Tag Archives: no really exercise

Tom’s Adventures In Fitness.

Exercise. It’s one of those things that I avoid with the sort of relish and dedication usually seen in recovering alcoholics when they walk past the pub. To give you an idea of how anti-exercise I am, the sneakers I currently own are from 2006. I bought them when I was fourteen for a school camp. And despite this fact, they look about six-months old. This is not due to some magical anti-ageing footwear spray. This is simply from being preserved and protected in a fine layer of dust.

If there is a way (or even if there isn’t) to get out of participating in the act of deliberately exerting myself then I will I find it. Unlike that other E-word, excuses come to me naturally. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but they do. I can make excuses for just about anything. I will apologise and make excuses for food that I haven’t prepared if it wasn’t very good. I give inanimate objects the benefit of the doubt and try to justify their inactions. My excuses cover a wide range of topics, but they come to the fore when it comes to why I don’t exercise.

“I don’t have enough money to afford the various forms of personal fitness afforded to me, a young twentysomething in the city.” is a personal favourite, as is “I just ate and don’t quite feel up to it.” The list is long and varied. Which is why it came as such a startlingly surprise that I recently found myself inside a gym. A building designed with the sole purpose of exercise in mind. There is no other way around it. It is a building of a singular function. The only other architectural marvel that comes close in terms of a narrow-mindedness surrounding it’s purpose is a prison. An apt coincidence if you ask me.

My arrival in this hall of pain and muscle-mass was (weirdly) deliberate. I was not abducted by a mob of personal trainers, tied-up and tossed into a bag. Nor was I lured by the promising smell of baked goods emanating from the gyms glass doors, only to find myself locked inside once I crossed the threshold, duped by a boutique candle. Really it’s my girlfriend’s fault, but before you protest and say that sexual and emotional blackmail does not a ‘deliberate’ choice make – allow me to expand.

While it is true that my first foray into fitness machines and grunting behemoths came as direct result of my girlfriend signing up and using her ‘free-trial pass’ on me, what happened next was not her fault. She is blameless in this. What happened next was entirely of my own doing. After completing an hour of what I had originally thought would be hell but turned out to be a treadmilling purgatory, I was given the option of leaving. Of never coming back. I’d made it clear to the lady at the desk that I wasn’t interested, and she made it clear that that was totally okay. She didn’t even try to coerce me into anything. In fact…I ASKED HER ABOUT MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS.

Maybe there was some crazy reverse psychology marketing plot at work. Maybe I’m an idiot. Maybe my belief that I wasn’t being coerced was in fact me being coerced. There are a few maybes floating around, but the cold-hard truth is: I joined a gym. I joined a gym about a month ago and I’m still going. That’s right. I am still (deliberately) walking down to the gym, handing over my little card, going in and exercising. And while I’m not about to break any records for muscle mass gained or metres ran, it’s a big step-up from my pervious forms of exercise (walking from kitchen to the lounge room [which in small apartment is about half a step] and sitting up from lying down after tactical naps). Not only that but I persisted with my attendance even after my body was destroyed by a ‘free personal training session’ (which I have now learnt roughly translates to: a free test of your body’s ability to stand up under torture if you were ever kidnapped by extremists for six days). Yeah. I’m scared too.

So what have I learned from my initial adventures in fitness? A bit. I now feel guilty when I ate an entire tub of Ben & Jerry’s (this guilt is usually soothed by another tub of Ben & Jerry’s and the cycle repeats until I’m crying into a pool of melted ice cream). I don’t resent stairs as much (we aren’t friends but we can no co-exist, kind of like China and America). I’ve also found that it’s an excellent way to clear my head from all the clutter that I pick up throughout the day. And some of those machines aren’t really contraptions designed by the guy from Saw. In fact some of them are okay. However there are some other observations. Some…interesting discoveries about the specimens who hang out at the GYM. An entire sub-genre of humanity that hang-out amongst the bikes and weights and sweat. Here are some my favourites (and least favourites):

