Scene at the Gym

This morning I hit the gym at 9:30 for an hour of strength training before Zumba. Yesterday I did the new legs and abs routine my trainer put together for me that we went over in my last session with him. Since he’ll show me the second routine on Tuesday when we get together again, this morning, I went back to my old routines. To make up for them being so much easier, I combined them.

On strength-training days, I deliberately go to the gym during a slow time. That way I don’t have to worry about other people being on the machines I want when I’m ready for them. When I came in, I was happy to see that  the gym was mostly empty as I headed for the machines used for my first circuit.

He must have already been at the gym when I got there. I’d never seen him before, and would remember if I had. He’s maybe in his nearly 30s, short, with dark hair and glasses. He’s also more than a little obese.  Surprisingly, the majority of folks who go to our gym obviously need it, so it’s not like he stands out. Besides, the hot guys tend to hit the gym during peak hours so that more people will see them.

Anyway, I ran into him at the beginning of my second circuit. He was setting up on the far side of the big honking thing that has three different workout stations on it. When I adjusted the weights on the near side, he left. Sorry. There was plenty of room for both of us. And it’s not like sharing isn’t done. As soon as he left. someone else took his place.

That he left got my attention. As I was doing the reps for my back and arms routines, I watched as he moved around the gym. He spent a considerable amount of time  with several different machines adjusting seat positions and selecting the appropriate amount of weight. He moved from machine to machine, changing all the settings, but  I never saw him actually use one.

I found an open mat in the abs area at the back of the gym and hit the floor to work on my six pack. After completing my sit-ups, leg-lifts, and planks, I headed back to the front of the gym to start my chest and shoulder set. He was studying the photographs of all the trainers at our gym, and I assume, reading their bios.

I finished my workout fifteen minutes before Zumba was to start. So I headed to the sitting area at the front of the gym to wait. He was ensconced on a plush sofa watching interviews with mixed martial artists on the wide screen television. I took a seat across from him and continued to listen to music on my iPod Nano. He picked up a magazine and started reading.

The next time I looked up, his head had fallen back, his mouth was open, and he was sound asleep. When I turned off my music, I could hear him snoring. He didn’t wake up when we got up and headed to our Zumba class.

He was gone when class let out.

I can’t help but wonder why he was there. Maybe he was working up to working out and this was his first outing. To ease himself into the routine, he just walked around to all the machines he planned to use in the future and his workout was complete.

Did someone, perhaps a parent or significant other, make him join the gym? I got the impression he was just killing time. Maybe someone dropped him off. Maybe they dropped him off to make sure he went to the gym instead of the Waffle House.

I feel sorry for him. I wanted to say something to him…to offer some words of encouragement. No, I’ve never been as overweight as he is, and with the amount of weight he needs to lose, I’m sure he thinks it’s hopeless. But he’s young enough for the weight to fall off if he works at it. Maybe that’s what I’ll tell him, if I see him again.

Finding reasons not to exercise is easy. I know, because that’s what I did for a good 25 or 30 years.  But now that my partner and I have made exercise a priority, we feel weird if we miss a day. Hard to believe that’s how we roll here in…

My Glass House