Some people genuinely go to the gym for the sole purpose of attaining fitness. But most, I suspect, are like me. I make sure that I go to the gym at least 5 days in a week. But I never push myself beyond my comfort levels. I will not do weights because of my doctor's advice; In 1985 when I had severe neck and back pain I had been advised not to lift any weights. And to this day I don't! I walk on the tread mill for about 20 minutes carefully ensuring that I don't ever increase the speed beyond 6. One has to be slow and steady to win the race, remember? On days I am in a good mood I use the cross trainer for about 10 minutes - that is on a couple of days a week. This is enough to assuage the pangs of my conscience and to nonchalantly tell the doctor during my periodic check-up that I am 'pretty regular at the gym' eliciting a nod of approval from her. In fact last time she even said that she admired my perseverance at my age while she herself rarely exercised. And I gave a very smug smile acknowledging the compliment. Well, it wasn't like I was lying to her. It is true that I am regular at the gym and she never asked me what I did there.

Since it is that time of the year when you begin to think of new year resolutions I was trying to make a list of areas where I needed to improve so I could choose the least difficult to work on in the coming year. That is when I had to admit that this is an aspect I could easily work on - one gram at a time. So I decided to observe my co-gymmers and see what I can learn from them.

This morning, by the time I reached the gym, two members were already there on the treadmill loudly arguing in Bengali about something. It was only after 5 minutes when they laughed together that I understood that they were having a cordial conversation. They always come together and throughout the time they are in the gym they have a conversation in Bengali. I suspect they are colleagues from the same department and this is an official meeting. Taking multi-tasking to new levels!

Then there is this other gentleman who walks into the gym, grabs the remote and sets the television to a news channel. E.v.e.r.y. morning - as though he is worried that during his one hour in the gym the world will change in ways he wont recognize when he steps out. I cannot believe that he cannot stay away from news even for the duration of his exercise. Or may be it is the news that helps him sweat more than the jog on the treadmill. He seems to suffer from a pain in the back as the trainer has to massage his back every morning at the end of his session. I can understand. When I watch news channels regularly I suffer from such ailments myself.

Some days I go there in the evening and that's the time the younger boys come. It warms the 'cockles of my heart' to see a few high school kids who prefer to spend time in the gym rather than on the internet. Observing them for a few days, I noticed that they did not progress beyond holding 3 kg dumbbells and moving their arms up and down while spending over 90 minutes in the gym; which is when I noticed the television again. Glamorously (un)dressed girls crooning love songs in a sexy voice - this would certainly not be a channel their parents might be happy to let them watch in their houses. It is even possible that the cable has been disconnected in their houses during their board exam years. Here they are - working out to their preferred music; Happy parents, happy kids, win -win!

Finally there are those who come to the gym, work out on every possible machine losing about 500 calories per session, hang from bars, pump with weights, top it with 5 minutes of skipping and 10 minutes of stretching and finally leave the gym dissatisfied that there are no more machines left to work on. This type scares me but mercifully they are very few in number.

At the end of these observations I have decided to increase my time at the Gym by 10 minutes from next month onwards. I have also identified the equipment on which I will spend these extra minutes - the foot-massager!
13 Responses
  1. Particularly the last one- I liked it, am of your kind !!!!

  2. R's Mom Says:

    hahahaha! too good..but honestly I think its great that you at least GO to the gym..thats something I just cant do..and I loved the last line!

  3. Meenakshy Says:

    I was the kinds in which according to you the people are few. I used to go to the office gym, but all the people were doing either more than me or were doing that 90 minutes of religious 500-600 cal burning. Perspective :)
    hmm.. miss those evenings.

  4. Sumana Says:

    Loved all the perspectives you mentioned. I too get scared with the last category which makes me feel i just waste my time there. I am glad that you devote time to the gym. For me it does not happen everyday sometimes once a week and sometimes in 2 weeks. I hate missing but sheer laziness and excuses.

  5. diya Says:

    hee hee...I admire you, Usha, for keeping at it!! Slow and steady is the name of the game, what's the hurry, I say, as long as you are at it. The foot massage idea is wonderful!! Now, when was the last time I got my foot massaged?...can't even remember!! Good use of the gym!!

  6. dipali Says:

    I like your gymming policy! I haven't yet dared set foot into one- my morning walks seem to be the only thing I'm reasonably regular with.
    I like your categories:)

  7. Anonymous Says:

    You wanted to prove how the Gym lookslike.U have watched everything & forgot why u came there. Nice watching these kind of things I too like it.


  8. Hip Grandma Says:

    The man who stares at the news channel during his gym time must be my husband's distant or not so distant cousin. Please ask him how his wife copes. I need to tipped because ever since the scamonomics of our country reached new heights I am regularly treated to whatever he thinks I missed out on during my college hours. a pity that I don't get to stay an hour or two longer in college. The watchman almost necks me out!!

  9. Anonymous Says:

    nice post! You seem to be thoroughly entertained during your gym workout!! Good fun. I am one of those fitness freaks and believe that the puspose of going to the gym is for good work out, though I am not the extermed kind you refer to in your post. I often chuckle whenever I see some twenty somethings struggling to complete 10 mts of cross trainer and spending more time in the shavansana and other relaxation pose than the total time spent in their workouts.


  10. Sangitha Says:

    Ha, ha! Have to make it out to the gym first. The category you missed is mine - running helter skelter on the road the gym is on, sending children off to school only to get back home and put feet up with a cup of tea - the category that did not make it. Now, is what most people are like!

    Am trying out HTML tags, so I apologize in advance for extra emphasis!

  11. Vishnu Says:

    Bengali's are loud, do not misinterpret them. They talk as if they are arguing on something ;)

  12. Akila Says:

    they have a foot massager??

  13. i am going to check if they have a foot massager..:)
    have a membership, and never walk through the door.