Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I’m not sure what defines a gym rat. I am not one but I know my way around them, gyms and rats. My rat education came from years of barn duty on that farm in Indiana.

Domestic Engineer Guys need to be taut and toned, never knowing the physical challenges in store in the storage room, yard, garage, bathrooms, kitchens, multi-tasking, marathon grocery-gathering, or the discerning eye of the breadwinner.

Secretly, I’m striving to jam long enough to join Smuckers’ Centurion Hall of Fame, and get my chrome-domed-mug on the Today Show.

When I pull into the LA Fitness, Anaheim Hills parking lot in my 1997 Saturn stud-mobile, my parking choices are between Mercedes, Lexus, BMWs, and SUVs on steroids. There is barely enough parking room for my compact. I always gingerly open my door to ease out, fearing I will set off an alarm or end up being sued for a door ding. When backing out, I’m in the middle of traffic before I can see both ways. With gas now approaching $5.00 I foresee seeing again in the parking lot, and further than one car in front of me on the streets and freeways.

My routine usually includes 40-45 minutes on a recumbent bike (more conducive to reading), 15 minutes of stretching, 15-30 minutes on the treadmill, and 10-15 minutes on upper-body weight machines. I burn 600 calories twice during the week, and 800-900 on grind-day, Saturday.

Speaking of Saturdays, the Saturday morning kick-boxing class is the club’s largest class. I have never counted more than one guy gyrating in it. Guys, be very afraid.

On weekends there are three stations on the long row of TV monitors. Even though the average member age is probably early-40s, the genius programmers at LA Fitness always have one of the channels tuned to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It’s a nice compliment to the infomercials.

One day I found myself on the treadmill between a middle-aged man and woman. Both were scanning the Wall Street Journal, while I was digesting a cookbook. My faith in stereotyping stratified some when I noted an easy-on-eyes, 40-something woman on a recumbent bike raptly reading a Glamour Magazine article entitled “What a Great Butt,” while the 30-something muscle-bound, testosterone-hoarding guy next to her not-so-discreetly checked hers out.

Sometimes I pass the time reading t-shirt graffiti. There is always at least one guy donning a taunting t-shirt, ballooned by bulges, no doubt compensating for bulge-brevity elsewhere. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say - - drug-inducements. Once a guy strutted around with a shirt spewing, “I am not scared. I am not afraid. I am tough. I am an animal. I will eat you if I have to.” Now there's a conversation starter. These guys usually arrive and depart in super-sized SUVs.

For the record, aging boomers should not be wearing spandex or leotards to the gym. I-Pod users should not sing. Guys should stick with their favorite sports team attire. Friends or acquaintances should not broadcast the days of their lives, their children, or their scumbag ex-husbands. And what’s with the women wearing makeup?

My favorite time at the gym is leaving. Meanwhile, I am slim and compact enough to avoid door dings and lawsuits.

1 comment:

Auntie Barbar said...

Oh no, that one made me laugh so hard I let out a snort and coffee came out of my nose!! You're a hilarious writer...