I wonder what it means? Tastes funny.
Gawd help me I’m beginning to like this stuff.
The alert reader may wonder just how many folks might find themselves with sufficient reason to drag their butt to the club at O-stupid-thirty on a cold SUNDAY morning…
I wondered too, after the caffeine kicked in anyway. So I counted.
100,000 square-foot club full of gleaming machines, chrome bars, and heavy stuff. Hundreds of machines. Thousands of weights.
There were six of us. TWO of them were staff.
Suffice it to say…”O-stupid-thirty” is seldom seen by reasonable people.
There were SIX. I expect these are people I either want to get to know…or should avoid at all costs. Note that those two are not mutually exclusive, and I’m in the same classification.
Ran across an old acquaintance a couple days back…who, like others, noticed my somewhat dramatic weight loss…
The first question is often, “How did you do it?” or some iteration thereof. Except of course…when they make some astounding leap of questionable logic and decide I must be dying.
I explained the basics of my eating regimen…and started discussing the 6-9 hours a week I spend in the gym.
Her eyes bulged at the discussion of my workouts, “Good heavens! Why!”
Like many, she was looking for the magic bullet. That ONE food you have to try. That “perfect” diet book. The special pill, program, brochure, surgery, or “once weekly” exercise machine.
I’ve often answered THAT with talking about the fact that there simply aren’t any real shortcuts, the magnitude of the problem I’m trying to fix (200 pounds!!), and discussing my approach.
Most folks aren’t interested in that discussion…and I shortly realized I’d been answering the “why” with “how”.
I had thought “why” was self-explanatory. It was at this point I realized that it wasn’t…and I should have already known that…since “why” AND “how” eluded me for more than 35 years.
So I tried a different approach.
I pondered the actual question. That’s a dangerous thing…me pondering. I tend to get introspective and of course…wordy.
I’m a writer. We do these things.
Like all answers anybody’s put some thought into…there wasn’t a simple statement that would suffice. My motivations run deep and are intertwined with my passions.
Passion as principle has been a fundament of my philosophy since the day I realized I’d actually managed to drag myself out of poverty. It was a herculean effort…and left me damaged, scarred, exhausted, and looking around at my new-found world wondering why I’d bothered.
Epic journeys ensued. Stories were found. Things were experienced, wonderful, terrifying, and everything in between. And soon…answers.
Of a sort anyway…since I didn’t have the actual questions.
Those may take (another) lifetime to find. Turns out that for now, passion for the world and people around me just has to do.
Not a bad outlook…it’s taken me clear to hell and back (there may be a restraining order now). Passion and humanity. A complicated thing…any way you look at it.
Mostly…we just don’t. Folks are more comfortable that way.
It was an interesting discussion, my acquaintance and I had. I even thought at the time…”I’ve gotta write this crap down.” I then, as I often do, got busy and promptly forgot about it.
Today, a facebook post from my trainer also asked a similar question, “We want to know… WHY DO YOU WORKOUT?
What is your reason for being healthy?”
Dammit! Now I’m pondering again!
Again I thought, “Man, I’ve gotta write this crap down.”
Apparently I’ve had enough coffee today…and didn’t forget about it.
“We want to know… WHY DO YOU WORKOUT?
What is your reason for being healthy?”
I started with this:
1) To lose weight. Not just a few pounds. I want to be FIT.
Okay, obvious…but that’s a politician’s answer. It’s a statement that most would accept…but it doesn’t answer the actual question.
That’s the thing I like about my friends…they will…no holds barred…call me out on that stuff. “BULLSHIT! WHY?”
There’s the usual stuff…end chronic pain (and apparently substitute “tired and sore”), balance, long life, and all that…but still…thinking deeper…
1) The very basic truth is that it turns out I want to actually be the bad-ass I’ve always thought I was. 🙂
2) When…at a young age I won’t admit to because I’ve already given my parents enough gray hair…I first made love to a woman, I found such magic and power in that uniquely human bond that I knew it would never be the same experience twice…and I swore I’d hold my woman in my arms for 10,000 nights.
The second time I made love I doubled that number. When I met the woman that is now my wife of 26 years I added another 10,000 nights.
Then I did some math (I’m an engineer, we do these things). We’re not quite a 3rd of the way along. Mortality looms. 30,000 nights. Turns out I need to live a bit longer to achieve that. Live forever or die trying. No pressure.
