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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gym Nemesis

You know the one. That bully that keeps a silent eye on your workout, waiting for the best time to dash ahead of you a steal the equipment you’re headed for before you can get to it. In most instances it is a silent battle. In my case it started out with verbal words exchanged and then simmered into a “cultured” silence of distain. He was on the bike. I made my way to the next equipment in my weight routine and unloaded the over100lbs of heavy weights left on it—PO’d at the imbecile who’d left them on just ahead of me. As I’d loaded up my impressive 70 lbs, a big guy arrives “Hey! I had one more set.”

I ignored him and as I placed my last weight on, then, looked up innocently, “You had one more set?”

 He backed down “Well…since you’ve switched the weights….” He couldn’t let it go at that. No, as he walked away he mumbled, “It was obvious. I wouldn’t have left all the weights on it like that…”

The gym I go to isn’t one you’d pick if you like eye-candy. Scratch that. I am the eye-candy.
It has developed into being something of a senior’s hangout. I’m not convinced this is the case 24/7. No, I tell myself that after 5, when the young’ns get off work, that’s when the eye-candy alert must begin. That’s when the sport cars arrive and the chiseled-rock bodies strut their way through the front doors and onto the weight room floor—or so I like to imagine.

However, bright and early, at 6 AM all of my fellow “athletes’ who still have their hair, are various shades of grey.
But I don’t mind. Sure a little eye-candy would be nice, motivational even. But in my gym, I’m the young’n, the closest thing to an ingénue you’ll find—until 5 O’clock that is.

The bully arrived last Friday--some new guy. No eye-candy alert there. He was heavy (ya it’s true, I called him fat in my last blog), tall, semi-bald and grey. Although in my gym, he’d be considered on the young side—a young buck--probably just shy of 50.

As luck would have it, he was there bright and early Monday morning, rising for a little workout with a few of the seniors in town and me… Damn.
 I hop on the bike, jacking the resistance up to the top—25 little lights of pure power. Not sure what 25 means but it is the top resistance setting.
 That will show him. No way he’ll tangle with a woman biking 25 lights! He is positioned conveniently on the treadmill behind me—good he’ll have full view of my impressive setting. As I bike for the full 20 minutes, I watch in worry as he finishes his treadmill and begins to mill around the gym floor, moving slowly from equipment to equipment--pausing to hop on the treadmill between sets.

Damn. He’s at it again. Thinking he owns the floor. Who does he think he is, pausing to do cardio between sets without removing his weights?
Well he’d better be well out of my way when I step off of the bike and start my weight routine…
Off the bike. So far so good. Time for my squats. I don’t need to change the weights. Tee-hee--I mean, he’d just been squatting the same weight ahead of me—him at about 300 lbs, 6’3, and little old me—5’7” woman, 120 lbs--180 lbs on the machine—that outta intimidate him.
 I’m sure he’ll notice how I squat the 180 lbs with ease and decide to stay clear. I may look small but watch out, I’ll say with each squat.
But I never get the chance. Just as I head to the machine he inconveniently places his water bottle, towel and other personal gym-toys on the floor of the squat machine. Resting one hand on them as he bends down to “help” a gym employee adjust the weights of the broken machine beside the squat machine.
 Man…do I ask him to move his stuff or appear patient as the knight in shining amour helps the gym employee fix the equipment? All my toughness evaporates and I move to the next machine—gonna come back to squats as soon as he moves his sweaty hand off of it.

The rest of my workout takes place in a panic. Can I make it to the machine of our first altercation before he takes it over? I attack my workout hard, with a bit of a self-satisfied strut between equipment—think Travolta in Grease. Intimidation factor nearing 25 little red lights.

And then the unthinkable. One step ahead of me he arrives at the machine in question. He starts loading it up with weights I cannot lift on my own. Don’t you dare leave those on…fat-boy!

I retreat to the last machine of my routine, waiting to come back to the final altercation machine when he’s finished. But if he takes a break between sets and heads for the cardio equipment, I’m gonna loose it.

The break between sets. He’s pacing the floor, circling the equipment. Good… don’t you leave buddy because if you do….well, I’m gonna be too scared and too weak to take off your heavy weights and teach you a lesson…so just don’t do it….please don’t walk away from the machine. I don’t want to have to face my own beast that says: man, for all your strutting and bravado you’re too chicken to take this guy on.

The second set—wahoo—don’t be one of those guys stuck in the eighties that still insists on three sets…good news, he’s unloading the weights after 2 sets—wahoo! Maybe the intimidation factor really is 25 lights high.
But still…6’3”, 300lbs…
“Are you finished with this machine?” I ask as I begin to load it up, all 70lbs worth. Sure, the voice sounds distinctly feminine, perhaps even sweet--but with a strong foundation of tough.

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Blogger theresa_hart said...

whoa David! Reading these and keeping track of what set and what machine and where that guy is- I'm at it all day!

June 1, 2010 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Melissa Mix Hart said...

as you should be! ;)

June 1, 2010 at 7:25 PM  

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