Old Men, Change & Drinking

Well we’re on to new and better things at the gym now. They just finished a major reno, added stairs to access, not the second floor of the building, but the third floor. Not so bad you say? I want you to think about this. The ground floor has a 16′ ceiling. The next floor I am sure is 100′ high because by the time you get to the third floor you need an oxygen bottle to breath. I mean it’s a beautiful hike to the men’s change room, and who needs a trainer. If you make it to the change room you’re done for the day. Well Friday I trudged up the stairs, sat for ten & got my altitude adjusted, my wind back & then headed back downstairs to do some stretches and a little warm up before my training session. I was tempted to put a droge chute on my back in case I got going down the stairs a little too fast. But I got down to the main floor, miraculously without mishap, did my warm up & stretches. Then Rich comes out & says to me “Let’s go upstairs & we’ll workout up there”. I am sure I saw these biddy horn nubs sticking out of his hair when he glanced my way – you know, when you catch that brief glimpse of evil, but not enough that you can say for sure I saw that? Anyway off we go, ostensibly to heaven, but let me assure you, hell is an upward journey. So we get there & he has these wonderful black straps, with yellow belts & foam covered D handles that look pretty awesome, hanging from a D ring bolted to the cement column. “So here’s what we’re going to do Don” – which immediately gets me thinking “What in hell do you mean we? I’m gonna bust my hump & you’re gonna count like mafia money launderer”. Anyway, I have to tip back at about a 45 to 50 degree angle while holding onto this strap/belt contraption, fully extend my arms & pull my entire fat ass up by bringing my hands (that are not being used to direct rude gestures at Rich), to my chest. Fifteen Times? Then, using the same position, I have to do upper arm curls – AGAIN, 15 times. Then using the same – that’s exactly the same position, 20 squats. So after three sets of these (that’s 45 of each & 60 squats) Dungeonmaster says “go get yourself a drink Don”. I says “I can’t”. DM says “What. Why not?” Says I “Because my freakin’ hands are cramped in a death grip on these friggin’ handles!” So he pries my fingers from the grips & I head over to grab my water bottle. Well I can’t pick it up, never mind unscrew the cap. When he saw me picking the bottle up between my forearms Rich tells me “I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s a water fountain mounted on the wall behind you!” There’s those horn nubs again!

Well we made it through the torture & watering, only to find at the end of my session that my gym bag, containing my necessaries to change and go home, is on the main ground floor. So it’s strap on the parachute & down I go. Grab my kit & back up the freakin’ stairs AGAIN, and following resucistation along with glances at some serious use of the portable defibrulator to maybe do myself in, back down the stairs & home for Good Friday. All in all, I survived. I’m happy.

Saturday! Well out of bed I hurtled first thing this morning to go & turn the coffee on. All I can do is stand there & stare at the button because honest to God I cannot lift my arms to push the damn thing. Under my skin I know there are these little stringy things that on cows, pigs & chickens we call meat, but they are rebelling at even being, never mind being used. I stare at the coffee maker for a while then get down & after making sure nobody was looking, turned the unit on with my nose. Rather enterprising I thought & thank God for proboscises. Then, as the aroma of fresh brewed coffee tantalized my senses – teasing me while it perked to caffeinated perfection, the epifany! “Idiot. You can’t even pour it, never mind drink.” So here we go – arm stretches. Straighten them things attached to your body on which your hands are mounted. Massage them. Try to make them feel like they are something more than a useless appendage that is good for nothing but making you realize you are getting older!!! But by the time the beeper went off it all worked out – I got my coffee & my drunken housemates arose & partook of the delicious, warming caffiene fix without any realization of the dramatic, potentially life altering sacrifices I had made for them. Oh, and Happy Easter all!


A Progress Report & The Mantracker

Well now I’m five months into this get fit business & I am definitely feeling better about it. Not during the exercise of course, nor for an hour or two after, but definitely before and after. I actually now look forward to going to the gym, and not just for the pretty girls. I just have to get Rich back to school – he can’t count worth a damn. I know he counts in fives, so on the last five he’ll count down 5, 4, 3, 2, and, one, more (see how he gets one more in there?). Sneaky bugger. I’ve been calling him on it. If my arms weren’t so freakin’ tired I would fire a water bottle at his head. I think I am going to add a codicil to my next contract renewal. Once every couple of weeks the client should be allowed to fire a water bottle at the trainer. If it’s a plastic or aluminum bottle it can be full, but if it’s a stainless steel one it can only be 3/4 full. You don’t want to kill them – just a little ‘humblization’.

On the bright side on my last review I am down 2.2 pounds or as I like to view it, a whole kilogram from last time. I’m a couple of centimeters toward being svelte and … and …! I guess at 58 there is no ‘and’. Doesn’t matter. It’s progress, & I’m making progress in my diet as well – except for fried chicken. I absolutely cannot resist fried chicken. And I love home made macaroni & cheese. And spaghetti & meat sauce. Be right back – I have to eat.