3) I’ve been piloting motorcycles all over the place since long before it was legal for me to do so. Despite running well more than a million miles…I’ve not scratched the surface of the things there are to see…and the things I need to learn.
I need more time. ALL the time! The song “Never Enough” by Patty Smyth comes to mind…
4) And opening THAT can of worms…Speaking of music…yeah. Music. So much. So many. One of my passions. I’ll NEVER hear it all…and more comes out every day. My collection is eclectic and extensive…and grows daily. It’s a line item in my budget.
Time! I need more time!
5) The first time I rode a motorcycle in a thunderstorm I knew it was much like making love to a woman. Unpredictable. Dangerous. Overwhelming. Never the same experience twice. And one of the most amazing things I’ve ever encountered.
I’ll quit riding the storms…when there are no more storms to ride.
21% body fat…which…believe it or not…puts me solidly in the “healthy” range.
Strange I still don’t see it in that damn man in the mirror. Him…I need to figure out some way to come to terms with.
Anyway…21%. I’m going for a “fit” 15%…which is achievable but ambitious on a 50+ year old…
Side note: Just when the HELL did I get “old”?
Addendum to the side note: I’ve decided that despite my doctor’s philosophy…that fuck no…I’m not going to accept aging gracefully.
Continuing to rock it…lots of room for improvement though. Always will be. And I REALLY need to quit pranging (technical term) my shoulders.
If I work hard enough to *not* lose any muscle in the process…that leaves about 18 pounds to lose.
Heh…and only 14 pounds to go to hit my goal, set in February, of losing 100 pounds this year. (looks at calendar) It’ll be a close thing…but that doesn’t worry me. I knew this was a long burn when I started it.
I’m *not* done. I’m *not* satisfied. But I *am* pleased. I haven’t seen these numbers on a scale (that I was standing on anyway) since high-school…
Now…if I can just figure out how to come to terms with that man in the mirror…and survive that process.
So…between the painful shoulder and work stuff causing a bunch of lost sleep, I woke to the alarm at around 4:30am this morning and decided a workout just wasn’t in me.
Wearing myself to the very edge of endurance simply won’t help my fitness…or any other thing I’m responsible for. Knowing what’s a real limit and what’s a head game is a challenge, but this truly was a fog of physical and mental exhaustion.
A few more hours sleep should help. I figured I could hit our small work-gym at lunch and get some action.
At least part of me liked it anyway.
I’ve mentioned the head games on a couple occasions…the hardest thing about the fitness game is that battle right between your ears…the head game. The decisions.
If I don’t do a morning workout I usually hit the work gym around 1 pm…it wasn’t long before that the head games started…
My thoughts…the brain battling itself…
excuse: Man…I’ve got this [work thing] going on…
answer: …and you get lunch breaks just like everybody else.
excuse: I really need to prepare for this meeting…
answer: …dude! It’s 4 hours away and it’s no big deal anyway!
excuse: They’re about to take the gym apart for the building move.
answer: …but it’s STILL THERE right now.
excuse: I am a bit fatigued…
answer: …not like anything you felt this morning…and you KNOW you’ll feel better after the workout.
excuse: And that shoulder is really bothering me…
answer: …so work the damn legs you twit!
excuse: The room’s probably busy…
answer: …it never has been before. Go see.
excuse: I forgot my mp3 player. I’ve GOTTA have music…
answer: …so stream it on your phone.
And on and on and on.
Part of the issue is that truly…unlike many other aspects of my life, there are no immediate consequences if I miss a workout. The time, expense, and effort I apply to this still seem selfish to me, and I expect, given my upbringing and work ethic, that they always will.
All this work to do…and I’m AT work…and I’m gonna run off to play in the exercise room.
Sometimes my work-ethic can be a real asshole.
So what did I do?
At 1pm I locked my workstation, grabbed my stuff, and hit the gym.
With all the legendary grace and agility I occasionally bring to bear I rather creatively dismounted the GHD machine at this morning’s workout.
Translation: I went *splat*.
I apparently did something stupid getting off the thing…not even totally sure what…and I well, you know what they say…stupid is supposed to hurt.
Heh…stupid teaches too. I guarantee I won’t dismount quite that way again! 🙂
The alert reader may note that I carefully did not say I wouldn’t do anything stupid again…that’s waayyy too limiting.
