Skip to main content

To Pump or Not To Pump?






This is Baytown Bert in Baytown, Texas. August 29th, 2014 and this is Podcast 10

Sweat.  Grunting.  Hormones.  Spandex.  Muscles.  More sweat.  More grunting. 

I’m talking physical fitness here, not speed dating and I’m talking a lot of commitment too – again unlike speed dating.  Each repetition, each crunch, each set of dumbbells bringing me closer to that Arnoldesque physique I always envisioned I would someday have.

I had no idea when my bride coerced me into joining the local clock-sounding fitness club that I would regain the lost muscles in my shoulders, or that many seniors regularly work-out and when I say work-out, I mean work-out.  We usually arrive around 9am and leave about an hour to two later and the gym is probably fifty per cent people in their fifties and over.

Like most everyone in the gym, exercising is a solo activity and most of us keep their eyes averted and follow the routine they believe will bring back their vitality – but, I know in my heart each of us are “checking” everyone else out.  It’s a body makeover place and everyone there is trying to get someplace they either were or want to go.  It’s a place of sweat and people watching.

Talking is nearly impossible anyway, as many wear earbuds, or Beats headphones, even though the loud speakers are sending out a rhythm designed to motivate us to higher levels.  Then there are the 12 TV monitors on the ceiling so a person can watch the sports channels or find out what Rosie O’Donnell and the other clucking hens think about who knows what. 

Me?  I’m old school Rocky, working out in the basement gym.  No headphones for me.  I aggressively move from machine to machine, barely resting and my muscular friend Derik Hammes tells me this is why I am so sore.   I don’t care.  I am there to slam my body into shape.  I want to look like the 20-30 year olds with the cut physiques, tiny waists, and extra large biceps.  No pain, no gain.

I’m in my third month of 4-6 times a week and I found out quite early on that my weakest muscle group is my shoulders and on top of everything else, my left shoulder positively aches at times.  I have to set the shoulder press at a lower weight and do multiple sets to warm up before I move to the heavier stuff.

I would say that the balance of sexes is close to 50 percent too and that brings up the pump part.  The club has a number of organized classes, one of which is Body Pump where light weights are integrated into a cardio workout.  Would you believe it is mostly women in that class?  Where are all the behemoth testosteronees?  Then there is the Spin class where a very toned lady rides through a series of exhausting stationary bicycle up and down hills for an hour yelling encouragement like a buff drill sergeant.  Almost women exclusively here too and this brings us to big kahuna; the Zumba class.

I pretty much think this is a class for women only, as men’s hips just can’t replicate what the instructor is asking students to repeat.  To be truthful, I do not ever want to be witnessed doing these moves, or I will be forced to turn in my man card.  Don’t get me wrong now, none of it is vulgar, just feminine in nature and women’s anatomy facilitates the gyrating movements.  In fact, I don’t even want to envision another man doing them.

The Body Pump class is a different story – I think.  I want to try it.  I think I can do it.  I’m just wired in such a way that I don’t want to fail and especially in front of a bunch of fit womens.  Yes, I said womens and I know it is grammatically improper, but I have to maintain my masculinity by talking like a caveman.  I’m at the gym for crying out loud.

They had a Boot Camp starting in the gym the other day and at the last second; I rushed in and took my place by the wall at the end of the line.  The drill was wind sprints, something all b-ball players know all to well.  You run down, touch a line on the floor, then dart back and touch the starting line.  Then run out further, repeating the process until you’ve ran 4 times and finally return to the starting line.

I’m competitive to a fault.  I’m 62 and everyone there was much younger than me, but I beat them all… twice.  To my horror, it appeared they might do it again and my man card was suddenly in danger.  Claiming my knees might not survive a 3rd time, I waved, smiled and exited the court into the gym and it took me 3 minutes to catch my breath over where the small group couldn’t see me. 

Never mind.  Yea, I’m ready.  Bring on the Body Pump!

