Picking Up Heavy Shit

I first started working out when I was like 10 or 12. My uncle got me a weight set for my birthday. He had an old weight bench at my grandparent’s house so I grabbed that along with the weights he had left there so I had a pretty good set up.   I worked out with gusto for a while but eventually gave up on it. I mean we were already active kids, riding bikes playing war, running around the neighborhood and I was in the scouts.

Fast forward a handful of years, post high school, and I joined one of the chain gyms. Saddled with a contract and a monthly payment you can bet you ass I went pretty regularly. It wasn’t always easy since I was working and going to college full time. Eventually I transferred to a different college and that was pretty much the end of the gym, there’s only so many hours in a day after all. While I was at the new school I took up racquetball, strangely enough. So while I wasn’t hitting the gym I was still getting a pretty good work out in when I could. I was never really all that good but it was challenging and I enjoyed it.

Once I finished college I found myself back at the gym again. My contract was nearly up so my monthly payment was going to be next to nothing. All that time I was paying and not going. That’s how they get you. Most people sign up and then stop going after a few months. Well, I’d show them. Usually I’d warm up on the bike for about half an hour and then work out on the Nautilus machines. It was less competition than fighting over the free weights and ultimately served the same ends. This ran about the same cycle and after about 2 or 3 years I stopped going…..again.

My next foray into physical fitness didn’t involve the gym, instead I started taking martial arts classes. This was maybe about 4 years after I stopped going to the gym. I stuck with this the longest, 6 years straight. That was probably the best shape I had ever been in. It wasn’t just physical though, I did a lot of reading on Eastern philosophy, practiced meditation, you know the whole nine yards.

It’s funny relating this now I can see the pattern. I’d get involved for a few years, drop it for a few years and start the cycle over again. Martial arts broke that cycle for a bit but in the end the pressures of family, work and well just life in general necessitated that I again take pause.

True to form, many life changes and four years later I found myself back at the gym. Unbeknownst to me though this would be a much shorter cycle. After a little less than a year my little privately owned gym closed. Balls, I thought I was just settling in too.

It turned out there was some good news to come out of it however. The owner’s son was going to reopen the gym at a new location. The only question was when. Turns out not too long at all. It was about six months later and I was back at the gym and even better it was on my way home from work. So I was back at the gym but this time however my engagement was much more sporadic. I went for a while then stopped, then went for a while again and stopped.

Things finally settled down enough and I’ve been going now regularly for the last few years, Corona virus not withstanding. I still mostly work out on the machines but I’ve added some free weights to my regimen. I usually go three days a week, most days I’m only there for a half and hour to 45 minutes as opposed to an hour or more like I used to do. Time becomes more precious the older we get and I’ve got lot of shit to do. I’m not trying to bulk up, I’m just trying to stay healthy and the truth of it is I hate the gym.

It wasn’t always that way, hell I’ve been working out off and on for a lot of years now. I didn’t mind when I was younger but now I’m just hedging my bets. I don’t want to have a heart attack or be 300 pounds. The gym has become a line item on a to do list, same as cleaning the house or balancing the checkbook. It’s not something you look forward to but you know you have to do it. So I do. I pick up heavy stuff but just remember the gym is a means to an end, it’s not the end.



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