"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Of Treadmills and Twinkies

The year is barely a week old and already there is so much to hate.

January is absolutely the worst month to work out at the gym for someone who has a consistent work plan and long-term dedication to getting something done in there.

All summer-long, my only exercise is bike-bike-bike and come November, it’s time to give my body something else to focus on. I head into the gym when it gets too cold to ride outside regularly and address all the muscles and movements that have been neglected for the last 6 months. For two whole months I can flail around the room as much as I want and not worry at all about bumping into any one or having to wait for so much as a medicine ball. The treadmills are empty, the weight-machines gather dust, and one elliptical is occupied by a very slow moving pregnant woman.

Until racing season begins my overall regimen progresses methodically over a pyramid – from a light, stability- and muscle-recruitment focused work as I lay a base for the very heavy weights in the force production phase, then finally to plyometrics and speed drills to work the fast twitch for sprinting. None of the latter is possible without the earlier ground work. So for November and December, it’s fairly easy, low-stress stuff: fun core exercises, balance drills, full-body movements. It progresses up to crazy, Cirque-de-Soleil acts with me contorting on the stability ball in a “W”-shape as the red resistance bands are doubled up around my neck while I pulse my arms and legs rhythmically to Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl.”

Good times.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is bathing in ham glaze, eating Christmas cookies dipped in cheese fondue, washing it down with Scotch and eggnog, all the while ignoring the fact that suddenly very soon they are going to have to face reality – like Wile E. Coyote opening the door to see a freight train bearing down on him.

I’m no teetotaler myself, mind you. I did my fair share of cocktailing and indulgence over the past 5 weeks. Yet, always in the back of mind was the little reminder that it would be so much easier when it was all over to get down to business if I skipped that fourth cookie and third Manhattan. I kept at it in the gym and kept a goal in sight.

All they can do is hold up a little white sign that reads only, “Help” and bang. InstaFattie.

So on January 5th my little safe haven at work – the office gym – became a mad house filled with desperate people trying to undue the damage while I needed to start getting down to said business. Because getting down to business in January is really about getting down to biznez in March so I can start winning races on the bike come April. These people flail away without any sense of direction, and I am in the gym to work (hard - and efficiently - I have less than an hour) as part of a plan that starts in November and ends in March as my plane takes off to California with my bike in the cargo hold.

“Do I need this machine? Yes, I do. I have a minute fifteen between each set and I have four to go. You’ll have to wait.”

Well-timed rest in between sets is integral to getting results and I’m not about to get off the leg press so you can randomly select a weight and push it with bad form an indeterminate amount of times while you give more concentration to the soap opera that’s on the flat screen over the mirrored wall. I know that makes me a monumental asshole, but maybe you should’ve come in here with some planning and forethought.

Assholes get things done.

Oh well, most of these people won’t make it ten workouts and will be gone by February. And to those of you, who stay, welcome to the club.


Bonus Hate:

Who wipes their boogers on the wall in the men’s room?!? There’re paper towels and toilet paper everywhere and you can’t be bothered to dispose of your nose-rocks properly? And you’re an adult! A kid I can maybe understand – the bathroom stalls at summer camp were littered with little green mines all over the walls – but there are rules you learn while growing up, not to mention a sense of common courtesy.

Maybe that’s it. The one I saw this morning was particularly large and bloody. A fine specimen, I have to admit.

I guess he just wanted to share?

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