The gym is my kryptonite

Anyone hitting the gym or the walking trails this summer? I’m not right now, because I’m working through some foot pain. It’s like tiny people are stabbing me with freshly sharpened knives with every step. Hopefully, I’ll be back into working out soon.    

While I’m not going to the gym these days, I was thinking about how many embarrassing moments I’ve had in health clubs. There are times I’ve walked in the gym feeling bold and energized and promptly hurried out feeling insecure and traumatized.

One time, I asked the guy on the treadmill next to me why he was wearing thongs. Where I grew up, a thong is a flip-flop type shoe. The type of shoe he was, in fact, wearing. To him, and many others, it’s a thin piece of cloth snuggled between two pillows down south.

Another time, I desperately tried to avoid a conversation with an old acquaintance. An aerial view would have shown a Pac-man like pursuit and escape to the ladies room. Complete with me talking into my wallet like it was a phone and having a lively conversation with myself. Pretty sure I fooled no one at all.

It happened last fall

But one of my worst health club blunders happened last fall when I was on the treadmill. I was highly motivated to get my walk/jog groove on. I walked for about 10 minutes and was gearing up to go faster. I was feeling great!

My arms swung in perfect rhythm. My new blue running shoes struck the rubber belt loudly and confidently. My breathing was focused, and my inner monologue was full of things like, “Look at me go! 40 is the new 20!”  

All of a sudden, the screen flashed a message that it was time to do the cool down program. It was not time for me to cool down anything. I was just getting warmed up!

The speed decreased instantly to 1.0. I had not pushed any buttons to make the machine to slow down. I didn’t know what was happening, but I was determined to finish my workout. My right arm shot forward, my pointer finger furiously jabbing the up arrow at least 30 times to increase the speed. Picture a reality show chef racing the clock to finish chopping ingredients. That’s how fast my finger was punching the display.

Fast forward a few minutes. After increasing the speed, the same thing happened again! And then severe deja vu hit because it happened a third time. I was really irritated.

I looked around and wondered if there was a hidden camera somewhere for a new version of the Biggest Loser reality show. One where they prank unsuspecting fitness club members to see how quickly they give up on a workout, run to their cars and make a beeline for the nearest drive through.

The big reveal

The treadmill was almost completely stopped at this point. I took a step backward on the belt and glanced down to put my hand on the bar at waist level. Literally out of nowhere a button labeled “cool down” appeared at the center of the bar. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Where was this button 5 minutes ago, 10 minutes ago?

Are you ready for what’s coming next? Are you ready to hear how this button was mysteriously not there, and then there? I’m actually not sure I’m ready to tell you, but here goes...

Apparently, the cool down button was previously hidden by this thing that had latched on to my waist and wrapped terrifyingly strong tentacles around to the back of my ribs. This thing that refused to let go. This thing, sigh, was the extra 30 pounds that has slowly become one with my mid-section over the past decade.

And it gets worse. As I was jogging, this amoeba-like mass around my middle was traveling up and down so violently with each stride, that somehow it had been hitting the cool down button! And, I, had, no, clue. Really?! Really?! I could have just melted into the ground right there.

I was really glad I hadn’t asked the trainer at the front desk for help. I mean, how would that have gone? I try not to think about it. It just makes me cringe and yell out, “NOPE!”

If you want to witness these events that prove the gym is my kryptonite, you're welcome to tag along with me for a workout when I’m back at it. The more the merrier.

Exercise, I know it does a body good, but it also does an ego in.

Up next: I recently spent time in a doctor’s office waiting room. Lots of related life analogies have been on my mind. The next post might dig into some of those ideas.

Catch up: If you’re new to the blog, you can get to know me on the about page. Glad you’re here!