  1. Proteinero Maximus: Those guys who seem to flake a fine layer of protein powder onto everything they touch. The guys whose penises are so small they have to absorb extreme amounts of various supplements in order to justify their own existence. These guys walk around showing off the biceps on their biceps and generally act like whatever brain cells they had, fell out during some serious upper body work-out. They stare you down when you’re starting to navigate equipment (because urinating on it as a sign of ownership is just slightly unacceptable) and they make noises that would make a nun blush. They also shit. A lot. Loudly. Causing that particular part of the changeroom to smell like someone let off a small localised atom bomb made of asses. Mostly harmless though. If you ignore them they’re low self-esteem will cause them to go flex near something with boobs in the hope of making them forget about their tiny, tiny willies.
  2. Texty Texty Tit: You see them. They kind of look like you (the uninitiated) and they don’t seem to have a clue about how the machines work. What they are really good at though is using the machines as reclining furniture on which they can relax and text so and so about this and that or update their Facebook profile to let everyone know “They’re @ the gym #workout #gymlyf #lololol smileyfacesmileyfacerocketshipcat!!!”. Now again, while I am not a hardcore gym enthusiast I do understand this isn’t how one should use a leg-press machine. And frankly while I am also slow and still finding my feet (and abs) I actually use the machines for their intended purpose. These iPhone addicted morons will be lucky if they do half of a stomach crunch or lat pull (look at me pulling out the lingo). Harmless in the way that pigeons are harmless but everywhere and just generally in the way.
  3. The Biggest Loser Candidates: Not to sound like a dick or anything, but for someone like me the biggest thing that was keeping me out of the gym was people like the people outlined in point 1. I didn’t want to drown in testosterone. And while there is occasionally a risk of that (timing your arrival to avoid peak-periods does the trick) for the most part it’s pretty chilled. And the best part is that there are a lot people who are in worse shape than me. These guys are making a go of it. Big dudes or dudettes who want to lose weight and get healthy and all that but who’s life stories didn’t have anything poignant enough for reality TV. They sweat profusely and can’t run as fast as regular people so they make you feel better about yourself. Does this make you/me a terrible person? Probably. But does it mean I feel a wee bit better about myself ? Fuck yes. Does it also mean that the slight pang of guilt makes me go a little bit quicker? Oh yeah. So it all balances out in the end.
  4. That Old Guy Putting You To Shame: Not to be confused with the above, this dude is in his late 80s and looks deceptively like a stiff breeze would send him into the next room. And initially you see him and are buoyed with confidence that once again there is someone worse than you at this (in the early days of gym participation this sort of thin gets you through). And then the fucker starts cranking out sit-ups and push-ups and chin-ups and running like death is after him (which is probably the case) and you just watch in awe as grandpa is not only better than you, he’s better than everyone else in the room. A word for the wise: DON’T TRY TO KEEP UP WITH HIM. You will die. The Grim Reaper, who was already puffed from chasing the old bastard, will pause to catch his breath, see you panting and choking and pat you on the back as if to say: I know right.

So that’s all I have time for today. I’m off to go and exercise (or should that be exorcise?) the days demons away. Before you start panicking though, don’t worry I’m not going to turn into a protein guzzling, low-cut singlet wearing, douchebag. I’m still the same idiot I was before. I still have the same runners. Just slightly better lung capacity when going up stairs.

Treed.

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The Consequences Of Motivation.

By now you’ve probably picked up on a running theme here. A theme of procrastination, of not doing things, of slowly and surely drowning in my double stacked beanbag (because a single beanbag is just fucking uncomfortable and leads to fatigue despite the body being in a reclined position) and of a general lack of oomph.  You’ve surely noticed the trend as we go through the photo album that is my daily activities: Here I am at my regular LazyArse Anon meeting, I have a name-tag and “Hello my name is Tom and I’m a lazyarse.” You know, that kind of thing. But for the first time in this blog’s short lifespan we have breaking, and possibly slightly disturbing, news; I have done stuff.

