Frick; There Really Is An Out-There Out There
I recently relocated my little fitness studio (again) to a larger, more open, and brighter space than the warehouse location it previously occupied. My little gym would look less like a dungeon. My upscale clients, I reckon, deserve something a little more, upscale…?
After my friend Glenn and I moved the equipment, the new place took shape quickly. I spent a majority of that weekend getting everything set up, lined up, and put into the best possible place. At the end of it all would come a treat for me; my first workout in my new gym.
I just was about begin my first workout when I realized what made the new place so bright, so open, and so professional looking – we can refer to them as windows. My two prior locations had few windows, and those windows were well covered. Glass now; everywhere glass – masses of transparent enclosure. The entire front of the new studio is a 30-foot wall of glass eight feet high – and located just off one of the busier streets in Fallbrook. My community could now see me workout. And then, depression set in…
Hide In Your Shell
For the past 8 years, alone with my thoughts and with little view to the outside world, I have been able to lift, reach, bend, stretch, peddle, stair-step, run, and sweat in absolute privacy. Often I workout listening to classic works of literature, philosophy, or theology on my i-Pod, attempting to make double use of my workout time, that I sharpen my brain (a bit) as well as my body.
I have savored every moment of these workouts in solitude because I am neither a social nor a confident person – at least not when I exercise. In fact, I’m quite shy about it and a bit anti-social. As I made the transition from exercising in a public gym to working out in my own private gym, my workouts took on a whole me meaning. The intensity increased, the results were better, and my workouts became more soulful and more fulfilling – they became religious.
I have enjoyed the act of exercise – the ritual of movement, since I was 13-years old. Despite what I have accomplished with my physicality through the years, and the thousands of workouts which have enabled so much in my life, the gym has always been an intimidating place – a place where I have felt uncomfortable, felt scrutinized, and perpetually un-good in the eyes of others.
The Gyms Of My Past
Between the acne covered, puffy bodybuilders wearing torn Tap Out tank-tops and wrap-around sunglasses indoors, and the 20-something tanning bed queens with the tramp-stamps which make them easier to ID to the previous, I have not felt too comfortable in gyms since the fitness explosion of the mid-80s, through the current day. Add-in the scarcely exercising, excessively judgmental religious zealots whose voices seem to dominate the cardio theater in most gyms, as their actions don’t, and then sprinkle in a few of know-it-all gym members who believe they know more about exercise than anyone in the gym – including me, and the modern gym has offered me little in the ways of comfort or acceptance – despite that I am usually among the hardest working, more knowledgeable, and most in-shape persons in the gym.
Or perhaps I have just alienated myself in the gym simply because my workout has always been a medium for getting better acquainted with myself; a vehicle for contemplation and personal improvement, not a forum to overwhelm or impose upon those around me.
Saving Private Cohen
Now in a more pedestrian location, people soon began to peak through the windows of my new studio and watch as I have worked out during my down time. Some would dare to come in and want to talk talk talk talk talk with me. Kill me.
Within a week I had most of the glass in my new studio blacked out. Not tinted, but blacked out – to shoulder level. This would allow some light in, but ensure privacy for my clients – especially for my favorite client, me. Once again I am at home in my private sanctuary of sweat, and again able to better honor myself and my day in peace, and without subjection to pedestrians or curious intruders who wonder in from the parking lot to checkout my kinetic tomfoolery.
I recognize that most fitness enthusiasts do not have this luxury – a private gym in which to battle gravity and to release the toxins of life, as physical and mental acuity have a chance to blossom – if only for an hour. I will suggest that if a private workout is something which sounds appealing, for the price of a year’s gym membership, one can buy enough adequate and compact equipment which can make a private a workout at home possible – regardless of how small your workout space at home might be.
Do I recognize and appreciate the social aspect of working out in a public gym…? Maybe… I just know that private workouts, for me, are now a requirement – daily. Be well. rc
Finally, I would like to extend my respect and appreciation for all of those who have served on The United States Coast Guard Cutter Acushent, which will become decommissioned today after 67 years of service. There is not a day of my life, not one, that I do think about my time spent on that ship.
Oh, and there is this emotional masterpiece by Leonard Cohen. Enjoy…