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The Gym

04/06/2016

So, a month ago, I joined a gym.

It wasn’t an action borne out of desperation at my appalling standard of physical health or (solely) a desire to reshape myself to look more like hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling (I’m a heterosexual man but even I can see he is a bit of a hunk) but I just wanted to get a bit stronger and fitter.

Contrary to my early expectations, I have  been disciplined enough to maintain an at least thrice weekly work out routine. I’ve previously had some preconceptions about gyms but below are some things I have learned about the gym and working out over the last month.

1)  Beware delayed onset muscle soreness. I did my first proper work out with a gym instructor who set me up with a routine and properly put me through my paces. Body parts not used to being strained were stretched. About two or three days afterward, those previously rarely used muscles were aching. I was feeling delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS which wikipedia says “is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise”. A colleague at The Star office is a cross fitter and he informed of the term. It was a bit painful initially but was overcome after several days.

2) Older men love the open showers. At the gym I attend there are separate shower cubicles adjacent an open showering area. The older gentlemen who attend the gym never take an individual shower cubicle. I don’t know why this is the case.

3) The gym is less full of poseurs than I thought. I’ve always had this prejudice against gyms; that they were the repository of society’s narcissists: vacuous people consumed with their own self importance and external appearance. The sorts who are constantly checking out their bits in the mirrors. Yes some of these folk are there but there is a much wider cross section of society, levels of fitness and levels of pretentiousness. This isn’t actually surprising. There may be gyms attended only by the Ryan Goslings of this world but that would be a fairly limited business model. Ordinary out of shape and unattractive people have money too.

4) Routine is key. I’ve dabbled with gyms previously but rejected them both because of my aforementioned prejudice but also because of an ad-hoc and disordered approach to working out. After a session with a gym instructor (inclusive with my membership) I was given a workout routine which lays out a dedicated plan. Over time, and this has begun, that plan will adjust as I grow stronger and fitter.

5) Progress is possible. This must be the least earth shattering observation of all. Since I began working out, I have lost a little weight, slightly increased my level of general fitness and improved my, previously almost non existent, upper body strength. Going to the gym still feels like a bit of a chore but it is fast becoming a worthwhile chore.

Some of you may read this post as insisting that everyone should join the gym. It isn’t. I simply recount my own beneficial experience. Fitness is a value to me. It isn’t for everyone and I recognise that others make other value judgments. Nonetheless going to the gym is helping me work towards the goal of realising one part of my best self.

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2 Comments
  1. Camilla permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyed. I must admit I find “gains” very satisfying and I do catch myself flexing in the mirror post weights workout.

    • Haha. Yes the “gains” are important but physical appearance is not all that matters. Need to cultivate the internal as well as the external. I guess that’s why I read and write. Thanks for commenting, Camilla.

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