Last week’s blog sparked a different response than I anticipated. Actually, I don’t normally get much of a response at all, so any response tends to be unanticipated. The blog about plateaus seemed to resonate with people, but not the plateaus. It was the perfect fitness people that seemed to stand out. The people at the gym that never seem to have to try very hard to look like they just stepped off the pages of a fitness magazine. They are the people with the perfect bodies; either the stick thin women or the muscle bound men. They never seem to be trying very hard, spending most of their time texting on their phones or grunting as they do a rep, rest, flex, then do another.
Those are the people that helped drive me away from my gym. It wasn’t just them, but they were a part of it. I hated waiting for equipment when people would sit on the stationary bike barely peddling while checking Facebook. The infuriating part was not only were they on one of the four bikes, not only were they not really riding it as they sat there, but they would always look like they were straight off the set of the next big drama on Fox. Impossibly perfect people that were born into bodies that need no real upkeep, they just look that way no matter what.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that most people who spend a good deal of time in the gym work really hard. I know that these people either work their butts off to look like that or they are young and have no idea how hard they will have it when their metabolism starts to slow down once they graduate college and take that desk job. I get that, and I don’t really harbor any ill will towards them. Not really, but maybe a little when I feel like Shamoo the Wonder Whale trying desperately to lose some of this bulk and I know, I just know, that they are all laughing at me when I turn around.
I don’t think I am alone in this. I have seen other people just like me. Sweating their way through their workouts, stealing glances at the pretty people, secretly wishing the weight machine would fall over on them as they grunt and strut their way through three bench presses. We count the seconds until our hard interval is over and we can start to breathe and gasp our way through the two minutes of easier peddling before it gets worse again. When we are done we get the added pleasure of hearing words of encouragement from Workout Ken and Barbie at the reception desk where they will tell us how hard we are working and how great it is that we are trying so hard.
Don’t you just want to go somewhere else? That is the biggest reason I gave up the gym and started riding. When I first started going there I was over 365 pounds. It doesn’t matter how well you think you carry the weight, in a gym everyone knows you are fat. You stick out like a sore thumb and you feel self-conscious. Even when people aren’t looking or laughing at you, you feel like they are. Once I realized that the gym would never have enough stationary bikes to go around I canceled my membership and got back on my real bike. I went back to riding on my local rail trail, happier by far to suffer alone than in front of everyone else.
After hearing a similar response to my last blog, I had an idea. There are many people that have found fitness and weight loss on the back of a bike. Some have gotten fairly well known by writing about their stories, others have blogs. I have written about a couple with web sites that are particularly well done before, Ernest Gagnon and Brian at IWearSpandex.com are two great examples. Mike Magnuson and Selene Yeager have both written books and articles about weight loss and cycling. All of these people are much more like me than any of the perfect plastic people I met at the gym. Although I hope I didn’t offend any of them by saying that, they are all much further along than I am. They are all part of the inspiration I had for my idea. Let me present:
Fat Guy Fitness
Okay, maybe not present, maybe propose is a better way to say this. I want to create a website where people who have struggled with fitness and weight loss can offer advice to the rest of us. I am not thinking of a “How To” as much as a “When I was There”. It would be great to get a bunch of writers who have all been through this life style change to offer some advice, personal stories, and maybe a little humor as well to help the community find their way. I have this vague idea of a web site community where we call all support each other and offer a smile to help the inevitable setbacks as well as a great place to share success stories. No perfect plastic people, just us real people that are trying hard every day. The ones that know they need a complete rearranging of the mental furniture to go along with the physical to get back to a healthy lifestyle.
What do you think? Anyone interested in reading something like that? More importantly, anyone interested in being involved? Let me know, I would really love to get something like this started!