What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Monday, June 16, 2008

An hour in the weight room

Eight hours at General Mills is longer than twelve hours in most other places. The time drags worse than a Spike Lee movie and when the shift ends, I need to find relief. Yesterday afternoon, I sought that relief in the weight room at my local gym.

Weight rooms, in case you've never been properly introduced, are large, spacious areas with resistance-creating exercise equipment littering a padded floor. Cables and simple machines join free weights in giving wannabes and muscled posers a chance to "pump some iron." I trotted into the room with a pretty clear idea of how I was going to work out: I would watch someone else and do what they did at a lighter weight.

I found an octogenarian who looked familiar with the weight room ways and mores and followed his lead through a lengthy, if simple, routine. But the real show was watching everyone else labor through their workouts.

A male who couldn't have been older than my father's car, but looked about as heavy as said vehicle waddled into the room with determination. Everyone already working out paused to watch him make his way toward the lat machine (a rig that works your "wings"). The big guy set it at the highest level of resistance and then shifted his weight back and forth to bring down the bar. He broke a sweat doing this. Then he picked up his car keys and left.

A middle aged gentlemen entered the room wearing a long sleeved jacket and the short black shorts you'd see on a track coach from the 1980s. He was muscled, but not trim. This fact didn't keep him from removing the jacket and flexing for the multitude of mirrors that formed the room's only decoration. His display of fibrous firepower was impressive, but not captivating. Everyone soon returned to their workouts.

A middle-aged woman entered the weight room. Nobody looked up but everyone started a set. Even Bobby, a body builder with a Mr. Universe physique, who always takes two minutes between sets went back to his flies (a free weight exercise that works the pectoral muscles), started a set even though he had only completed his last one a half minute earlier. When I'd completed my set, I looked at the newcomer. She wasn't that attractive - in fact she was altogether comely homely - but she was the first woman in the weight room in some time and she was invading a man's domain.

A young woman entered the room. She was really attractive and wore the kind of workout gear that let everyone know. If the first gal created a stir, she caused a firestorm. The guys had no idea what to do with themselves. Most of us wanted to go over and say "hi," maybe try and get a date, but none of us had the nerve. Plus such forwardness would break one of the unwritten rules of the weight room: Only ask a girl out after she's turned down Bobby. Perhaps sensing our discomfort, she didn't stay long.

A young man who looked to be my age walked in. He was shorter than me and exceptionally thin. I figured I would be able to out-lift him and was anxious to see by how much. After meandering a bit, he grabbed the chin up bar and pumped out twenty legal chin ups (from full arm extension to chin over the bar). I was dumbfounded. The octogenarian tapped me on the arm: "don't encourage him, lad." Apparently, I wasn't the only one put out of sorts by his physical prowess.

A boy who couldn't be much older than the insurance-mandated age cutoff for the weight room entered and claimed a bench by throwing his towel down. He retrieved a bar from a rack in the back of the room and put a couple of weights on each end. A couple of the veterans joined me in watching. I think they knew what was going to happen next. The boy began to lift, but had forgotten to attach the moorings to secure the weight in place. One side of the bar went up faster than the other and the weights went clattering to the ground. I caught a smile from the man in the coach's shorts.

A small family (husband, wife and son) entered the room, although the mother was wearing baggy clothing and a bandanna that allowed her to enter as a man might. The father quietly gave directions to his son on how to lift using a cable pull. Then he performed a few reps while his son looked on. When Junior tried his hand at the exercise, it was apparent that the resistance was set too high. He hawed and heaved, losing all form and rendering the effect of the set negligible. If anything he risked injury. Dad looked on approvingly, but the family didn't stay longer than the time it took to complete that one set. I knew Junior would feel it in the morning.

Yes sir; another hour in the weight room...


Tim said...

I think you mislabeled the middle-aged woman. 'Comely' means pleasing or wholesome in appearance; attractive. Syn: beautiful. How about homely?

you can call me batman said...

so is C the only one posting now?

Anonymouse said...

an hour and you did not actually work out?