8 February 2012

Gym class heroes

Still visiting the gym three times a week and I think it's beginning to have an effect at last night. I still weigh a metaphorical ton, but it looks a bit more even and proportioned.

Eventually you start to bump into and recognise the same characters week by week when you wander into the gym. You notice their habits, their routines, their attire, their dedication.

Some, like me, wander in wearing their workout kit and wander out in it too, others spend ages getting changed into their gear and come into the room with a towel round their neck, grip-enhancing gloves on their hands and a branded suck flask containing no doubt some nutritionally recommended liquid for between chases or pumps.

Included in my small municipal gym's clientele are:-

* Loud bodybuilder
A late 30s guy with muscles, real muscles, and unafraid via his sleeveless attire and very short shorts to show them off. Talks to anyone who walks in unless they appear to be of similar build to him. Especially keen to offer anecdotes about when he used to train in a "proper" gym (as opposed to this publicly-owned dump, presumably) and likes communicating with the array of sparrow-kneecapped sixth formers just starting out in their gym experience. Will make at least one lewd comment about a pop star on the televisions per session.

* Lonely cyclist
Prematurely bald professional who is "between jobs" and separated from his wife, and spends more than an hour of his frustrated time on the exercise bike, pretty much every day, only getting off it once he has consumed every word of that day's edition of The Sun, which he perches on the handlebars. Will also then spend ages on the cross trainer and lifting a few dumb-bells before wiping the sweat off his pate and walking the three miles home, all the while not spending any of his redundancy money or having to deal with his ex.

* Sixth formers
As mentioned, an inexhaustible number of teenage lads attached to the school that owns the "health centre" using their lunch breaks, free periods and post-school hours to have pointless mini-competitions with the weights, often looking as though their heads may explode in doing so.

* Make up girl
Blonde lass, mid 30s, always in a black jogging suit and such a full face of make-up that she must be supremely confident that her long sessions on the cross trainer and rowing machine still won't make her sweat. At all.

* Hirsute villager
Grey-bearded chap at least in his late 50s who is on for a heart attack with every weight he lifts and, if alone in the room, puts Radio 4 on, leading to the incongruous sight of him straining to drag 50 kilos behind his shoulders while The Archers is on.

* Impatient friend to all
Only slightly younger than the above (and clean shaven) who switches from machine to machine after only one go on each, and is happy to say hello to everyone who walks in, irrespective of gender, age or familiarity, as if he has joined the gym just to meet people.

* Shames us all
Chap in his 20s who acts normal, uses the equipment properly and generally is unremarkable. Then, when getting ready for his post-workout shower, he removes his false leg in front of everyone.

Still doing four rounds of weights and then 144 sit ups - six lots of 24 - and I really love it. My only alteration is the use of two 10kg dumb-bells now instead of 8kg. I don't think it's going to make massive physical alterations, ultimately, but nevertheless I wish I'd started going years ago.