Wednesday, April 08, 2015

G is for gym

Before I start today's post, I absolutely have to link to this very entertaining post that Clueless wrote last night, recounting her hilarious babysitting experience with Xena as Viv and I were out to watch Fast and Furious 7 (Quick review: Rohit Shetty must be weeping tears of joy.) before he flies off for two weeks. 


From time to time, old-time bewdas write to me about really old posts of the bar, making me super senti. It happened recently, and someone said he really missed my old gym posts. I went to take a look at my gym tales label, and realised I had travelled a decade back in time. And I remembered all the characters I'd met and blogged about. The 'on the roof, in the rain' guy, the little guys who stood me up, and most importantly, the mother-daughter duo who exchanged the most motivational dialogue in the history of my gymming.

However, the 'gym tales' label has only 6 posts till date. The thing is - I'd not been a regular at the gym since Xena came along. I'd go once in a while, but most of the time I'd be bogged down with making breakfast for Viv and Xena, feeding her, getting her ready, sending them off and then cleaning up before I started my official work day. And once she was back from school, there was nowhere I could leave her if I wanted to go to the gym. Weekends were not an option either because Viv is out playing cricket. So my exercise regime for the last few years has been taking Xena to faraway playgrounds so I get a good walk, chasing her as she zoomed away on her scooter, and playing badminton whenever my deadlines were not too tight or if Viv didn't have cricket that weekend.

But last year, several interesting and time-consuming projects came along my way and I simply did not have time to spare for badminton because other than the one hour of playing, there was also the commuting to and from the court which took up time. So I decided I needed a more efficient plan that would allow me to exercise without compromising my work time.

I needed a firmer approach.

"Get out of the house!" I started by telling Viv.

No, seriously. I told him that he needed to be out of the house with Xena by 8 am, so I could go to the gym downstairs and get a good half an hour, come back, bathe and still be ready to start work by 9 am, about the time my editor starts pressing the refresh button on her email waiting for the next chapter from me. This has not been working out that well, because even though I am up at 7 am with an elaborate breakfast and Xena's snackbox item ready, it is usually 8:30 am by the time they leave, either because they wake up late, or because Xena takes 45 minutes to finish a glass of milk. But I keep trying my hardest to kick them out of the house as soon as possible.

And then I head to the gym and work out for a good half an hour. I can't afford any longer than that, so I try to make it as efficient as possible. 15 minutes of fast walking (I can't run to save my life, but that's a story for another day) on the treadmill and 15 minutes on the cross-trainer, that's it. I target to burn about 300 calories in that time.

Other than the calories, I also do a lot of brainwork in that time. One of my projects involves writing catchy headlines, and most of my ideas for that come during my gym time. The gym has a TV so I also have the luxury to catch up on TV news.

And of course, I still meet many different characters in the gym. I don't know what it is about gyms, but it is home to some very interesting happenings and characters.

First, there is the cleaning aunty. So one day, she was mopping our lift lobby when I stepped out of the lift. Remembering Maqsood from Munnabhai, I tip-toed out to avoid stepping on the parts she had just mopped. She was SO touched by that, every time she sees me, she gives me a dazzling smile, and even when she's cleaning the gym glass windows from the outside, she waves to me with her squeegee. I wave back wildly too.

Then there is the cheating aunty. She's my neighbour's mother-in-law and her doctor has probably asked her to get some exercise on the stationary bike. My gym has a log book where you need to enter your details as well as entry and exit time. So she comes in for 10 minutes, but puts an exit time to show 30 minutes in the gym. I still can't figure out if that's cute or alarming.

The next aunty is alarming for sure. She comes in, heads straight for the paper towel dispenser, opens it, takes out some 50 towels and exits. I'm not kidding. I've seen her do this at least three times. A kleptomaniac maybe? And she does it so blatantly, at one point I lost it and reported it to the security guard outside. And the next time she tried that stunt, I stopped my treadmill and stared at her. Very obviously. I'm happy to report that recently, I've not seen her do her stunt.

Then there's the teenager with the phone. She comes in, plonks down on the floor, takes out her phone and starts texting and watching stuff on her phone. I've seen her a couple of times, and she was at it for the entire half an hour that I was there. Waiting for a very sleepy friend? Free air-conditioning? I don't know.

The next guy is the very serious 'if I smile at anyone in the gym, my biceps will immediately shrink' guy. Usually I smile at the regulars, and he's as regular as it gets, but he refuses to smile back. Ok. Fine. Be grumpy.

And then there's the yawning weight-lifter. It's hilarious how sleepy he looks as he lifts very heavy weights, but then I've read that yawning is actually a way of your brain waking itself up to be more alert for physical activity. Cool!

Last week, just when I thought I'd seen it all, a burqa-clad lady came to the gym. To work out! At first, I thought she'd just shed the burqa and emerge in her workout clothes, but she headed straight for the treadmill, and then the cross-trainer. My eyeballs were popping out, and I winced every time the fabric of her outfit came close to the gaps on the treadmill and the cross-trainer, but she kept going. Of course, there is a big sign on the door to tell people that only gym attire is allowed, but who wants to mess with religion? But I did feel very very afraid for her.

What about you guys? Any interesting gym characters you've met? :)


Arun said...

LOL, everybody is afraid to tell you they don't get to the gym :)

Maya said...

I'm sure all gyms have one of these, but there used to be a Mr Stinky in my gym. During or after his usage of any equipment, there was no going even close for at least an hour!

Keirthana said...

What interesting characters you meet at the gym, I should make my way to one more often :D And workout with Burqa? It's very very dangerous for her,I hope someone does point her to that fact soon.

Anonymous said...

Those gym stories are hilarious and so well written! You should write a book based on your blog!

Sayesha said...

LOL! Seems like it! :D

Eeeeeeeeeeee! :S

I hope so too!

Thank you. :)