Diary of a Gympy 30-Something

I went to the gym this week.

Aging comes for us all, and my body is...well in need of improvement. And so I went to the gym to improve myself. In particular, I needed to exercise my chest and back muscles. What you are about to read is the experience and aftermath of this decision.

This was a wretched experience, one I would not wish on any man, and yet one which I will be enduring for many many months to come.

Day One

I arrive at the gym hoping I am dressed appropriately. I have been to exactly zero gyms in my lifetime; the first time I was in one was when I signed up to join this one.

Although I am relatively confident that my attire is appropriate, I still stake out the perimeter to make sure anyway.

The first machine I use is some kind of “hammer strength” device. It is completely foreign to me.

After playing with the weights for a while, I find an amount that seems appropriate for a workout and proceed to do three sets of twenty...whatever the heck these things are. My confidence is not high, because I have struggled mightily with this.

Onto the next machine.

Up next was the “pull down” machine. One presumes its name comes from the pulling-down motion used to operate the equipment. What fun this machine is! I can feel muscle burning the way I am supposed to, and can do a great many of these at what seems to be an appropriate weight. My time seems to have been put to good use.

After a number of sets, I move to a final machine.

I did not feel I had adequately exercised my chest muscles on the first machine, where I struggled so mightily. This led me to something called a Fly Machine, although I did not achieve great lift-off.

As with before, I found a weight which felt appropriate, and set to using the equipment. I had noticed that others using this machine did not allow the weight to go all the way down before lifting it again. This seemed to be cheating, and as I'm no cheater, I allowed my arms to go all the way behind my back each time. To be honest, it was easy to fall into a trance and just do these a while.

Had I simply left then, and never returned, it might not have been an awful road.

Instead I went to a treadmill.

I have never used a treadmill before this, dear readers, for before a series of ankle injuries befell me, the world was my treadmill.

I got onto one to see an overwhelming number of options. Far too many options for someone who really just needed a button that said “run” and a second which read “stop running.” However, the “Fat Burner” option seemed appropriate for me.

The machine proceeded to ask me for a starting speed, what my weight was (no idea), my age, and my target heart rate (I selected 120 and had no idea if this was good or bad).

The machine then appeared to flash a timer and off I was on the treadmill! There was football on the television in front of me, but I began to notice that people much more fit than me had gotten on and off treadmills while I was still going.

Somewhere around the 45 minute mark, I realized this insanity would not end unless I put a stop to it. Hitting the “Cool Down” button, I came to a gentle stop and got off the treadmill.

It had not occurred to me to bring a gym bag, lock, or change of clothes. I drive home disgusting and confused.


Day Two

I am slightly sore. It is noticeable, but nothing I shouldn't have expected. I go immediately after work and only have about an hour. I also make a stop to get a cheap bag, and a lock for a locker.

I make a beeline for the pull down machine. This machine made me feel good, like I was doing something right.

This machine is a lying sack of garbage. I do three sets of twenty pulling-down movements, although it seems to have sapped my energy this time. I do not feel invigorated as before, and instead feel uneasy. Still, the flying machine will restore my faith.

The flying machine does not restore my faith. I noticeably struggle, to the point that I end the endeavor early.

Yesterday was a complete lie, and I hate being here.

To regroup, I sit at an abdominal machine. It is easy enough to work, and allows me to contemplate how I got to this point. Perhaps I should end with a treadmill thing again, and then call it a day.

Having conflicting thoughts on this second day, I am comforted by the fact that, at least, I will be able to shower.

The showers are extremely small. For some reason there is a table in them. I am unable to lift the shower head high enough to rinse my hair. I have no towel, and must dry with my sweaty clothes.

I leave feeling confused.


Day Three

I awake and cannot lift my arms high. My chest feels like it has been beaten with a sack of hammers. I must lie on my bed and wriggle into my clothes like a capsized caterpillar.

I have made a terrible, horrible mistake.

When I get home from work, I must make plant based brownies for a friend of mine. I cannot lift my arms to bake. I must use my legs to flail my torso around to get what I need and do what I need to do.

I attempt to drive to my friend's house. It hurts to turn the steering wheel.

I have paid 25 dollars a month for this.

At night, I must contemplate this horrid situation. I can only get out of it by pressing forward, and making up for several years of being a layabout.

I can think about this while I run biofreeze all over my body. Back and forth. Forever.

At approximately 10:30, I run out of biofreeze. I am now alone, in the dark, unable to lay on my side or stomach. Just me, and my kindle playing an 11 hour super-cut of old episodes of Richard Diamond: Private Detective.

I no longer fear Hell. For I have been both unable to stay awake, yet unable to fall asleep.


Day Four

I awake still in great pain. I attempt to put on a button-down I usually wear on Thursdays.

This idea is abandoned when I realize I must be able to lift my arms above my chest to button the shirt. Polo it is.

I wear my fat pants because I can pull those up easier.

Everything is dumb.

And yet, I will go on Friday. I will go again and again.

I have done this to myself, and it is worse than any punishment man could force upon me.

Please save me from this misery.