Pumping Iron

Yesterday I walked 9.5 miles at a fairly good clip. Sometimes it’s important to teach yourself patience-especially if you’re the kind of person who always wants everything to be done yesterday. Recently, I have found that by mixing up walking with running and weight training (something I’ve never done before), it seems to provide me with a nice balance of activity- not to mention the fact that the walking sort of forces me to slow down and not put as much pressure on myself to excel athletically.

Despite the fact that I had already sort of “worked out” by walking, I still went to the gym with my boyfriend last night to do some light weight training. As I was going through my chest and triceps routine, I glanced around the gym and chuckled to myself. People who go to the gym are curious creatures. In the weights section of the gym, young, strapping men were strutting around in sleeveless t-shirts…their faces contorted as they groaned through each rep, pausing every now and again to look down at their “muscles” or at themselves in the mirror. I could just picture some of them thinking, “Just look at my biceps…look at ‘em!”

In the non-weights section of the gym, a slightly more mixed crowd consisting of older gentlemen and ladies; teenagers, 20-somethings and what I like to call “young moms” moved seamlessly from machine to machine…some of them not quite sure what to do next-while a few attempted to use a machine incorrectly despite standing in front it for minutes, studying the directions.

Towards the front of the gym is where the cardio section is. I observed best friends chatting loudly as they stood on the elliptical machines. In front of them, a very determined woman had the treadmill bumped up to the highest incline and was walking as fast as her legs could carry her while she held on for dear life to the bars in front of her. Behind these people, a couple of middle-aged women flipped through magazines as they pedaled slowly on the stationary bikes, while a personal trainer walked by with his extremely clean shaven legs and a client in tow.

Some people looked like it pained them to be at the gym. Others gave the impression that they were killing time…one middle-aged asian man had on a pair of jeans and a button down shirt as he sat on the stationary bike pedaling away. With the supermarket just next door, I wondered if he was waiting for his wife to finish food shopping or something…

I sat there and wondered what it was that compelled each of these people to come to the gym. I knew why I was there, but due to my morbid curiosity (or nosiness as some would call it), it would still be interesting to know what motivates others day after day to get in their cars and head to the gym. When I see the young man flirting with his muscles in the mirror, the elderly woman hiking up a mountain on the treadmill or the asian man in his jeans on the stationary bike, I can’t help but think that there’s more to it than just fitness….

Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others. -H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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