Wanted: Endurance and Stamina. Will Pay Handsomely.


Would you buy a used car from this man?

“No Diggity” by Blackstreet streamed out of my ear buds, and for two beats I almost felt like my former self. I was back on an elliptical for the first time in over a year. Just like riding a bike (or so they say — I haven’t actually ridden on one in probably 15 years), my hands, legs, and feet all knew instinctively what to do. I purposely set the resistance to four rather than my normal eight. I wasn’t about to take any chances, especially since only a few weeks prior I threw out my back from sleeping in a weird position. One year now into the pandemic and my body is basically saying, “Excuse me, but WTF do you think you’re doing?

With the second shot now three weeks in my system, I thought I’d dip my toe a little further into the outside world and see what it feels like. One stays away from something long enough, and the worry is that you might no longer recognize or even feel familiar with it. After an entire year of only walking in our condo development for exercise, and now with a vaccine ostensibly protecting me from getting sick by covid, I decided to dip back into the gym for a spell.

It’s a wonderful thing, the toe dip. If the water’s too cold one can just decide retreat and not go any further.

Our gym moved to a brand new building late last year. Starting in 2018, they began displaying mockups at the old facility of the proposed layout of the new one, with a tentative move-in date of early 2020. The old location was closed during the six week shutdown last year, and though I heard they eventually did open the new facility in late fall, I wasn’t ready to go back. Call me crazy, but it seemed a little too risky to be in close proximity to people breathing heavy prior to getting the shot.

At least the extroverted heavyset neighbor I’d interact with during walks in our development was six feet away and out in the open air, as he regaled me on a break from his own workout with yet another intriguing account of his adventures at the local Publix. Dangers lurked everywhere for a time.

But with both of us now inoculated (I’m speaking of Gorgeous here, not the heavyset man), we thought we’d give going back to the gym a test drive. Masks are encouraged when walking around the exercise areas, but not while actually working out. Machines are spaced out six feet apart from one another, and if that’s not possible they simply put a sign on one to inform that it’s not available (note the elliptical on the end in the above picture). I actually tried to keep my mask on after starting my workout. That lasted maybe a minute and a half.

Signs are up everywhere reminding users to wipe down exercise machines both before and after use. At each wiping station they even offer a pump of sanitizer to disinfect one’s hands, which is important because one does need to also handle the spray bottle of disinfectant that is used to moisten paper towels, which in turn is used to wipe down the machine.

Did you follow all of that? There’s an oder to the madness. It’s a design very similar to the one my mother instituted for my siblings and me, when would each arrive home from school during cold winter months. There was hell to pay If you touched the wrong thing out of order. So I know from experience how to do this properly.

The new gym is spacious. Our old gym was cramped and had toilets that were always breaking down. There’s now lots of room to spread out and find a machine. The old facility was so cramped that it was hard not to get to know your neighbor a little bit more intimately than either one of you probably wanted. Even with the covid spacing and distancing in this new place, I can see where it’ll stay roomy as restrictions are eventually lifted.

Not so comfortable, at least initially, was my body. Its reaction in returning to using an aerodynamically-designed machine for muscles, joints, and spines was to say the least challenging. After a year of aerobically walking on hard pavement, I found it awkward to get back on a device intended to actually aid in the maintenance of healthy backs, spines, knees, and hips. I jealously read about those people last year who bought new home gym equipment. But I was determined to somehow muddle through with my walking outside, followed by stretching on a mat in our living room. This worked for all of 2020, though by January of this year my body began to rebel against my personal version of home training. It wanted a return to the old ways. Haven’t all of us?

Tragically, what has suffered the most in the last year is the degradation of my core stretching routine. We had cooler than normal temperatures this past winter here in northern Florida, and quite often I bailed out from exercising rather than — forgive me for this, all you northern state readers — having to go out in morning temperatures of 40’s and 50’s. Brrr! So I’m now in the position of having to rebuild all those core muscles again.

I did make one neato cool new purchase over the last, though: I bought a pair of snazzy wireless headphones. For once I will no longer get a cord stuck on an elliptical arm when getting off the machine. Sadly, this means that I’ve tragically stopped using my old classic iPod in favor of listening to songs on my phone. I loved that iPod, but unfortunately I can’t defend having two devices on my waist any longer. But hey, it was a look.

Gorgeous seamlessly got on her treadmill without fanfare and worked out as if there had been no break in service. She asked me to pull into a new coffee place that we’ll now pass on the way home each time. I’m seeing a new budget buster which wasn’t on our stay-at-home radar for all of last year. The challenges never end do they?

Until next time…

34 thoughts on “Wanted: Endurance and Stamina. Will Pay Handsomely.

