|Pic courtesy of Gymn Memb Fees|
Six weeks ago I and the voice in my head finally decided to do something about my weight. The first thing I did was change my diet. I decided to have the occasional treat so I wouldn’t have to be totally depressed. Previously if I wandered into a bakery without lawful excuse I would buy a meat pie and a doughnut. Now, I only get the doughnut.
I have cut down on my butter intake by only buttering one of the slices of bread when I make a sandwich. I have cut down on my bread consumption from eight slices a day to four, except for the weekends which are my diet amnesia days.
So how is this life change working? Well not exceptionally well or even moderately well but it is enough to stop my belly from further expansion. My ace in the hole was to join a gym.
Yes I know, there is no sight more depressing or forlorn than a middle aged fat man in a gym but that is the price of gluttony a fat man must pay. I must do my penance. People say as an excuse ‘I am big boned or - I have a lower metabolic rate than normal.’ But it is a lie.
I have grown from 90kg to 118kg over the last 25 years and now I am fat, unpleasantly obese, overweight. I'm a rotund, glutinous balloon of a person.
Doctors and nutritionists say in relation to men, that if you stand naked and look down you should be able to see your general parts or at least parts of your parts in general. Not only had all my general parts vanished from sight, even my size eleven and a half feet had all but disappeared. My doctor warned me I was on the brink of taking blood pressure pills permanently.
So the voice in my head and I joined the gym. While this voice is helpful to me as a writer it is a total pain in the arse in a gymnasium. The voice in my head is an annoying, smart arse, macho bastard! He is the bastard that makes me pose naked in the bathroom mirror and then taunts me pointing out the eyesore my body has become.
The owner of the gym is an attractive middle aged woman with the physique of an athlete twenty years her junior. She wears leotards with athletic singlets that show every detail of her lithe, fat free muscular body. That is fine, as she is a great advertisement for her gym. Her gym is full of similar leotard encased muscular athletic woman. Some are instructors and personal trainers while others are woman of all ages who are heavily into rigorous sporting endeavors.
And they are all so nice to me! They smile at me when I enter and say good morning or afternoon. But the real problem is they are all so damn fit!
If there is one thing my macho inner voice hates it is women who are athletically stronger and fitter than the lazy blob he lives inside.
Right from the get go he made trouble for me. Everyone joining the gym is assessed by the staff who design a personal fitness program plan of recommended, graduated exercises. I watched as the gym members referred to their plan cards like they were the athletic bible.
My macho inner voice immediately said: “A program plan is not for you sunshine. Whilst you are an embarrassment to the entire male race you do not need some smiling Amazonian, leotard clad, former kitchen dweller to tell you what to do.
A gym is a male domain. It should be full of grunting, sweaty men wearing hoodies with the arms torn out. There should be swearing, poor light and the pong of years of perspiration coated unwashed floors and grimy wall decor.”
“So you want me to do my own exercise regime then?” I asked.
“And why not, look how pleasant the woman instructors are? Where are the tough no-nonsense male instructors eh? You are not here for pleasant talk with attractive women, you fat bastard. You are here to reclaim your maleness. Your job is to show these women that a gym is a place of pain, profuse sweating, suffering and inappropriate farting. You should be instructed in exercise by sadistic retired commandos who believe death by exhaustion is a healthy way to get fit.”
“So where do I start?”
“Let’s start with the rowing machines. I can see two women chatting as they row like girls. I bet they are talking about flower arranging. Go on, strap yourself into the machine next to one of them - now look at the screen on her machine. Don’t let her see you looking, stupid! Out of the corner of your eye, that’s it.
Check her strokes per minute, and how many calories she is burning per hour with each stroke. Whatever she is rowing for her plan you must double it. She is a mere woman.”
I began to row and had to stop gasping with exhaustion and fear of death by the time I had rowed 1000m.
“Put more effort in you sissy! Get into it fatso.” the macho idiot ordered me.
Eleven minutes later I slumped forward on the rowing machine. My breath came in ragged gasps. Sweat poured down my forehead blinding my eyes.
“Why did you pick the rowing machine you bastard? I am having a stroke.”
“Don’t let the ladies see you like that. Have you no shame? Stand up. Look nonchalant, like it was nothing. Gawd you are a pathetic excuse for a man. Drink some water. Don’t dribble, honestly you look like you are melting. Right, Mr. Blobby, now for some real exercises for your arms and chest. Those man titties and love handles have to go.” I staggered to the weight lifting machines.
“Remember the golden rule, always check what the women are lifting and then double it. If she is one of those cross training, multi sport, or body building freaks at least lift the next weight up.”
I have attended the gym for six weeks now and I still don’t have a plan. Even the men have plans designed by the women. I am plan-less and my wife says brainless as well. The average time a women exercises there is 45 minutes so I exercise an hour and a half.
Below is a breakdown of my current exercise regime.
Row two thousand meters in under 9 min 40secs.
Use six arm, shoulder and chest exercise machines with weights from 80 lbs. to 150 lbs. Do multiple repetitions in lots of ten or twenty depending on the weight.
150lbs? That seems excessive. Well there is a reason for that. You see the teenagers from the local high school also attend the gym. The macho swine inside me insists that I also compete with the males as they are technically still young adults and no self respecting adult macho man should lift less than them either. Back to my list.
I do a hundred and fifty stomach crunches on one machine and a floor mat. I do as many in a row as I can without crying out when the cramps hit. Then complete the rest in sets of twenty.
I get on the bicycle and pedal for 4 and a half kilometers. I must pedal faster than the women on either side of me but not less than 100 rpm and sprint for the last minute.
How I got to the 100 rpm limit was because one day there was one of those Amazonian super fit multi-sport type athletes on a bike next to me forcing me to compete with her. OH I know she never looked at me but she knew I was killing myself to keep up with her, she knew.
We completed ten minutes; she strolled off to chat with one of her friends. She hadn’t even sweated through her makeup. I stood hanging onto the bike because my legs had turned to shuddering dog roll. My forehead had sprung a permanent leak and my heart couldn’t seem to decide whether to explode out through my chest or my spine.
The macho scumbag inside my head was saying things like, “You’re the man. That was awesome for a fat bastard. I bet she is on steroids.’
After the bike ride I walk to the other end of the gym for another 150 stomach crunches. On that day the walk was very slow as I needed to support myself on several of the large pieces of gym equipment to stop from crumbling to the ground in a quivering mess.
After another 150 stomach crunches I finish with another 2000 meter row, which the macho idiot informs me is the Olympic distance for rowing events but I have to do it twice. This ensures that I am totally exhausted every day.
“You must be mad!” cried my wife when I explained my approach to fitness and losing weight. I must confess she is probably right.
But what are the results six weeks down the track? I still have muscle soreness and stiffness in my thighs, arms and stomach but it is slowly decreasing. I have lost 5 kilos in weight.
I have frequent unrealistic fantasies about Iron Man events involving climbing mountains, swimming oceans and intercontinental bicycle rides.
Two days ago after I finished my four days a week gym session I realized my recovery from near death elapsed time was getting shorter. It is working!
Oh and when I stand naked with my arms at my side and look down, my general parts have reappeared. Is it possible my stomach has shrunk that much? Or has all that exercise increased the size of…?
All I can say is its back to the gym on Monday.