Naked in the Men's Locker Room -- 01/10/00
Oh, did that heading catch your attention?


I went down to the Y at lunchtime today to workout. Monday is usually the busiest day of the week -- probably everyone trying to work off their weekend indulgences -- and January is one of the busiest months -- as people struggle with their New Year's Resolutions to workout and lose weight, etc.

Hmmm, I suppose I resemble that remark... I mean, I do want to get my weight down and get toned up and in shape, etc.... but it didn't take a New Year's resolution to make me want to do that; I've been wanting to do that for a long time. How long? Would you belive a few weeks? How about a few years? How about many years? Oh well...

Going to the Y is very helpful in my program to drop weight and tone up.... I mean besides the obvious benefits of working out. The locker room is a great motivator. It's not the body builder types that do it so much as the guys who are not in shape. Not everyone in the locker room is in fantastic shape. (Yes, I know, I am an example of that, thank you very much.)

It's the naked old geezer population that I mean in particular. (Hey, don't accuse me of age-ism; I'm probably way older than you are!) Hey, it's great that they are going to the Y and working out; they are probably extending their healthy life expectancy with every visit. But there are some old guys (yeah, okay, senior athletes) who are in good shape. A doctor I used to see before I moved to Rhode Island was a perfect example. He was in his late sixties and not only was he still working, he was also a senior athlete, very competetive in the senior olympics, and looked younger than his actual age. That's what I mean. And there are some older guys who come to the Y and maybe swim a little or whatever, keeping active, but they have not kept their bodies in great shape. We're all going to sag. Gravity always wins. But I mean big flabby stomachs, rolls of fat around the waist, and a shrunken butt. I don't want to end up looking like that. So, yes, of course I want my heart to be in good shape, yes, yes, but I also want to keep my ass in shape too. I don't want a big flabby lard butt, nor do I want to have a shrunken and shriveled little butt.

Once upon a time I was afraid of going bald. I do have a lot more forehead than I did thirty years ago, but I don't have male-pattern-baldness and even if my hairline continues to travel I don't thing I'm facing total deforrestation. These days my fear seems to be of ending up a lumpy pear-shaped geezer with no butt. Women seem to think that they are the only ones who worry about their bodies. Not so, ladies, not so. Yeah, okay, so a lot of guys let themselves go... but so do a lot of women. In fact, based on recent federal figures, half the country is overweight and out of shape. Look around. Half might be a conservative estimate.

I might say to myself that I'm in better than average shape, but then I think about what that average represents. (Or as a former manager of mine used to constantly say: "Average is just the best of the worst and the worst of the best." That was his version of a motivational speech.) The subset of the total population that actually does something beyond being couch potatoes, the sample that might be found in a YMCA locker room, is pretty much drawn from the better-than-average fitness half of the population almost by definition. So then I look around in the locker room and think that I don't want to look like that. Yes, I know, there are some pretty dumpy thirty year olds in there also, but lets face it: I am in no danger of ever being thirty again, but unless I go flatline in the meanwhile, the passage of time means that I will end up experiencing being in my sixties and seventies and...

In the 1970's and early '80's I used to spend a lot of time at a clothing optional beach and I usually opted for the total absence of clothing. Today, if I were to be at a clothing optional beach (and let's ignore the fact that it is 42 degrees and raining outside, I obviously mean in summer weather; and let's also ignore the dangers of sunlight, just put on SPF30)... I'm not so sure I would opt for nudity and that's not out of being overcome by a sudden burst of modesty, it's about just what would I look like? My wife tells me I still have cute buns but lest that praise go to my head she has also taken to noting that I'm getting a bit paunchy.

This isn't a New Year's resolution kind of thing; it's just that I really need to get into shape and lose weight. I think I may be helped in this by my son. Since Sean has decided to go out for the wrestling team, he has suddenly become interested in healthy low-fat eating. He is choosing carrots over potato chips and is working out aggressively. (He said to me this weekend that he know he will succeed because he has me in his corner. Wow! Isn't that great?) He is 14 years old, is about an inch and a half shorter than me (and growing taller again, a couple months ago he was more like two and a half inches shorter), and weighs about 225. He wants to wrestle in the 205 pound weight class. (And yes, he realizes that as a rookie he will very likely get his butt whipped for a few meets until he gets the skills down.) By the way, although he can easily do without that twenty pounds, a lot of his weight is muscle because even as a couch potato (or computer potato?) he has been lifting weights for some time now. (He also says that eventually he would like to wrestle at 189.) I'm somewhere around 204 - 208 (depending on which scale I want to believe -- the one at the Y today said 204, my bathroom scale on Saturday said 208, and I doubt that I lost four pounds over the end of the weekend. I want to drop twenty pounds also, although I don't expect to do it as quickly or as easily as Sean will. (Older and slower metabolism and also I won't be getting in two hour workout sessions the way he will.) I'd like to drop ten or twelve pounds by my birthday (April 29th when I will be *ouch* 57) and hope to get rid of the rest by summer. Once I get to spring I should have built my running up so that it would be burning a lot of calories... that is, if my feet and knees and ankles hold up under the pounding.

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