  1. Hooray for your venture out into the world of fitness. It looks like they have a plan to help keep you all safe and sound, and that is a good thing. I’m headed down to walk on my treadmill while reading a book, but I sure nodded when you said you moved from your iPod to your phone for tunes. I lost my beloved iPod and am still crushed not only at the loss but also at the fact I need to google how to get my music library to the phone. I probably shouldn’t admit that in print because I’m thinking it just might point to my age bracket. Oh well, it is what it is. 🙂 Enjoy your exercise outings, and I’m with Gorgeous – good coffee is essential and a treat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I loved my iPod. But I belatedly just realized that the phone can replicate all those functions and more. So it became redundant sadly. This is a no-judgment blog, Judy! It’s easy to transfer those tunes to your phone — just hook it up to your computer and transfer all of them using iTunes. It’s fairly intuitive, I promise. I’ll pass on your message to Gorgeous; she’ll appreciate the solidarity. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just this weekend, I looked up a gym that is about a mile from me. Sadly my old gym, which I really enjoyed, closed completely. “They said” it was a rent dispute with the building owner and not covid but it was a very successful gym and the only one in that area. Maybe I’ll try out the new one. It’s a 24 hour thing. I think you get a key or passcard because it’s only staffed from 10 to 7. Not sure if I’d feel safe being alone there and I prefer to exercise in the early morning. We’ll see. If I do it (after all the painting) there will be a post for sure. Coffee on the way home is a must not a luxury. Glad you are back in the saddle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a gym like that when we lived in Portland. It was owned by two guys, some of the time one of them was there fixing things or on a computer, but not always. I can appreciate your wanting a regular gym with an on-location staff. Painting is exercise too, if you count the reaching and the stretching. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Betty. It really is nice. Plus it has one of those car washes next door that will clean your car inside and out while you’re in the gym and be ready when you leave in an hour. I might take advantage of that now and then. 😉

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  3. Welcome back to your gym, Marty. I’ve been in the very fortunate situation where we’ve had extremely low COVID rates (knock on wood) and a pretty high %age of rule-followers, so our gyms have been open except for a few relatively short periods since a few months after the pandemic started. They have pretty strict protocols they have to follow, and I’ve been comfortable with it. Being able to go to the gym regularly has been a mainstay of my mental as well as physical health this past year. Not everyone’s gone back, depending on what they usually do at the gym (like classes). But I use the machines; the cardio machines are “socially distanced”. And I don’t find it hard to keep my mask on the entire time. You get use to it. And I love seeing all the young, heavily muscled and tattooed young people happily staying masked and wiping down the equipment religiously. They realize how lucky they are to be able to go to a gym. So, as I say, welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really impressed with your ability to keep on your mask during a workout, Jane. I tried but my face just got so darn HOT that I had to pull it off. But I can always try again I suppose. I must say I was surprised that nearly all of the customers were abiding by the mask rule in walking about the complex. That was encouraging, especially down here in the “Anything Goes” state.

      They have removed the free weights, which I totally get and understand. A bit of a disappointment though. I’ll just have to use a proper weight machine for a while. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a visual now, Marty, when you bring up the phrase “toe dip.” You remind me how we are still in the ‘dangers lurking’ stage. Hopefully, my first vaccine the end of this week, although they are running out. Major restrictions around here. One day at a time. I see what you mean about spacing the ellipticals. A spacious gym is a good feeling. I do recall your core stretching routine. I find my body lets me quickly know if I skip my stretching routine. Good for you and Gorgeous getting back on track with fitness. By next month you may be dipping the entire foot in.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly hope so, Erica. Infection and hospitalization numbers are still too high here (not that Florida is doing much about transparency, though that’s a different topic altogether). But with weather getting warmer I’m hoping they will trend downward. Pre-congrats on getting your first shot coming up; I do wish some countries nearby would share their supply, which would help. That day is also hopefully going to happen soon. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really don’t understand people who voluntarily go to a gym. It seems odd to me, a slothful slacker who leans toward couch potato. Still if I got to use a pair of snazzy wireless headphones, I might like going there. As long as they’re SNAZZY!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your gym looks nicely laid out and well-spaced. I know how important exercise is so I sincerely hope you can continue to work out safely. Not to be a Debby Downer, but I now know two people who have received their two dosed who ended up with Covid anyway. Their symptoms weren’t bad but… I think I’ll stick to my neighborhood walks for a while, although I would dearly love to join a yoga group.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What is this exercise thing of which you speak? My exercise is walking from one room to another. LOL
    I don’t like the traditional exercise by definition. I used to play soccer, do all the yard work, and the necessaries of raising four children kind of by myself.
    I’M TIRED! I need to rest.
    Bwahahahahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I just can’t yet, but good for you! I recall you posted some great core exercises a while back. I’ll have to “watch” them again soon. Meanwhile, it’s walking outdoors still for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. debscarey

    Well done on venturing back to the gym Marty, and it sounds like your facility is handling things really well. My chiropractor has been able to see clients during the later UK lockdown with a very strict cleaning & PPE protocol – something I’ve been very grateful of late. On my daily walks in the park, I’ve started to gaze at the swimmers at our local pool with something close to envy, so I’m wondering whether to take my double vaccinated self to check it out. It’s been way too long since last I swam and I’m feeling the urge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Deb. The gym has been following guidelines much better than we expected (and Florida doesn’t win many prizes for covid-compliancy). Ditto for most of the other gym users who are surprising me with mask and distancing protocols. After somehow sustaining its core strength most of last year, my back finally gave up on me by November or so. I paid deeply for ignoring it, and so that was the primary motivation for try and get back to the gym so that I could start stretching in earnest again. I just wasn’t doing a good job at home. So far so good, but I can assure you if there’s any future upticks in covid numbers again I’ll be staying home, vaccine or no vaccine! I hope you’re able to get back in that pool soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. debscarey

        Yes, I managed to get through our first lockdown when my chiro was firmly shut, along with everything else. This despite just having had surgery on my knee. I agree, there’s only so long backs hold out without our doing the needed work. It’s a lesson I have to keep reminding my lazy-arsed self! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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