Anyway, I like to keep life in perspective. Most of the folks at the gym are pretty ordinary people just trying to make themselves a little better. Then you get Joe Jock Strap who is all powerful & loves to show off how strong he is. But then I remember that I have an uncle who will be 80 this year. He has lived most of life in the bush, as a park warden, trapper and general outdoorsman. He isn’t built like Arnie, but he is powerful, like farm life powerful or bushman powerful. Even at 79 I would not want to ‘test’ him. I can guarantee you that he, actually both he and my auntie, can outhike damn near any young person out there. I have always felt that they should invite the pair of them to be contestants on the Mantracker show. They would make it through the course, pluck the prize at the end & be back at the start without the Mantracker even knowing they’d left the starting gate. Either one could probably swipe Mantracker’s horse out from under him while he is glassing the horizons and he’d been none the wiser, for a few minutes anyway. That’s the kind of healthy I would like to be. Hells’ Belles’ it’s the kind of healthy we should all be, but I’m about forty years too late. But it is our way – I’m workin’ with what God gave me, and along with Rich, Cheyenne The Terminator and the rest of the crew down at the gym, I will get as close as I can. Have a great weekend all.

Me & Lance Armstrong

Well I think I’ve finally got a handle on this ‘get fit’ business. Yeah, I am a slow learner, but better slow than not at all. My biggest problem in the ‘workout’ business has been my breathing. At times I would take longer to recover my breath than it would take to actually do the exercise that bagged the hell outta me. So part of my annual physical was some pulmonary testing. This sweet young lady stuck me in this sealed glass enclosure, told me to take some deep breaths & promptly locked out all the air, then she sat there & smiled until I turned blue & my eyes were bugging out. Oh blessed sweet Jesus when she opened that air lock, I sucked air allaway down to my toes. I don’t know of anything that is sweeter than a breath when you ain’t had none for 15 or 20 hours – well it seemed that long anyway! What a sweet young thang she wuz when she clicked that li’l ol’ button! Anyway, once she stopped giggling she informed me found that I was losing about 10% of my lung capacity when my lower ventricles would close up – THAT’S VENTRICLES EH! – HIGHER UP THE BODY!!! Anyway, they prescribed some Ventolin that I was to take before I started working out. That didn’t seem to do a whole lot & then I remembered that I also take some Aerius for my allergies & hay fever. What the hell eh – if Lance can do it, well so can I. I know, I shouldn’t pick on Lance now that he’s down & out. I still believe though, his accomplishments far exceed his shortcomings. His 11-year-old child humbled him. Anyway, presto, now I can actually make the entire 30 minutes without staggering from dizziness or needing to imitate Peg Bundy’s walk to hit the head to hurl. And while my BMI is getting down nicely, it’s doing so at the expense of everything except my stomach. That, while it’s not getting any bigger, it is not getting any smaller either. Ah well, baby steps. Maybe drug induced baby steps, but if Lance can do it, eh? Who am I to criticize success?

Winter, Wii Fit & Mii

It’s -21 Celsius (or for my American friends to the south – that freakin’ cold) today. My workout was scheduled for 12:00 noon. I like to arrive a half hour early & sort of give myself some torture before Rich works me over. Call me a masochist, I dunno. Anyways, I fire up my truck to warm up & low & behold it won’t start. Too many short hauls around the City of late to adequately charge the batteries, which on a diesel, uses alot of cranking power. But no go. So I drag out the old battery charger/booster & get it all hooked up & still no go. Got to leave it to accumulate some ohms or whatever the hell it is that they accumulate to make my truck start. Too late to get to the gym by the time I get done all this buggerin’ about so I dutifully call my girl of the handgun (she doesn’t like the name “Snuff Queen”) & let her know I won’t be in today – I think I detected a sign of relief there? But I really need to work out – I don’t want any backward sliding. EPIFANY! We have a Wii & I know we have the Wii Fit disc. Now if I can figure out how to run it. Drag out the pink foot pad thingy. Had to change the batteries on that, then on the Potter’s wizard wand as well. A few toys around here won’t be working for a bit yet. Well I get it running. Up come the characters. I see the one that I was “assigned” by my girlz a couple of years back so I dutifully select my character. Once “Howard” is loaded I am informed by the little Wii Snot Genie that it has been a very long time since I’ve visited – “Would you like to see what shape your in?” Idiot – I did it. It’s not bad enough that the kidz at the gym look at me a little weird, but now I’ve got the Wii Snot saying things like “Oh, you’re overweight” or “You need to work on getting your body mass index down”. I’d sure like to see how skinny that little snot is? Well I got through that & dropped three pounds by taking off shoes, socks, jeans (including belt & buckle). So here I am in my skivvies & a shirt. Windows are closed so no neighbours are looking in. Linda’s at work. Yes! I can do this. So for 60 minutes I do all sorts of inanities to the tune of the Wii Widgets with a bunch of other Mii’s who have all the personality of a bowl of tofu. BUT, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t really get a good workout with a Wii. Not that I’m gonna give up the gym – at least they don’t have the Wii Snot Genie there. She kills me. When I step on the board she lets out a little “Ooh” squeak, like I’d snuck up behind her and …, oh never mind. Just know it’s really annoying. But I’m afraid I’ve fallen in love with the Yoga instructer. She always tells me that I have great balance, and never says a thing about how hairy I am, but I don’t really think that’s gonna count for too much in her “I’d go out with that hairy fat old bugger” life choice book. Anyway, the truck is now started & I must go get & the make a nice dinner for my Wii Bride. And that’s all folks!!!

