Self-inflicted Misery

For reasons probably only known to my Calvinist ancestors, I go to the gym at least once a week, preferably twice a week, and lift weights. If I go more often, I see negative results and lose conditioning through some quirk of physiology. Officially, I go in order to stave off osteoporosis, to build core strength to compensate for my back injury, and (at the moment) to improve shoulder strength so I don’t injure tendons and ligaments (again). Oh, yeah, and to keep the middle-age spread in check. My ancestors on both sides came from locations and cultures where being able to squeeze every last bit of energy from food was a survival advantage.

Back when I was flying aerobatics, I started lifting in order to build my G tolerances. It worked very well, too, although I discovered that finding knee boots that fit became a bit of a challenge (thanks to my Dad’s genetic contribution.) I build muscle relatively easily, especially in places that I’d just as soon remained more trim than toned. Probably because of my Irish washerwoman ancestors, I have very strong biceps and triceps. At first this was cool. Not it is a pain in the patoot because of how shirts are cut for women. As I tell sales ladies “I’m a size six chest and a size twelve or fourteen shoulder and upper arm.” They usually don’t believe me until they watch me try to put on that lovely little blouse with the slender sleeves and trim shoulders.

Now that I’m not flying anything but a desk, weights are more for staving off the effects of age and stupidity. I’m the quiet one with the grimly determined expression who doesn’t throw the weights around or grunt. I get in, do my sets, and get out. I think I’ve spooked some of the heavy lifters because I don’t show off, I just do my thing and then leave so someone else can have the bench or machine. They huff, puff, clang, and turn around to see that their “audience” has vanished.

As an aside, if they are trying to show off for me, they’ve going to be terribly disappointed. I take my glasses off when I lift. I can’t see anything but large blurs unless it is within two feet of my nose. Arnold S. could be lifting in his swim-trunks and I’d never notice.

After I finish, before the soreness sets in, I usually feel better, in an “unpleasant chore is accomplished” and “I’m tired so it must be good for me” sort of way. I am in no danger of becoming a gym addict. If someone would invent a pill that would boost my metabolism without 1) fouling up everything else, 2) causing anxiety attacks or cardiac arrest, and 3) that had no side effects after I reached goal weight and stopped taking the thing, I’d be first in line. In that dream world, I’d be back to my college weight (twenty-five pounds less than right now) with my current muscle strength.

You can quit laughing. Or I’ll pour this protein shake over your head and drop a 20 lb. plate on your toe.

3 thoughts on “Self-inflicted Misery

  1. I lifted weights in high school, and enjoyed it. But I have only lifted a couple times in the years since, and would never keep up a routine that would do me any good. I discovered about a year ago, when I decided I had lost entirely too much in the shoulder and upper arm department (I lost almost four inches in shoulder width when I moved from the coast and my job no longer included swinging an axe and machete in the rainforest for ten hours a day, several days a week) that I apparently did a permanent injury to my back. It normally feels fine, but if I start to do pushups within a few days I am so stove up I can barely do anything.

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