I aggravated an already aggravated left shoulder…very annoying as I was finally getting through that…I pushed the shoulders hard last week and was feeling lots better.
I figure tomorrow it’ll either feel a little better or a lot worse. Stay tuned!
The scores are in! Obviously lost points for style.
In other news…I hit 23% body fat last week…this apparently makes me “average”, which surprises me, as I still don’t really see it in the mirror. Still, it’s encouraging as I’ve not been near that number in decades…and that only leaves about 8% more to lose to achieve “athletic”…
I’ve no idea what that number was at my peak weight…but it was near 40% just back in March.
Not bad for an old man, hey?
And the journey continues.
I’ll see you on the road…or *splat*…perhaps on the mat.
“They”…yanno…those folks we pay around $100/min to chat with…were overdosing me on statins. This seriously impacts “other” things.
My cholesterol has been consistently low…with only an occasional “jaunt” into prohibited territory, usually with a low HDL number.
I was on statins for a couple reasons…
1) They think *everybody* should be on them.
2) Once upon a time 4 years ago I had a high overall number…one single test.
2) ACA and my workplace have made testing, complying with the standards, and accepting the prescribed care *mandatory*.
The year the statins were “assigned” my T-levels crashed (from around 1100 to below 100). After months of enduring issues related to this I was grudgingly “allowed” limited HRT, but never back to my previous levels and 100% at my own expense of course.
This latest round of tests yields a rather dramatic result…
There has been additional weight loss and strength training that can impact this number too…but not this much.
So…care to guess what happened between the end of August and the end of October to so dramatically impact this result?
Yeah, I cut the statins in half.
Low T is a known side-effect but again, considered “quality of life” instead of “therapeutic” so ignored by most docs. In case you happen to believe the master hormone in a male is “optional”…do a little research into what happens to us when it’s low…dementia, Alzheimers, heart and circulatory disease, diabetes, nerve issues, fat gain, osteoporosis, sexual problems, premature aging, balance, and muscle loss are just the start of the problems.
So. Screw ’em. Statins. Chop chop. In half. Three months ago (yes, I actually DID discuss it with my doc…I ain’t gonna lie to the guy).
Amazingly, my cholesterol numbers got better too with a higher HDL (that’s good and in range) and everything else WELL within range.
I’m pretty sure my doc’s not really working for ME as an individual, with particular needs…but rather trying to stuff me into a set of numbers. Unfortunately those numbers are comprised of a mix of drug-makers recommendations, government intervention, bad science, and employer-driven healthcare standards.
He’s not ready to take me off the statins entirely (and another drug I think is doing more harm than good) despite the numbers, and all gung-ho to remove the HRT (which is a quality of life thing) based on, yep, a number…in this single result…
I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be buying unneeded drugs (mandatory) and flushing ’em (probably gonna be a felony), and then buying the stuff I actually need on the black/grey market (probably a hangin’ offense).
Y’all getting what mandatory means yet?
…and who is it that thinks government intervening in our health care is making it better?
Years ago I paid a veterinarian under the table to treat a somewhat serious injury (as I didn’t have insurance)…I got excellent and affordable care.
I wonder if I can just go back to him.
Let’s change some things, shall we?
I’ll see you on the road…or perhaps at the vet’s office…
“Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh
Moments. Sometimes a blur, hardly observed. Other times, a distinct event to be savored, no matter how mundane it first appears to be.
Fasting for a doctor’s appointment. I hate this. It seems to throw my entire day “out of kilter”. Maybe there are times that’s not a bad thing.
Up at an 0-dark-stupid hour for a workout. Pondering if chewing up and swallowing K-CUPS full of dark roast would count as fasting. In the end, I behaved. Well, as much as I ever do anyway.
Survived the workout…despite “Death by Assault Bike” (NOT making that up!). Of course they say, “What does not kill you makes you stronger.” In this case it’s quite literally true. Thanks Travis! (I think)
A shower…and (Since. I. Had. No. Coffee.) some adrenaline fueled commuting through the cityscape. I will say people trying to kill me just so they can make their turn is almost as stimulating as a good latte.
And no. It’s NOT okay to kill the biker. Even if you signaled first. Also flipping him off because you almost killed him is in bad form. You should at least buy him a latte. Only then should you flip him off.
