Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why I Y

Over the past couple of years, I have managed to remain fairly dedicated to my physical fitness.  Sure, I've fallen off the wagon for a week or two here, six months there, but overall, I would say that for the first extended period of time in my life, exercising has claimed a proper spot on my to-do list.  I feel pretty good about the fact that, although I relapsed last fall and returned to the state of lazy asshole for a while, I've been fairly diligent for all of 2012. 

This is the part where I'd love to tell you about all the weight I've lost and how toned I am now.  And, really, you should see me.  You'd be so unimpressed.  I keep telling people (because I truly believe it) that all the muscle I'm building--and I'm definitely building muscle--is only serving to push the fat out further.  True story; you heard it here first.  And while I'm proud of myself for remaining committed to my fitness, it is a little disappointing to realize that, for instance, I've developed some kick-ass obliques but nobody except me can tell.  I still look like someone who has 35 flabby pregnancy pounds to lose.  [Author's note: my youngest "baby" is 5 now.  Ahem.]

But anyway, this is not a post about my fitness tips (just force yourself to do it) or totally ripped obliques (I swear they're real); it's about my underlying motivation for working out: the people watching at the YMCA is second-to-none. 

To set the scene, I use the fitness center at a residential Y, which means it's only a step or two removed from a place where you'd find a transient crackhead in a bathrobe jerking off in the corner.  Some of the folks who work out at the Y are (much like myself) ridiculously unfit.  In fact, oftentimes, I feel like one of the healthiest people in there, which is a badge of honor I wear proudly; as they say: in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. 

Now, to be certain, I commend anybody for taking steps to improve their overall health and I realize that we all start somewhere.  My time at the gym is not spent (exclusively) feeling worthier than others who are in worse shape than me.  On the contrary, I largely spend my time attempting to decipher the motivation behind some of the workout get-ups with which these people adorn themselves.  "You there in the long-sleved denim pantsuit; isn't it getting a bit warm in there?" or "Oh no!  One of your crocs fell off while you were running on the treadmill!" and sometimes "Ohheylook!  I have a really similar blouse that I wear to work." or maybe "Where on earth did you find workout gear with shoulder pads!?!"  or "Wow, I would've never thought a t-shirt with that many holes in it would remain in tact for such an aggressive workout!" 

Basically, it's snarky thought after snarky thought (don't worry; the snarky thoughts I think about myself are the meanest of all) and then look!  my workout is over and, also, where did the time go?!?  Every once in a while, a truly attractive, fit person will work out at my Y and I will spend equal amounts of time gawking at and loathing them. But then I get over it because seriously, who truly minds watching the guy with the nice legs running on the treadmill?

In a nutshell, I love the YMCA because there's just enough WTF going on all around me to keep me completely distracted from the fact that my sorry ass has been dragged to the gym for months on end with very little to show for all the effort.  And I'm pretty sure that any day now, the Red Sea of flab is going to part to make way for my six pack abs to shine through.  But don't worry, I'll be sure to keep you updated in the event that actually happens.