2018-05-09 / Editorials

She knows her stuff

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

It has been a year since I joined a gym, and if that sounds incredulous to you, you should be in my shoes. I always figured that before I said it had been a year since I joined a gym, I’d have said I enjoyed the mushrooms I ate last night.

I’ve never been a real fan of working out — I’m not a big fan of sweating — and certainly I’ve never been a fan of gyms. I stayed skinny as a kid because I was constantly outside, running around, riding my bike, building forts —just being active.

Of course, back then I could eat an entire pizza without gaining any weight at all. Today, I’ve gained a half a pound just by typing the previous sentence. And, since I wasn’t running around building forts as an adult, those pounds starting adding up, and by last January, I weighed 230 pounds. I looked like a walrus that had washed up on the beach.

Enter Chelsea, a talented and brilliant trainer. She came up with a plan to change the way I eat and to get my fat rear end off the sofa. She succeeded on both counts. For four months, she had been doing workout in my living room three times a week. In March, she added two days of swimming laps.

But when May arrived, she said I had to buck up and join a gym. I’d have been less terrified if she had said, “You need to run with the bulls in Pamplona.”

Those places always intimidated me. I pictured gyms as being full of buff and beautiful people, and, at least back last year, I looked more like that walrus. Seriously. There’s a video on YouTube taken at a Sea World-type place. In it, a pretty blonde trainer is showing a walrus how to work out. It’s hysterical.

I sent the link to Chelsea and told her, “If you put a UGA T-shirt on that walrus and it’s me and you!” The sad part is she agreed.

Anyway, the machines at gyms intimidated me, too. I mean, I recognized the treadmill when I saw it. I was pretty sure you used it for walking. But I didn’t have any idea how to even get started. The rest of the machines were even more intimidating

But Chelsea gave me no alternative, so I did it. I work out three times a week, swim laps twice a week and I walk 6-8 miles every day.

I also regularly use the cardio machines at the gym. The treadmill is OK. Chelsea, who has had more knee surgeries than any one human should have to endure, isn’t a huge fan of running. So I do hill walking on the treadmill, which doesn’t sound bad until you’ve walked a 15-percent incline for five minutes.

But the treadmill is far superior to the elliptical, which I’m convinced it the work of the devil. I don’t know the history of the elliptical, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was invented in Medieval times as an instrument of torture.

I’m still not totally comfortable about the whole gym scene. But I’m there because Chelsea knows her stuff. I dropped to 179 pounds last July, and on May 1, I weighed 182, so all this gym stuff is working.

I’m sticking to my diet, too.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I wouldn’t eat a whole pizza if given the opportunity.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN. com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke@gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/ blog/mitch.

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