My confidence when it comes to the gym is just but an emotional skin deep excitement, it is never real and deep seeded. Though at times when I pack my gear, I’m pumped: visualizing victory like a soldier on the eve of battle.
And maybe that’s why I don’t look forward to such days.
You ask why I go? I have a best friend who I’m convinced liaised with my doctor and both came to a conclusion that I needed to increase in mass. It’s only my mother who thinks otherwise, letting me know I’m perfect and it’s at those moments that I feel superior and confident.
Mama: – you are the best!
This previous week I decided to hit the gym for reasons I can share. Number 1: There were no lights at home. Number 2: Refer back to number 1.
I don’t like the art of bodybuilding and if that’s the path you’ve resolved to take, may God help and guide your life. I mean that. I really do. But I simply cannot picture myself with baby oil all over my chest and veins protruding from my neck. My neck? What also sends my mind into a downward spiral is that these guys are trained to eat when they are hungry and when they are not hungry. They eat to finish, not to be filled. On the other hand, I’m taught to skip meals even when I’m rapacious.
Guess: One man’s meat is really another man’s poison.
On this day, I waltzed into the gym with my red painted sneakers, as if I was going to shoot some hoops while everyone else was in their appropriate gear, with others accompanied by gloves. Women were ‘playing’ with some big ball, some on the stationary bikes, others doing the stretches; all hanging on to each instruction from the trainer with the hope of one day attaining flat abs, which we know is arduous to attain, unless you are an Olympic swimmer or under the age of 10.
First, it’s not my first time – and it was good to walk into a gym once more. But this time, I went with the goal of weight lifting. I have never gone to the gym with such an intent and this in a way left me in disarray but I left it to my faith to hope something pans out.
What in the world have you been going to the gym for then? – You may ask.
As it happens, the part of the country I hail from, we value our legs. For the most time, I’d be on the treadmill – not with the intention of losing weight – but working on my cardio, boosting my stamina especially for the sports I play: Football and Basketball.
After a couple of warm-ups on the treadmill of course, some light hand lifts, push-ups and drinking a lot of water, it was time to lift WEIGHTS. I felt my stomach tingling at the mere thought of knowing that the weights had no remorse about crushing me.
Fear of the unknown and of embarrassing myself came over me, making me scared to step up to the plate. I hesitated.
What I’m I doing here? I should have stayed at home playing FIFA 14 on my PSVITA or gone and hang out at the mall. My musings left me with questions for which I had no answers but had I quit, the goal of coming to the gym wouldn’t have been met.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway,” goes the saying. I did it differently. I decided to halla at a brother to help me and mentor my exercise as the trainer was engaged. I introduced myself. I was friendly. He was friendly. He put his workout on hold and amiably agreed despite the fact that we had a setback in communication at first. I went up confidently and spieled, “Sema buda.” “I don’t understand Swahili,” was his response. Anyway that’s not important.
“Where do you want to focus on?”
“Well, I don’t know. My chest?”
“Okay. So we’ll do three sets, each three rounds. One when you’re lying flat and the other inclined. We’ll increase weights with each advancing set.”
“I don’t think the increasing part is necessary.” I said thinking he was out of his mind.
“You can do it. You’ll be alright.” He replied with a little chuckle.
Again, it was a favor he was doing me so I did not grumble.
Lying on my back as he set the 10 kg – 5kg on each end, I felt something of an adrenaline rush through my body. I pushed. I continued pushing. At around number 6 or 7, I cognized weights were not meant for Chelal – mind you it was set 1. All I could hear was, “Three more. Two more. Good job.” I was ready to quit and leave – without looking back. Looking kind of impressed, he patted my back and emboldened me to go on with the remaining sets.
“But my hands are drooping, and my chest pains.”
“Now you are on the right path. You’re doing it right. “
“No pain, no gain.”
This guy is a loyal regular at the gym for about 5 weeks now and makes certain he exercises at least 3 or 4 times a week. He lifts 50 kg; 25kg – 25 kg! He preaches consistency and persistency. He isn’t appeased and wants to add more. I looked at him. I looked at myself. Looked at him again and wondered how selfish one could be. Ha-ha!
He added 2.5 kg on each end, and though I had my reputation and beards to take under wing; I had to stand up for myself. I let him know I could not handle the additional weight but he assured me he’ll be there to support.
All I could do was just pray and call on Jesus.
I will admit that I was gritting my teeth and had you seen me, you might have thought I was on crack. By number 4, I was finished. I can’t remember, but I presume he lifted the remaining six.
I came out of the gym with a big grin on my face and as sweat trickled down my face, I acquired an aura that bred success.
Truly; the reward for a thing well done, is to have done it.
As Edmund Hillary, the first person to climb Mount Everest, put it, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
Would I go back?
You must be… Sure! Why not?