The next day, after a rather long conversation, over many cups of tea, my fate was decided. I was to head to a place where I knew I would be the weakest, the most ridiculed (at least in my eyes), and the one who, if I turned side wards, would be invisible. THE GYM!
Walking in I could feel all eyes were on me. The skinny lad who really shouldn’t be here. Or at least that’s how I felt. Among all these people I felt like not even a beta male, but the very bottom of the food chain. Sweaty muscle bound beasts to the left of me, in front of me was the glamour grannies on the treadmills & cross trainers staring at the new ‘young fella’ with rose tinted glasses. “Awh look.. the size of him! He looks so cute”. (I was always called cute by the older ladies, very emasculating). And to my right was the rest of the ‘enthusiastic’ members, busting a move on the machines.
I kept telling myself “everyone’s in here for a reason… no one is looking at you.” Although this didn’t help as much as I thought it would. Timidly I walked over to the weights rack in front of the mirror, with my cousin. He looking like an Adonis and me looking like an emaciated rat. Picking up the 5 kg dumbbells, ‘I must have looked as weak as a kitten; certainly felt it’, I lowered myself onto the bench for my very first set of chest press.
Now, before I continue I must emphasize that, I did like to ‘try’ and workout. The reps, sets, rest period were never right. They were all at home as I had no confidence for the gym. Incorrect form. Hurting myself by straining muscles, trying to follow exercises I saw on infomercials. Not the best idea!
Anyway.. as I finished my first set I arose to accidentally and awkwardly locked eyes with, an affectionately named, silver back. One of the older gentlemen who used to body build but for one reason or another had to give it up; and now just lifts for the head space or to relive the glory days. At that moment I felt like I was being judged more harshly than ever before. Little did I know this man would give me the inspiration to keep going later down the line.
The anticipation quickly turned to regret as I was told that today was in fact leg day but we were just to do a few little sets of chest and back to get my body woken up. Now my cousin did not squat that much because of a dodgy hip but that didn’t discourage him to get me under the bar for my first leg session. 2.5 kg on either end of the bar, terrible form… It was all very embarrassing to say the least.
The leg press was even worse, I felt like I was going to die underneath the press. Then onto the leg curl, leg extension, adductor, abductor, glute machine and finally the calf raise machine. “This guy isn’t pulling any punches with me” I thought to myself. Of course the gym had stairs down to the dressing rooms. I never had experienced anything like it. Jelly legs was a timid description as I held onto the rail the whole way down. As my cousin laughed at my inability to walk, I suddenly did not care about anyone else in the gym watching me. “I hope you don’t plan on walking tomorrow”, he jeered.
The next day.. Early morning, sitting on the couch because I could not move. My legs felt like they were going to fall off, the pain was nearly unbearable!!! And then a thought entered my mind. For the first time in three weeks I had not thought about my ex or in fact cared how hurt I was before. This pain was enough to take my mind to a different place. A relaxing place, a place of progression, a place of learning… a place I where I was eventually happy!
Then the phone rang; “Hello”, “Well.. have you been able to sit on the toilet? Ha ha!”, “You f@$&er.. No! I haven’t!!”, I said. “Hahaha, well do you want to come to the gym today??”. Without hesitation, I replied… “Yes!”
To be continued…