I’m a little discouraged. You see, about six months ago, I joined a health club with all the latest fitness equipment. But in all that time, I have hardly lost any weight. And by “hardly” more specifically I mean I’ve gained five pounds. I have seen no improvement in my strength, flexibility or endurance since joining the club.
There are several possible explanations for these disappointing results… most notably perhaps the fact that I’ve only gone to the club five times – and three of those visits were to catch the game on their large screen TV in the juice bar.
But in my defense, there are many perfectly valid reasons for my slow start. First, I had to re-organize the Christmas decorations in the garage in alphabetical order. Then there was that project to restore several dozen art projects our kids made in elementary school, some of which were missing buttons and sparkles in critical places. And most recently, Downton Abbey started Season 6. It’s a serious time commitment, keeping abreast of whether the Earl of Grantham is going to lay off the under butler or the senior lady’s maid. I would not want to have to make that difficult decision.
My point is, I’ve been extremely busy lately.
Make no mistake. I’m not lazy. I love the idea of getting in shape. I’m just not particularly fond of the “working out” part. I love my health club’s many amenities, like the hot tub, sauna, and juice bar, which they call the “Barbell Bar.” Catchy name, eh? I’m just not crazy about the club’s complex fitness machines, some of which were clearly inspired by medieval torture instruments.
Oh, sure, we all may like the results of doing 50 chin-ups or skipping rope for 30 minutes. But no honest person can look you in the eye and truthfully claim they have fun doing it. If they say that, they are lying – either that or they may be having a brain aneurism, in which case call 911 immediately.
Still, I have accepted the grim reality that if I am ever to see results from my membership, sooner or later I’ll have to break down and make use of something other the massage table. I will need to suck it up and head over to where the fitness machines are.
One problem I have with going to my health club is that everybody there always seems to be, well, working out. They’re all so buff, with chiseled bodies, which I find particularly annoying. Especially the guys who have six-pack abs that appear to be bursting out of the muscle shirts they’re wearing. As for myself, suffice to say that my abs look less like a six-pack and more like a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke.
But I know I have to start somewhere. I may have waited just a little too long to attain that elusive perfect body. That ship sailed around 1985 – I think it was on a Tuesday. Still, I’ve decided to see if I can at least lose a few more pounds than I found last year.
I’m thinking about hiring a personal trainer. He probably won’t help much. But I figure, at the very least, if I pay him, he is sort of obligated to tell me “you’re doing great” and “hey, nice job at being almost able to touch your toes” – which is more positive feedback than I’ve received from my kids in the past ten years.
On the other hand, personal trainers are not cheap. They can cost upwards of $50 per hour. When I start calculating how many meat-lovers’ pizzas I could buy with that money, it becomes hard for me to justify the cost of my own personal trainer. Still, I might try one anyway – because my current system of always scheduling the start of my new fitness regimen for the day after tomorrow is still at least two days away from getting off the ground.
But enough excuses. If I want to live a long life, I will need to start exercising a lot more – and maybe, just maybe say goodbye to Cherry Garcia ice cream – although on a deeper level, I have to question the value of living a life devoid of Ben & Jerry’s.
I am going to come up with a weekly schedule and stick to it. It will include a combination of swimming, cycling, weights and flexibility training. I am going to start with baby steps. Next week, I will focus on strengthening my ear lobes and thumbs. Over time, I’ll work my way up to touching my shoulders and knees.
And I am going to start going to the club every afternoon, I mean it – just so long as it doesn’t interfere with my daily ritual of watching the Ellen Show and Judge Judy. Some things are more important than six-pack abs. Besides – I’m retired.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2016