Monthly Archives: April 2012

Day Four at the Gym; on Lockers, Deodorant and Muscle Fatigue

Thanks to the impossibly fit 50 year old personal trainer who leads my bloated self through the intimidating exercise machine routines with their incomprehensible levers and knobs I am once again deprived of arm movement. On my fourth visit to the gym he put me through what feels like a wringer with probably ridiculously light weights which for this old fart seem unbearably heavy and thanks to his next client – a beach-based real estate agent with no fat that I can detect – being late, I got an extra half hour of this torture. Miraculously, my “faint or puke” reflex has subsided somewhat and I can now move from one set of exercises to another with less steadying time in between. Steadying time, for those unfamiliar with the concept which may or may not be a completely original invention, is the time needed to catch one’s breath, balance and allow blood to return to the brain.

I also “moved in” to “my” locker; which enabled me to try out the facility’s showers and change rooms and found that after a workout, it is highly preferable to have on hand a spray deodorant as opposed to the stick version given the limitations of my previously mentioned arm movement. It would have also desirable to have a locker on the bottom half of the row, not the top, for the same reason.

The showers are the push button water faucet variety, which means they save water and you push that button every 75 seconds or so; the shampoo provided feels more like conditioner in that it doesn’t lather up and so the soap dispenser does the job on the hair as well as the rest of it. Thankfully there are few people in the changeroom when Yours Truly visits so there is no need for jovial banter or the like.

Monday is visit number 5. Should anything exciting or untoward happen, I will write about it.

I Visit the Gym

Yup, that's me!

My feelings, precisely!

While those who know me may gasp in shock and awe; the rest of my readers will find the fact that I have started going to the gym less exciting than yet another trip to the Puuc route or watching white-sandaled dancers with bottles on their heads twirling to an off-key jarana in front of Meridas Palacio Municipal for the nth time. It is to the latter group that I apologize and give permission to click anywhere and find something more interesting to see or read about, like perhaps another cat video on YouTube or the latest article on Yucatan Living.

Actually, it was my Better Half who, probably because she tired of seeing my rather prominent belly and stick legs, gave me the “gift of health” in the form of a membership and monthly dues to the new Sports City or Sport Center gym, located on the Merida-Progreso highway across from the Xcanatun hacienda and at the entrance to a new-ish upscale housing development called Villas Xcanatun or something along those lines. My initial reaction was to blow the whole idea off, but then I have noticed that I am panting a lot more upon reaching the top of the Mayapan pyramid or after a swim in one the Chunkanan cenotes, so I said “what the hell, this might actually help me”

I confess that I have an aversion to gyms and the whole machine vs body culture thing. Plus, I am most definitely not a morning person and think it is ridiculous to have to make oneself somewhat presentable to work out in a room with insanely fit people, who I perceive will watch impatiently as I struggle with complicated machinery composed of weights, springs, handles and adjustments in my clumsy early-morning way. Luckily, a personal trainer is included in the package and so, I have my own personal machine adjuster/calibrator who sets things up and spots me when I am about to choke on a particular exercise.

And choke I do!

I have completed one warm up visit and three full-on one hour weight training sessions, followed by a 30 minute cardio workout on a treadmill. The trainer, let’s call him Ed – whose arms are as fat as my upper thighs except in his case it’s all muscle – insists on piling on a healthy (to him) dose of weight on any and every exercise he assigns me using that old weight-training maxim: “If you can’t do four, then do no more” and “if you can do eight, let’s add some more weight”

What I have noticed is that I spend a rather alarming amount of time between exercises, trying to regain my equilibrium. I feel like I am a) going to throw up and b) about to pass out. Apparently this is due to the blood rushing from my brain and into the newly rediscovered muscles that are pumped up and ‘occluded’ whatever that means. What I understand is that I am dizzy and gasping for breath after just a few reps each of squatting, pushing and pulling.

On the treadmill, I actually work up a glow (pre-sweat), the little heart rate indicator goes from a yellow to a red and things go swimmingly until I turn the machine off and step onto the floor, where at once I feel like I am moving backwards and have to hold on to a wall or something solid in order not to fall over and make a complete ass of myself. After a few moments of standing there hopefully looking non-chalant and pretending to watch the lousy sit-coms on the television overhead, I am able to continue on to the towel counter where I hand in my hardly-used mini-towel at the end of my workout.

I also bought a lock and on todays visit, my third, I actually installed it on my assigned locker; thereby setting aside a little piece of real estate in the gym which I can now fill with a second set of the toiletries I have at home. My goal is to be able to shower and change right there and go on to work without having to go home.

Oh, and to get fit.