• The Gym

    by Theresa Reichman

    For me, working out and cooking are very similar.

    Most nights it’s so tempting to throw a frozen pizza in the oven rather than buzz around the kitchen dicing, simmering and spicing. But when I actually bring myself to do it, I remember that I really enjoy dicing, simmering and spicing.

    I dig my heels in at the thought of going to the gym. In fact, all of my muscles seem to sigh in protest and turn into a gelatinous blob of flesh that refuses to move. However, on those occasions where I can muster the strength to get myself to the gym, I remember that I do actually like it there.

    And perhaps the highlight of my workouts is people-watching. People-watching is nearly always entertaining, but at the gym, motives turn raw and exposed. Let’s face it: When you’re huffing, puffing, grunting and sweating, there’s little room for cover-ups. You are just you, and everyone can see that.

    There’s the 40-something-year-old men who come in scrawny and alone. They pick up a fluorescent orange 5-pound weight and begin curling with a ferocity that can’t be ignored. They take frequent breaks, and their eyes dart around to see if any babes are watching. And if a babe is watching? Cue the grunting, sweating, and toiling over that sad little weight. Because when you’re a 40-something-year-old man who is scrawny and alone, you don’t want to be scrawny, and you certainly don’t want to be alone.

    There’s the multi-tasking mother who, after dropping all of her children off at their designated schools and daycares, finally has a moment to herself. She settles her yoga-panted bottom in a cycling chair and flips open a book. She’s finally able to turn the pages of that page-turner that’s been sitting on her bookshelf. And since being a mother will turn any soul into a multi-tasker, she’s determined to make her body sexy and fit for her husband at the same time.

    The gym personality I will never understand? Those who can bench 200 pounds or run a mini marathon on the treadmill, yet have no energy to walk a few meters for a towel and cleaning spray to wipe down their machines. Dude, really? No one wants to sit in your ass sweat.

    There’s the old man who hobbles feebly into the gym and exerts himself as much as he can because he’s just realized that he’s not ready to give into clogged arteries and stiff joints. There is fear on his face, but hope, too. Hope that maybe this will give him another year with his grandkids. Another anniversary with his wife.

    As for me? It’s hard to be objective about oneself, but I’m sure that someone in the gym has me all figured out.



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