The thing about working out is that you need to keep the schedule regular. It’s bad enough that you find new muscle groups during regularly scheduled workouts that can seize you up for days at a time. But taking two weeks off means you have a whole new empty slate of muscle groups ready to make you pay dearly in the very depths of lactic acid hell. And so I missed the first week due to a business trip where I had no time to find a gym or pool. The second week I was down and out, recuperating from a spinal injection procedure on my lower back. My trainer, Naome walked up to me as I lay on a mat stretching my reticent muscles; she smiled coyly and said “Hey you, it’s been a while”
I grunted as I yarded my ass off the mat “Two Weeks” I said.
The pleased look on her face from that point on was like she got a new puppy. “Ok” she said as she clapped her hands together “We gonna work upper body or lower?” I put my hands on my lower back and tried not to whimper “Lower” I said… “but we need to take it easy on the back and…” Naome interrupted “We’ll slowly graduate each superset toward those muscle groups in your lower back and see how it goes”. I kind of protested a bit with a “but, but…” she interrupted again “Let me know if you get any kind of shooting pain down your leg and we’ll back off”… I nodded my head and started following her around the gym like a puppy that’s been whacked with a neatly rolled newspaper.
“Two weeks” I whimpered.
We went through several supersets and gradually worked our way to planks. Now there are a number of variations on planking and their creative sadistic artform seems limited only loosely by the laws of physics. So Namome had me do several variations interspersed with lunges, lunges and more lunges. By the time I got into the pool I couldn’t feel my legs but my back was just fine. Crap!… I hate it when she’s right. After thrashing out 20 lengths of the pool I staggered back to the sauna, anticipating a nice long sweat with my eyes closed. I didn’t see the sign as I walked right into the -nice and cool- sauna… as I turned back I saw it. The sign said “Closed for Maintenance” … well shit.
Two days later I was back in the gym, and having significant trouble getting my sore legs into a stretch position when Naome greeted me with “Hey you, how are you feeling today?” Between squeaks and grunts I indicated that my legs were in business for themselves. “Ok, so it’s the upper body today”. Little did she know I was in a lousy mood that morning because I still wasn’t over the cold broken sauna; and there was a bit of an incident in the locker room where I became the unwilling viewer of an old man BA as he bent over to get a drink out of the fountain. I closed my eyes in a defensive move and pivoted right into an open locker door. Then while I sat rubbing my head in front of my locker, the old guy walked over and proceed to unlock his locker; it was the one directly above mine. So there he was fumbling like a toddler with his combo lock, with his bare ass booty right at my face level. “Oh for the love of…” I mumbled as I turned away – much more carefully this time, so as to avoid an additional contusion. No amount of painful stretching could help me unsee this.
But Naome didn’t even seem to notice my foul mood… “Ok then, let’s get cracking” she said as she turned and walked off toward the weights section of the gym. Meanwhile I was still on the floor, pulling my legs somewhat under my body and belly crawling up the wall in order to stand. I made my way over to the bench where she was waiting with a 25 lbs barbell. Geeze, I had no idea there were so many ways to make a 25 pound barbell seem like it weighed 100 lbs. By the time she was done with me, I could hardly lift my arms without them shaking like I had the DT’s.
“That’s enough weights for today” she said, “…follow me to the training area” I staggered somewhat following her over to an exercise ball. “Now I want you to do a standard plank but I want your elbows balanced on the top of this ball.” she ordered… “Do you think you can do that?” I just shook my head and placed the ball in front of me. While still on my knees I placed my elbows on the ball… then I lifted my knees. My elbows sunk down into the ball and it made that familiar noise with air and rubber looking for a way out of the whole situation. The shaking was sudden and violent as I struggled to maintain my bridge and balance that friggen ball. Then very suddenly and very forcefully, the ball left the scene. I mean it shot out from under me like somebody squeezing a watermelon seed between their fingers. There was a crazy “Pfffffffffffttttt”, sound as the ball seemingly broke the sound barrier, striking Naome in the head. There was a very distinct “whap” reminiscent of the old dodgeball days and, I remember this; a “Squeal”. I do not know if it was from the ball for from Naome but the whole gym turned their collective heads to see what was happening. Then of course, with no ball to hold me up I hit the floor like a sack of old hams and added another lump to the lump I already had on my head.
So there we were – me on the floor, too weak to lift my arms to cover my lumpty lumps and Naome on her butt rubbing her pink splotched forehead. “Are you Ok?” she asked as I lay there. “Yes – Sorry but my arms are jello. I couldn’t keep my balance on that dam’d ball.” I quipped. “Well I think we’re done for the day… See you in a week. Try not to make it two…” she said while looking down at me as she past by, on her way to her desk.
After a moment, I managed to get myself up off the floor and limped back to the locker room. I changed and headed out to the pool, hoping the cool water would calm my arms down a bit. While I managed to complete my 20 lengths my arms refused to acknowledge any feeling whatsoever. As I swam, all I kept thinking about was the sauna. The lactic acid was pooling, prepping my body for days of stiffness and soreness so I was looking forward to the relaxing warmth and the total lack of activity and/or contusions.
As I turned the corners to the hallway where the sauna was I could see the sign was still there… “Closed for Maintenance”. I just hung my head and shook it. About that time a nice young janitor man walked into the hall. “Excuse me” I said “Can you tell me how long the sauna is going to be down?” The young man turned to me, shook his head and said “Two weeks”
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