Normally, I work out in the mornings or early afternoons before heading to the classroom. Today, however, due to curriculum planning, a meeting and wanting to hang out with my daughter for a bit I just couldn’t spare the extra hour. So instead, I hit the gym after class at about nine o’clock.
It always surprises me how many people are at the gym at that hour. I mean really, nine o’clock is not the time for a heavy workout. Even a run seems a bit much unless you are outside enjoying the fresh air. And there certainly isn’t any of that at the World Gym! Nevertheless, almost all of the hamster tracks were being used, most of the universal machines were occupied and even the free weight room was littered with body builders. I was feeling a little claustrophobic. And then I began to wonder, “Why am I here? Why am I among these gym rats sweating the final few moments of my day away?”
Could it be that I am vain? Honestly. Yea. A little. I like to look good. I am most certainly nowhere near Hollywood status; however I am satisfied with what I have achieved at the gym. I would never parade around topless, but I am not self conscious when I take off my shirt for a swim. I am not rock hard and my muscles certainly don’t pop; but I do enjoy taking my daughter to the gun show from time to time. I would fail miserably at any sort of body building competition; however, I don’t hesitate to ask my wife to rate me on a scale from one to ten. So was it vanity that brought me to the gym tonight? Partly. But there has to be more.
Could it be that I am stressed out? No. But that is because I work out. Working out helps me to decompress when I am feeling smothered by everyday pressures. I sometimes throw around weights to get rid of unwanted hostility or aggression. I run nowhere on the treadmill to find my center when I’m feeling a little ‘off’. You see, the thing I love about working out is that the hour I spend at the gym isn’t like the sixty minute band aid that I get when I watch a TV program. I can turn on the tube when I am upset and for the hour that I am immersed in my show, my issues are completely forgotten. However, when the final song hits its last note I am it at the same place I was an hour previous. Working out, on the other hand, allows me to immerse myself in my problem. As I run, there isn’t anything to do besides process whatever it is that has me distressed. I go to the gym alone and use that time to work on my body, mind and soul. So, was it stress that brought me to the gym? No. Not tonight.
Could it be that it gives me energy and mobility? That sounds possible. More and more, my body reminds me that I am forty. I not only grunt when I get up but also when I sit down. I have to stretch out my back if I have been crouching for too long and my joints sometimes tap out a tune if I don’t use them regularly. Working out seems to help me maintain a semblance of the flexibility I once had.
Also, I find that I am more alert and full of vigor if I work out on a regular basis. When I stay away from the gym for too long I get lethargic and start to feel sedate. I don’t like that feeling. In a way, working out and running is the jumpstart I need to keep me energized. So was it the need to recharge my batteries that took me to the gym tonight? Partly, yea.
Really though, going to the gym regularly is just a part of who I am right now. I have been exercising since I was about fourteen and love the feeling. I haven’t always gone to the gym and I am sure there will come a time when I just decide to stop. Whenever that day comes, I will simply find another method of pushing myself to get the same adrenalin rush that comes with a good workout at the gym.
Feel it Again, by Honeymoon Suite, was one of the songs I was listening to during the summer that I first started to work out. My brother and I were in the basement of my grandmother’s house one rainy afternoon and we decided to lift chairs for fun. (We both suffered from chicken arms and chairs were about all we could manage to press.) Who knew that something as simple as lifting a piece of furniture could have such a large impact on my life.
Vanity, a lack of stress, and energy are key to helping me feel young, and quite honestly I plan on feeling that way forever. The burn I get from a good workout reminds me that I am alive and well. As each new day comes I look forward to feeling that burn again.
Feel it Again youtube link