Believe it, folks: I went to the gym last Saturday. Yes, flabby belly, spaghetti-thin arms, bright white sneakers and all.
Though it may surprise you, I am not a walking talking hulk of a man. No, I’m a scrawny knee-pushups kind of guy who spends more time taking sips of water, talking to the maintenance folks, and figuring out how the machines work than I do actually working out. I don’t tone my pecs, blast my quads, or crush my delts. If my trip to the gym was a short film it would be called Stretching In Trackpants.
But anyway, last Saturday.
It was 8:45am and I was sipping some water, trying to figure out how the benchpress worked, when a steady stream of spandex-clad seniors suddenly brisked by me with stern brows and towels draped over their shoulders. Honestly, you might have thought there was a sale on oatmeal or a Wheel of Fortune marathon about the start at the back of the gym, because these grannies and granpies were on a mission. When I asked a couple maintenance guys what was going on, they told me Boot Camp was about to start.
My mind immediately flashed to visions of crawling through muddy trenches in baggy camo, swinging over frothy rapids on jungle vines, and standing on the roof of a rusty, beat-up car firing a machine gun into the sky with one hand. I can’t explain these images, but they compelled me to follow the Wrinkle March into the aerobics room.
And I know I don’t need to tell you all what happened next.
Large, adult-sized Fisher Price plastic and foam bits were strewn all over the floor, thumping dance music started bumping over the speakers, and a headband-clad Drill Sergeant screamed the sweat out of us. Adrenaline racing, I stepped-out, stepped-down, and moved barbells all around. I pushed up, pushed back, and prayed softly. After about fifteen minutes, most of the old folks were barely sweating, while I keeled over, my mouth sucking back dry, sweaty air while a sharp, knife-like pain quietly stabbed into my gut. And the whole time Sergeant Purple Leg Warmers was barking at me to keeping going, don’t stop, two more minutes, one more minute, and rotate!
It was intense.
By the end, I was a Jello-blob of hot muscles and shin splints. I felt like I’d fallen down a hundred flights of stairs and landed on a cactus patch. I was in pain and agony … but you know what?
It felt good.
I felt like I made it. I felt like I did something. There was a tingling buzz of satisfaction burning in my shredded calves, a lingering ache of pride in the dirtbike tracks riding up my stomach for three days, and a quiet happiness with the gym pain I’d inflicted upon myself.
When you reach up higher than you’ve reached before, give a little more than you gave before, or dig deep to your core to end up sprained and sore, well around here we say that’s a little something called