In the elevator in the medical building, there’s a chick drinking coffee and munching donuts while pondering what button to push. There are only three, and apparently bending and butt wiggles explicitly in my direction are required to properly ponder such things. I wonder if she realizes how much danger those actions put her in at that very moment. She was, after all, in the elevator with a high-order predator. And I was hungry for what she was displaying…
I can only imagine the headlines:
“BIKER MENACE SNAGS DONUTS, SNARFS COFFEE! VICTIM TRAUMATIZED!”
“I mean,” said the bulbous butted and big breasted blonde bimbette, “I had on my sexy short dress and thong and even wiggled my butt twice and he was an ANIMAL! He ignored me! All he wanted was the coffee! Donuts flew everywhere! It’s downright insulting! It wasn’t even Starbucks!”
I could smell the coffee. But it wasn’t a latte and probably had caramel in it too. It’s quite possibly only this that saved her and I restrained myself with only a snarl or two.
At her floor she turned to me, shook her front half just in case I wasn’t a butt guy (appreciated but unnecessary…every guy’s a butt guy!), smiled prettily, and passed me a slip with her phone number on it.
I had checked in by email the day before. And on their website that night. And by phone app this morning…and they still had to ask me who I was and make me sign in.
“I survived ‘Death by assault bike’, says I, “do I actually need a physical?”
“Yes,” says the humorless gal at the checkin as she double checks her computer, “It’s been a year since your last one.”
I tried again, “But. Death by assault bike!”
Without so much as a facial twitch she holds out the clipboard, “Sign here.”
Shortly I was poked in places one should never be poked and then stabbed full of holes by otherwise pleasant and professional folks. It’s in these moments I wonder why this is SO expensive. Seriously…how many places do YOU go to and pay around $100/minute so they can stab you full of holes? Shouldn’t they be paying me?
Also, “Here, fill this…” says the nurse as she hands me the smallest specimen cup I’ve ever seen.
I held it up to the light and raised an eyebrow. “How many times?”
I’m sure they hear it all and it probably gets old but she chuckled anyway and pointed to the restroom. “Just once. Leave the rest in there.”
Oh…and who’d have guessed. EKG’s hurt! Well…the aftermath anyway. All those little sticky pads…all that hair. *SHHHNAAACKKKK* “OW!” (x about 12).
It still boggles my mind that I inevitably say, “Thank you!” as I check out of this place. I mean, Texans are polite and all but we normally don’t tend to thank folks for stabbing us full of holes and ripping out swaths of our chest hair.
Ah well. I guess one should always be polite to the people you are paying to give you ouchies.
Of course it’s just possible I need to ponder my paradigm.
Next I proceeded to pilot the big motorcycle at what would probably be dubbed an unsafe speed to my favorite breakfast place…for brunch actually.
This had become a priority since “brunch” means I’ve missed “breakfast” in order to get poked with pointy objects. These things tend to make me grumpy. Food was an order or the NEXT news headline could be something about “Cannibal Bikers”…except of course, that’s been done.
By Keanu Reeves no less.
No…I’ve not seen it. Texans don’t have a lot of rules we care to observe, but I’m pretty sure, “Don’t eat people” is pretty high on the list.
Even if we are bikers. Even if the people are cute blondes.
I fingered the slip I’d absently stuck in my jacket pocket and wondered if the bulbous butted blonde still had any donuts.
Where were we? Ah yes, breakfast (or brunch) out. Mmmmm…an omelette. And at least 5 cups of coffee. That’s the ticket. And I splurged and had a pancake. I needed the carbs and doubted that the blonde would take kindly to me calling her and asking for donuts anyway.
Ah yes. The place. It’s a good place. They don’t even worry about this cannibal biker. I guess they know I’m from Texas. Or perhaps it’s because I don’t look like Keanu Reeves.
Good food. Pleasant and efficient service. Good coffee and plenty of it. I must say though that as a keen and enthusiastic observer of humanity in all its glory I enjoy eating out as much for the people-watching as I do the food.
A lone biker…eating…often attracts, well, interesting things. On the occasions where we’re ignored, observation of interesting things takes center stage.
Dinner AND a show…as it were. Even at brunch.
Witness: Two elderly oriental gentlemen at a booth together, neither of which can hear very well and between the two of them can only manage very basic and broken English, trying to order a large, choice-filled breakfast from an earnest waitress that is Greek, and speaks only basic English herself. An undoubtedly unique blend of Greek, English, Japanese, and “southern” (much hand gesturing) got the job done.
