Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"What's a Gime?"

Said Homer J. Simpson walking past a gymnasium one day...

Well, Homer, a gime, or gym as we like to call them is a place of torture were sado-masochists go for their fix and watch other, more muscly people admiring themselves in the mirror. Or so I used to believe.

Tonight I went to a gym and tortured myself for over an hour with exercise bikes and various resistance machines that wouldn't look out of place in a medieval dungeon. The Inquisition boys would have loved this place.

As it happens, the things I hate most about gymnasiums - other people, who are generally healthier, better-looking, get picture - weren't there. I had the place ALL to myself. Now this is because it's a fairly small gym at the top of a hotel. Hotel gyms aren't very busy at any time, so I'm well in here. It's got a pool and a jacuzzi and a steam room and a sauna and really very plush faciltites in the changing room with brilliant white bowl-style sinks and frosted glass on all the doors and little uplighters on the walls. All the equipment is brand new and the cardio machines have little TVs that can be toggled on and off with the exercise data, or even shared with it.

But the reason I'm going to this particular gym is that I won a month's free membership by answering a few questions on the radio a few weeks back. I also won a meal and a night in the hotel for two, which is nice. Anyway, the good thing is, it's given me a reason to go along and start off the exercising phase of my new healthy lifestyle. Stop laughing at the back. I've been sticking to my eating plan, which is a sort of modified paleo diet. I don't eat bread, pasta or potatoes. Well, some , but not very much at all. I have bread maybe once a week now. Most of my food now is lean poultry and fish, vegetables, rice, oats, fruit and proper nuts (not peanuts or cashews, which aren't really nuts at all). i've found myself going right off junk food. Even when we went to the Johnny Rockets burger joint (a fabulous stainless-steel-plated American diner) last week, I thought about treating myself to a burger, but went for the chicken club on brown bread instead (easy on the mayo), and it was very tasty. I couldn't even face more than 2 of the WIFE's chips. They tasted greasy and bland.

So far, I've lost 7 kilograms, or maybe more, because I didn't start weighing myself immediately. That's 15 pounds or just over 1 stone for any imperialists out there. I seem to have switched over quite easily to this way of thinking, and I put it down to what happened a couple of weeks ago with my visit to hospital. I've never felt so motivated to do it and have never felt so sure that I can do it. I've even got a cold, which always seems to happen within 4 weeks of starting these regimes, but I'm nearly over it, fingers crossed, and I can get on with it for real.

Anyway, the gym session was hard work. The little life guard / trainer man (who was small but strong, as he showed me when demonstrating machines) was a great help and showed me how to use everything, and even took me through a slightly shortened general workout with cardio and resistance training. He counted my reps and gently encouraged me to do the leg extensions, shoulder presses and hyperextensions (not hypertensions).

After I finished and had my shower, I felt like I was walking on air. I had a real buzz. The only little annoyance was a bit of acid reflux during and after the session, but I put that down to the very acidic Strepsils I've been taking for my cough. I drove home, hearing the new U2 song on the radio (which is superb) on the way, and had some grilled fish and veg for me tea. I am in danger of becoming a bit of a health bore with all this, but if I keep the right mindset going, I don't really care. Like I said just a few weeks ago, I'm sick of being sick.

OK. Enough of that.

I should just mention a mate of mine who is having a really hard time at the moment. He's split up with his wife and had an accident in his jeep and all kinds of other things, and yesterday he found out that he had 9 broken vertebrae in his back. They were talking about doing a major operation on him to fix it, and naturally he's worried about it. I hope his luck turns soon, and I hope he gets well as quickly as possible. Our fingers are crossed for you, M.

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