The gym is busy tonight, which is somewhat odd when considering that it’s 5 o’clock on a Friday evening. Perhaps, just like me, my fellow comrades are feeling a tad guilty about those extra Lattes consumed during the week. Oh well, I’m here now, so I might as well take advantage: if only I could really believe that, I’m sure I’d feel a whole lot better about the pain and hurt that’s coming my way.
Right, that’s the water bottle filled up. Okay, if I’m honest it’s a good way to kill a couple of minutes; besides, the sound of water flowing out of the dispenser reminds me of the soothing sound of water cascading down a waterfall – a very small waterfall, of course, and I know that I have a vivid imagination! Decisions, decisions: is it the X-trainer or the Rower tonight? Sorry Mr Rower, but tonight’s winner is Mrs X-trainer; besides, the foot straps of the Rower are always coming loose. It’s like sticking one’s foot in an oversized Welly, and then walking in deep mud.
Out of the corner of my eye, I can see that Neanderthal Man is grunting and straining, as he finishes another set of dumbbell curls. Actually, his parents christened him Neil, but his protruding neck and ape-like features give him a somewhat curious look: come to think of it he has an uncanny resemblance to a certain Welsh sports personality with a taste for Alice Bands; Football anyone? For two years now, I’ve seen Neil visiting this quiet, little backstreet gym, but for the life of me I cant remember him doing anything, apart from bicep curls and tricep dips. The end result speaks for itself, however, as I’m sure that the Spinach munching Popeye would be jealous of those guns – that’s biceps to us mere mortals.
Well, with twenty minutes gone and only ten minutes left, the sweat has started to seep out of every one of my pores, like a sieve held under a steady flow of water. Taking a sneaky glance in the mirror – after all, I don’t want to be seen as the proverbial poseur, eyeing himself up in the mirror – I see a bright red face, the colour of a tomato: a slippery, soaking wet tomato with steam coming off of it!
The constant stream of people coming and going, and the pungent aroma of sweaty bodies fused with cheap cleaning fluid, offers a temporary respite from the burning sensation coming from my legs and arms. My lavender blue hand towel is now a fully fledged member of the dark blue set, as it mops up perspiration like a kitchen roll soaks up spillage. Only 5 minutes left! That’s what I tell myself, as I hear the pounding of my heart and the screaming of my lungs.
Suddenly, a cacophony of noise pervades the air: the creaking of tread mills, the wheezing and panting of punters, the whirring noise of the dilapidated air conditioning unit, metallic weights clanging together like the noise of a blacksmith striking at his anvil – now I know my stint is done. My senses are once again heightened as I come out of the zone and mutter to myself: ‘that’s 30 minutes I’ll never get back!’ The paradox, of course, is the number of minutes that I may have added to my life.
Holding the plank position for two minutes must be a record for me. Right, that’s the penance done; time to go home and wash and shower. But, just before that, there’s time for one last sneaky peak at Miss Yoga, strutting her stuff in the far corner. Boy, I wish I could twist my body into those positions. If only I was ten years younger …