It was a lesson in teamwork…and they all stayed civil, patient, and best of all, sane. They also smiled a lot, which the world needs more of.
And yes, what I’m sure everybody thought was a mistake was not. The one dude did actually want 12 slices of bacon…and ONLY 12 slices of bacon. The other dude…all 95 pounds of him (if sopping wet) demolished an omelette, hash browns, ham steak, sausage, rye toast (pronounced by everybody involved as “why tist”), a short stack of pancakes AND a bowl of oatmeal.
I blinked at the order as it was delivered and bet myself that not only would these very slight fellas polish it off, but also that they were going to order pie for dessert afterwards. I won. Pecan for one and some kind of chocolate/peanut butter thing that probably masses as many calories as a small neutron star for the other. That order was accomplished by a trip to the dessert case, smiling broadly, and pointing. “Oooooooooo!”
Pie for dessert. At breakfast. Or brunch. America. Fuck yeah!
Meanwhile, the lone guy at the table across from me spent the entire time on the phone…arranging his “dates” for the next TEN days. I use “dates” in the context you might encounter it when some woman in fishnet hose approaches out of the night and says, “You lookin’ for a date?”
Date Dude was efficient…making calls, negotiating prices and details, and entering everything into his calendar app. Once “Thursday” was set I hear, “No, I don’t want you two days in a row. I’m going for variety this month.”
“Oh, okay, that’ll work. Bring your friend Friday and that’s a deal. Any chance you’ve got a third for Saturday?…Excellent.”
I usually only observe unless folks interact with me, but our eyes had met a couple times and I’m sure my eyebrows were floating a couple inches over the top of my head. I had to say something.
Me: “Ambitious plans.”
Him: *laughs* “Reps to failure.”
That got a laugh out of me even as I realized I may not have understood the reference a few months ago. A fitness thing. Do the thing [lift, exercise, run, etc] until you can’t do any more…’reps to failure’.
Him: *waves his phone vaguely in my direction* “You want some numbers? These are great gals!”
Me: *holds up my left hand, thumb rubbing the base of my ring finger…where my wedding band WOULD be if I hadn’t crimped it on there in some machine or other a dozen years ago* “No thanks. Dedicated provider.”
Him: “Doesn’t that get boring?”
Me: *shaking my head no and laughing whilst thinking about my cute little short gal* “Oh good heavens no. I don’t think that’s possible!”
Him: “Quite a lady huh?”
Me: *dryly* “You have no idea…”
I dropped my tip on the table and grabbed the bill. On the way by Date Dude’s table I dropped the slip with the phone number Beautious Butted Coffee Gal had bequeathed me on his table. “Probably a good lead.”
At the checkout I handed the lady my card and had nodded toward the lone cop at the other end of the place. “Put his on my bill.” He’d been eyeing me with that, “I’ve got ya…you just don’t know it yet” stare the entire time I was in there. “Tell him it’s from the cannibal biker.”
She didn’t even blink. “Sure thing hon.” That quintessential southern phrase is distinctly sexy when said in a heavy Greek accent.
Headed downtown, just outside of rush-hour is a treat on the Valk. Light traffic, all of it MOVING out and no revenuers…on a few trillion dollars worth of multi-lane freeways and high-speed overpasses yields one HELL of a ride.
20 miles. 16 minutes. Including the side roads and traffic lights. Only a couple people tried to kill me. Nobody bought me a latte.
Patty Smyth’s Never Enough rocking out my very good headphones for the last 4ish minutes of it.
I met a man who would be king
He had a dream to see forever
It was a promise in the dark
It was a promise we made together
I was a girl who would be queen
I didn’t know the cost of freedom
It was a secret he would share
It was a word we both could believe in
Some kind of hero
Catch me again I’m falling
‘Cause I can hear you calling
And it’s never enough, it’s never enough, it’s never enough…
Thinking of my cute little short gal, I sighed as I shut the big bike down and headed into work.
It’s a different series of moments every day. Some better than others but I never seem to know at that moment…which ones they are.
I suspect the guys all just nodded knowingly and the ladies are tilting their head with a pronounced WTF? look…
Oh, and don’t fret. This article isn’t about peeing. Mostly.
