There is nothing sexy about this gym. In all honesty, it’s just a double car garage with exercise stuff in it…hardly a “gym” by modern marketing standards.
On the right…you see the tires. I hate those tires. I have to flip those tires. In the spring, I’ll have to drag those tires around the concrete when the doors are open. Winter, flip. Spring, drag. Damn you tires.
In the corner are the warm up machines. A treadmill, and elliptical, and a versa-climber. It’s the same versa climber that Julia Robert’s abusive husband used in “Sleeping with the Enemy” in the opening scenes of the movie. I do not look like he looked, nor to I beat my wife or make sure the towels are “just so”. I tried it for a few minutes….2, 3 tops the other day. The last things on my mind were towel angles.
To the left of the cardio machines is this large orange weight rack thing-a-ma-jig. I have hung from it and done pull ups (assisted). I have done push ups over a stretched giant rubber band (more about those in a minute) stretched between the posts of the orange thingamajig. Today, we connected a bungee to it and did lateral pull planks. There is nothing fun about those. Nothing. It’s an evil orange steel carnival.
There is a bag filled with rubber resistance bands. There is nothing fun about these rubber bands. I put them under my feet, and stretch them over my head until my arm is extended fully. I put them under my feet, bend over, and row upwards like I’m lifting something heavy. These innocuous rubber loops are responsible for me walking like John Wayne back to my car this morning. Not cool.
Then, sitting quietly and innocently to the left, is the ab-mat. At first you think, “oh, good – something nice and cushiony for my body as I comfortably do sit ups. How considerate!”. And then you realize that the purpose of the ab-mat, is to bend you backwards even farther like some jacked up retired salt-taffy maker, so you do 30% more sit up when you sit up. The devil doesn’t wear Prada. He makes ab mats.
Then there are the various assorted torture tools. The dumb bells, the kettle ball, and the infamous medicine ball. I thought squats were hard, until Keven gave me a 20 pound medicine ball to hold (“keep it up high by your chin, Mike!”) as I was doing them. The only fun part about using a medicine ball when you do your squats, is that you get to throw the medicine ball as hard as you can, angrily, when you finish your set. Apparently that reminded Kevin that we can do all sorts of throwing exercises with said medicine ball. Nice job loud mouth.
How many times around the carnival circus? That’s the thing – it depends. When Kevin puts the word “AMRAP” on the dry erase board, I cringe and my sphincter puckers up. It means, “as many rounds as possible”. Today, that was 4 rounds, plus 5 squats.
The last 3 squats, with said medicine ball, were the most interesting. See, I had 1 minute left in my 30 minute AMRAP. 4 sets in the bag. I walked victoriously from my pull up rings, and thought…”I have 60 seconds left”.
And I walked over to the squat with medicine ball area.
I picked up the ball. Breathed in. Breathed out.
I asked myself, “why are you here today?…to stand around and talk?” I listened to myself and all of my excuses about injuries and lost sleep and hard work and just got really, really tired of hearing my whiny ass complain.
And down I went.
And a funny thing happened…really the whole point of this blog today.
I started to picture things as I did the exercise. Just after the first rep.
I saw myself at my oldest son’s wedding.
We were all dressed up in tuxedos in a church somewhere. He was happy. I was happy.
I pictured myself at his house, with my wife, playing with my grandson/granddaughter.
Down I went. Up I came again.
Some of these posts are harder for me to right than they are for you to read. Those last 3 lines are tearing me up right now— but if this is about honesty and sharing and encouragement, they are necessary soldiers for the cause.
Out of all of the exercises today…the last three squats meant the absolute most to me.
They were gifts to little people I haven’t met yet.
They were I remember when you thought girls were icky, son.
They were fishing poles and grandpa bait my hook please.
………………………….[awkward pause to regroup and dry off tears. BRB].
I realized something important today. I realized that I’ve taught my mind, and my body, to associate good things with bad things. Cake, macaroni and cheese, and McDonald’s french fries equate with peace and comfort and joy. Hmmm.
When Jesus spoke, he talked about the “Truth” an awful lot. We studied that very thing in a DVD series entitled, “The Truth Project”. The word truth, by it’s very definition, implies the existence of lies. It, by its’ very definition, forces you to choose sides.
And so today I realize that the truth is, that success…long term capital “S” Success with my weight critically depends on my ability to align painful things like exercise, with truthful outcomes. It depends on my ability to forgive the hurts that cause the pain that drive the urges to eat the cake that sits in the kitchen that lives in the house that Jack built. There’s a lot of those, the more I think about it.
But all in all, Kraft doesn’t bring me peace.
Fooling around with my wife like a teenager in front of our fireplace for holy cow we’ve been here way longer than usual John Mayer your body is a wonderland time on the couch, does. (sorry, Honey – but you rock).
Listening to my oldest talk about his Fusion Fall fire card something or other like he’s been waiting for me all day to show me…just me, does.
Watching my daughter body slam girls twice her size in basketball tournaments and smile at me in the stands with 3 fouls as she guards and steals balls, does.
And those fleeting moments when my youngest son turns to me and talks to me and forgets his mommy good daddy bad obsession, and lets me in close for one bright shining moment to show me his favorite train- yeah, that does.
A song we sang at church just came to mind:
“I’m trading my sorrows. I’m trading my shame. I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord.
I’m trading my sickness. I’m trading my pain. I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord.”
That’s what I want. More joy. More time on this blue ball to experience all that He has for me to do and see and smell and touch and eat and cook and write and meet and kiss and hug. More time here to touch and be touched and effect and be affected. That’s what I want.
…Yes Lord, yes Lord. Yes, Yes Lord.
So down I go, and up I come.