The Gym At 50!

The Gym at 50

Written on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 by

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The President delivered a speech about how he is going to flee from mythical  environmental problems and lead us over an economic cliff. Both he and the  nation are being made fools of by the Russians and Chinese over this Snowden  thing (or maybe they’re working in lockstep with the administration on this  one…not sure…see my last column.) So with that in mind, what say we have a good  laugh at my expense?

My pursuit of fitness has always run in cycles. I will  turn fifty soon, and I just completed the longest gym layoff of my life. I am  not proud of the fact. I assumed this time would be like all of the other times.  There would be four or five workouts that would be particularly difficult, I  would be extra sore for a day or two, and then I would be back in the swing of  things. Wrong. Not only am I still not fully in the swing of things that I was  doing in my thirties, I am being forced to overcome obstacles to fitness that  have never been obstacles before. One obstacle was merely getting onto or  into the apparatus upon which one is to perform the exercise.

During the past  Saturday’s workout, I turned getting onto a leg extension machine into a full  five minute, “Dances With The Stars” palooza. Only there was no Chelsie  Hightower, just me and the leg machine. For some reason, as I sought in vain to  avoid continued embarrassment, I muttered incoherently things like, “Excuse  me…Sorry, let me just get one foot right…Maybe if I rest a knee on this side I  can just swing over this…” I still don’t know who I was asking to excuse me or  apologizing to. These types of incidents generally tend to flare up when I  am in the vicinity of an attractive woman. That way the gym Fates can ensure  they maximize my embarrassment.

A week or so ago was a particularly bad example.  I was going to get on the treadmill, something I dreaded but was willing to do  anyway. There was a beautiful young thirty-something on two treadmills  down from where I was headed. I didn’t want her to feel crowded by me getting on  the one right next to her and I didn’t want to walk around behind her treadmill.  I was TRYING to be considerate so I walked in between two treadmills so as to  keep one empty between us. I got stuck. Yes, I got stuck in between two  treadmills. The space was one I could have easily passed through in my prior gym  memberships but as it turns out my waistband muscle is more developed now. I  must have had pretty good forward momentum because I was really wedged in there.  At some point in my struggles, my feet actually were off the ground. This  resulted in me flailing my arms and legs like some demented, flipped over,  horseshoe crab in red gym shorts. Finally, gravity took over and I was able to  skitter free at which time I made great haste for the locker room and my car  keys.

I still haven’t told you the worst and most embarrassing incident  however. Again, an attractive female gym member was involved.  I was on the  treadmill again. This time I actually made it onto the belt. I had my headphones  in. You can plug them into a box on the treadmill and hear the television that  they have there. I was anticipating perspiration so I had a gym issue white  towel draped over the handrail. I was doing a light jog and actually feeling  pretty good. That’s when she showed up. This beautiful lady stepped onto the  treadmill next to me and after a brief warm up at a reasonable speed, cranked it  up to approximately 200 miles per hour.

Naturally, I couldn’t allow this to  continue. I am a big strong man and she was making me look like I was on turtle  speed. (That is assuming the turtle in question was overweight and had on  ill-fitting shoes.) Suddenly I was running significantly faster than God  intended my body to go. My feet were now slapping down on the treadmill belt  like boat paddles slapping the glassy surface of a pond. The vibration must have  started the chain reaction that followed. Suddenly, and with amazing speed, my  towel slipped down, hit the conveyor, was propelled toward my feet, and wrapped  around my headphone cord. The cord then yanked my head down crashing my forehead  into the control panel. I have heard that the body can react in strange ways  to head trauma. In this case, I temporarily went rigid and listed sharply to  starboard. Like a leaning statue I was then propelled off the treadmill and into  the Stairmaster behind me. The collision with the Stairmaster restored  consciousness to the point where I was at least concerned with saving face so I  pumped my arms and did some windmills as though stretching and said, “Good….good  workout.” Then I hit the red E-stop button and slithered for the door. Does  anyone know of a good gym in the area I could join? “I’m kind of “in between”  memberships right now.

Chris Skates is the author of the novel, Going Green:  For Some It Has Nothing To Do With The Environment, which is available in the  Patriot Bookstore and the soon to be released historical novel The Tower. You  can find all his novels on his author page at He has been published  in dozens of national magazines and has authored multiple technical articles in  his field of Chemistry. You can follow his blog at

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