Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gym? I Don't Need No Stinking...

Andrea St.Clair has a fixation with working out. No, really, she does...I tell her there is no need.

This woman looks fine...she's in shape, trim, no fat...yet, she goes to boot camp.

Boot camp.

I told her I'd worked out once... and in her honour, I resurrect my feelings about my time at the gym.

Have you ever noticed there are certain groups that frequent gyms, no matter where they are located, be it in the land of Utes or in New York City itself?

There is the hard core group of men who lift weights, carefully checking the progress of their program in full surround view mirrors by watching the growth of muscle mass..and possible reduction of other areas because of steroid use. They walk in a certain strained way, unable to put their arms fully down by their sides because of the sheer bulk of back muscle and arm muscle that touch and hold the two body parts away from each other. Their knees are so far apart due to the size of their thighs, one has no idea what the other one looks like. Adjoining this group are the female body builders... they are completely intent on bulking up, to the point they don't even look like women any more.. instead of breasts, they've pretty much developed moobs. Both groups favour the fake tan and lots and lots of oil. My biggest fear is they will breed, and babies with little six packs will be born, putting the rest of us to shame.

Next on the pecking order are the wives of men in power... perky breasts (that proclaim, "Yes, I've had a child and nursed, however, I can afford a plastic surgeon.. don't they look real?"), uplifted asses, thighs as hard as the huge diamonds on their left ring fingers. They work on all the machines in addition to pilate's, yoga and the ever popular weight sculpting class. Their attire is pretty uniform... designer togs, tight and never sweat stained. These women also wear thong underwear. I understand that many women do.... I've never understood thong underwear to begin with.. and thong exercise clothing that used to be popular.. totally beyond my comprehension. They carry nice towels and real water bottles. The hair is either coiffed into a solid shell or in the ever popular ponytail, which swishes in time as they walk, almost singing out "Look..at..me! Look..at..me!" The sub-genre of this group are the twentysomethings who aspire to take these women's place.

You've got the people who have been told by their doctor, "Go or die." They slink in, wearing huge clothing, stay 10 minutes and leave.

There are the mid-level exercise group, who tend to stick to the classes and a few machines, running.. actually running on the treadmill. They have on running shorts and check their heartrates on little machines attached to their arms. They do not talk nor look at anyone in the place.

Finally, you've got people like me and my friends...M and A.... well, actually M and I. His wife, A, falls into the mid-level group... working hard at what she does. Matt and I do the exercises, the machines and the weights in our sweat pants and tshirts and a baseball cap..but, for us, it's a social time. We chit chat and complain and I refuse to do any stair machines because my knee hates them. So, I walk on the treadmill and wish I'd brought an iPod. She just shakes her head and moves on... never jiggling. The first group walk past us, joining with the firm by nature 20somethings...they glance over and giggle. I think they are jealous of my Eventual Chaos cap, to be honest.

To join this fair group, you have to have an intake interview with someone like Lassa. That really was his name, Lassa SomethingsweedishIcan'tpronounce. These men are usually in Jack LaLanne shape, and do things like long distance bike riding at the age of 64.

I mentioned my discovery that because of my inability to spit, I'd never ride into Paris in a yellow jersey and laughed. He just stared at me with colourless eyes and asked if I'd ever ridden a bike before. "Well, yes, I used to ride tandem.. I was on the back. My ex was a biking fool.. and I rode a tandem road bike with him. It's easier, you can fake the pedaling." My smile grew weaker. He stared some more. "You faked it?" in a tone that suggested I'd faked things far more important than pedaling a bike...come to think of it.. faking the pedaling may be more important to him. "Only on the downhill, I swear it.. it was the fear of going 60 MPH down curvy roads with traffic and not having any control.. and the spitting.. I couldn't spit. I had bugs in my mouth and couldn't spit." At this point, I was wishing I didn't speak English. The stare never wavered. I broke and babbled I had always worked hard on the uphill climbs, and I even owned padded bike shorts and a jersey and real bike shoes and a professional helmet and real bike water bottles when I used to ride! His stare cut though me. He moved on in his discussion of the facilities, almost hyperventilating in his excitement over the pretend rowing across the lake marathons they hold on the pretend rowboats.

Be still my heart.

We moved on to diet... Lassa spent the next 16 minutes discussing enzymes and intake of proper nutrients and I stopped listening around 45 seconds into the lecture. I nodded when his eyes showed I was to respond... and agreed that I should give up my New Orleans style coffee.. the stuff I've had every morning of my remembered life.

Yeah, right after I cut off my left arm. I grew up in the South, Lassa..with a Sicilian grandmother.. and well... I should just mainline lipitor, I imagine, to undo all that past damage. I eat right now, but, I'm not giving up my coffee or my seafood or my Sicilian cooking. Besides, all of our women grow to be 80+.. they may shrink to be 4'8" with good posture and a mustache, but, they have long lives and great facial structure. I'll chance it. You can always wax and wear heels.

Mostly, I noticed he needed to trim the hair in his ears.

Therefore, as I wait every day for my coffee to finish in the percolator (some people still use them), I realise that even though we know I feel sweat is only acceptable in two places in life....

....this isn't one of them.

1 comment:

Andrea St. Clair said...

After a swamped week from hell, I finally get a chance to read this! :)

It's hard as an actor because you are constantly reminded of your looks and how someone who looks very similar to you, but thinner, might win a part over you for that very reason.

I've been self-concious since I've gained weight. I can admit it. I go to bootcamp because it kicks my ass in gear for twice a week, and then the rest of the time I can work out at my leisure. :) I'm hoping to get fit, toned and healthy.

But I do understand many folks' love/hate relationship with the gym. It really becomes the bane of many of our existence. I mean, really, when it can only take a matter of days to easily gain weight, the thought of having so many month of hard work to get it off is daunting and discouraging.

Thanks for the post in my honor, Quin. :) Here's to both of our workout "journeys."