So, it’s like this…if there’s more than one open urinal, you pick one that’s NOT right next to another guy. Sort of a “dude code” thing. I’ve no idea how this came about, but it seems universal. I also expect to knowingly violate it results in small explosions, lightning bolts, and sword fights Note: I’ve not tested this theory. As a former electrician and frequent taunter of Thor, I’m immune to lightning…but sword fights not so much and the wife is tired of getting blood out of my clothes.
Anyway, there’s something similar to urinal etiquette in the gym. If you need a piece of equipment, and there’s more than one open, you take the one NOT right next to an occupied one. Note: That’s where the similarities end. Do NOT pee on the gym equipment. I’m not sure about the sword fights.
Oh…on to the point then…
So…a couple days back I hit the gym at 0-stupid-30 in the morning for a workout…and I elected to “warm up” with a half hour or so of high-incline treadmill. Yes…it IS uphill the entire way. I’m a masochist. Gawd help me I’m beginning to like this place.
Anyway, the treadmill I started on turned out to be broken and wouldn’t elevate. I shut it back down and stepped off it…and on to the next one…which happened to be next to an occupied one.
Without an obvious explosion, I’m not sure if “broken” implies I can break the occupation etiquette thing, but I had a workout to get to, and the guy didn’t seem to have a sword on him anyway.
I glanced at the gentleman on the treadmill next to me as I got mine started. He was looking my way so I nodded a greeting.
Note: Since I wasn’t recording or taking notes…some of the following is paraphrased I’m sure…
I’ll mention at this point that this dude was big…and covered in sweat, and walking quite slowly on the ‘mill. This is not normally things you note about others in the gym. Folks are at all different levels and capabilities…but all have the one important thing in common…they are THERE.
Him: “You were wondering how big I am. I’m 375 pounds.” This statement marked him as an obvious newbie to the gym world. I am a newbie myself, but already had the “fuck it, let’s go” attitude when I started and rapidly learned nobody really cared about my “level” or capabilities anyway.
Me: “No, I really wasn’t. You’re here. That gets you the respect of everybody in here. Do what you need to do. Nobody here will be critical of it. Ask for help if ya need it and otherwise just rock on.”
Him: “Really? Sorry. Just intimidated. All these fit folks. I’m not ever gonna be them.”
I’d hit the stop button on my “walk of death” machine. “You got here. You signed up for a membership, and you came. That’s the hardest part. Just keep doing that and you’ll make it.”
He just looked skeptical. This is the point it dawned on me (I’m still slow about this) that I wasn’t the fattest guy in the room. Still feels weird.
Me: “Four. Twenty. Seven. That’s what I was when I started. I *am* you. I just got started working on it a little earlier. Now I’m ‘minus one-eighty’ but I prefer to go by Daniel. Now, let’s crank these bastards up and do the thing.”
The rest of our conversation was after the workout…if you’re doing it right a normal conversation isn’t possible during a workout…just breathing becomes the focus. So…after the work…when normal breathing was once again possible and it seemed likely that we might just survive, we met for coffee at the cafe a couple doors down and resumed the conversation. It drifted around motivation and mechanics/techniques, and the rest about well…life.
…and the head game.
…and looking closer. Though there certainly are some, the gym isn’t full of “fit folks”. It’s full of people of all ages and abilities that have little in common except are all on their own journey and they bothered to show up and do the thing.
Just show up. Do the thing.
Huh. Seems like the secret to life, not just fitness.
There is not much evidence that I was ever a “young-un”…as we lost a house and contents in the 80’s and with it, all the memorabilia that proves to folks that seem to need such things, that one actually did…exist.
Frankly, the lack of evidence is probably a good thing. There are lots of things best left forgotten and mysteries that shouldn’t be explored…
Like that hair! What’s with that! (I should note for my readers of strong constitution that I’ve not lost any hair…it’s simply migrated.)
There is newfound evidence of my existence however! My Mom found an old picture of me in a box she had somewhere.
It helps answer the question of, “How long?”
You may have heard me mention, “30+ years”, “all my life”, etc about how long I’ve been failing utterly at taking care of myself. Here’s some proof…
I can’t be more than 15 in this photo…so…more than 35 years ago.
Oh my GAWD the hair!!
I should also mention this can’t be more than a few months before “life” reared up and wiped that smug “I’ve got this” grin right off my face. Years of hardship, hard work, injuries, and struggles followed.
Now…while there is substantial muscle hiding under that “baby-fat”…I thrived for years in construction, farm/field work and the like…it’s still readily obvious that even this far back…”I” was never on the list.