Late yesterday morning, my wife and I talked ourselves into a visit to our building's fitness center. The small exercise room boasts a bit of everything - a good representation of Nautilus lifting equipment, treadmills, elliptical machines, and the all important mirrored walls to help us take in the majestic view of our bodies building before our very eyes. Oh yeah, and windows to the outside world so they too can watch in shock and awe.
Historically, I've been more of a swimmer than a fitness room junkie, but time waits for no man/woman and the convenience of an exercise workout mere minutes away never fails to draw me to its bright and shiny environs. So we head down there, almost skipping with excitement, ready to attack and engage and sweat and raise our heart rate and other tough things like that...knowing full well that if we lasted 20 minutes including 10 minutes of rest time, we would consider it a newspaper-worthy accomplishment.
Upon entering the miraculous, body-transforming world of fitness we encountered almost no one. Rarely do we see more than a few other future Mr./Ms. Universes...which I’m sure has something to do with our intimidating physical prowess and reputation. The young twenty-something couple working out on the 2 elliptical machines barely acknowledged our arrival. Decked out in their latest attire - grunge meets Apple Computer - their IPods filled their ears with their favorite playlist.
After recovering from the disappointment of a broken routine that usually started with the elliptical, we decide to tackle some of the weight machines. A few technical adjustments and several conversations later, I press forward with my arms on the bench press. I don't remember the exact weight, but suffice it to say double-digit weights and I are no strangers. The placement of the machine points me directly at our competition - the young couple. Even though their music blasted to the point that I could hear it through their earphones, they somehow manage to interact with each other – talking, planning, laughing. Bring it on – we can do that, no problem.
We pull out our mp3 players. I crank up my LG cell phone/mp3 player. Mick Jagger belts out “I’ll never be your beast of burden…all I want is you to make love to me…am I hot enough; am I rough enough…put me out, put me out, put me out of misery…” My head bobs, shoulder dips, foot taps...energy level rises as if to say, “I could do this all day.” The couple picks up the pace. Their walk becomes a run, their laughs become borderline hysterical, and then the girl turns to face the guy. She continues to work out, listen to music, and talk/laugh with her buddy while running full speed SIDEWAYS on the elliptical! I shake my head in disbelief. I almost stand up and applaud…seriously!
A few minutes later the guy gets a phone call. He says something about being late to meet someone and heads out the door. The girl spends another 10 minutes running like gravity doesn’t exist – no struggling for air, no perspiring, nothing but smiles…and then she gathers up her stuff and dances out of the room.
All alone, already tired and sore, Stacy and I move on to the vacated machines, and begin the end of our workout. We enter our routine into the equipment – a full 10 minutes. At one tenth the pace of our predecessors, our legs start stepping and our arms pull back and push forth. She says something; I say “what”; she ignores me; I realize she’s singing softly. I crank up my player as Tracy Chapman sings out, “If you saw the face of God and love, would you change…” My head bobs, shoulder dips, and I start singing. Stacy smiles; I smile. She sings louder; I sing louder. I laugh; she laughs …you should have seen us.
2 days ago