Sunday, March 2, 2008

Working Out

I drag my sorry ass to the gym three or four times a week. Today was one of those days. No, I don't lift 358 lbs or anything like that. I use the cross-trainer for 35 minutes, then stretch for another 15 minutes or so. Then I come home.

Going to the gym is not my favorite activity, not even close, but I go there to burn calories. The more I burn, the more I can eat, at least that's the bargain I've made with myself. In that half hour on the cross trainer, I can burn more than 500 calories, which is slightly less than one Big Mac®. I'm not necessarily doing this so that I can eat Big Macs, but that particular sandwich is very easy to visualize as I pedal away.

During the stretching afterwards, I go to a room that's used for classes. It doesn't have any equipment, and usually other people are stretching or doing other kinds of workouts, there. Today, a woman who is carrying perhaps an extra 30 (or 40) lbs was doing some rather vigorous belly dancing. I had a very difficult time not watching her simply out of fascinated horror. On the other hand, she's dancing her way to a smaller self. I could not bring myself to dance in front of a mirror that extends from floor to ceiling for the length of the whole wall. I do lack chutzpah from time to time, regardless of what my friends think.

Also present in the room were two very cute Hispanic or Asian guys. What caught my eye (other than the cuteness factor) is that they were sharing the same mat. The mats are not large, and these guys had placed the mat sideways, and were doing crunches or stretching, whatever, and you could not have slipped a butter knife between them. Nobody wanted to share my mat with me.

The stretching area is also interesting because it's full of ritual. That is, people are exercising to their own inner personal trainer. Some people look exotic, some look exhausted, and some look like exorcists. They're often zoned out, and not at all self-conscious about what they look like or what they are doing. This is the zen room at the gym.

Of course, it all ends up in the locker room. I'm wearing a jockstrap again, not for any support, I just like the feel of it; consider it Happy's little secret fetish. Some guys are very careful not to show anyone else anything while undressing or dressing. Others strut boldly (and perhaps shouldn't) birthday-suited throughout the environs. I try to strike a middle position. I quickly undress, then wrap myself in my towel to go for a shower. The ones I haven't figured out yet are the guys who take showers with their clothes on. Many guys will wear their shorts to the showers to undress, but I've actually seen more than one guy soaping himself underneath his waistband, or even soaping the short, itself. I'm amazed.