It all started while waiting in an aisle to pay for the groceries. You know those magazines… the ones with Photoshopped six packs? Well, I bought one. I dug deep into my resolve and my wallet and fished out R35,95 for this month’s Men’s Health edition. This particular edition came with a mini booklet called “Abs for Life” – complete with workouts, diet plan and info on how to get the mid-section you always dreamed of.
Well, the only reason I have any aspirations to bear resemblance to a Greek god is because, well, it seems like a noble thing to do. One of the main things is not spending so much money on junk food. That money could be used to help local charities, for example. Plus, the advantage of exercising everyday is that you die healthier. And besides, everyone seems to be aspiring to six packs rather than a whole barrel.
So I resolved that I was going to get a set of abs so tight, you can play tunes on them… “I mean, how hard could it be?” I thought to myself. I signed up at the local gym and assigned certain parts of my week to the new regimen.
Most of the problem with gaining abs for life is psychological… I mean, I knew that inside me there was a thin person struggling to take over, but I could usually sedate him with 3 slices of cake. The problem was that my newly acquired handbook actually encouraged the take over of the skinny persona. Do you have any idea how hard it is to allow the thin person to take over? Yeesh.
At the gym I met a rather large middle-aged woman, who seemed to empathize with how hard it was to get fit – particularly the jogging routine on the treadmill. “You simply must do some things,” she told me. (She weighs in at 137 kilograms.)
“I stopped jogging because my thighs kept rubbing together and setting my panties on fire.”
I refrained from asking questions.
I was, however, impressed at her resolve. Many South Africans talk about getting fit, but here was a lady who was actually getting on with it.
“You are doing a good thing by exercising now, while you are young. You must never be like me,” she continued. “When you get old, it’s hard to be thin because now, my body and my fat are very good friends… HAHAHAHAHA!!!!”
I make a mental note to chain myself to the gym for the rest of my life as I begin with my workout under the watchful eye of my gym instructor.
First we start with cardio, which, according to my handbook, should be “an easy 10-minute run”. Fah! “Easy run”… that’s an oxymoron if ever there was one.
Interesting – a mate of mine says he’s allergic to running, as every time he attempts to do it he breaks out in a sweat, gets really tired very quickly and finds he has trouble breathing. Funny, it somehow rings true…
After I’ve exorcized every last bit of energy in my body, it’s time for some free weights. My gym instructor – a 6 foot 4 coloured dude, with peroxided hair and numerous tatoos all over his arms – hands me a 20-kg dumbell. “Curl it,” he says. “No, you only need one arm.”
Trying to convince him otherwise is a fruitless exercise, as the guy obviously has no measure of what it means to feel real pain.
You know that you have had a good workout when you get into your car afterwards and you can barely turn the steering wheel…
Gym is probably the safest option in terms of a workout. Jogging on the streets in South Africa is generally ill-advised, as muggings do happen. In other countries you’d probably end up shoeless. Here you’ll end up naked and with multiple knife wounds. If you’re lucky you’ll just get shot, which is easier than having to file an affidavit at the police station… naked.
Be that as it may, I do jog on the streets more often than you’d think. I justify it on the basis of:
1. My shoes aren’t worth much.
2. My sweaty clothes would be enough of a deterrent.
3. This is a my country, and I can flippin well go for a run on the streets if I want to. Anyone who begs to differ will have to catch me…
I’ll be fit in no time.