This month I’m experimenting with my first gym regimen in 23 months. Since I arrived in Ecuador in late August, 2008, I ended a five year run as a gym rat. Previously, I would spend four to five days a week in a gym for at least an hour a workout, sometimes with cardio, but mostly with heavy lifting. It’s not like I was training for a weightlifting competition, but I’m not good in any sport and wanted to be active in some way. Straight up running was out of the question, so lifting weights was it. I grew strong, but watched all of the muscle fade away in Ecuador, along with the extra weight I had on my body.
There were gyms there, but I didn’t want to spend my time or meager stipend on lifting. By February, however, I began to run and really got into the high altitude training. I’ve read that after a year of living at high altitude, your body actually comes to prefer less oxygen and you perform at your best as a result. Even if you go back to lower altitude, your body remains in better shape. So I kept up running in Argentina and until the fall rolled around, was using that as a means of staying active after work. Now, in the middle of winter though, it’s no use trying to run outside. So the idea was to get a month membership at a gym a few blocks away from the house to keep busy.
Now that I’m back in the gym, I see that at least for the time being, I can never get back into the lifting routine. It has totally left my will, and even though I’ve spent a few minutes lifting a few light dumb bells, I don’t have any interest in continuing. What I have been doing, instead, is running on the treadmill for 15 minutes followed by some abdominal workouts. I remember thinking that it was sort of pointless to go to the gym for less than an hour, but I get in and out in 35-40. After a long day of work, I don’t want to spend half of my night there.
I see some of the gym rats here that would fit in perfectly with the crowd back home. The large upper bodies and bulging calves, tattooed biceps, etc. Upstairs is a workout class/club scene with blasting techno that hurts my ears as I change in the humid locker room. I won’t be too upset when the month is up and the weather changes, letting me run outside again. There’s a 10k in Palermo on the 29th, so at least I have a goal in mind.