Since we moved to Virginia Beach four years ago, I have been going to our neighborhood YMCA during the day. I work out with young stay-at-home moms who want to work off those extra baby pounds, other retirees like me, and the infirm who come for physical therapy, pushing their walkers or hobbling with their canes. When I use the weight machines, seldom do I need to lower the poundage. Indeed, sometimes I have to boost the weights because the previous person was pressing ten pounds and I’m up to a whopping twenty-five.
Recently I made a change in order to get my husband back into exercising. He used to belong to a gym downtown in Norfolk a block away from his office. He would work out after work and get home about 7 p.m. Then he went less and less, using my broken foot as an excuse. “I need to come home and take care of you,” he’d insist when I told him I was worried about his lack of exercise. But even when I no longer needed his help, he didn’t go back to his gym. He said he just missed me and wanted to get home from work as soon as he could. So I added him to my YMCA membership and told him (yes, TOLD him) we were going to work out together at least three days a week. He couldn’t use me as an excuse anymore, and since we were going to work out together, he wouldn’t miss me.
I have news for you, People. Life at the Y is a whole different ball game in the evening. I used to have my pick of any of the machines without waiting. Now they are nearly all full and people wait in line to use the treadmills. I now share the gym with the fittest of the fit: bodybuilders lifting 150 pounds and more, greased bodies glistening, muscles bulging. And those are just the women. Talk about intimidation! And while I’m wearing my discount sneakers and faded sweats from Target, they sport the neon name-brand athletic shoes and latest work-out clothes from Jack LaLanne (okay, Jack isn’t the best person to make my point, but I don’t know any younger jocks. By the way, is Jack even still alive?).
I was on an elliptical a couple of evenings ago, and after thirty minutes, gasping for breath and knees wobbling, I read my stats on the machine. I had managed to burn 75 calories. Woo-hoo! Maybe I could celebrate with an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen? Then I looked over at the Amazon next to me and read her stats. After working out for twenty minutes, she had burned 300 calories. I wonder if I can convince my husband to start coming home for lunch so we can work out together in the middle of the day.