Monday, April 30, 2012

A Family of Gym Rats

I no longer have any excuse for not going to the gym, and as a consequence I...have actually been going there.

I know.  I'm shocked too.

The reason my excuses have dried up is that my kids now love going to "Kids' Club"--the child care facility at the gym--almost as much as they love going to Sea World.  Pretty frequently now, we'll actually go to the gym in the morning, eat some pizza, and then go to Sea World in the afternoon.  This is made possible by the somewhat tragic abandonment of the afternoon nap.  But that's another story.

The girls' love of Kids' Club is due in large part to their new found passion for Dora the Explora, who I have wisely (I'm pretty sure) led them to believe exists only inside the magic glowy box there, and not on Mommy's iPad, which only knows how to play Elmo and Barney (which I unwisely allowed to happen).  But that's another other story, which I will call "Dora Turned My Kids into Zombies: My fight to get the childcare providers at the gym to pretend the TV is broken."

This story is about how, after a three year absence, I went to the Saturday kickboxing class that my wife and I had attended regularly for at least two years before the kids were born.

I've been going to the gym pretty regularly for the last few months (kids in tow), but I've only been lifting weights and occasionally using cardio machines.  Which is, of course, bass-ackward since I should be trying to lose the twenty pounds I gained the moment I became a SAHD instead of cultivating the beer-gut-at-the-gun-show look.

Anyway.  We asked the kids what they wanted to do on Saturday morning, and in unison, they replied, "Kids' Club!"  My wife has been going to the gym quite a bit lately too, which is a development I am behind 100%.  With the stars thusly aligned, we headed to our gayborhood gym.

Aside from the logistics of getting both my wife and me to the gym at the same time, the other reason I hadn't been to the kickboxing class, or done any kind of exercise that involved running or jumping, is that my back has been jacked up for over a year now.  I whined about it here a couple months ago.

Since the time of the whining, my back has gotten quite a bit better.  A recent MRI showed a dramatic improvement in my herniated disc, and I've been getting acupuncture regularly, which seems to be helping with the pain.  I'm down to about four Tylenol per day.  I also bought two books that are going to fix my posture and everything else about my life.  As soon as I read them.

So we ditch the kids and walk into the class.  We take our places in the exact same corner we always used to stake out, behind the exact same ripped Asian guy we always used to stand behind.  About half of the class, in fact, are people I recognize from before our kids were born.

"Oh my god!  Where have you guys been?"

Our presence has been noted by one half of the older (by which I mean maybe three years older than me), nerdy gay couple who always used to stand behind us back in the day.

"We've been having kids!"  My wife says.

"Kids?!  Plural?  How long has it been since we saw you?"

We explain.  Twins.  Almost three years old.  Et cetera.

The music starts.  The instructor does her shtick where she talks about how crazy and bad she is, throws in key phrases like up in the club, reminds us that she used to weigh 240 pounds.  It's like we never left.

The warm up is the same, and my hands and feet remember how to do it.

Pretty soon I'm bobbing and weaving, hooking and jabbing, throwing roundhouse kicks (about a foot lower than I used to, but still...), and, of course, faking my way through the part where you're supposed to shake your booty, since mine is completely rigid due to a genetic condition common among Northern European males.

Oh yeah, in case you were somehow misled into thinking the aesthetics of a "kickboxing class" were manly and martial, this is what it actually looks like.  Except that there are a lot more men taking the class at our gym:

But here's the great part: once I get warmed up, I don't feel like a decrepit old man anymore.  Sure, when we do jumps and quick-feet shuffles, I can feel the fat on my back heaving up and down, but I'm keeping up with some of the toughest chicks in the class.  I can still kick the asses of the nerdy old gay dudes!  Not's a competition or anything.  But if it were, I would be in the top ten percent.  Fifteen percent at worst.  I'm BACK!  In the mirror, my movements look athletic, fluid, and coordinated instead of creaky and hurky-jerky, the way I've come to picture myself.  I feel almost exactly three years younger.  Three really, really, really long years.

After the class there's still a half hour of free childcare left before Kids' Club closes, so I hit the weight room while my wife does part of a yoga class.  As it gets closer to closing time, I peek into the Kids' Club from across the building to see if the girls are zombified in front of the TV, or playing, or melting down.  Inside I see a woman I don't recognize, wearing the staff uniform of black tights and a red t-shirt.   

Oh, hello, I think.  Who's this? Is she...Asian?  Niiiice. 

I'm not gonna lie.  I leered.  I objectified.  I fetishized in an inexcusably white colonialist patriarchal way even before I could make out the features of her face.  And I would have been ashamed of myself  had I not realized after a couple seconds that the woman in the tights and red shirt was my wife.      

Photo Credit


  1. Good for you, getting back on track!! You will feel so much better for it! I also think it is AWESOME you leered at your wife! You should tell her about how sexy she is! :)

    1. You're right, I should. I'm a little embarrassed though. I'll have to have a few drinks first. I need some pointers about hitting on my wife. Pathetic.

  2. Pervert.
    Also, I'm jealous. I basically quit exercising when the children came along, other than an occasional run (and I hate running) to ensure I don't have a heart attack every 6 months when the Reserves makes me do a PT test.

    1. We got a fancy baby jogger (Chariot Cougar II!) when the kids were tiny because I was determined that now would be the time for me to become a runner. Of course, I promptly destroyed my back and my marathon dreams. Even when I was healthy though, I effing hated running.

      Seems like you're doing all right for someone who never exercises. Of course, you're still young.

  3. I feel fat. Literally, like right here, and here, and here.

    But, you've inspired me! I will now complain more about being fat and brow-beat myself for not taking the kids to the Y where they also love the child care room.

    At this rate I'll be ready to audition for Biggest Loser 2015.

    So very cool that you wanted to hit on your own wife.

  4. I'm in the same boat, but let's up the anty to nearly 5 years. Sad. I have done a few stints during that time though, which in and of itself, gets me nowhere. Anyway, so I'm reading this post and my wife calls. She has signed us up for a 5K. In other words, I will be back soon too. If that weenie 5k doesn't kill me first.

    Good for you, by the way.

  5. Well done. I can definitely say that having a gym with a good childcare situation is a big win. It's the only thing that kept me in shape -- those two hours with MiniPirate in Gym Kid Care were the only child-free time I had.

    Are we gonna have to have arm wrestling contests now? Please say no.

  6. Awwwww, cuteness with the whole "leering at your own wife" business!

  7. Listen I don't want to hear anything other than Ab Ripper X you dilettante! Now get down there and give me 50. Go go GOOOOO!

  8. You mean there are workouts beyond beer curls and self pleasuring?

  9. I certainly don't get to the gym enough, but that is sanity. Without the occasional trip there I'd lose my mind.

  10. Just came across your blog and have been enjoying it.

    And, kid's club...does that mean LA Fitness? I started going there with my daughter earlier this year, and she's just started to warm up to it. As in, she no longer melts into a weepy two-year old puddle when I hand her over to the worker behind the counter. Sometimes I feel like I'm Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans, pushing her back through the waterfall and saying,

    "Stay alive! No matter what occurs, I will find you! Stay alive!"

  11. Just read the Slate article too, awesome! Yeah, I need to get back into the gym ASAP, the LA Fitness has a kid's area of some sort, I should go check it out. Good reads!


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