A mum, dad and their three kids from Tasmania, go on an epic adventure in Borneo for 3 weeks in December
It’s a Melbourne layover day today – I’m not sure why I booked a day in Melbourne (allegedly one of the planet’s most livable cities) but I have. So I’m calling it a layover because that makes it travel related not just a goof up. My gregarious BIL (brother-in-law) Marcus invited me to the gym with him at 06.30 and says that his personal trainer is a gym nazi. Nothing good in the world happens at 06.30 least of all nothing that involves gyms or nazi’s. I agree to go only because he’s a good bloke and I didn’t go get the takeaway with him last night. I’m wary though because the only exercise I do is slipping over in rivers, wading lakes, pedaling my kayak and flogging my casting arm whilst fly fishing. I feel it’s a gentleman’s exercise.
I sign in and decide to use the bike machine thingy glad that there’s a big green Quick Start button because I didn’t want to look like an illegal health immigrant. The bike, rowing machine, running machine area is called the Cardio Theatre. Where’s the audience? It should be the Cardio Pit – which would be a play on mosh pit and arm pit. I cycle away keeping the effort level down so it looks like I’m going hard but I’m not. Sneaky. I realise after a while that I’m holding onto the elbow rests but I don’t think anyone noticed. I move my hands to the metal bits to check my heart rate. It’s 120. Is that dangerous?
Video hits are playing on screens visible from any corner of the gym. Good. I get to watch soft porn while I work out. When did it become cool to dance and gyrate in bra’s and panties? The subliminal message is that if I work out enough here, Miss Gyration will want to date me. I bet if I turned up to workout in a bra and panties they wouldn’t allow it. I would object and say “but there are people dancing in their bra and panties on the screens”. They would explain I don’t look like those people. I would tell them they are discriminatory.
There’s a way to walk in a gym. You need to walk slowly but purposefully. You never walk quickly (obviously not working out hard enough) or aimlessly (not goal oriented). You have to look cool, like you’re there every day. Like you belong. I do this walk while looking for the drink fountain. I notice a darkened room on the other side of a glass door with flashing UV lights. I press up against the glass and notice the flashing is the whites of people’s socks and singlets. They’re in the cycle studio. The only light is an overhead floodlit adonis, face darkened from the position of the floodlight and muscle definition enhanced. He’s miked up and yelling instructions. Music is pounding. It looks a little strenuous.
Lactic acid has made my legs wobbly. I rode for eighteen minutes. Not bad. I decide to use the rowing machine for a bit. I pull on the handle and the numbers on the screen go down. Confusing. I pull harder, it goes down more. I need some cardio viagra. Then I realise the display is time per 500m. But I still think bigger numbers are better. I look out of the corner of my eye at the bloke next to me. My number is lower. Good.
I do the gym walk over to the personal-trainer-general-public-not-allowed area to check on Marcus. His PT has a skinhead – maybe he’s taking his gym-nazi role a little too far. Marcus is doing some kind of elbow pushup, then jumps up on a box a few times, then gets a really really flat basketball and slams that onto the polished floor turning 90 degrees between slams. Then he squats down on the box squinting, head down. I think he might be gagging a bit. I feel tired watching him so I gym walk away.
I grab some dumbells and do some seated curls. Any seated exercise is good I feel. It tricks your body into thinking it’s sitting around doing nothing, when in fact it’s not. Sneaky. I bang out the reps trying to get a pump so when I go home, Nani will notice my big biceps and be impressed at how fit and strong her husband is. I mount the treadmill for one last crack. I’m running at 7km/h and after 5 minutes I feel like giving up. I check my heart rate again and it’s 160. That couldn’t be good. I decide to go until I get to the 1km mark. Seems like a good round number.
Rhianna approves. She raises her glass to me, and I give her a nod. I leave knowing deep down that if I worked out here for long enough and wasn’t happily married, she would date me.