The New Year (aka This Really Sucks).

If you join a gym that is closed for more than 2 consecutive days, reconsider your choice. Mine closed from Saturday the 23rd through to the 26th, then had skeleton staff on for the next few days, then closed again from Saturday the 29th right through to Wednesday the 3rd. So I booked a workout yesterday & went for my usual Friday routine. Holy moly crapoly – what a mistake that was. I’m right back to square one! My legs have the range of motion of Peg Bundy in a tight skirt & spikes. Honest, I actually wince (NOT mince) when I walk. Please just shoot me! Then today was “Upper Body” (said with the deep basso of James Earl Jones in a long deep well). I had a nice breakfast two hours before. Well I made it to minute 22 before my stomach said “Just what in hell do you think you’re doing? I’m trying to digest down here. Now you’ve gone & messed it all up with your damned exercises. So here – have it back. I can’t work like this.” Fortunately my Peg Bundy legs were able to move quickly to the change rooms where the pressure was alleviated. Enough for this week. Bless weekends – but I suppose I should workout some away from the gym so I can at least put in a reasonable performance next week. I made a business offer to the girl at the front desk. For a small ‘cleanup fee’ & of course the price of the bullet & a profit margin, she could just shoot us at the end of our workout. She said “well what’s in it for you?” I said “I would have the privilege of being your first customer, and I know you could get rich off this. I don’t know how your boss will take to you knocking off his clients, but hey, it’s all about customer satisfaction.” Happy 2013 everyone.

K K K K K Kramps!

Growing up & growing older, I’ve always been plagued by leg cramps, usually in my calves, but occasionally in my thighs. Usually they’ll sneak up on me when I am asleep – nicely relaxed & warm, then I make that oh so wonderful stretch that is one of the joys of waking up slowly. Then WHAM! I leap naked from bed, trying to find someplace ice cold on which to put my foot, lean to strecth out the muscles, grunting as the muscle spasms, but trying not to wake up my bride. It doesn’t usually work – the not waking my bride part, so she giggles at my naked agony, while whispering concerned words over a lecherous smile. Any way you look at them they hurt like hell. This morning, while doing my leg workouts, which involves hauling 20 lbs weights up an above knee height stand, fifteen times per side. I was having a little bit of a problem with my left knee where I broke it a number of years back, so I was favouring the damn thing when suddenly the bottom of my right calf twisted into a knot you couldn’t tie with a rope makin’ machine. Oh my …, sonova …, & numerous other expletives that brought absolutely no relief. The only saving grace is I wasn’t naked & my bride wasn’t watching. In any event I am totally hobbled today, which is something that hasn’t happened for quite some time. I’m thinking that maybe muscles that are conditioned are less forgiving when you do stupid things, like drink too much whiskey & tequila on Friday night & paying for it three days later. Welcome to the late 50’s. Ughn!

Keen-Wah (Quinoa)

Part of the road to fitness (it’s really more like an intercontinental freeway), is diet.  When you start, your PT (physical torturer) sets you up with a diet plan, which if you’re anything like me, you promptly ignore, because hey, I eat pretty healthy.  Or so I thought.  Anyway, one of the things Rich recommended was this product called Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah).  I know you can get it at Save-On or Nutter’s – don’t know where else.   It’s kind of like rice, but not, kind of like barley, but not, and kind of like a legume, but not.  Anyway, look it up – it’s not a brand name – I’m not selling snake oil here folks.  Anyway, Rich was pushing this as being really super healthy.  So I promptly ignored him.  Then one day my beautiful bride comes home with this crap that she tried at our daughters & said she really enjoyed.  So what the hell eh, let’s give it a shot.  Word of caution, it is very very bland if you just cook it in salted water.  But let me tell you, if you cook it in chicken broth (Campbell’s – comes in a box, like my wine) & add a little green onion, WOW.  What an absolutely wonderful taste sensation.  Plus it’s super healthy – go look it up – I’ve got no time for healthy hints.   Now it comes in different colours, which I think actually produce different flavours.  So far the tri-colour is my favourite, but I’m officially open to new flavours of this stuff.  Anyway, instead of my usual bitchin’ ‘n moanin’ I thought I’d share this little tidbit with y’all.  Enjoy.