Yes. At some point during the morning of Tuesday the 16th of October 2012, I came into the possession of some ‘motivation’. I am unsure of its origin but the main theory we’re working on here is that it slipped in on a soft breeze through the open window and somehow managed to ingrate itself into the fibres of my dressing gown, whereupon it was slowly absorbed through my pores and entered my bloodstream. From this point I recall feeling a sudden, almost crippling sense of purpose. I released myself from the cuddly and intoxicating embrace of my double-decker beanbags and, seizing my laptop, took up a position on the much sturdier and forcefully motivating hard-backed, wooden, IKEA dining chair.

The results were profound. Remember that philosophy essay I hadn’t completed? The one that I had complained about not doing on repeated occasions? Well that essay was the first to fall victim to my newfound motivational attitude. I cranked out 1600 words on the contradictory nature of God and evil before watching an episode of Gravity Falls. I then proofread it, printed it out and handed it in a whole day earlier than was necessary. You’re welcome punctuality. But alas it did not stop there; I shopped for supplies and even got a start on my other essay. In fakt so ‘oomph-like’ was my behaviour that the large shark-bear currently squatting in our wardrobe felt it necessary to come out and check on me without attempting to maim or frighten me (he has since departed the premises under the excuse that, “this wasn’t what he signed up for…”).

Of course the effects of motivation are often short-lived in a master of procrastination such as myself. However, to my surprise I found that my enthusiasm had not waned when I woke the next morning. After feeding Dolores some ham and battling with him for shower supremacy (needless to say I had a tentacle free shower this morning), I set out to find a new outlet for my brimming energy and focus. You recall in our last conversation I mentioned running. Well that happened. I ran. It was not pretty. I do not resemble a gazelle in full flight. I’m more like a heron wading through quicksand, but I did it. I put on my runners (take note of my lack of land based sporting participation when I tell you I have had the same runners since I was 14 and they still only look about a year old at worst) and cranked some dub-step and ran through Melbourne like some sort of unfit, hirsute Achilles.

At the time it was an excellent idea. Today I am cursing my past self for making me walk like a Thunderbird. Stairs are now my nemesis as my legs are experiencing such a severe case of pins and needles that I cannot bend them to climb steps without looking like I have shat myself. On a totally unrelated note the sensation has prompted me to create a 1940s periodical crime drama about a hedgehog detective and his sultry, leggy blonde assistant called “Pins & Needles”. Anyways I thought that the ‘extensivity’ of my cement legs (because there was nothing really pin or needle-like about my joints today) would cause my motivation to ebb out of me like…butter…on freshly toasted muffins? Bad analogy is bad. However my motivation was not only still present but just as aggressive as before. I ran errands in the morning, did more work on my final essay and cleaned the apartment to such a degree that I unsettled dust motes that had been set in place during the Howard years.

I have to tell you I was a little frightened that I would do something really radical with my new superpower, but it seems that motivation can only take so much. “And on the afternoon of the third day he rested.” I have returned to my double-stacked beanbags of comfort and am resting my weary legs. It seems that the motivation snuck out the open window when I was trying to air the smell of our newest monstrous resident, a big, purple guy named Clyde. It’s out there right now. Drifting on the updrafts of bus-exhausts, flitting over the heads of morose commuters and sniffing out its next host.

For motivation is not a symbiotic beast, oh no. It is a parasite. It sucks the energy from its host by making it participate in a range of various beneficial activities…and then, when it’s host has completed almost everything it has to complete (I still haven’t finished that second essay), it leaves, having had its fill. I wait in fear, that one day it will strike me down again and I will join a gym and start shaving on a regular basis.

That’s all for today. Also props to Jonathon Lawrence (Ed. I’M AWESOME) who has kindly started editing these posts in order to check for erroneous errors that I don’t notice (read: WHAT IS PROOFREADING????).

Treed…AWAAAAAYYY (slowly though, due to the sore legs).

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