Comments

Anonymous said…
I tip my hat to you for your workout dedication. Just don't hurt yourself. LW
Anonymous said…
Bert, you're my hero! SR
Anonymous said…
Hey nice shout out lol. Derik Hammes
Jane Lee said…
Oh come on, Bert... we want to see you do Zumba!! You can wear a hard hart, a manly T-shirt with tools or beer pictured on it and maybe some workboots to counteract the feminine thing.
Anonymous said…
BodyPump is a great class. I did it for about three time a week for year. Fun! I learned a lot about proper form and lifting techniques which helps protect you from injury. I say go for it. KC
Anonymous said…
I want to see video of Bert doing Zumba. You could do it wearing a tool belt and work boots, Bert, to protect your manliness. JL
Anonymous said…
Enjoyed reading your article today! TT
Anonymous said…
Enjoyed the podcast and music Bert. I have grown old, ugly & lazy and it doesn't seem to bother me much any more, so the beautiful ladies and muscular young men who go after them have 1 less competitor now. Ahhhh, the soft couch feels with a fan blowing a gentle breeze across my body feels good. My mind and body have become one.

You do good work Bert.
Thanks,

Fred
Anonymous said…
I enjoyed that Bert , I have been trying to get back to the gym myself. DJ
Anonymous said…
Loved this article! TT
Anonymous said…
I've got to get on the ball!! Time to exercise. I'm so proud of your dedication.....try body pump!!! It is one of my favorite classes. I did body pump and step a few years ago at the YMCA. Both classes truly made me feel like my body was improving daily. SPG
Anonymous said…
I enjoyed this very much. You are a great writer.
Megan LOVES Zumba. I can't do it. I have zero rhythm and my body just does not move like that. Body Pump is good. I used to take a class at Gold's Gym called Body Combat. It was a cardio/karate type mix. I really liked it. You should see if you're clock sounding gym offers something similar. Stay away from the BLT class (Buns/Legs/Thighs)... it's a killer!!!
Amy

Popular posts from this blog

Camp fires, wood smoke, and burning leaves.

When I was a kid, everyone burned leaves in the fall. I always enjoyed it so much.It was a happy time. Man, that smell was amazing and you couldn’t go anywhere without smelling it. Of course now I know that it is a major source of air pollution and those of us that live inside the city limits are restricted from doing it. I don’t think I would burn them anyway, choosing to compost instead.
The whole family would engage in raking the yard and the reward was burning the leaves. The thick gray smoke would pour out like liquid clouds and we would run through it. Afterward, we smelled like smoke, but we didn’t care. I would wager that most people under the age of 30 have never even raked leaves into a pile, let alone burn them.
Growing up in north Georgia in the late 60’s, my 3 brothers and I would camp out most of the summer and burn anything and everything on our campfire. At the end of summer there wouldn’t be a stick, pine cone, or needle on the ground. We smelled like mountain men a…

Riding the waves

Back in 1974, after coming back to the USA from the unpleasant conflict in Southeast Asia, I was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. Vandenberg has 20 miles of coastline that is basically closed to the public and people in residence, regardless if you are in the military or not. This rule didn’t seem to affect my fellow airmen and I from going body surfing on a lonely stretch of beach, far from controlling authorities. There was a submerged shelf that ran out a couple three hundred yards from the beach that was flat and about 6 feet deep.You could swim way out there and as the ocean waves came in, they would hit that shelf and make 5 feet high waves that white-capped all the way in. Now mind you, this was pre-Jaws and none of us had ever heard of a Great White shark. Year later I read where this stretch of beach was prime habitat and a couple years ago, an airman was killed right there.
We had been in the 65 degree water for about an hour and I was turning …

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

I wish I could remember who it was that said you can get a basic education in three years, but let us take a look at Ben Franklin as an example of that. We have a family joke that the answer to almost any Jeopardy clue is almost always “Who was Ben Franklin?”
When I am asked who I would most likely enjoy an afternoon with, it is always Ol’ Ben, the only President of the United States, who was never the President of the United States. Did you know he was the master of self-promotion and a man I admire? Even as a young lad, if he spotted a person of higher station, he would grab a shovel or some tool and begin to work diligently. The person would see him and remark, “What a fine worker that young man is!”
I’ve read a couple of books on the man and it still amazes me that he did so much with so little organized education. “From 1714-1716, Franklin attended Boston Grammar School and George Brownell's English School (for one year each) but he was withdrawn due to the expense of formal…